By Edvard Pettersson and Michael Riley
Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Texas Governor Rick Perry is seeking a court order to stop Virginia election officials from printing or distributing primary ballots after his presidential campaign was told his name wouldn’t appear on them.
Perry, a Republican, filed an emergency motion yesterday seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent distribution of the ballots without his name. In a lawsuit filed Dec. 27 in federal court in Richmond, Perry claimed that the state’s requirement that petition circulators be eligible or registered qualified voters in Virginia violates his constitutional rights.
“Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multicandidate election,” Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for Perry, said in a statement yesterday. “We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot.”
The Republican Party of Virginia said Dec. 24 that Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich failed to get the required signatures from 10,000 registered voters, including 400 from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts. Two other Republicans, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas, qualified for the primary scheduled for so-called Super Tuesday on March 6.
U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. set a hearing on the motion for today at 10 a.m. in Richmond.
Justin Riemer, a spokesman for the Virginia State Board of Elections, a defendant in the lawsuit, declined to comment yesterday on Perry’s complaint.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, said on his blog this week that he advocates loosening the state’s ballot requirements so that candidates would need only 100 signatures from each of the state’s congressional districts.