Categorized | Opinion


I am excited and thrilled that Ron Paul got enough signatures to be on the Virginia ballot on March 6.  That is a personal tribute to the hard work of volunteers and the campaign to collect the 10,000 signatures (with 400 from each congressional district as part of that effort) needed to get on the ballot. But Perry and Gingrich will not be on the ballot in Virginia.

And some of those RP folks will be mad at me a bit but I seek something more important:  Electoral fairness and integrity.  I cannot in principle say this is acceptable.  Thousands who wanted to vote for other candidates cannot do so (except as a write-in); Virginia will be irrelevant in the election.

BUT there are two (maybe more) possible scenarios:

ONE:  The General Assembly can by special legislation authorize the Republican Party of Virginia to place more candidates on the Old Dominion’s ballot.  Serious candidate can be defined as a person who has an active national campaign committee, has raised more than $1 million, on the ballot in say ten other states.  Romney and Paul would be rewarded for all their efforts by being one and two in the ballot.  The primary is March 6, legislation can surely be drawn up by then and signed by Gov. McDonnell.

TWO:  The RPV or an candidate or a voter who signed a petition (I signed one but it was alas for Herman Cain) could sue the Commonwealth of Virginia in Federal Court and allege the process is unconstitutional per se and/or as applied to this election and the results show it.   There are two kinds of unconstitutionality:  A statute can be unconstitutional per se (in all cases) or as applied to a given factual situation.  I recommend the AG agree that this one time this result is indeed unconstitutional and ask the court to enter an order allowing the RPV to place all serious candidates on the VA ballot.  (Of course I believe that the 10,000 signature requirement is too much anyway – maybe 5000 or 2500 is acceptable for state wide office and/or President but that is best cured by legislation.)

I suppose if the Romney and Paul campaigns agree not to sue and nor does the AG, the RPV could simply declare (at least) Perry and Gingrich to be eligible for the VA ballot.  This would defy the statutes but if no one challenges it, it will stand.

But SOMETHING must be done; the Old Dominion is in danger of becoming a national joke.  If nothing is done, I will root for and help Ron Paul win here in our state (supporters of the other candidates should vote for Paul!) but the process will be less than legitimate.

We do not know who will win, but the loser of the Virginia primary is already in:  The voters of the Old Dominion.



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)


  1. Carole says:

    It is a joke and it makes a mockery out of the elections not only here in Virginia but throuhout the country. Who's to say that these "young folks" who are pushing for Paul are not Democrats trying to game the system… put Paul up and then Obama has it in the bag as any sensible person knows Ron Paul cannot win!

  2. Sandy Sanders says:

    No one knows that Obama is a shoo-in if Paul is nominated. I believe Paul's appeal transcends party or ideology. I do agree there will be ugly ads and we need to go against those ads.

    Time to vote conscience: Ron Paul 2012


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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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