RPV issues statement on “Petition Certification”PoliticsVirginia

Considering that earlier today the RPV stated that neither Chairman Pat Mullins “…nor the party will be issuing any further statements until the judge issues a ruling,” in the ongoing soap opera that Virginia’s presidential primary ballot has become, this just-issued, and lengthy, statement is rather surprising:

From the earliest days of the campaigns, RPV has actively told candidates that Virginia’s signature requirements could be a difficult legal requirement to meet for those who were new to Virginia politics.

In October 2011, RPV formally adopted the certification procedures that were applied on December 23: any candidate who submitted over 15,000 facially-valid signatures would be presumed to be in compliance with Virginia’s 10,000 signature law.

The presumption of compliance was set at 15,000 for a variety of reasons.

First, in the party’s long experience with petitions, RPV has never encountered a situation where a candidate who submitted 15,000 signatures has failed to make the ballot (absent cases of obvious fraud).

Second, Virginia’s State Board of Elections advises candidates to collect 15,000 or more signatures to be safe, based on their long experience with average failure rates.

Third, RPV adopted the 15,000-signature presumption because the Party wants all of its candidates to qualify for the ballot. The 15,000-signature presumption served as an incentive for candidates to comply with the law with a safe margin of signatures.

Fourth, under Virginia law, RPV’s Chairman is assigned a profound legal obligation to ensure that each candidate has met Virginia’s legal requirements. The Party was afforded under Virginia law only 5 days over Christmas to review ballot petitions and signatures. The 15,000-signature presumption was intended to assist the RPV Chairman in meeting his legal obligations in an efficient process that would run quickly while providing the Party and the Commonwealth assurances of legal compliance based upon mathmatical experience.

RPV officials encouraged candidates repeatedly, through both counsel and field staff, to submit 15,000 or more signatures in an abundance of caution, so that they would meet the legal requirements.

Candidates were officially informed of the 15,000 rule in October 2011, well in advance of the Dec. 22 submission deadline. The rule was no surprise to any candidate – and indeed, no candidate or campaign offered any complaints until after the Dec. 23 validation process had concluded.

Despite this early notice and RPV’s exhortations to candidates, only one candidate availed himself of the 15,000 signature threshold – Governor Mitt Romney. RPV counted Governor Romney’s signatures, reviewed them for facial validity, and determined he submitted well over 15,000. Never in the party’s history has a candidate who submitted more than 15,000 signatures had 33 percent invalidated. The party is confident that Governor Romney met the statutory threshold.

Rep. Ron Paul submitted just under 15,000, and was submitted to signature-by-signature scrutiny on the same basis as the other candidates who submitted fewer than 15,000 signatures. After more than 7 hours of work, RPV determined that Rep. Paul had cleared the statutory 10,000/400 signature standard with ease.

Two other candidates did not come close to the 10,000 valid signature threshold. RPV regrets that Speaker Gingrich and Governor Perry did not meet the legal requirements established by the General Assembly. Indeed, our hope was to have a full Republican field on the ballot for Republican voters to consider on March 6.

The party will discuss the specific nature of their shortfalls if necessary. But the failure of these two candidates to meet the state requirements does not call into question the accuracy of the Party’s certification of the two candidates who are duly qualified to appear on the ballot.

This will not put to rest any speculation about the Romney petitions or any suspicions that Romney received favorable treatment. If anything, it feeds the beast.

  • Sara

    Feed the beast, indeed.

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    Norman. I assume this “non-statement” came from Pat Mullins and/or the RPV.

    While he gives a non-pen a rest, he might also ask himself how he and colleauge at the DPV intend to explain themselves when asked why, if their respective party nominating elecyions are FUNDED BY TAXPAYERS, just how it is that only SOME people can vote for SOME candidates? Hmmm? Love to hear the defense of this one. And uh, no, I think you can up with better than “the Democrats did it in 1999 and we just didn’t bother to veto it or change it since then. Rules are rules, you know. Until 2012 that is.”

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  • http://www.tooconservative.com Loudoun Insider

    They’ve now invoked the dreaded and useless pledge as well. Could someone FOIA the Romney petitions and do an independent verification?

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    And this just in from RPV:

    “Richmond, Va: At the request of the Virginia Republican Party, the State Board of Elections voted 3-0 today to close the March 6 presidential primary and require a loyalty oath for participation.

    That means anyone who wants to vote must sign a form at the polling place pledging to support the eventual Republican nominee for president. Anyone who refuses to sign the pledge will be barred from voting.”

    Gee, the taxpayer funded election now requires a loyalty oath to….? So, if I voted blank on the primary and I vote blank again in November, does mean I get to go to jail once or twice?

    Just saw Mr. Chairmans of both parties asking for a legislative change from the members of their respective PARTY’S legislature who put this awful system in place to begin with.

