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Perry Campaign to File Lawsuit Challenging Virginia Primary Ballot Rules

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By Doug Powers  •  December 27, 2011 09:35 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Rick Perry, along with Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum all failed to qualify to appear on the ballot for the Virgina primary on March 6th.

It looks like Perry will be the first to offer a legal challenge:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign announced Tuesday it will file a lawsuit in an attempt to get on the ballot for Virginia’s Republican presidential primary.

Perry failed to qualify for the ballot after the Republican Party of Virginia said his campaign had not filed the required 10,000 signatures.

“Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multi-candidate election,” Perry campaign communications director Ray Sullivan said in a statement published by National Journal.

In the statement announcing the legal challenge, Perry’s campaign said only 119,034 Virginians voted in the 2008 Republican primary, making the requirement of 10,000 signatures “unrealistic and onerous.”

Meanwhile, after learning he didn’t qualify for the VA primary ballot, Newt Gingrich pledged an aggressive write-in campaign, but that’s probably not going to happen:

When a reporter noted that state law prohibits write-in votes in primaries, Gingrich said: “There’s time for them to change it. If something’s wrong, they ought to fix it.”

That appears unlikely this year, even if lawmakers were so inclined.

Section 24.612 of the Virginia State Code says: “The electoral board shall make printed ballots available for absentee voting not later than 45 days prior to any election.”

That means absentee ballots must be mailed to voters – such as Virginians serving in the military — no later than Jan. 21.

The legislature does not convene until Jan. 11. To make the change, lawmakers would have to pass emergency legislation — a bill that goes into effect immediately upon the governor’s signature, rather than on the customary enactment date of July 1.

Emergency legislation requires a supermajority. Eighty of the 100 members of the House of Delegates and 32 of the 40 state senators would have to vote to change the law.
[…]
As for Gingrich’s proposed change, “I’d say it’s pretty tough at this point,” House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, said Monday in a phone interview.

So, lawsuits all around then? However, I assume the logistical complications alone would render any legal ruling even in a candidate’s favor irrelevant this time around.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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