Home Virginia voter misinformation campaign thwarted; appeal led by former Trump staffer dismissed
Politics, State/National

Virginia voter misinformation campaign thwarted; appeal led by former Trump staffer dismissed

Crystal Graham
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A group that distributed misleading flyers in Northern Virginia that appeared to come from a governmental organization had its appeal dismissed this week in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Look Ahead America, a conservative political advocacy group and nonprofit formed by former Donald Trump campaign staffer Matt Braynard, allegedly distributed flyers to Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William counties falsely claiming that failure to vote could lead to a loss of Social Security income, Medicare eligibility, unemployment benefits, child tax credits, child custody rights and concealed carry permits.

The flyers looked like they came from an official source which lent credibility to the group’s message.

In October, Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a cease-and-desist letter to Look Ahead America, also known as Virginia Voter Assistance, in order to prevent the further distribution of the flyers in Northern Virginia.

Look Ahead America sued the attorney general challenging Virginia’s voter intimidation statutes and seeking to enjoin their enforcement.

In October, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sided with the attorney general and denied Look Ahead America’s requested injunction.

On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit dismissed Look Ahead America’s appeal from that denial.

“In Virginia, it should be easy to vote and hard to cheat,” said Miyares. “Look Ahead America, Inc.’s election mail pieces threatened and misled voters.

“I am committed to cracking down on intimidating, threatening and coercive election tactics like this.”

Braynard also led the so-called “voter integrity project” after Trump lost the presidential election to former vice president Joe Biden. Braynard claims the intent of the project was to discover illegal ballots and other election anomalies.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.