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Gingrich's Chances in Virginia: Slim

Looking at 'alternative methods' to get on ballot
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2011 6:30 AM CST
Newt Gingrich's Changes of Getting on Virginia Ballot: Slim
Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during a campaign stop, Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, in Columbia, S.C.   (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

(Newser) – Newt Gingrich hasn't given up on Virginia just yet. After learning Saturday morning that he would not be on the state's primary ballot then vowing to run an "aggressive" write-in campaign, only to find out that write-ins aren't permitted on primary ballots there, his campaign rep explains that the candidate is "exploring alternative methods to compete in Virginia—stay tuned." The Washington Post looks at what those alternatives might be. The State Board of Elections is apparently set to meet in two days, and told Gingrich that they are not available any earlier than that, should he want to appeal the decision.

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That leaves an opening for a legal challenge, notes the Post, but that's a tough hill to climb, says one election law expert. "It might be too late. Legally, the standards you had to meet here were not a surprise. And, practically, you’d need to seek emergency relief—and you have ballots to be printed and, when it comes to overseas ballots, under federal law, you need to have 45 days to get the ballots done. It would be difficult." But that expert isn't alone in his opinion that Virginia's system is a burdensome one, due to the number of signatures required (10,000), the number that must be obtained in each of the state's 11 congressional districts (400), and the fact that those collecting signatures must live in the state. And those tough ballot access rules could actually violate the Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses, he says. (Read more Newt Gingrich stories.)

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