EXCLUSIVE: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin launched an election integrity task force on Monday as the campaign to replace outgoing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam heats up.
Youngkin, who announced his campaign last month, said he would make election integrity a "top priority."
"This is not a Democrat issue or a Republican issue, it’s a democracy issue," Youngkin told Fox News. "Both parties have long raised concerns, and we must restore Americans’ faith in the integrity of our elections."
Youngkin rolled out "five common sense steps" to establish "legal voting standards" for election processes.
Youngkin's plan includes establishing a "politically independent and transparent Virginia Department of Elections" and updating "voter rolls monthly to provide accurate voter information."
It also includes strengthening Virginia’s voter identification in "all methods of voting" and verifying "all mail-in applications and ballots" to ensure they are "legitimate and timely."
Youngkin also said he would "ensure ballot counting integrity by requiring observer presence and the audit of voting machines."
"Virginians should not worry that votes aren’t counted properly or that improper voting occurred. I will ensure that all legal votes will count in Virginia," Youngkin told Fox News. "I hope all Virginians will join my campaign’s official election integrity task force and stand up for our democracy."
Youngkin said ensuring trust in the election process and results is "paramount," and maintained that election integrity is a "bipartisan issue with long established concerns among both political parties."
Youngkin, the former co-CEO of Carlyle Group, announced his gubernatorial bid last month, describing himself as an "outsider."
Youngkin will be able to self fund thanks to his roughly $250 million fortune, The Washington Post reported. FEC records show that Youngkin has donated thousands to Republican candidates, including former Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Youngkin has lived in Northern Virginia for the past 26 years with his wife, Suzanne, and their four kids. The Youngkins started a nonprofit called the Virginia Ready Initiative to help unemployed Virginians get job training during the coronavirus pandemic.
The race is wide open since Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, is unable to run for reelection due to the state's prohibition on governors serving consecutive terms.
Virginia hasn't had a Republican governor since 2014. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe appears to lead the pack of Democratic candidates, which includes state lawmakers Lee Carter and Jennifer McClellan, former state lawmaker Jennifer Foy and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, according to Ballotpedia.
Youngkin will be competing against fellow Republican state lawmaker Amanda Chase, former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, former Department of Defense official Sergio de la Pena and tech entrepreneur Pete Snyder for the party nomination.
Cox, in December after announcing his gubernatorial bid, also said he would "fully fund an Election Integrity Team through the Republican Party of Virginia in 2021."
"We will hire the best attorneys in the country, recruit dedicated volunteers at the local level, and provide staff support through RPV to ensure that we are monitoring the State Electoral Board, working with local Electoral Boards, and reviewing the decisions and actions of registrars well before Election Day," Cox wrote in a letter to Virginia's State Central Committee. "Working with RPV General Counsel and the Republican Governors Association, we will empower our party like never before to safeguard and secure the vote in 2021."
Cox called the effort "a fundamental role of our party," and committed to ensuring that the Republican Party of Virginia "has the resources necessary to fulfill this role so we can all be confident in the final results next year."
Cox also introduced a bill in the General Assembly last month to make changes to the State Board of Elections.
Fox Business' Evie Fordham contributed to this report.