Home 2023 Elections Video: VA House Dems Leader Don Scott, Sen. Mamie Locke, Sen. Scott...

Video: VA House Dems Leader Don Scott, Sen. Mamie Locke, Sen. Scott Surovell Rip Youngkin Administration for “trying to buy, steal and cheat their way through this election”

Del. Scott: "[Republicans] do want some people to vote early – they just don’t want people that look like me to vote early."

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See below for video of House Democratic Leader Don Scott, Senate Democratic Caucus Chairwoman Mamie E. Locke, Senator Scott Surovell and DPVA Voter Protection Director Aaron Mukerjee talking about Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s assault on voting rights, including purging 3,400 people from the voter rolls, and what Democrats have done – and are doing – to fight back against this crap.

Aaron Mukerjee: “Unfortunately, [the right to vote] is a right that Republicans are now working really really hard to take away… You know, many folks don’t realize this but for the first time in eight years Republicans control every election board in the Commonwealth. And you can bet they’re not sitting there twiddling their thumbs. They’re getting rid of election officials and replacing them with election deniers. They’re doing …so-called ‘voter integrity’ workshops to try to undermine security of our elections. They’ve cut Sunday voting for communities of color across the Commonwealth, because they know who that affects most. They’ve taken away voting rights in predominantly Black neighborhoods. And they purged thousands and thousands of roters from the roles. So make no mistake about it folks, Republicans did not stop attacking our democracy on January 6th; they were just getting started. And they’re still hard at work trying to take away the right to vote. That’s what they’re doing without control of the General Assembly. So just imagine what they’re going to do if they take total control of the General
Assembly in just a few days. We don’t have to imagine. In January, every single
House Republican – every single one – voted to cut early voting by 75% and ban absentee valid drop boxes. They’ve gotten rid of a bipartisan system designed to catch voter fraud and replaced it with vigilantes going around challenging voters. And as I said, they’ve  purged thousands of eligible voters from the rolls…These are real people with real stories who live in communities across the Commonwealth and they have a constitutional right to vote that was taken away. And the worst part is the Youngkin administration misled us about it. First they said there was no problem. Then they said it was small problem. Now they’re saying it’s a massive problem. This is part of the weaponized incompetence of  the Youngkin administration,  gaslighting Virginians into believing they’re doing something good when in fact they’re trying to take away our rights. Because Republicans know that when we all vote, we win. Folks in Virginia don’t want an abortion ban. They don’t want to roll back commonsense gun safety measures. They don’t want to defund public education. And so the only way Republicans can think to win is to undermine democracy itself, make it harder to vote and easier to cheat. Now here’s the good news: Democrats are working twice as hard to protect the right to vote in Virginia. As we speak, volunteers all across the Commonwealth…are stepping up to make sure that everybody has the right to vote and have that vote count…even when Republicans think they’re successful in suppressing the vote, there’s one thing they consistently underestimate and that’s the will of the people. When they try to take away our rights, we redouble our efforts to make our voices heard. And I’m confident folks across the Commonwealth are going to do that tomorrow and Saturday during early voting, on Tuesday on Election Day. Because just like the
Republicans, we understand and we understand that when folks show up, we win. So my  request to any Virginian watching is simple: we need you to vote and then we need you to spread the word about the stakes of this election. Get your friends to vote. Get your family to vote. Get your neighbors to vote. Early voting ends tomorrow and election day is Tuesday. We’re going to keep working to protect everyone’s right to vote.  Now is the time to cast yours.”

