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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

No Write-In Option For Virginia GOP Primary

December 24, 2011

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated the date on which signatures were due. They were due on Dec. 22.

Comments from Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign that the former House speaker "will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign" in Virginia do not mesh with Virginia state laws or the rules of the Republican Party of Virginia.

In order to qualify for the March 6 presidential primary in Virginia, candidates must have submitted 10,000 signatures to party headquarters by Dec. 22, including 400 from each of the commonwealth's 11 congressional districts.

 

Candidates that did not meet that threshold will not be eligible to appear on the ballot. Reuters reports that Virginia Code Section 24.2-644(C) also rules out the possibly for write-in candidacies in a primary, stating, "At all elections except primary elections it shall be lawful for any voter to vote for any person other than the listed candidates for the office by writing or hand printing the person's name on the official ballot."

What this means is that Virginia voters will only be able to choose between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, on March 6. No Democrat qualified to challenge President Obama, so the president automatically wins Virginia's delegates in the Democratic primary.

Virginia is one of only a handful of states to have nonpartisan voter registration, meaning anyone—including those who support President Obama—is welcome to vote in the state's Republican primary.

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