The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit in U.S. District Court, challenging Virginia’s statewide ballot access rules for minor-party presidential candidates. The ACLU Voting Rights Project and the ACLU of Virginia filed suit on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, challenging the Virginia law that imposes a state residency requirement on people who circulate ballot petitions. The party needs to collect 10,000 valid signatures — at least 400 from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts — by Aug. 24 to qualify for the general election ballot in November. The Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee is Gary Johnson, who, as a Republican, was governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. The ACLU is seeking an injunction, saying the Libertarians will suffer “irreparable harm” if they cannot use people from out of state to circulate ballot petitions in Virginia.
The argument is similar to one that Texas Gov. Rick Perry asserted in federal court ahead of Virginia’s March 6 GOP presidential primary, in which only two candidates qualified for the ballot. Perry, who did not qualify, said requiring people who circulate petitions to be eligible to vote in the state presents an unconstitutional burden for candidates. In the new case, the ACLU represents the Libertarian Party of Virginia and Darryl Bonner, a Pennsylvania resident. He often circulates petitions for Libertarian candidates in other states, according to the ACLU.