There is a lot of discussion about the VA primary ballot fiasco. In a lot of ways, this development is a Rorschach test of what is wrong with out country today. Lots of stupid rules that are used by those in power in play gotcha games with the governed. Well, I am a big fan of forcing those in power to swallow that which they force the rest of us digest.
It is noteworthy that few online sources actually quote the entirety of Section 24.2-506 which strikingly fails to provide petition requirement for a Presidential candidate:
§ 24.2-506. Petition of qualified voters required; number of signatures required; certain towns excepted.
The name of any candidate for any office, other than a party nominee, shall not be printed upon any official ballots provided for the election unless he shall file along with his declaration of candidacy a petition therefor, on a
form prescribed by the State Board, signed by the number of qualified voters specified below after January 1 of the year in which the election is held and listing the residence address of each such voter. Each signature on the petition shall have been witnessed by a person who is himself a qualified voter, or qualified to register to vote, for the office for which he is circulating the petition and whose affidavit to that effect appears on each page of the petition.
Each voter signing the petition may provide on the petition the last four digits of his social security number, if any; however, noncompliance with this requirement shall not be cause to invalidate the voter’s signature on the
The minimum number of signatures of qualified voters required for candidate petitions shall be as follows:
1. For a candidate for the United States Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General, 10,000 signatures, including the signatures of at least 400 qualified voters from each congressional district in the Commonwealth; [Note the absence of “President” from this list]
2. For a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, 1,000 signatures;
3. For a candidate for the Senate of Virginia, 250 signatures;
4. For a candidate for the House of Delegates or for a constitutional office, 125 signatures;
5. For a candidate for membership on the governing body or elected school board of any county or city, 125 signatures; or if from an election district not at large containing 1,000 or fewer registered voters, 50 signatures;
6. For a candidate for membership on the governing body or elected school board of any town which has more than 1,500 registered voters, 125 signatures; or if from a ward or other district not at large, 25 signatures;
7. For membership on the governing body or elected school board of any town which has 1,500 or fewer registered voters, no petition shall be required;
8. For a candidate for director of a soil and water conservation district created pursuant to Article 3 (§ 10.1-506 et seq.) of Chapter 5 of Title 10.1, 25 signatures; and
9. For any other candidate, 50 signatures.
Rhe requirements for a Presidential candidate are not specifically identified in the statute, it seems like there is room to argue that the requirements for a Presidential candidate are provided in subsection 9 which pertains to “other” offices. I hate sloppy statute drafting as much as a hate inside politics games playing. A campaign could use this argument to take on both.