The Campaign Spot

Virginia’s GOP Primary Ballot: Romney, Paul . . . and That’s It.

Looks like my non-write-in options here in the Virginia GOP presidential primary will be limited:

House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry failed to submit enough valid signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot, state GOP officials said Friday evening and early Saturday. The Republican Party of Virginia announced early Saturday that Gingrich and Perry failed to submit 10,000 signatures of registered voters required to get their names on the ballot for the March 6 primary.

Thus, the Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot will feature . . . Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Those signature requirements, by the way, were 10,000 signatures, including 500 in each of the state’s eleven congressional districts. What apparently tripped up Gingrich and Perry was the requirement that petition signers list their addresses.

A Gingrich campaign official prior to the move by the RPV said the problem is how the rules are set up, arguing that the party is, for apparently the first time, cross-checking the addresses that signature-givers gave against the electronic voter database file for accuracies. A name without a proper address match was tossed, the official said.

“What one needs to ask is ‘what percentage of valid, registered voters self-identify a current address that matches voter rolls that the voter might not have updated since 2008?’ Are you 100% certain that your address you and all of your neighbors matches current voter rolls? It strikes me that this is not an accurate means to identify registered voters signing for ANY candidate, not just Gingrich,” the official wrote.

For this reason, the Republican party of Virginia urges candidates to aim for 15,000 signatures, to allow a cushion for those who have not updated the information on the voter rolls.

This morning, Gingrich’s campaign released this response:

Richmond, VA – Newt 2012 released the following statement from Campaign Director Michael Krull regarding ballot qualification in Virginia.

“Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot. Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates. We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

That darn “failed system”!

UPDATE: And . . . no write-in options, either! Doug Mataconis and Ed Morrissey observe the relevant Virginia law:

At all elections except primary elections it shall be lawful for any voter to vote for any person other than the listed candidates for the office by writing or hand printing the person’s name on the official ballot.

The 2008 Virginia GOP presidential primary counted no write-in votes.

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