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NOT Getting on the GOP Primary Ballot in Virginia

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Ballot Access News and Republican blogger Moe Lane have a fascinating take on the failure of GOP loser candidates to get on Virginia’s primary ballot.  The bottom line is that, although Va. Code sec. 24.2-545.B requires candidates seeking access to Virginia’s presidential primary ballot to submit 10,000 signatures of “qualified voters,” including 400 per Congressional District, in the past, the GOP never counted them.  ‘This year an independent candidate for the General Assembly filed a lawsuit complaining that a GA District GOP chair didn’t count the GOP candidate’s signatures, and as a result the GOP changed their policy to count the signatures for the presidential primary.   That is apparently what caused the problem – after apparently ignoring state law for years,  the GOP management decided to observe it.  In fairness, what goes on with the ballots at state party HQ is a bit of a black box.  Per state law, the State Board of Elections sends the sealed boxes to the state parties – the SBE does not check the signatures itself.  But the Code requires the state party to certify the names of the Presidential candidates who have met the statutory requirements.  Did the GOP suddenly start enforcing the law to protect Romney, as some have suggested? 

By the way, the DPVA also has long been on record supporting lowering the requirement to 5,000 signatures.  But there is no reason to change state law to take away from the parties the responsibility checking the signatures – it’s a party primary, andparties should undertake the responsibility of making sure candidates are qualified.