As electoral boards prepare to certify election results, Virginia Election Protection Coalition cautions against partisan denialism
“Our democracy thrives on adherence to law and the respect of each vote”
RICHMOND, VA — As the deadline for localities to certify the official results of the November 2023 election looms, civic and voting rights members of the nonpartisan Virginia Election Protection Coalition sent all 133 Virginia electoral boards letters detailing their obligations to certify election results, especially in the face of illegal and partisan election interference. The letter, drafted by Protect Democracy, can be viewed here. Accompanying the 133 letters, the coalition released the following statement:
Nicholas Gothard, Election Protection Manager, Virginia Civic Engagement Table (VCET):
“As a Commonwealth grounded in laws and democracy, the power of elected positions cannot be won by mere desire or partisan denial of election results. Efforts to safeguard our democracy, bolster public trust against election sabotage, and increase voter participation in Virginia have never been stronger – voters proved that last week. Those who attempt to cast doubt or ignore the outcomes of our elections are actively working against the principles of democracy we hold closely.
The transparency and timeliness of election result certification are fundamental to our democratic process. As emphasized by Virginia law, the duty of electoral boards to certify and deliver election results is both mandatory and non-discretionary. VCET stands firm in reminding all electoral boards of their obligations and the serious consequences of non-compliance. Our democracy thrives on adherence to law and the respect of each vote; we’re committed to upholding the principles of democracy to ensure that every vote is counted and certified according to the law.”
Joan Porte, President, League of Women Voters of Virginia:
“The League of Women Voters of Virginia opposes all attempts to disenfranchise voters and nullify the will of the people expressed at the ballot box.”
LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director, Progress Virginia:
“No one gets to simply ignore our election results. Our elections are safe, fair, secure, and accurate, and anyone who says any differently is a bad actor trying to discredit our electoral process. It is the responsibility of every electoral board to certify the results of every election.”
Sheba Williams, Executive Director, Nolef Turns Inc.:
“We have seen an unprecedented number of attempts to silence the voices of too many voters. It is the duty of each electoral board to certify our election results and provide Virginians with the results of who the people voted for, in a timely manner.”
JoAnna Suriani, Counsel, Protect Democracy:
“Our democratic system gives local electoral boards the important front-line duty of certifying election results. Refusing to do so for partisan reasons not only undermines the will of the voters, it is illegal under state and federal law. As we approach a critical nationwide election in 2024, it is important that we encourage local election officials—the vast majority of whom want to do the right thing—to uphold their duty to promptly certify election results.”
The letter was signed by Nicholas Gothard of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, Tram Nguyen of New Virginia Majority, Joan Porte of the League of Women Voters of Virginia, Sheba Williams of Nolef Turns Inc., LaTwyla Mathias of Progress Virginia, Lauren Coletta of Common Cause Virginia, and Spencer Klein of Campaign Legal Center.
Virginia Election Protection is a dedicated coalition of organizations and volunteers. Together, we make up the largest nonpartisan voter protection effort in the Commonwealth, working together to ensure the rights of all voters in Virginia are upheld.