I blogged here on the decision of the Virginia State Board of Elections to certify Ron Paul and Mitt Romney for the ballot in the Va. Republican Primary, but to exclude Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on the grounds that their submissions, both of which were in excess of 11,000 raw signatures, did not meet the requirement of 10,000 valid signatures. Neither Ron Paul's submissions nor Mitt Romney's, both over 15,000, were subject to any review. Funny that. We learn more on this today from Moe Lane.
Prior to November, 2012, any Republican turning in over 10,000 raw signatures was considered to have met the Virginia state requirements for inclusion on the ballot. At some point in November, the State Board of Elections made a change to their internal rules. The minimum number of required signatures was kept at 10,000 but the Board decided that the cut-off for automatic qualification would be changed to 15,000. Ostensibly, this was done in response to a law suit against the Election Board that is unrelated to the Republican primary. Moe Lane adds:
As for the implications… well, I think that John Fund’s general comment is correct: this is going to go to the courts. John was not discussing this specific wrinkle, but his larger point that Virginia’s ballot access policies have systemic problems gets a big boost when it turns out that the state party can effectively increase by fifty percent thepractical threshold for ballot access – in a day, and in the middle of an existing campaign. The VA GOP still retains ultimate control over who gets on the ballot, of course. But then, they always have – and under the current system they could in fact brazen it out and certify Gingrich and Perry anyway. Of course, that would probably mean another lawsuit anyway; but then, there really isn’t a path out of here that doesn’t involve lawsuits.