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Virginia Attorney General Appears to Endorse Four Pending Ballot Access Bills

Published on January 29, 2013, by in General.

This Washington Post article about Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, says that he wants the legislature to ease ballot access. One paragraph says that he particularly endorses four particular bills. The article only identifies the bills by their sponsor, but it appears these are the four bills he favors: (1) HB 2213, by Delegate Joseph D. Morrissey (D-Henrico), which lowers all statewide petitions for all office, whether primary or general, from 10,000 to 5,000 signatures and creates an appeals process when a candidate is told he or she doesn’t have enough valid signatures; (2) HB 1346, by Delegate Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg), which lowers only the presidential primary petitions from 10,000 to 5,000; (3) HB 1049, by Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke), which lets inactive voters sign petitions; (4) HB 2147, by Delegate Richard L. Anderson, which requires that primary petitions actually be checked for validity (currently general election petitions are always checked for validity but primary petitions may not actually be checked).

Two bill sponsors not mentioned are Senator Richard Black (R-Leesburg), whose SB 690 has already passed all Senate committees and lowers all presidential petitions from 10,000 to 5,000; and Delegate Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington), whose HB 1898 repeals the ban on out-of-state circulators. A Libertarian Party lawsuit on that point is currently pending in the 4th circuit, so maybe, since Cuccinelli is Attorney General, he felt it would injure the state’s defense of the ban if he were to endorse that idea.

Cuccinelli is running for Governor this year, and he likely believes that being a champion of easier ballot access is popular with voters. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee is likely to be the former National Chair of the Democratic Party, who took the lead in 2004 in trying to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in as many states as possible. Thanks to Rob Richie for the link.

4 Responses

  1. Jim Riley

    It might be useful to mention Terry McAuliffe by name, since both he and Tim Kaine were Chairman of the DNC, and Kaine is a former governor of Virginia.

  2. DSZ

    He’s probably also supporting easier ballot access because of Newt Gingrich/Rick Perry/Rick Santorum’s difficulty in obtaining primary ballot access in 2012.

  3. ETJB

    From what I have read, five thousand petition signatures for presidential primary or general election ballot access is more then enough.

    Personally, I would prefer it if say the top five political parties got their qualified candidates automatically on the ballot, and then other parties or candidates petitioned onto the ballot.

    In talking about what would happen if the Electoral College failed to pick a winner, the Constitution does mention not just two, but like five candidates. This would seem to suggest that, at least for federal elections, their was an assumption by the founding fathers that voters could probably handle as many as five candidates on the ballot for the same office.

  4. DSZ

    The 12th Amendment (ratified in 1804) provides that the House should choose the President from among the top three candidates in electoral votes should the EC fail to render one candidate with a majority. However, the vote is taken as one per state delegation – whoever obtains 26 wins.

    Failing a majority in electoral votes, the Senate chooses the Vice President from the top two candidates.

    Ballot access laws should set rather lenient requirements, but also require ALL parties to meet those petition or filing fee requirements equally (no getting off easy for established parties).

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