Did Virginia Apply The Law Properly To GOP Candidates?

December 26, 2011

The recent disqualification of GOP Presidential Candidates may have been in error.  Gingrich, Perry, Bachman and others had their petitions denied based upon the failure of each of the signatures to be accompanied by the addresses of the petitioners.

Virginia law requires that each candidate for president submit a petition of 10,000 signatures, at least 400 from each congressional district, of Virginia residents who support their petition for president.  But, there is a difference in the requirement depending upon whether or not the candidate is affiliated with a National Party. 

The law requires a petitioner’s address when the group does not constitute a political party:

§ 24.2-543. How other groups may submit names of electors; oaths of electors.

A group of qualified voters, not constituting a political party as defined in § 24.2-101, may have the

names of electors selected by them, including one elector residing in each congressional district and two

from the Commonwealth at large, printed upon the official ballot to be used in the election of electors

for President and Vice President by filing a petition pursuant to this section. The petition shall be filed

with the State Board by noon of the seventy-fourth day before the presidential election. The petition

shall be signed by at least 10,000 qualified voters and include signatures of at least 400 qualified voters

from each congressional district. The petition shall be signed by petitioners on and after January 1 of the

year of the presidential election only and contain the residence address of each petitioner. The signature

of each petitioner shall be witnessed by a person who is a qualified voter, or qualified to register to vote,

and whose affidavit to that effect appears on each page of the petition. The petition shall state the names

of the electors selected by the petitioners, the party name under which they desire the named electors to

be listed on the ballot, and the names of the candidates for President and Vice President for whom the

electors are required to vote in the Electoral College.

A similar requirement for the inclusion of a petitioner’s address does not appear when the candidate is seeking the nomination of a national party. 

B. Any person seeking the nomination of the national political party for the office of President of the

United States, or any group organized in this Commonwealth on behalf of, and with the consent of such

person, may file with the State Board petitions signed by at least 10,000 qualified voters, including at

least 400 qualified voters from each congressional district in the Commonwealth, who attest that they

intend to participate in the primary of the same political party as the candidate for whom the petitions

are filed. Such petitions shall be filed with the State Board by the primary filing deadline. The petitions

shall be on a form prescribed by the State Board and shall be sealed in one or more containers to which

is attached a written statement giving the name of the presidential candidate and the number of

signatures on the petitions contained in the containers.

I could be wrong, but I firmly believe that the decision to disqualify candidates based on the lack of an address will be overturned on appeal.

If not anything else, I gave you something to think about 🙂



December 24, 2011