Youngkin calls for audit of voting machines in Virginia

Republican Virginia gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin called for an audit of the state's voting machines on Monday, saying the process should be carried out as a means of transparency. 

"I think we need to make sure that people trust these voting machines," Youngkin said during a virtual forum with the Richmond Crusade for Voters.

"And I just think, like, I grew up in a world where you have an audit every year, in businesses you have an audit. So let's just audit the voting machines, publish it so everybody can see it," he said. 

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Youngkin also called for the Department of Elections to be moved out of the governor's office, saying it should not be political. 

"I think it should be independent, and a governor, whether it's me or somebody else, should not be allowed to tinker with the Department of Elections," he said. 

Youngkin called on voter rolls to be updated, citing a recent update in Newport News, Va., that resulted in 3,000 people being removed because they did not change their addresses and did not vote in the 2018 and 2020 federal elections in Virginia. 

"So let's just make that a good process, everybody’s going to trust it," he said. "I do think people showing up with a picture ID is a good thing, and this is not an issue to keep people from voting. It's just to make sure that folks are who they say they are when they come vote, and people seem to trust that, that seems to be uniformly supported regardless of party." 

Youngkin has leaned into the issue of election integrity since running in the state's GOP convention earlier this year, launching an "Election Integrity Taskforce," which he said is designed to establish legal voting standards in election processes.

His Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, has worked to tie Youngkin's stance on voting to former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE's unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

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Youngkin distanced himself from Trump over whether he believes Democrats would cheat in the gubernatorial race, saying he believes "we're going to have a clean, fair election."

A Youngkin spokesperson told The Hill on Tuesday that nothing about his stance on the issue had changed. 

"As Glenn Youngkin said in February, he believes audits are a best practice when it comes to administering elections, and he will ensure Virginia continues to conduct audits and that they are thorough, efficient, and accurate," the spokesperson said.

"Glenn has been clear about his view of the 2020 election and nothing has changed. Obviously, McAuliffe opposes requiring a photo ID to vote, but if he does not support routine audits, updating the voter rolls regularly, verifying mail-in ballots, and other election best practices identified by bipartisan experts, he should be clear with Virginians about where he stands.”

Other Republican candidates, lawmakers and officials have taken up Trump's calls for election audits and reforms this year.

In Texas, the secretary of state's office announced that an election audit would be carried out in Harris, Dallas and Tarrant counties after Trump sent an open letter to Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottThe 10-point Republican immigration plan is punitive and harmful to our country More than 40 Texas hospitals face ICU bed shortages Southwest drops plan to put unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave MORE (R) demanding an audit, despite his winning the state last year. 

A Republican-led audit in Arizona ultimately found earlier this month that Trump lost to President BidenJoe Biden White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Police recommend charges against four over Sinema bathroom protest K Street revenues boom MORE by an even larger margin than was first reported last year.