The latest in Virginia politics as legislators convene for a special session

The latest updates on Virginia politics.

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Hello! The General Assembly convenes today for the special session. I will be covering this as well as the statewide campaigns to the same extent that I have been this entire year. My work is completely funded by donations & subscriptions to Virginia Scope and this newsletter. If you could, please consider making a donation or becoming a paid subscriber to this newsletter today. That will help ensure that Virginia Scope can stay in business to provide the behind-the-scenes look at Virginia politics and everything it encompasses.

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Chase leads the movement for election audit protest at the General Assembly

State Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) is a lead organizer with the movement to protest the General Assembly’s special session in an attempt to encourage state lawmakers to order a forensic audit of the 2020 election. Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 points last year and there has not been any evidence of voter fraud taking place in the Commonwealth.

“I’ve spoken to so many frustrated Virginians who have had enough,” Chase wrote on Facebook Sunday afternoon. “They’re getting their signs ready and tomorrow they will show up!” 

A spokesperson for Chase says that the idea came to fruition after she visited the election audit process being put on by the Republicans in Arizona. After three months of auditing, Republicans in Arizona have found no evidence of voter fraud. 

poll in June showed that 74% of Republicans supported state-level efforts to review the 2020 presidential election results. 51% believed the reviews will uncover information that will change the election’s outcome. The issue looks to remain prominent with Virginia Republicans as their statewide candidates are scheduled to speak at an “election Integrity Rally” this month.

In a phone interview Sunday night, Chase says she is heading into the week of protests with an open mind. She says some members of this movement believe there was fraud in 2020 and that people should be held accountable — while other members of the movement want to look forward and work to ensure that future elections are fair and trusted. 

Referencing her gubernatorial run from earlier this year when she sought the Republican nomination that Glenn Youngkin eventually won, Chase said that supporters across the state told her they believe their votes were not counted and “they feel like it was not fair.” 

Chase called the protest a “constructive way to vent” for the Virginians that have lost faith in elections.

She also prioritized tracking absentee ballots down to the precinct level and providing more transparency and oversight in the counting process as goals of the movement.

As she takes the lead here in Virginia, a spokesperson for Chase said that several groups are coming together to organize this election audit movement across the country. 

The Richmond event flyer links to a website that is hosted by Project Libertas. Virginia Scope could not find any specific information about Project Libertas, but the website has posted three articles in the last month — each of them encourages the reader to believe that there was mass election fraud in 2020

The website has an “about” page, but no information about the actual group or the organizers behind it is included. A source with knowledge of the situation says the group is trying to make the movement about ‘We the People,’ instead of one group’s mission.

 The program management line on the site only says “In process.” 

The group does provide an in-depth explanation of their ideological beliefs: “We do not mind differences of opinion. We may even endure certain discomfort in allowing ourselves to enjoy these differences,” says their website. “Yet, oppressive people have used forceful ways to take advantage of the situation by violating our rights and freedoms to coerce, and control other people through fear, hatred, and division. We believe this behavior to be malevolent. We the People generally have let this immoral behavior go too far—and we say, ‘enough.’”

Legislators meet for the first day of the special session Monday to work and allocate the $4.3 billion in federal COVID-relief funds that the Commonwealth has received. The first protest is scheduled for ahead of the first session Monday morning with attendees encouraged to create their own signs to show legislators as they arrive.

While Chase stresses that she has an open mind moving forward, she says the process cannot move forward at all without a forensic audit of the 2020 election.

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Terry McAuliffe on MSNBC

“The "Washington Post" just wrote an editorial today that is absolutely devastating. Glenn Youngkin, as governor, with his economic plan will destroy Virginia's economy - will run our state into the ditch. And we want to lift people up, so there's a huge difference in this election, but we need people to come out and vote.”

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Republican attorney general candidate Jason Miyares announces public safety and pro-police agenda

Statement from Del. Miyares ahead of the special session:

“This special session has provided the General Assembly a unique opportunity to pass legislation that would positively impact our communities right now. The rise in crime is at the forefront of Virginians’ minds and thanks to the far-left liberal monopoly in Richmond, our law enforcement officers are struggling. The lack of support from our state leaders is forcing many of them to look for other job opportunities, right when we need them the most. 

This is why I’m introducing an amendment to the state budget that would give a pay retention bonus of $5,000 per sworn officer, including troopers, corrections officers, and sheriffs, to give our brave men and women an incentive to remain in law enforcement and continue doing what they do best - protecting our communities. 

Additionally, I am proposing an amendment that would require the Attorney General to prosecute all straw gun purchases. A straw purchase is when someone legally purchases a firearm on behalf of another person who cannot legally purchase a firearm. This would allow these cases to be handled more effectively on a state level, as they are typically managed by the federal courts, and would give the state more prosecuting control over the gun crimes that happen in our backyard.

While the liberal one-party rule in Richmond is trying its best to prevent legislation by anyone other than themselves during this special session, I am not going to stand aside and miss an opportunity to propose legislation that would have a positive impact on our Commonwealth.”

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Virginia legislators are divvying up $4.3B in federal aid. Here’s what’s in the plan. - Virginia Mercury

by Graham Moomaw

Democrats are calling it a rare chance to make strategic spending moves that will shape Virginia’s future for years to come, an opportunity to devote big dollars to some of the state’s most pressing problems.

Republicans see an exercise in one-party rule, with only Democratic leaders deciding what the top issues are and what to do about them.

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Stay tuned for more updates from the campaign trail and the special session later today.