“Having secure, legal, and trustworthy elections is something that we must demand in our Commonwealth,” Snyder told Fox News in a statement. “Unfortunately, for too many Virginians, whether they be Republicans, Democrats or Independents, trust in our election system has been severely strained and due to many last minute Covid-related changes to our voting systems, government has failed to deliver on the transparency and accountability expected from voters.”
Snyder, a tech entrepreneur, presented a six-pronged plan to prevent unelected officials from changing voting laws, require photo ID at the polls, maintain updated voter rolls, assure only U.S. citizens can vote and create a voter fraud reporting hotline.
Specifics in Snyder’s plan include adding bar codes to all ballots and absentee envelopes to ensure they’re not passed through a machine twice, limiting how many times an individual can be a witness on non-family members’ absentee ballots and expanding the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s mandate to include election fraud.
“The pillars of my plan are the first steps to restoring voter confidence and protecting our democracy,” Snyder said in a statement.
Snyder’s announcement comes as many Republicans say they have lost faith in U.S. elections. As of December, 68% of Republicans believed the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump, according to a Fox News Poll.
State Sen. Amanda Chase appears to be the only Republican in the race for governor making stolen election claims part of her campaign. Snyder is focusing on reopening schools, something that may appeal to northern Virginia voters watching other school divisions in the state allow students back into the classroom.
“We’re nearly a year into this pandemic and most states — like Virginia — have a constitutional responsibility to actually educate our kids — and our schools are still closed,” Snyder told Fox News in a previous interview. “It is a true travesty.”
Snyder, 48, an entrepreneur and former Fox News contributor, launched his gubernatorial campaign in January.
Snyder joined a crowded GOP primary field, which includes, at this point, Sergio de la Peña, a retired Army officer; Glenn Youngkin, who retired as co-CEO last year from the investment firm the Carlyle Group; Chase, and state Del. Kirk Cox, who was the speaker of the Virginia House when Republicans last controlled the chamber.
Snyder’s GOP rival Youngkin has also highlighted election integrity, launching an “election integrity task force” in February.
Northam cannot seek reelection because Virginia governors cannot serve consecutive terms.
Seeking the Democratic nomination are: former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who was in office from 2014 to 2018; Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax; state Sen. Jennifer McClellan; state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy; and state Del. Lee Carter.
Virginia has shifted from a battleground state to a solidly blue state in recent presidential elections and has elected Democrats in the last two gubernatorial races. The 2021 race will be closely watched as the first statewide election since Democrats took control of the White House and Senate in 2020.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.