Glenn Youngkin Says 17-Year-Old Son's Attempt to Vote Twice Was 'Silliness,' Blames 'Confusion' in Laws

Virginia's governor-elect spoke out on the controversy and said he was frustrated it was putting so much attention on his teenage son

Glenn Youngkin
Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin is dismissing his 17-year-old son's two attempts to vote in the election his dad just won — despite being underage — as "silliness."

On Friday, the Fairfax County general registrar's office said in a statement that "a 17-year-old male attempted on two occasions to vote on Election Day. ... Contemporaneous notes by the Chief election officer indicate the person was Youngkin."

"The young man presented identification but was ineligible to be registered to vote due to his age and was not permitted to vote," the registrar's office said. "The man was given a registration form and encouraged to register for future elections."

The elder Youngkin, who made election integrity an issue in his high-stakes campaign against former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, was recently asked about the incident.

"It was silliness, I think," Youngkin, 54, said.

He went on to say that "there's real confusion on where a 17-year-old can vote or not," though that exception applies only in Virginia and a few dozen states in the case of primaries where the person would be 18 by the general election.

Underage people cannot vote in general elections.

Youngkin said his son "had a friend that said he might be able to vote. He went up and asked. I know my son really well. He's an incredibly respectful young man. He presented his ID and when they said he couldn't vote, he said 'okay,' and went to school."

Youngkin didn't address his son's attempt to vote a second time on Nov. 2.

Images of notes taken at the precinct indicate that the 17-year-old tried to vote at 9:30 a.m. and again at 10 a.m. and that he declined an invitation to register for future elections.

In a statement, Fairfax County Director of Elections Scott O. Konopasek said of Youngkin's son, "The man did not vote. He made no false statements. He did not disrupt voting. Based upon information available to me now, it appears that he committed no election offense."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, center, speaks with running mates, attorney general candidate, Jason Miyares, left, and lieutenant governor candidate Winsome Sears, right, as they walk from a rally in Fredericksburg, Va., . Youngkin will face Democrat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the November election Election 2021 Down Ballot Races, Fredericksburg, United States - 30 Oct 2021
Steve Helber/AP/Shutterstock

"I am a little bit frustrated that it's become — the media pays so much attention to it," Youngkin said. "It's my 17-year-old son and I would really like everybody to leave my family alone."

Youngkin's campaign, which featured his family including his four children, also released a statement on the incident, saying his teenage son "misunderstood Virginia election law."

"It's unfortunate," the campaign said, "that while Glenn attempts to unite the Commonwealth around his positive message of better schools, safer streets, a lower cost of living, and more jobs, his political opponents — mad that they suffered historic losses this year — are pitching opposition research on a 17-year old kid who honestly misunderstood Virginia election law and simply asked polling officials if he was eligible to vote; when informed he was not, he went to school."

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