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.