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UPDATED: Republican Party of Virginia Takes the 5th on Primary Ballot Fiasco

UPDATE: December 28, 2011 @ 5:20 PM

I wrote this post about 45 minutes ago criticizing RPV’s decision to remain silent on this issue without offering an explanation of what transpired. I know Chairman Mullins and quiet is not something he does well or often. And I rarely take issue with his leadership positions, this being the first time I can recall. I am pleased to write that he has decided to do what he does best – let everyone know exactly where he stands and what is going on with Virginia’s Primary Ballot situation. This is much better than circling the wagons and I applaud Pat Mullins on releasing this statement with the details. Hopefully, this will show that the RPV is doing everything by the book and there is nothing “smelly” in the Commonwealth. Personally, I think this release is proof positive that RPV made every effort to comply with their duty and the law.

Updated Statement from the Republican Party of Virginia follows:

Statement of RPV on Petition Certification 

 

The Republican Party of Virginia issued the following statement:

From the earliest days of the campaigns, RPV has actively told candidates that Virginia’s signature requirements could be a difficult legal requirement to meet for those who were new to Virginia politics.

 

In October 2011, RPV formally adopted the certification procedures that were applied on December 23:  any candidate who submitted over 15,000 facially-valid signatures would be presumed to be in compliance with Virginia’s 10,000 signature law.

 

The presumption of compliance was set at 15,000 for a variety of reasons.

 

First, in the party’s long experience with petitions, RPV has never encountered a situation where a candidate who submitted 15,000 signatures has failed to make the ballot (absent cases of obvious fraud).

 

Second, Virginia’s State Board of Elections advises candidates to collect 15,000 or more signatures to be safe, based on their long experience with average failure rates.

 

Third, RPV adopted the 15,000-signature presumption because the Party wants all of its candidates to qualify for the ballot.  The 15,000-signature presumption served as an incentive for candidates to comply with the law with a safe margin of signatures.

 

Fourth, under Virginia law, RPV’s Chairman is assigned a profound legal obligation to ensure that each candidate has met Virginia’s legal requirements.  The Party was afforded under Virginia law only 5 days over Christmas to review ballot petitions and signatures.  The 15,000-signature presumption was intended to assist the RPV Chairman in meeting his legal obligations in an efficient process that would run quickly while providing the Party and the Commonwealth assurances of legal compliance based upon mathmatical experience.  

 

RPV officials encouraged candidates repeatedly, through both counsel and field staff, to submit 15,000 or more signatures in an abundance of caution, so that they would meet the legal requirements. 

 

Candidates were officially informed of the 15,000 rule in October 2011, well in advance of the Dec. 22 submission deadline. The rule was no surprise to any candidate – and indeed, no candidate or campaign offered any complaints until after the Dec. 23 validation process had concluded.

 

Despite this early notice and RPV’s exhortations to candidates, only one candidate availed himself of the 15,000 signature threshold – Governor Mitt Romney.   RPV counted Governor Romney’s signatures, reviewed them for facial validity, and determined he submitted well over 15,000.   Never in the party’s history has a candidate who submitted more than 15,000 signatures had 33 percent invalidated. The party is confident that Governor Romney met the statutory threshold.

 

Rep. Ron Paul submitted just under 15,000, and was submitted to signature-by-signature scrutiny on the same basis as the other candidates who submitted fewer than 15,000 signatures.   After more than 7 hours of work, RPV determined that Rep. Paul had cleared the statutory 10,000/400 signature standard with ease.

 

Two other candidates did not come close to the 10,000 valid signature threshold. RPV regrets that Speaker Gingrich and Governor Perry did not meet the legal requirements established by the General Assembly.  Indeed, our hope was to have a full Republican field on the ballot for Republican voters to consider on March 6.

 

The party will discuss the specific nature of their shortfalls if necessary. But the failure of these two candidates to meet the state requirements does not call into question the accuracy of the Party’s certification of the two candidates who are duly qualified to appear on the ballot.

 

 

Original Post follows:

Well, I think most of us were hoping for a little bit more… transparency. Or at the very least more substance to the statement released today by the Republican Party of Virginia.

The country is smelling a rat in Virginia because the only two potential Republicans to make the Primary Ballot were Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. And it is no secret that a lot of “Establishment” Virginia Republicans are very close and cozy with the Mitt Romney camp – some are even officially in the Romney Camp.

And then there is the question of changing the rules in the middle of the game. The “not checked” bar was apparently raised from 10,000 signatures to 15,000. Or slightly less than what Romney and Paul turned in.

Why not 12,000? Or why not just leave it as it has been for the past 3 presidential cycles? Did the Osborne suit play a role in the decision? Or was it, as some speculate, some establishment plot to control Virginia’s election process?

RPV missed a good opportunity to put these questions to rest and may have invited more suspicion.

They have assuredly ensured more scrutiny as the Rick Perry Campaign has filed a challenge in Federal Court.

This seems to be a great example of how not to handle an adverse situation:

Statement of RPV Chairman Pat Mullins
on Presidential Primary Ballot Certification

RPV Chairman Pat Mullins issued the following statement:

“Yesterday I learned that the State Board of Elections and the Republican Party of Virginia were names in a lawsuit filed by Governor Rick Perry to gain access to Virginia’s Primary Ballot.

As Chairman, my responsibility is to certify candidates who meet the ballot access requirements set forth in Virginia statutes.  I complied with Virginia law by certifying the candidates who met the statutory requirements by 5 p.m. yesterday. At this point it is necessary to see what the court says on this matter and so neither I nor the party will be issuing any further statements until the judge issues a ruling.”

That’s all we get, folks.

And let’s keep in mind that the statute says nothing about a “no count” threshold. That was a RPV decision.

And that’s what we need to have explained.

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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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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