Glenn Youngkin condemns report his son twice tried to vote in Virginia

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Glenn Youngkin, the Republican victor in this week’s election for governor in Virginia, reacted angrily to a report which said his 17-year-old son twice tried to vote in the contest.

Related: ‘Get shit done’: how Republican dog-whistles beat Democratic inaction

Responding to the Washington Post on Friday, a spokesman for Youngkin said: “It’s unfortunate 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.”

The Post did not name Youngkin’s young kin, because he is a minor. It quoted a local elections official as saying the boy tried to vote once on Tuesday, then came back 20 minutes later and tried again, saying a friend the same age had been allowed to do so.

The official, Jennifer Chanty, said she told him: “I don’t know what occurred with your friend but you are not registered to vote today. You’re welcome to register, but you will not be voting today.”

The paper identified Chanty as a Democrat. She said the Youngkins were not registered to vote in her precinct and added: “It was just weird. He was very insistent that he wanted to vote in this election and I said, ‘Well, you’re not old enough.’”

She also said: “Teenagers do stupid things. I’ll chalk it up to that. I’ll believe that first before anything else.”

Youngkin’s spokesman said the governor-elect’s son “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.”

Elections officials told the Post no laws were broken.

Youngkin won a startling victory in Virginia, beating the Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor and close Clinton ally who led for most of the race.

The Republican successfully distanced himself from Donald Trump, not least physically as the former president stayed away from the state.

Youngkin acknowledged Joe Biden’s victory over Trump last year, but Democrats accused him of flirting with Trump’s lies about voter fraud.

Most strenuously, critics accused Youngkin of using dog-whistle tactics to appeal to white voters, particularly in focusing on education and critical race theory.

Critical race theory is an academic discipline that examines the ways in which racism operates in US laws and society. It is not taught in Virginia schools. Regardless, Youngkin promised to ban it.