VA House Democratic Leader Don Scott: “We’re standing here today because of yet  another ‘accident’ by Governor Youngkin and the MAGA Republicans in the state. They’re trying to buy, steal and cheat their way through this election. We believe it’s intentional. We believe it is intentional. Make no mistake about it – the last election, we had races that were decided by 100 votes…There was a total of around 700 votes that determined the majority. He has removed – at least they tell us – he removed 3,000+ voters from the rolls. That’s more than 3x the [number] that made the difference in who would be in control. Moreover, they haven’t told us where those voters are. Are they in battleground districts? Are they in battleground senatorial and house districts? We don’t know. I don’t even know if they know, because the level of incompetence that they demonstrate; they’re not even good at trying to cheat, they get caught every single time. Making mistakes like this just days before a monumental election where women’s reproductive healthare is on the line, that’s huge. We know what they’re trying to do. Every single Republican in the House of Delegates where we serve has said that life begins at conception…They just caught religion recently, trying to say that they have some compromise with women’s reproductive healthare. The only thing is they forgot to ask women. We believe that the women of the Commonwealth of Virginia and all voters will send them a message on Tuesday, and they know that. That is why they’re trying to call and put their finger on scale doing this election. But it won’t work. Virginia has a long history, a dark history, of trying to prevent people of color, Black people from voting. We know this. It was enshrined in the 1901 Constitution. This is not a new playbook, we’ve seen this before. And what they don’t understand is Black people are going to come out and vote and send them a message that they’ never seen before. They will come out and vote. The Republicans know that. Our Commonwealth knows that. And that is why they’re doing everything they can to try to steal this election. This most recent voter purge, they’ve done it before. This most recent incompetence was designed to try to sneak by and put their finger on the scale and impact this election and take it away. But it won’t work. And what’s sad is they’re going after the most vulnerable populations, those people who have worked hard, come home, had their rights restored, done everything right. And what does he do? Tries to take their rights away again…I made a mistake in my past and I have no shame in admitting that. And my rights were restored by a Republican Governor. This Governor has slowed it all down. He has no belief in second chances.
He prescribes and ascribes to some faith but, we’ve never seen it demonstrated in his
policies. They’ve taken Virginia backwards on voter restoration. They’re taking us backwards on voting rights. They’re taking us backwards on reproductive healthare. They’re taking us backwards on gun violence prevention. That is their goal. What’s sad is he hadn’t apologized for the mistake…He’s trying to take credit for catching his own agency and saying yeah…I asked them to go back and fix it. That’s hilarious…My message right now to every Virginian is go out and vote…We have to send this governor a message, that these type of tactics will not work, they have not worked. We have been resilient for hundreds of years in this country and in this Commonwealth and we will prevail on Tuesday.”

Sen. Mamie Locke: “If anyone voted during the last 45 days, no excuse early voting period, thank Democrats. If anyone used a mail dropbox, thank Democrats. If you registered to vote on Election Day and vote on the same day, thank Democrats. If you are proud of the fact that Virginia went from number 49 being one of the hardest states in which to vote and move to number 11 in the country when it comes to access to the
ballot box, thank Democrats. Thank you to our previous Democratic trifecta, Virginia is the leader in the South when it comes to voting rights. That’s because Democrats believe it should be easier, not harder, to vote. Which is why we fought and delivered to make  voting easier for everyone, including our friends and loved ones with disabilities. We believe….that voting is a right in a democracy. We should ask our…Republican friends, what are they afraid of? Why are they scared to allow people to vote in a democracy? Is it that the hallmark of a democratic society, allowing people access to voting rights? So why are they afraid to allow people to participate in a democracy? What’s the fear? But now that progress is on the line. All the progress that we have made over the course of the last three years – that progress is now on the line. Leader Scott has outlined that for you. We now have an opportunity this coming Tuesday to show that this is a very close election, all elections will be very close…As you might remember, control of the House of Delegates was previously decided by luck, by luck, when a tied race had to be resolved by the drawing of a film canister from a bowl. That should not be the case here in the  Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s not how we should decide elections. So make sure your voice is heard. Let’s encourage everyone you know to make a plan to vote. Do you know where you’re going to vote on Election Day? If you’ve not already voted early, you can vote today, you can vote tomorrow, you can vote on Election Day. Do you know what time you’re going to vote? Let’s make a plan to vote. It is critically important that we all participate in this society, in this democracy, in this Commonwealth. It’s like the gym; if you don’t make a plan to get there, it might not happen. I know. We not we cannot afford for anyone to sit out of these elections, because our voting rights are on the line…and take it from someone who has personally seen what voter suppression looks like. As an 18-year-old registering to vote for the first time in Mississippi that had dual registration,
that’s a voter suppression tactic. I had to register to vote twice – in a federal courthouse for federal elections and at the state courthouse for state and local elections. That was easy for me, I lived in in Jackson, which was the county seat, so I just had to walk across the street from the federal courthouse to the state courthouse. But imagine for someone who lived 100 miles away or 200 miles away from the federal courthouse, that’s what voter suppression looks like…that wasn’t so easy for someone else who had to do that dual regristration…That was an intentional barrier for a lot of people. So a lot of people ended up not being able to register to vote. So we must protect and expand our Democratic majority in the Senate to continue being a brick wall for voting rights for the next four years. That is critically important. We have to ensure that the House becomes a
majority. That is critically important for us. Be assured – be assured – that if the Republicans take over, they are going to take us back. R means reverse, D means go forward. We know that because they’ve already tried. We’ve seen it. Your vote will be safe because of the teamwork of our Voter Protection Team here. So get out there and make your voice heard, because your vote is your voice. So make your voice heard with your vote on Tuesday.”

