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GOP Email Shows Need for Better Ballot Access in Virginia!

My last post about getting your favorite GOP candidate on the VA ballot came from an email I got (along with millions of others) from the RPV.  Here’s an interesting set of paragraphs from that email:

In the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary, only two candidates out of a field of eight candidates made the ballot in Virginia. The reason was due to an onerous signature requirement that required candidates to submit over 10,000 signatures statewide to get candidates on the ballot. Many voters in Virginia felt disenfranchised by only having two options on the ballot.

Since that time, the Virginia General Assembly lowered the requirement to 5,000 petition signatures to get on the Republican presidential primary ballot in 2016. Make no mistake, this will still require a lot of volunteer hours across the state and with 17 candidates running, the process needs to begin now!

Three points:

First and Second, the restrictive 10,000 signature requirement is onerous and disenfranchising.  Only two candidates (one my favorite!) were on the 2012 Virginia ballot.  And even when the signature requirement is lowered to 5000, it is still such as to “require a lot of volunteer hours across the state” (and some candidates will pay people to collect signatures – that includes Sarvis in 2013 – he reportedly paid $11,000 to get his 10,000 signatures [and he had to get more to ensure he had 10k in valid signers] to get the 7500 or so signers to ensure the 5000!)

Third, the 5000 signature requirement was lowered by our General Assembly.  They can do it for third parties, too.

The House of Delegates has 61 uncontested seats and the Senate has 15 (and this does not count several other where there is only independent or third party opposition) uncontested seats.  This is corrosive to democracy and representative government.

My proposal (please steal it – Dems and GOP, too!) is to have the third party get the signatures – say 15 or 20k and if they get it in time, the party can run whole slates of hopefuls at statewide and HOD and senate levels for two to four years.  The process has to be repeated unless the party gets 4-5% statewide in a statewide election.

Better ballot access is necessary to ensure the promise of the Fifteenth, Nineteenth and Twenty-second Amendments and we need it right away.  I hope to have it introduced in the next VGA session.  Stay tuned.

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)

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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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