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In Ballot Fiasco, Virginia Loses Chance to be Relevant In Ballot Fiasco, Virginia Loses Chance to be Relevant

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In Ballot Fiasco, Virginia Loses Chance to be Relevant

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Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, left, and Rick Perry,  prepare before the CBS News/National Journal foreign policy debate at the Benjamin Johnson Arena, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in Spartanburg, S.C.  Republican presidential hopefuls sharply criticized President Barack Obama's efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions Saturday night as too weak but disagreed in campaign debate whether the United States would be justified in a pre-emptive military strike. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)(Richard Shiro/AP)

The Republican nomination fight might be all but over by March 6, or Super Tuesday, when Virginia holds its primary. But if there is still a contest, the state's chance to be relevant has vanished with the fiasco over its primary ballot.

Barring any successful appeals, the only two names on it will be Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Their success confirms that they have the best organized campaigns, and not just in Iowa and New Hampshire. At the same time, the failures of five other major candidates to get on the ballot, including McLean, Va., resident Newt Gingrich - the frontrunner in at least one poll of his state -- suggest the Virginia rules are out of line.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, tweeted that Virginia has "most restrictive ballot in USA." That even extends to no provision for write-ins.

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