Rick Perry appeals decision to keep his name off Virginia primary ballot

January 16, 2012

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is appealing a federal judge’s denial of his request to add his name to Virginia’s Republican presidential primary ballot.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) filed a response, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to refuse Perry’s request.

Perry, former U.S. senator Rick Santorum (Pa.), former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. had failed to qualify for the ballot and sued the State Board of Elections and the state GOP.

U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. said Friday that the candidates should have challenged the qualification rules months ago when they realized that Virginia forbids out-of-state residents to collect signatures.

Gibney said that he thought a provision requiring the candidates to use only state residents was unconstitutional but that none of the candidates had managed to collect the required 10,000 signatures.

Perry’s appeal said the court should grant an injunction ordering his name on the ballot or at least issue an injunction ordering the state not to order, print or mail ballots before the court’s final consideration of the appeal.

Only former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) qualified for the Virginia ballot.

Virginia’s ballot-access rules are considered the toughest in the nation. Candidates must collect 10,000 signatures, with at least 400 from each of the congressional districts; some other states require candidates only to pay fees or sign forms.

Virginia will hold its primary on Super Tuesday, March 6. Absentee voting begins this weekend.

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