Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Perry files lawsuit to get on the VA ballot: is it a waste of time?

While I whiled away explaining how best to go about getting on the ballot in Virginia, Governor Perry had already hired a Virginia legal team and filed a lawsuit challenging his exclusion from the Virginia ballot.  Complaint, here.

For those readers perusing my earlier article you will identify that Perry chose option three which I believe is doomed to failure.  This is not because it is constitutionally incorrect, but rather that it is highly unlikely to result in preliminary relief and placement on the 2012 ballot.

Count 2 of the complaint alleges that the sheer number of signatures required, and the number form each Congressional district is so onerous as to be unconstitutional.  I have no mercy for Count 2, it will not be successful and is nothing more than an excuse for lack of organization.

An interesting point is that Perry claims to have submitted at least 6,000 valid signatures.  If he actually met the threshold, but there were problems with the form, why not just claim he submitted over 10,000 as required.  When establishing a case like this, you generally would need to obtain all the necessary signatures, only with out of state petition gatherers so you can maintain standing.

Final point and bonus for readers: There is a blatantly incorrect statement of law in the Complaint.  If you read my earlier article you might be able to find it.  I will send a prize (of minor value) to the first person to correctly identify the incorrect statement of law.

Update: Perry's Memorandum in support of a preliminary injunction has been filed.  Available here. I will leave it to readers to scrutinize the pleading.  I put the chances of success at 15:1 due to the open status of the case law on this issue in this Circuit, Perry's lack of sufficient signatures, and failure to file a lawsuit before the December 22 petition deadline.


  1. Re: the misstatement of the law--is it that Section 24.2-545 doesn't have the same requirement that Section 24.2-521 has for the persons witnessing the signatures?

  2. Impressive that a 1930's era sex symbol could provide such astute analysis. The incorrect statement is in paragraph 27 of the Complaint and it states that Va. Code § 24.2-545 requires that petition circulators be either eligible or registered qualified voters.

  3. It probably helps that (1) I'm a lawyer and (2) I'm already pretty familiar with signature collection requirements after the change of government fiasco in Arlington County last year.