The Virginia Institute for Public Policy* (VIPP) has sued Virginia’s Fairfax County election officials for violating state law in issuing absentee ballots. Election officials are accused of dispensing ballots in blatant violation of identification requirements. The request for a preliminary and permanent injunction was filed Wednesday, October 20th in state court, and related to absentee balloting in the 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial Election. VIPP is represented by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), a conservative group that often sues over election integrity issues.
Last year, Liberty Nation reported on the many cases of state and local election officials and judges who re-wrote absentee ballot submission rules. One Virginia county is doing likewise. Virginia has an ongoing hotly contested gubernatorial election, one of only two states electing governors this year. Election day is Tuesday, November 2nd, but Virginia offers absentee both by mail and in-person, starting a full 45 days prior. The Commonwealth also has safeguards to make sure those ballots are only accessed by their properly registered users. One of those is being cast aside in Fairfax County, according to the suit.
What’s the Last 4 of Your Social?
LibertyNation.com spoke exclusively with J. Christian Adams, head of PILF, which announced the authorities “are accepting and approving absentee and mail-in ballot applications without the statutorily required last-four of Social Security numbers in violation of the Anti-Suspension Clause of the Constitution of Virginia.” A board of supervisors governs the county with ten seats, nine held by Democrats, as are the chair and vice-chair positions. Asked if this ballot issue was likely designed to help Mr. McAuliffe, the Democrat candidate for governor, Mr. Adams said no evidence suggests that. He cautioned against assigning motive and said, “election administration is way more complicated than conspiracies or political partisanship.”
George Mason to the Rescue
I asked what separated this litigation from other attempts nationwide to make election officials follow the law. In part, it’s Virginia’s anti-suspension clause. It’s right in the state’s bill of rights, thanks to George Mason, a Founder of our country who refused to sign the U.S. Constitution because it lacked a bill of rights:
That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.
Mr. Anderson explained other suits based on the U.S. Constitution’s Guarantee Clause or voter dilution theory were fatally conceived. “This isn’t about voter fraud,” he pointed out. “It’s about protecting the right to vote.” Partial verification of Social Security numbers prevents duplicate voting and mitigates screw-ups in the voting office. “Imagine if Fairfax or another county said – don’t bother with your first name, just give us your last name ….” The problem is, as Anderson told this reporter, “when you change the rules in the middle of the game, you give people reason to question the result.”
The court has yet to assign a hearing date.
LN reached out to Scott O. Konopasek, Fairfax county’s Director of the Office of Elections & General Registrar, and Bettina M. Lawton, Vice-Chair of the Fairfax County Electoral Board, who are named in the suit for comment. Neither responded before publication.
*Virginia Institute for Public Policy President Lynn Taylor sits on the board of One Generation Away, LibertyNation.com’s publisher.
~ Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.
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