    But we are assured by the REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER in the HOUSE that it is DOA and “will not happen.” In other words, “when pigs fly.” Boy, these boys have taken hubris to a whole new level. Just how many Virginians voted in Mr. Majority’s election? And he’s going to just single handedly kill this flying pig like a clay pigeon. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    The pole holding up the big tent in the Virginia GOP is about as big as gerkin pickle.

  • http://www.tooconservative.com Loudoun Insider

    Vivian Paige thinks this pledge matter should have been dealt with at least 90 days ago and is not enforceable:

    http://blog.vivianpaige.com/2011/12/28/illegal-loyalty-oath/

  • Beth

    The fault is with the Candidates alone. They all were given the rules personally by Executive Director Rexrode. They did not get it done… to borrow a great line….( :

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    Yes Miss Landers. But just when did the “facial compliance” rule go into effect? And why when I asked this question of whether the Romney and Paul petitions were checked line by line, I was told by one editor on this the answer was YES. Really, ahem. Uh, no, not really, that would be against the rules. Are you even capable of seeing through the falisty of every single statement coming out of VRP, starting with one of the editors on this list that it was “all the Democrats’ fault.”???? Come on Miss Landers, surely you can lady up to this.

  • Matt

    Just because it has never happened before doesn’t mean that it can’t happen this time. I support the fact that the others didn’t reach the 10,000/400 needed but they should have treated every candidate’s petitions the same way. This just opens the party up to more controversy.

  • Samuel Gilleran

    Far be it from me to speak for the contributors, but Kilby’s spam is getting insufferable.

  • Darrell

    So now we are supposed to sign a loyalty oath to the RPV?

    It shall be unlawful for any person to hinder, intimidate, or interfere with any qualified voter so as to prevent the voter from casting a secret ballot.

    § 24.2-530. Who may vote in primary.

    All persons qualified to vote, pursuant to §§ 24.2-400 through 24.2-403, may vote at the primary.

    Notice the law doesn’t say local primary, or state primary. IT SAYS PRIMARY!!! But when it comes to a presidential primary, now things are somehow different. Now we must swear on a stack of bibles to support the party.

    Combined with this other crap going on with petitions, well…

    Decades ago I took a loyalty oath. To support and defend the Constitution, which I have done my whole life. I will not demean that oath to accept this corrupt party’s demands. I will not vote. So you win.

    And you know where you can stick your useless piece of paper.

  • http://. Let’s Be Free

    And the damn fools at the RPV were too ignorant that the go to method of paying for professional signature help was undercut by Arlington County’s indiscrimanate lodging of felony charges against most anyone and everyone in connection with the failed COG petition campaign. The incompetents are at RPV. The campaigns were justified, given their national focus, in not understanding the impact of local issues. Not the same for the doofuses at RPV. THe RPV was snookered by the Democratic commonwealth attorneys in Arlington County, who set a much, much higher bar and cost for obtaining signatures within the Commonwealth.

  • Samuel Gilleran

    § 24.2-545. Presidential primary.

    A. The duly constituted authorities of the state political party shall have the right to determine the method by which the state party will select its delegates to the national convention to choose the party’s nominees for President and Vice President of the United States including a presidential primary or another method determined by the party. The state chairman shall notify the State Board of the party’s determination at least 90 days before the primary date. If the party has determined that it will hold a presidential primary, each registered voter of the Commonwealth shall be given an opportunity to participate in the presidential primary of the political party, as defined in § 24.2-101, subject to requirements determined by the political party for participation in its presidential primary. The requirements may include, but shall not be limited to, the signing of a pledge by the voter of his intention to support the party’s candidate when offering to vote in the primary. The requirements applicable to a party’s primary shall be determined at least 90 days prior to the primary date and certified to, and approved by, the State Board.

  • Darrell

    The requirements applicable to a party’s primary shall be determined at least 90 days prior to the primary date and certified to, and approved by, the State Board.

    Which is what Vivian Page has said. Too late?

    I still won’t sign.

  • Rick Hendrix

    I’m not happy about only having two candidates on the ballot either. I’m still uncommitted. But I wish someone would tell me how one campaign collecting enough petition signatures to fulfill a clearly stated policy, set well before petitions were due and communicated to every campaign, constitutes “favoritism” to that campaign.

  • http://www.bearingdrift.com Brian Schoeneman

    It appears to me that Vivian has a point. It’s a little late to be adding the oath at this point.

  • NotCatherineCrabill

    The Republican State Central Committee approved the loyalty pledge, with one dissenting vote, on December 3, more than 90 days prior to the March 6 primary.

  • Old Redneck

    So — tell me — when will Attorney General Kookynelly open an investigation into Newt’s admitted voter fraud?

