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The two Virginia ballot access bills (SB 766 – reduces signatures from 10,000 to 5000 and HB 1463 – reduces percentage to be a recognized political party and to avoid signatures from 10% to 4%) both failed in their respective committees or subcommittees.

Here’s the vote for SB 766:

SB 766 Candidates; reduces number of signatures required on ballot petitions.

01/20/15  Senate: Passed by indefinitely in Privileges and Elections (8-Y 7-N)

YEAS–Vogel, Martin, Obenshain, Smith, Carrico, Reeves, Garrett, Cosgrove–8.

NAYS–Howell, Deeds, Edwards, McEachin, Alexander, Miller, Dance–7.


Passed by indefinitely is a polite way to say killed for the session.  It was a straight party line vote with all Republicans voting no and all Democrats voting yes.  (BTW, this was before the full committee and I did not know this having seen and spoken at the subcommittee vote where it was unfavorably reported.  I thought it was killed then.)

In the House, the political party bill was recommended unfavorably to the committee but I did not see a committee vote on it.  More on this probably next week.

I would thank Senator Edwards for his vision on this bill.  Here’s his email:  district21 [at]  Also it would be good to encourage freshman Delegate Sam Rasoul on his vision.  Here’s his email:  DelSRasoul [at]  And if you see YOUR senator on the list of fifteen, let ’em know how you feel!


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

2 Responses to “BALLOT ACCESS fails in the OLD DOMINION in SENATE!”

  1. Mr. Green Jeans says:

    Yet another example of a Corrupt Vote to keep the incumbents in office and make it harder for conservative grassroots candidates to mount primaries.

    Term limit them out of office in November
    If your candidate is running unopposed- don’t vote for the incumbent to send a message.
    Your vote still counts

  2. Robert Shannon

    If one recognizes just how difficult a change like the one proposed in this Bill then patience and persistence are the order of the day.

    Neither of the two established political parties are enthusiastic about opening up the game to outsiders, regardless of any public pronouncements to the contrary. They speak publicly in favor of such measures knowing they have the ability to quietly outside of the publics view to kill it off, as they did here without much attention.

    The public , out of ignorance perhaps, and the Media who can’t claim that luxury have ignored a much more efficient method to achieve the same goal, and that method would be Referendum Reform here in Virginia. Last year in researching the effort in King William County to have Paid Fire & Rescue placed on a ballot for local citizens to decide, I learned that Virginia is one of the most restrictive states in the nation on ballot access for it’s citizens. It helped learning this to understand then just why , of the 15 States that have passed Term Limits in the U.S. , all 15 did so by Referendum, not a single one by the legislative bodies. Not even 1–need I say more ?

    The benefit of this “tool” , and it is indeed a tool is that once reformed local citizens at the County level can achieve much good. Caps on Real Estate & Property tax increases are the most obvious at the local level. It would hinder the big spenders in local government, essentially tying their hands on raising taxes for their wish list spending each Spring. At the State level Term Limits, favored by 80% of Virginian’s in a recent survey would get done, and get done fast.

    Referendum Reform would remove from the hands of politicians some of these decisions that our wise Founders knew were best left in the hands of local citizens, at least to the extent possible. Many of our local elected officials, members of town council’s , Boards of Supervisors, certainly School Superintendents and School Board officials loathe Referendum Reform, and subsequently bend the ear of members of the G.A every chance they get to not let this Reform get legs underneath it for self serving purposes.

    The Media, including blogs like VaRight could perform a very valuable purpose by giving this important legislative issue some deserved attention. Until then we get these sideshows like this Bill, meant to appease critics of the status quo, but it is only a half measure. Referendum Reform would move forward in a very substantial way the shrinking of government, which after all –isn’t that the end goal ?

    Bob Shannon


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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