Virginia’s State Sen. Chase Criticizes Youngkin’s Appointment of Susan Beals for Commissioner of the Department of Elections

Susan Beal and Amanda Chase


Governor Glenn Youngkin selected Chesterfield Electoral Board member Susan Beals to serve as his commissioner of the Department of Elections. The Friday announcement led to initial alarm from some Democrats, since Beals worked as an aide for Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), who has been outspoken in highlighting alleged irregularities in the 2020 presidential election in Virginia. However, Chase said she’s disappointed by the appointment, and Senate Privileges and Elections Chair Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) sounds open-minded about Beals.

“While I congratulate Susan on her appointment, it’s a huge disappointment to those of us who have spent countless hours investigating the irregularities that occurred in the 2020 presidential election,” Chase said in a statement sent to The Virginia Star. “At a recent Chesterfield GOP meeting, Susan denied any election irregularities and did not support a resolution calling for a full forensic audit that was being presented by members of the committee. This is a travesty and I do not support her position.”

The Privileges and Elections Committee is an important stop for appointment confirmations in the Senate, and Ebbin, who has helped block some Youngkin appointments, said Beals’ confirmation will probably be considered next January.

“While it certainly raises an eyebrow if someone is affiliated with Senator Chase, Ms. Beals seems to have a breadth of experience and we’ll look forward to evaluating her experience at the Board of Elections along with her views and records, and talk with people familiar with her before we make any judgments about her,” Ebbin told The Star.

“I think the fact that she’s been involved in Virginia elections as a member of the Chesterfield Electoral Board could be helpful to a commissioner in that role, and I look forward to finding about how her work went in Chesterfield,” he said.

Beals said in a statement, “I am committed to promoting and supporting secure, accurate, open and fair elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I will strive to meet the goals of the department’s strategic plan which seek to increase voter confidence in the election process and strengthen the security of the Commonwealth’s elections.”

Beals’ Background

Chase said that Beals worked for her during one term in 2015 and 2016. According to Beals’ biography provided by the Youngkin administration, in 2019 and 2021, she served as chair of the Chesterfield Electoral Board, and as secretary from 2021 through 2022. After that, she served as Director of the Office of Constituent Services for Governor Glenn Youngkin.

In her role, she recommended polling places within voting precincts, appointed and assigned officers of election, inspected voting precincts on Election Day, certified election results and conducted post-election canvasses immediately following each election to ensure that all precinct results were accurate and complete. Beals oversaw the implementation of 45 days of early voting and the expansion to six satellite early voting locations in Chesterfield County, which recorded the second highest turnout for early voting of any city or county in the Commonwealth during the November 2021 election, coming in behind Fairfax County,” the biography states.

Rick Michael is the immediate past chairman of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee. Michael said that he worked with Beals in 2021. He reappointed Beals to represent Republicans on the county electoral board, which currently has two Democrats and one Republican.

“I think she worked really well with the folks who were in the office. I heard good things across the board. When I was communicating with her, it was always very straight, very straight conversation, just looking for ways to maintain some confidence and make sure we have oversight,” Michael said. “I appointed election officers last year, and I appointed Susan back to take on the role once again till Youngkin scooped her up and took her into his administration, which I think was the right idea. I think that’s smart, just because she’s so competent, and she’s able to get along with so many people, and she’s even-handed, she’s very steady.”

He said that Beals and Chase have a lot of differences, including in approach. Beals has focused more on the future and maintaining election integrity in a proper and even-handed way.

“Susan’s been able to get along well with everybody, I mean, really does well with that. And I’ve never heard her speak in the way that Senator Chase does with regards to the 2020 election supposedly being stolen. And I’m not saying one way or the other, I know that’s a hot topic,” he said.

Michael clarified that although Chase and the Chesterfield GOP have clashed in the past, that wasn’t a problem in 2021 and Chase took a hand in supporting the party locally.

Speaking about Beals, Michael said, “It’s hard to find somebody who’s really competent and really understands and can give a clear answer a lot of times, at least in my experience. And when you’re looking at somebody like that, you think, ‘Well, we don’t want to lose that person.’ And so I think he’s smart to pluck her and give her an opportunity in his administration.”

Youngkin and Elections Policy

Early in Youngkin’s campaign for the GOP nomination for governor in 2021, Youngkin announced an Election Integrity Task Force, which Chase, also seeking the nomination, criticized as well-intended but lacked the understanding of someone who knew how to work with the General Assembly. Once Youngkin was nominated, Chase became a strong ally on the campaign trail, but Youngkin became less vocal about elections integrity, and told WTKR that President Joe Biden was legitimately elected.

Youngkin surprised skeptical conservatives in the beginning of his term with a number of measures that matched his more conservative campaign promises, including eleven key day-one executive actions. Notably absent from that day-one list were any elections policy measures.

Chase is trying to pressure Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares on the issue.

In addition to introducing doomed legislation calling for a full forensic audit in Virginia, Chase said she made recommendations to Youngkin’s office about key positions in the state Board of Elections. However, those people weren’t selected, and Chase said Youngkin’s office didn’t reach out for a reference for Beals.

“This appointment is a devastating blow to the grassroots movement in Virginia to seek a full forensic audit her in Virginia, and I hope the governor will reconsider this appointment,” Chase said.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Susan Beal” by Chesterfield County Virginia Government and photo “Amanda Freeman Chase” by Amanda Freeman Chase.


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