A committee meeting on Virginia’s election readiness turned into a bitter partisan fight Thursday as a Republican state lawmaker called for the removal of the state’s top election official and Democrats accused the GOP of following Donald Trump’s lead by casting doubt on the upcoming election. The proceedings turned heated after Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés, an appointee of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, took the podium to defend the state’s preparations after roughly a dozen election officials from across Virginia vented about a voter system they described as technologically deficient, underfunded, and susceptible to low-level abuse that often goes unpunished. … McAuliffe’s office said the governor has no plans to replace Cortés.
Democrats largely dismissed the proceedings as grandstanding, particularly on the issue of voter fraud, but seemed to share concerns about the reliability and speed of VERIS, the computer system used statewide to register voters and process absentee ballots.
Sen. A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, defended Cortés, saying none of the registrars who spoke complained about his performance. The favorite to win Virginia’s redrawn 4th Congressional District next month, McEachin said he sees a state poised to again go Democratic in the presidential race and accused his GOP colleagues of “doing exactly what their Republican presidential candidate is doing.”
“Which is trying to delegitimize the results of the elections before they take place,” McEachin said. “I find that to be abhorrent and shameful.”