In our latest installment of we watch the news and the court dockets so you don’t have to…
On June 9, there was a Republican primary election to select their candidate to run for Congress in Virginia’s Eighth District. That day was also the deadline for independent candidates to file their petitions to run against incumbent Democrat Jim Moran.
In July, the Virginia State Board of Elections certified three qualified candidates whose names will be printed on the ballot: Republican J. Patrick Murray; Democrat James P. “Jim” Moran Jr and Independent Green Party Candidate J. Ron Fisher. Libertarian Party of Virginia Candidate Matthew R. Mosley was not certified as eligible to run because his petition did not contain the required 1,000 signatures of qualified voters in the Eighth District. The Libertarian Party of Virginia sued the State Board of Elections and is awaiting a ruling from federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Virginia Code 24.2-506 says, “Each signature on the petition shall have been witnessed by a person who is himself a qualified voter, or qualified to register to vote, for the office for which he is circulating the petition and whose affidavit to that effect appears on each page of the petition.”
According to the State Board of Elections, a number of signatures on Mosley’s petition were collected and witnessed by people who do not reside in the Eighth District, and were disqualified. The LPVA lawsuit says that the requirement that a circulator of a petition live in the district for which the candidate is running for office is overly restrictive.
“The lawsuit has been filed, and we are awaiting answers from the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Chuck Moulton, LPVA’s Communications Director. “There will be a court ruling on the injunction before the ballots are printed.”
Even if LPVA prevails, and the signatures are allowed, Mosley has an additional problem: he lives in Virginia’s Tenth Congressional District, not the Eight. Virginia Code 24.2-501 says, “It shall be a requirement of candidacy for any office of the Commonwealth, or of its governmental units, that a person must file a written statement under oath, on a form prescribe4d by the State Board, that he is qualified to vote for and hold the office for which he is a candidate.”
The LPVA is attempting to address this issue with another lawsuit. “There is another case just like this involving a Seventh Congressional District U.S. House candidate (an Independent) who lives in the First Congressional District,” Moulton said. “That case was filed in federal court in Richmond, while Matt’s case was filed in federal court in Alexandria.”
Since absentee voting begins on Sept. 17, the ballots must be printed and available to voters prior to that. Electoral Board sources said that a court ruling must be handed down by Sept. 3.