    Let’s start by asking Newt this question about the voter fraud conducted by his campaign in Virginia: What did you know and when did you know it?

    Multiple sources are reporting that Gingrich says:

    – quote
    We hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 – we needed 10,000 – 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud.
    – end quote

    Got that?? “We hired somebody who . . . committed fraud.”

    So, Newt, when did you realize that fraud was involved? Before or after you handed the fraudsters their cash? After all, the back of every petition form you submitted includes this statement:

    – quote
    …I understand that falsely signing this affidavit is a felony punishable by a maximum fine up to $2,500 and/or imprisonment up to ten years…
    – end quote

    Surely you or your staff verified that the person(s) you hired signed each and every form submitted?

    You didn’t by any chance submit unsigned forms???

    Would paying for unsigned forms still be a “fraud” or is that just a simple con job?

    Shaun Kenney, a blogger and member of the Republican Party of Virginia, reported on his bearingdift.com page that:

    – quote
    …2,000 signatures do not have addresses on them… meaning that they cannot be verified…
    – end quote

    Got that? 2,000 SIGNATURES WERE PHONY!!!!

    The deadline for submitting petition forms was 5:00pm on Thursday, Dec 22.

    On Tuesday, Dec 20, Alexander Burns reported on Politico that the Gingrich campaign had sent his minions an email looking for someone who wanted to pick up some “quick cash” by submitting 2,000 or more petition signatures:

    – quote from the Gingrich campaign

    Because the deadline is coming up so quickly, we’ve got a pretty good budget to work with. We can offer $1 per signature, with a $50 bonus for every 100 signatures (in other words, if you get 100 signatures, you get $150, if you get 300 signatures, you get $450, if you get 1,000 signatures, you get $1,500).

    In addition, if you can put together a crew to get signatures, they can get paid the same amount, and you can get a $1,000 bonus for every 2,000 signatures your crew collects.
    – end quote

    In other words, the Gingrich campaign told it’s minions that they’re short of signatures and are willing, at the very last minute, to pay anyone that’s willing to step forward, $4,000 to generate 2,000 signatures. Not that someone would copy 2,000 names out of the Richmond, VA, phone book or something like that . . .

    On Sunday, Dec 25, the NY Times reported:

    – quote
    Newt Gingrich declared confidently the other day that he would get his name on the ballot for the Republican presidential primary in Virginia. In fact, he said he already had the requisite 10,000 signatures and an additional 2,000 to 3,000 for safety’s sake and would probably collect even more.

    But that turned out not to be the case.
    – end quote

    In fact, at the deadline Gingrich submitted only 11,050 signatures. So Newt, what happened to the 2,000 to 3,000 extras you claimed you had?

    So who’s the fraudster here? The person that generates the bogus signatures? Or the ethically-challenged person that boasts that they can gather 2,000 to 3,000 legitimate signatures at the last minute even though there are no plans for any sort of large rallies, or major public appearances, or even book-signings?

    Finally, let’s point out the obvious: In 31 states, Republicans are introducing legislation they say is aimed at preventing “voter fraud” by implementing various stringent forms of voter registration and identification — in spite of the fact that attorneys general in every state say that voter fraud is extremely rare. Meanwhile, in Virginia, we have a Republican presidential candidate committing voter fraud openly, and, bragging about it

  • Cnservative gal

    Could someone explain the pledge requirement and how it works? What’s its purpose? Thanks.

  • http://. Let’s Be Free

    The pledge is meaningless anyhow — I can support the Republican candidate, I just won’t be voting for him — brazen stupidity at its best.

  • Conservative gal
  • Conservative gal

    I just don’t see if votes are secret how signing a pledge is significant, and how anyone violating the pledge signed will be found out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.beemer David Beemer

    This is NUTS!

    As someone with intimate knowledge how the entire process works, I’m shocked that Newt and Rick are attempting to thwart the Republican Party of Virginia. If they believe they met the guidelines then by all means sue. If not, consider it a learning moment and stop wasting the party’s time and money.

  • Tim J

    Newt and Rick should have hired ACORN to get their signatures as I don’t believe anybody working for ACORN was caught in Virginia submitting bogus signatures for the 2008 election.

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  • Jay Hughes

    First of all, loyalty pledges are made completely and utterly unenforceable by our concept of secret ballot. You can sign whatever pledge somebody wants you to sign but once you walk into that voting booth there is absolutely nothing to prevent you from voting however you choose. And thank GOD for the secret ballot. If I had my way, any party that wants a loyalty pledge as a pre-condition for primary participation should be made to reimburse the Commonwealth for the expense of printing them and the labor cost for election officials to hand them to primary voters to sign. Loyalty pledges belong in a convention environment where the nomination mechanism is completely funded by private, party funds and/or convention participants. It is completely inappropriate to require them of voters participating in a primary.

