Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced on Tuesday a new effort in his state designed to encourage Republicans and swing voters to vote absentee by mail or early in-person.

The program — called Secure Your Vote Virginia — makes Youngkin the latest in a growing list of Republicans to push early voting, after the party endured a disappointing 2022 midterm cycle. It also follows a multi-year attack on early and mail-in voting by former President Donald Trump and many of his allies.

Through his political action committee Spirit of Virginia, Youngkin is launching the program with several state GOP groups, including the Republican Party of Virginia and the Republican State Leadership Committee.

In a statement Tuesday, the groups said the data-driven effort would target Republican and swing voters and would actually urge them to cast their ballots via absentee mail or during early, in-person voting.

The groups said the effort was intended to boost turnout of those voters ahead of the November elections this year in the state — during which control of both chambers of the state Legislature will be at stake — and would help Republican candidates in future elections as well.

“We can’t go into Election Day down thousands of votes,” Youngkin said in a statement announcing the program. “We fundamentally believe Secure Your Vote Virginia is how, together, we can win in 2023 and beyond.”

Youngkin, who rose to prominence after flipping Virginia red in his 2021 win, hasn’t entirely ruled out a 2024 presidential bid, having repeatedly said he’s primarily focused on Republicans flipping the state Senate and holding the state House. Successfully utilizing a program boosting early voting to do so would only likely help his reputation among national Republicans in the future.

The effort in Virginia comes just weeks after the Republican National Committee announced its own new program to “maximize” pre-Election Day voting among Republicans.

That program, called “Bank Your Vote,” will encourage Republican voters on how to lock in their votes as early as possible “through in-person early voting, absentee voting, and ballot harvesting where legal,” a party press release last month said. The program will be carried out with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee.

The latest programs represent a significant pivot by party officials and office-holders seeking to get more Republicans to cast early votes, following years of attacks by Trump on early voting.

In several battleground states in recent election cycles, Democrats aggressively pushed early voting systems available to their voters, putting Republicans in those states at a significant disadvantage.

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meetthepressblog/virginia-gov-glenn-youngkin-launches-program-boost-gop-early-voting-rcna93569

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