Sen. Scott Surovell: “First of all, I want to welcome everybody to this wonderful new facility in this new room. I can’t think of a better first use for this room, the Senate briefing room, to have a press conference about protecting people’s voting rights. I’ll tell you, from from my from my perspective, what you’re seeing out there from this administration – the weaponized incompetence that you heard about – is that Glenn Youngkin and his friends have figured out they’re losing this election. They figured out that Virginia women don’t like their supposed compromise that they proposed on women’s healthcare right to make their own healthcare decisions. They’ve figured out voters have figured out that this whole ‘Parents Rights’ movement was really about 5% or 10% of the parents telling the other 90% of the parents how the schools were going to be run. And it isn’t working. Virginia voters have figured out that crime is not out of control in our state. And as usual, as Republicans always seem to do, they’re using this crime issue to try and  get voters angry about…racial issues, which is really what’s happening. It’s not working. And so they figured out that the only way they’re going to win this election is by keeping people from voting. Now…think about the governor’s race. There’s a lot of projection going on… in this Administration. He likes to put labels on on things. He likes to dress things up. He likes to pretend he’s doing something when he’s really doing something else. In his election when he ran, he didn’t have a platform after he won his primary in June for about three months; the only thing he had on his website until after Labor Day was ‘election integrity’…This Administration is not about election integrity at all, it’s about weaponized incompetence. And I want you to just think about the history of how we got here. Since the governor took his oath about 250 yards to my right last year, we found out that 107,000 voter voter registration applications got ‘stuck’ in a computer. And then in October, we found out there were another another 100,000 that got ‘stuck’ in their computer – 270,000 applications somehow got ‘stuck’ in their computer twice. When Susan Beals came and spoke to the Privileges and Elections Committee, we had her come and answer questions. And I specifically asked her, you know I said I used to program computers when I was a kid; computers are really interesting things because they only do what you tell them to do. And I’m trying to understand, has somebody looked at the computer to figure out how these things got ‘stuck’? And she said yes we have. And I said what have they figured out? She said, we don’t know, we can’t figure it out. I said you have no explanation as to how these things got ‘stuck’? No. Well how do you know it’s not going to happen again? We don’t. That’s the administration we have…176,000 people got sent to the wrong polling place because they have happen to live in towns…I have three towns in my current senate seat, every single one of them was told to vote at the wrong place. The administration had to go back and figure that out. And of course they blamed that on a vendor. Well who’d the vendor get the data from? The Youngkin Administration. Then you take those errors and you look at the decisions that have been made. First of all, the governor has implemented his new secret felon voter restoration process. Do we have any idea what his criteria is? No; he won’t say. Has he given us time frames? No. Has he said what was wrong with the old system? No. He just says he’s going to figure it out, he’s going to use his best judgment. What in the world is that? That is basically the old system we had before Bob McDonnell. I mean, this is the system that used to be used by George Allen, Jim Gilmore, all of our Governors back to when this Jim Crow policy was baked into our constitution in 1904…What else did he do? He took us out of ERIC. Why are we getting out of ERIC?  It’s some MAGA internet you know conspiracy theory is what’s driving this move to get us out of ERIC…you know ERIC is all about voter integrity, which is what he campaigned on. He’s not about voter integrity, he’s about trying to be able to monkey around with people’s data when nobody’s…looking. The third policy that’s come around in the last two years, I want you to remember, our attorney general has something called his Voter Integrity Squad. Have they have they done anything yet? I don’t know. But I can tell you that you couple what the governor just did, illegally purging people from the polls, trying to scare scare people with a felony history about whether they’re going to vote or not and couple that with an Election Integrity Unit, you know what that’s going to do? It’s going to chill the vote, it’s going to cause people be worried about voting. Is the Election Integrity Unit investigating 3,000 people illegally purged from the rolls? I haven’t heard a peep out of our attorney general about it. You’re not you’re not going to hear anything out of him. I mean, this Administration is all about electoral voting fakery. Now you heard a little bit about the elections, I just want to reaffirm here how close our elections are in Virginia. In the Senate, the last four cycles the last four Senate cycles we’ve had 11 elections state senate elections decided by less than a thousand votes…Take the House of Delegates… since 2017, so this is in just the last six years, they’ve had 17 elections decided by less than a 1,000 votes…including who’s the Speaker of the chamber by a film cannister…We specialize in close elections in this state…What I want to also point out, we have a whole bunch of unanswered questions…Why is Youngkin waiting until the 11th hour before election day to act? Is the 3,400 number accurate? How many of that number have actually voted and how many have been prevented from voting? We don’t have answers to any of those questions. I have some other questions. How have the 3,400 people who are illegally purged from the polls been told that they’re back on the ballot? Did somebody call? Did they get a letter? Have we seen the letter? What does the letter say? I mean have they been told you know
their polling place? I haven’t heard anything out of the Election Integrity Unit or the Voter Integrity Unit, whatever it’s called, or the Department of Elections as to how people should vote on Election Day without fear of being prosecuted or messed around with if they show up and they’re not on the rolls. I mean, people get worried about these things. They show up, they say you’re  not on the rolls, some people just walk away. But somebody needs to tell people if you think you’re supposed to be on the rolls, what should you do…to do this legally. How do you vote provisionally? Where should you vote provisionally? What should you bring? We haven’t heard any of this kind of information from this administration because they don’t want these people voting. So we haven’t got answers to any of that. And I’ll tell you, once this is over when we’re sitting back in this building in about two months with our expanded majority and our new majority in the House of Delegates, we’re going to get answers to our questions, and we’re not going to be fooled by some by some sweater vest…I mean, you could have put Harry Byrd…George Wallace…in one of these sweater vests, it still doesn’t change the fact they’re whistling Jim Crow. This Governor is constantly dressing himself up to make people get distracted about what he’s really doing. And from my perspective, this incompetence is going to go down go down in history, along with snitch lines, purging Martin Luther King and Obama out of the history standards as the defining moment of this Administration. And they’re going to pay for this. The message…that needs to go out is that if anybody is worried about whether they’re on the rolls or not, whether they’re allowed to vote or not, they need to go vote today, they need to go vote Saturday, they need to try to vote early so if there’s a problem, they have time to try to figure it out and fix it. They should not wait until Tuesday. They need to vote today or tomorrow, not wait
until Tuesday when there’s a bunch of people trying to vote at the same time… that’s what people need to do and that’s what we should have heard from this Administration for the last four weeks…”

