A federal judge last week heard arguments in a case of the Powhatan County Republican Committee and four Republican candidates for the Powhatan County Board of Supervisors trying to challenge state election law. U. S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck presided over a hearing on Thursday, Sept. 3 that saw the local Republicans suing the Virginia State Board of Elections to challenge a state code they say would unconstitutionally prevent the political party affiliation of local candidates from being included on the Nov. 3 general election ballot next to the candidate’s name. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division.
Pat McSweeney, chairman of the Powhatan Republican Committee, acted as the lawyer for the plaintiffs, who in this case are Robert G. “Bob” Marcellus, who is running for the District 2 supervisor seat; David T. Williams, District 1; Barry Hodge, District 3; and Timothy L. “Tim” Gresham, who is running for the District 5 seat.
The Sept. 3 hearing was to argue the case of an injunction filed by the Powhatan Republicans to mandate that the names of the individual plaintiffs be accompanied on the official ballot on Nov. 3 by their political party affiliation. This goes against the part of Va. Code § 24.2-613 that requires party affiliations to be listed “for elections for federal, statewide, and General Assembly offices only.”