  • http://craigkilby.com Craig Kilby

    “Samuel Gilleran December 28, 2011 19:10 pm

    Far be it from me to speak for the contributors, but Kilby’s spam is getting insufferable.”

    My views may well be insufferable to Sam I AM.

    Many views here are Insufferable as succotash. But I’ve never read nay a one that was selling rolex watches.

    Rules are rules.

    Mr. Kilby

  • Conservative gal

    Lawsuit filed to put Newt Gingrich on the Primary Ballot in Virginia

    Contact: Jon Moseley
    (703) 656-1230

    Richmond, Virignia (December 29, 2011) — A lawsuit seeking to put Newt Gingrich on the ballot for Virginia’s March 6, 2012, primary election was filed Thursday in the Circuit Court of Richmond County by a Virignia attorney and tea party activist, Jonathon Moseley.

    The lawsuit can be downloaded at: http://www.DefenseForVirginia.com/GingrichPetition.pdf

    The lawsuit alleges that Newt Gingrich did in fact satisfy the requirement of Va. code 24.2-545 to file 10,000 petition signatures. Over 11,000 signatures were actually filed by Newt Gingrich’s campaign. The lawsuit contends that many of Gingrich’s petition signatures were improperly excluded.

    Under Virginia law, Newt Gingrich’s 11,000+ petition signatures were handed over to the Republican Party of Virgina (RPV) by the State Board of Elections, where they are initially filed.

    The Republican Party of Virginia has not explained what exactly where the defects that it found with Newt Gingrich’s 11,000 petition signatures. In a statement on December 28, 2011, the RPV clearly stated that it had not disclosed the supposed deficiencies.

    However, public comments have suggested that missing, incomplete, or illegible addresses accompanying signatures on the ballot petitions are the main reasons that so many of Newt Gingrich’s signatures were disqualified.

    Today’s lawsuit, Moseley v. State Board of Elections, argues that addresses are not actually required under Va. Code 24.2-545 and State Board of Elections regulation 1 VAC 20-50-20. That is, the failure to provide an address is not a “material” deficiency sufficient to invalidate the signature.

    The lawsuit also argues that there is often not enough room on the standardized form created by the State Board of Elections to write a complete address legibly, however the RPV was required to research any voter who could reasonably be identified to verify their voter registration status.

    Petitions are supposed to be grouped and filed separately for each County or city, or at least each congressional district, so most voters can reasonably be identified if their county or city is already known. The lawsuit alleges that the RPV was not permitted to reflexively exclude signatures without complete addresses wthout first researching the voter list to see if they could determine the voter registration status of the signer (such as if an incomplete address can be matched or there is only one person in the city with the name in question).

    The lawsuit also argues that the RPV must presume that petition signatures are valid unless proven otherwise, because a false signature on the petition is a Class 5 felony under Virginia law under Va. Code § 24.2-1016. Because signatures are made under penalty of law, subject to felony prosecution, the signer’s attestation that they are a qualified voter must be presumed to be valid unless evidence proves otherwise.

    Today’s lawsuit, Moseley v. State Board of Elections, was rushed into court to preserve the ballot petitions, to obtain a copy of the ballot petitions for inspection and review, and to ask the RPV to identify why exactly petition signatures were not counted as valid, and obtain counts by category.

    Virginia attorney Jonathon Moseley intends to quickly amend the lawsuit to add additional Republican voters as co-Plaintiffs, encourage the Gingrich campaign to join the lawsuit or file a better one along similar lines, and to refine the legal claims and arguments in the lawsuit to fit this rather unusual situation.

    Moseley will be seeking additional Virginia voters to join the lawsuit, legal expertise to help refine the lawsuit and work on the case, and financial contributions.

    Jon Moseley is predicting that the Republican ticket emerging from Tampa, Florida, will be Mitt Romney for President and Newt Gingrich for Vice President.

    However, Moseley’s personal preference would be Michelle Bachmann, who apparently did not submit any petition signatures for the Virginia primary, and Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney. While Moseley would like to be able to vote for Michelle Bachmann in the Virginia primary, he believes his second choice Newt Gingrich should be on the ballot because he submitted more than the 10,000 ballot peittion signatures required.

    The lawsuit is not, for the moment, officially connected with the Newt Gingrich campaign, although Moseley is urging the Gingrich campaign to either join the lawsuit or file a superior one along similar lines.

    ###

  • Jamie Jacoby

    I think it would be interesting if someone were to challenge the pledge on the timing grounds pointed out above. Maybe a nice, big, splashy election-day fiasco complete with lots of media coverage? An arrest would open up subpoena powers. A grand time could be had by all.

    Imagine being arrested for trying to vote.