The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District has dismissed an appeal by a right-wing advocacy group ordered to stop distributing false, threatening and misleading mailers prior to November’s election, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Friday.
In October, Miyares issued a cease-and-desist order to Look Ahead America Inc., after the group was found distributing voter misinformation in Prince William, Loudoun and Fauquier counties.
The flyers, distributed by the D.C.-based nonprofit operating under the name “Virginia Voter Assistance,” erroneously told voters the government could “seize their assets,” bank accounts and vehicles if they chose not to participate in upcoming elections. The organization also falsely told residents who don’t vote that as a result, they could lose Social Security income, Medicare benefits, unemployment benefits, child custody rights and concealed carry permits.
The group sued Miyares after the cease-and-desist, challenging Virginia’s voter intimidation statutes and seeking an injunction to continue the mailers. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sided with the attorney general’s office and denied the group’s request. On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit dismissed Look Ahead America, Inc’s appeal from that denial, Miyares said in a news release.
The mailers drew the ire of many Prince William residents who brought it to the attention of Prince William County Director of Elections Eric Olsen.
Olsen denounced the flyers and sought to assure residents the government won’t revoke their assets should they choose to not vote.
“In Virginia, it should be easy to vote and hard to cheat. I’m proud of my Election Integrity Unit for taking action against voter misinformation and intimidation,” Miyares said. “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.”