Virginia Republican Presidential Primary Election Rules

UPDATE: ยง 24.2-644.C 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

As we are just now finding out, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry failed to qualify for inclusion on the VA Presidential Primary ballot. Only Mitt Romney and and Ron Paul have qualified. Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Santorum didn’t even try. (How sad is that? That’s 10% of the delegates lost right there!)

This post is going to be a slightly technical post regarding what I have found so far regarding the Virginia Republican Presidential Primary Election. Why am I doing this? Because there is a rumor floating around that VA is not a write-in candidate state for the primaries. I will address this topic and a few other tidbits I’ve found.

First, this is rumor (as I’ve not read an article, but only a comment on this topic), That there was only 1 candidate in past years that did not make the ballot in VA, and it was because they were 15 minutes late. All other candidates in the recent past have been able to meet the VA ballot requirements. That we’ve had 2 candidates fail and 3 not even try is, frankly, sad. It proves the point that the Republican field is utterly weak. (Mitt Romney excepted.)

Okay, about that rumor. If it is true that write-in candidates are not allowed, that would be huge because the winner would have to be selected between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. No one else would be accepted. Is there any truth to this? Let’s find out.

So, I started my search. I first found the information about the above rumor as posted in comment sections related to articles about Newt’s failure to make the ballot. I could not find that specific language in any article specifically or anywhere else, but in comment sections.

After broadening my search, I came upon another document regarding write-in candidates. According to VA’s laws, the definition of a candidate includes write-in candidates. This is specified in a document detailing that write-in candidates must also submit financial disclosure forms if they wish to remain a candidate and viable for office.

I then found the Deadlines, Duties and Ballot Access Requirements for the Presidential Primary Election pdf document, and this is what I am basing the rest of my information on.

I could find no language in that document regarding write-in candidates. It just did not state whether or not it is possible. The closest thing which might indicate that a write-in is not allowed is this line:
Candidates wishing to participate in the presidential primary must follow the procedures outlined below.
Since the definition of candidate includes write-in candidates, does that mean they must be ballot qualified to “participate” and, as such, a write-in nullifies their opportunity, because by logical definition, a write-in failed to be ballot qualified? Ambiguous at best.

I did find some other tidbits of information. While the rule is 10,000 total signatures with at least 400 signatories from each Congressional district, they suggest between 15,000 – 20,000 signatures, with 700 signatories from each district.

VA is an open voting state, but a primary voter must only participate in one primary. This applies to signatures as well. A registered voter from an opposing party may sign a candidate’s ballot petition as long as they state they plan to participate in the Republican primary and not in any other party’s primary. (Not difficult in an incumbent year.)

There is NO filing fee to get on the ballot. (Thus the need for signatories.)

Finally, the State Chairs have until close of business on Tuesday, the 27th, to certify the candidates who will appear on the ballot. The next day a drawing will be held to determine the order of placement of candidates’ name.

I’m calling the rumor a hoax. However, I welcome the chance to be proven wrong on the write-in rule.

Newt is going to try a write-in campaign

Write-in’s are not eligible according to this tweeter McCormickJohn

Expect this issue to get muddy.