From Bill Redpath, Chairman, Libertarian Party of Virginia
January 26, 2016
Libertarians in Virginia have not yet started circulating our 2016 presidential petition due to a problem that is not of our doing.
The petition requires 5,000 valid signatures of Virginia registered voters, and at least 200 valid signatures from each of the 11 Congressional Districts (CDs) in Virginia. The petitioning period started on January 2, and the deadline is Noon on Friday, August 26. (Please note that all other petitions in 2016 for Virginia public offices are due at 7PM on Tuesday, June 14.)
We did not start on January 2, because the presidential petition requires our 13 Electors for the Electoral College (one from each CD, plus two At-Large) to be listed on the petition. There is ongoing litigation over the boundaries of the 11 CDs. A panel of three Federal judges recently issued a ruling that changed certain boundaries that affect (my understanding) the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th CDs. But, this is not final. It is my understanding that the Commonwealth of Virginia is appealing this ruling to the US Supreme Court, which might hear the appeal in March 2016 and rule thereafter. So, the bottom line is that we do not now know how the CD boundaries will be ultimately be drawn for the 2016 General Election. I have spoken with an employee of the State Board of Elections, who told me that it is possible that if we do not have an Elector from each of the 11 CDs, our entire Pres/VP petition might be thrown out, and that the CD boundaries could ultimately be redrawn in ev en different patterns than seen to date in this litigation.
Under the El Amin decision (US District Court, 1989), substitution of political candidates from names that are on a petition is the law in Virginia. But, when the law was written to comply with the El Amin decision, Presidential Elector was left out. So, under the Code of Virginia, we do not have the statutory right to substitute names for Presidential Elector, in case one or more of our CD Electors is redistricted into another CD.
I have emailed my Delegate (Minchew) and my Senator (Black) about this problem, asking for Presidential Elector substitution to be quickly passed. I also emailed all the House Privileges & Election Committee members. Delegate Minchew said he was legally unable to submit any more legislation for this term (there is a limit on bills submitted after a certain date — I think it was December 9, 2015) but would see if this could be attached to other P&E Committee legislation, assuming it met the germaneness test. Delegate Sam Rasoul emailed me and asked if anything had happened on this, to which I responded “No.” I have not heard from any other member.
Given the situation, there is certainly the possibility of litigation. If we litigate, I think we should consider asking for a reduction in required signatures due to the loss of time for the Pres/VP petition.
I have not yet filled out our list of Electors (I am working on it, but it is not my highest priority, given that we can’t start the petition yet), but I will note that if anyone wants to notarize presidential petitions, they should NOT be listed as an Elector on the petition.
Assuming we start the petition before Memorial Day, we will have to use stand-in President and Vice President candidates.
Until this situation is resolved, please do not circulate any petitions for the Libertarian presidential slate.