Glenn Youngkin tries to defend his son's attempt to vote illegally — but he leaves out a crucial detail

Glenn Youngkin tries to defend his son's attempt to vote illegally — but he leaves out a crucial detail
Glenn Youngkin, screenshot
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Although Republican Glenn Youngkin, Virginia's governor-elect, distanced himself from former President Donald Trump during his recent campaign, he embraced Trumpian talkign points — including campaigning on "election integrity."

However, that didn't stop Youngkin's 17-year-old son from trying to illegally vote on Election Day. Youngkin has tried to downplay the seriousness of his son's actions, but Inside Elections' Jacob Rubashkin (formerly of MSNBC and CNN) has pointed out that his son tried to vote twice.

In the United States, the voting age is 18 under the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which was ratified in 1971 during the Vietnam War. Before that, voting ages varied from state to state, not unlike drinking laws. Some states didn't allow voting until one turned 21. But while Youngkin's 17-year-old son, under the 26th Amendment, will be old enough to legally vote when he turns 18, 17 is still too young.

When a reporter asked Youngkin about his son trying to vote when he wasn't legally old enough to do so, Virginia's governor-elect responded, "It was silliness, I think. There's real confusion on where a 17-year-old can vote or not. And so, he had a friend who suggested that he might be able to vote. He went up and asked…. And he presented his ID, and when they said he couldn't vote, he said, 'OK.' And he went to school."

But according to Rubashkin, Youngkin "conveniently leaves out that half an hour after his son was told he couldn't vote, he came back and tried to vote again."

If Youngkin's son made an honest mistake the first time he tried to vote on Election Day, that would be one thing. But according to CNN reporters Dan Merica and Ryan Nobles, Youngkin's son went to a polling place in Virginia at both 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Election Day. And it's curious that a governor who campaigned on election integrity never once taught his own child about the minimum requirement for voting: being an adult.

Jennifer Canty, the precinct chief at the Great Falls Library in Great Falls, Virginia, wrote that at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 2, a 17-year-old "came in" and "requested" a "ballot" but was "told he had to be 18" to vote. Canty offered to give him a voter registration form but said he "declined." Then, at 10 a.m., according to Canty, he "came back to request a ballot" a second time, and Canty identified him as Youngkin's son — writing, in her notes, "Again offered opportunity to register. He declined if he wouldn't be able to vote today."

Youngkin's victory over his Democratic rival, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, on Election Day was a major disappointment for Democrats — as Virginia, once a deep red state, has been trending more Democratic in recent years. Democrats carried Virginia in the presidential elections of 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020, and now-President Joe Biden won the state by 10%. Moreover, both of Virginia's U.S. senators are Democrats: Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

The election was close: Youngkin only defeated McAuliffe by 2%. But a win is a win, and Youngkin's victory demonstrates that a Republican can run a conservative campaign in a Democrat-friendly swing state and come out on top. Youngkin's balancing act ultimately worked; the Trump ally kept his distance from Trump during the campaign while incorporating some Trumpian themes (including "election integrity" and racial fear-mongering over "critical race theory"). And he pulled it off in what has arguably become the most Democrat-friendly southern state.

Democratic strategists have been describing Youngkin's victory as a major wake-up call, warning that their party could suffer major losses in the 2022 midterms if they don't do a better job of selling Biden's legislative accomplishments and his Build Back Better agenda. Also troubling for Democrats is the fact that in deep blue New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy defeated his MAGA Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, by only 3%.

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