Texas Governor Rick Perry is hopping the legal system can get him on the ballot in the Virginia GOP primary.
On Wednesday, Perry’s campaign filed a lawsuit against Virginia’s Board of Elections members and Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins. If Perry wants to make the ballot and have Virginians to vote for him, some say he shouldn’t be filing lawsuits against the very people he hopes to have vote for him.
He also filed an emergency order in a Richmond U.S. District courtroom requesting his name be added to the ballot.
Mullins said that he complied with Virginia law and relevant statutes by certifying Mr. Romney and Mr. Paul for the ballot, and that neither he nor the party will say anything more until the judge issues a ruling, in a statement.
Mark Evans, an Alexandria resident and returning citizen is angered. “I hope Perry isn’t looking at me to vote for him,” the African-American conservative said, “because he’s trying to sue the party I believe in.”
In Virginia, a person convicted of most felonies may apply to the governor to have their voting rights restored after three years of completing their sentence, and anyone convicted of violent felonies, drug sales, and electoral offenses have to wait five years.
GOP supporter and Falls Church resident Diane Goode supports Perry’s efforts. “I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for, but it would help to have more people on the ballot.”
Perry’s lawsuit seeks an injunction against the state’s ballot rule that signatures must be collected by eligible or registered qualified voters in the state, and another injunction to order Mr. Perry be placed on the ballot.
The Old Dominion has certified only two GOP candidates that will appear on the March 6 primary ballot: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas U.S. House Representative Ron Paul.
Perry and former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich were both disqualified from appearing the March 6 primary ballot because neither had the necessary 10,000 valid signatures to qualify. Newt Gingrich stated, as reported by The Washington Times, that a paid worker turned in fraudulent signatures to try to get him on the ballot in Virginia.
Governor Perry submitted 11,911 signatures, as reported by the state Board of Elections. Through court documents, filed by Perry indicate he collected “over 6,000 petition signatures from qualified Virginia voters.”
If a Republican candidate turns in more than 15,000 statewide signatures and at least 600 signatures of registered voters from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts, they are deemed to have met the threshold and are certified. But if they submit fewer signatures, the party verifies individual signatures until the requisite 10,000 statewide signatures and 400 signatures from each congressional district are met.
The Board of Elections has recently said that all the candidates were officially informed of the 15,000 rule back in October 2011, “well in advance of the Dec. 22 submission deadline.”
The Board of Elections Secretary Donald Palmer noted that any challenge would have to move expeditiously, and that Virginia House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox (R), of Colonial Heights agrees that the city might need to be re-examined, but adds, “…while there was no harm in taking a long-term look at overhauling the rules, the General Assembly would be hard-pressed to do something under such a short time frame.”
Virginia Application for Rights Restoration, Short Form, Non-violent / Non-drug Felonies (50KB) (as of July 31, 2008)
Virginia Application for Rights Restoration, Long Form, Violent / Drug Distribution Felonies (129KB) (as of July 31, 2008)