Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had this statement in his recent newsletter:
“”As I noted above, it now appears that the only two candidates that will be on Virginia’s ballot on March 6th: Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Ron Paul. While I’m glad for them, it screams out for making our ballot more accessible.
I have had the opportunity to talk to a number of the candidates and their campaigns in the last month or so, and the Bachmann folks tell me that Virginia is the third hardest ballot access state in the country. I personally don’t think that’s a good thing.
To get on the ballot, a presidential candidate has to collect 10,000 legitimate signatures across Virginia – county by county and city by city – with at least 400 legitimate signatures in each congressional district. Virginia’s State Board of Elections recommends that campaigns come in with over 15,000 signatures, including over 700 from each congressional district given what a high proportion of signatures typically fail some requirement or another.
I would throw out for consideration that we should lower our requirements to 100 legitimate signatures per congressional district.
Let’s face it, absent a serious write-in challenge from some other candidate, Virginia won’t be nearly as ‘fought over’ as it should be in the midst of such a wide open nomination contest. Our own laws have reduced our relevance. Sad.
I hope our new GOP majorities will fix this problem so that neither party confronts it again. I for one would like Virginia to be heard from in our nomination process, and I’m sure you would too.””
I think we can all agree on that. It would be nice if Virginia mattered, but it won’t. Virginia will be an afterthought on Super Tuesday.
I am puzzled that Ken mentions a write-in challenge since write-ins are not permitted under our laws governing primary voting in Virginia. Since write-ins are not permitted, we in Virginia are stuck with only two choices while republican voters in other states have a choice of seven candidates. Republicans in Virginia will not even be permitted to vote for the current front runner! All recent national polls here.
I also would have liked to see Ken address the double standard of verifying signatures for some petitioners but not for others.
It’s time for the leaders of the Republican Party of Virginia and the General assembly to step in and correct this error. We need to have more choices on our primary ballot. It would also squelch all the rumors of conspiracies within the party. The process did not work as it should have. The General assembly can correct that. They need to do that as soon as possible.
UPDATE: Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that a change in the laws unlikely. I hope they reconsider and open this primary to more candidates.
More here on the legalities of the situation for Newt Gingrich.