(The Center Square) — The holiday season delivered another Virginia legal defeat to get-out-the-vote organization Look Ahead America and an uncomplicated victory to state Attorney General Jason Miyares.
The group filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the case on the day the Fourth Circuit Court ordered Look Ahead to file its opening brief appealing a dispute with the attorney general.
“We’re disappointed that we cannot afford to challenge a deranged attorney general with no respect for the First Amendment because we’re a small nonprofit and he has an unlimited budget,” Matt Braynard, the group’s executive director, told The Center Square in an email.
Look Ahead America initially filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against Miyares after he had tried to stop the distribution of some of its election-season fliers, which he deemed misleading and “patently false.”
The fliers warned lapsed voters that failure to vote in November’s General Assembly election could result in a loss of Social Security benefits and access to their bank accounts and firearms, among other penalties. The group defended its fliers as accurately describing the eventual consequences of electing certain candidates.
The lower court denied the organization’s request, agreeing with the attorney general’s descriptions of the fliers as coercive. The group appealed the court’s decision, and on Wednesday, the appellate court granted the group’s request to dismiss the case altogether.
“In Virginia, it should be easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Miyares said, celebrating the post-Christmas development. “Look Ahead America, Inc’s election mail pieces threatened and misled voters, and I am committed to cracking down on intimidating, threatening, and coercive election tactics like this.”
Miyares credited the outcome to his Election Integrity Unit, which was established in 2022. His office described in a press release as “a restructuring of existing attorneys, investigators, and paralegals across the agency to increase collaboration and cooperation on election issues.”