Del. Don Scott: “I’ve heard some some of my friends on the other side of the aisle that said that Virginia is going to be ripe for Trump to win. And that’s how crazy they are, like they’re totally delusional. And at the end of the day, you know Trump lost the state by 10 points, but they’re still pining for him to come back. And so we’re going to send a message on Tuesday that that type of politics is no longer welcome with a multicultural multiethnic democracy here in America where everybody’s welome. We believe in  the American dream, we to continue move forward, that is the message…”

Sen. Mamie Locke: “[Republicans are] asking people [vote early]…but be assured that if
they got a trifecta, the very first bills that they would in is to rescind early voting…This is simply a ruse to try to win next Tuesday. They do not believe in early voting…

Del. Don Scott: “[Republicans] do want some people to vote early – they just don’t want people that look like me to vote early. And that’s what they’ve been doing, they’ve been purging voters that they think will not vote for them. So they want some people to vote early, they don’t want all Virginians to vote early. And that’s the problem with this Administration. You know, it turns out that the ‘Spirit of Virginia’ is really about mean spirits…The fact that he is not outraged by the fact that he is disenfranchising voters, that’s a problem, that’s what leadership is. He should be outraged…someone at that department, their head should roll. He should be the one that’s fixing this for all Virginians, whether you win the next election or not – it should not be about winning the next election, it should be about making sure that the system is fair. And he has not done that. He has undermined confidence in the system. He’s going to get a strong resounding message on Tuesday…”

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