Gov. Glenn Youngkin Names New Commissioner for Va. Department of Elections

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin gestures after signing a House bill in the conference room at the Capitol Wednesday March 2, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By Meghin Moore
March 22, 2022

Despite having a partisan background, Susan Beals has been praised by former GOP and Democratic colleagues for her work ethic

Over the weekend, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced that Susan Beals would be appointed the new commissioner for the Virginia Department of Elections, replacing Chris Piper, who remained on the job until March 11.

Beals is a former legislative assistant to Sen. Amanda Chase, as well as a Republican former member of Chesterfield County’s Electoral Board, as the board chair. She also worked on the 2017 gubernatorial campaign for Ed Gillespie.

Despite ties to the far-right Chase, who promoted former President Trump’s claims that there was widespread election fraud, Beals said in a statement via Youngkin’s spokeswoman that she was “committed to promoting and supporting secure, accurate, open, and fair elections.”

Chase also said that she was “disappointed” at Beals’s appointment, because she didn’t believe that she shared the same convictions about the alleged electoral fraud. Beals has not worked for Chase since 2016.

Piper tweeted Tuesday morning that he does not know Ms. Beals well, but that his colleagues across Virginia have assured him that she is a “class act.”

“I encourage all Virginans to support her so she can continue to build on the strength of elections conducted in Virginia because that’s what Virginians deserve,” he said.

Despite some Democrats airing their grievances about Beals’s background, many former Democratic colleagues have supported the pick, including Caroline Emmons, who served alongside Beals on the Chesterfield Electoral Board. She said that when they worked together, Beals had helped implement new election laws, and that she was committed to making sure all voters had access to the ballot box, and to make sure that their vote would be lawfully counted.

“I’m glad we have a commissioner who has been in the field…I know she’s somebody who has been out there literally on the frontline of the voting process,” Emmons told the Associated Press.

Another Democrat who served with Beals said that she was “fair and honest,” adding “I know she worked within her own party to make sure false notions were not advanced,” Lynette Clements said.

Beals’s appointment will be subject to legislative confirmation, like Youngkin’s other selections to fill out his cabinet.

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