Write-ins prohibited in Virginia primaries
December 24th, 2011
03:08 PM ET
11 years ago

Write-ins prohibited in Virginia primaries

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich’s plan to wage a write-in campaign for Virginia’s GOP presidential primary may be dead on arrival. Virginia state law specifically prohibits voters from writing in candidates not on the ballot in primary elections.

On Saturday, Gingrich’s campaign said it would attempt to persuade voters to write in the former House speaker’s name after the Republican Party of Virginia rejected the candidate’s petitions to appear on the primary ballot.

“We will work with the Republican Party of Virginia to pursue an aggressive write-in campaign to make sure that all the voters of Virginia are able to vote for the candidate of their choice," Gingrich's campaign director, Michael Krull, said in a written statement.

However, a section of Virginia state law dealing with elections specifically bars voters from writing in candidates in primary elections.

“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,” the law says.

When asked for comment, Gingrich's press secretary, R.C. Hammond, said the campaign "is currently in the process of evaluating what the options are."

Carl Tobias, a professor of law at the University of Richmond, said Saturday that Gingrich's options could include a legal challenge.

"He could try and challenge it in court," Tobias said of the write-in law, which was put in place in the 1950s and updated in the 1970s.

Tobias was skeptical, however, that a judge would be willing to entertain the challenge.

"Elections are so sacrosanct," he said.

Ultimately, Tobias said, Gingrich's failure to gather the required number of signatures came down to a ground game, and the ability to reach registered voters in Virginia's rural congressional districts.

"It speaks to organization, and people who are successful have ground organizations, or a longer-running organization, like (former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt) Romney or (Rep. Ron) Paul," Tobias said.

Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Virginia
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. sqeptiq

    It's amazing how many republicans are for clearly written black and white rules...except when they get caught not following them. Then they expect everyone will make exceptions for them. Is this what they mean by American exceptionalism?

    December 25, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  2. TeaPartyIsForLittleGirls

    Somehow Newt will blame this on Obama.

    December 25, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  3. TeaPartyIsForLittleGirls

    I have an idea – Newt can hire the same people who committed vote fraud in Florida and helped Bush win.

    December 25, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  4. Keith in Alaska

    Hey Keith in Austin... VA not allowing write in candidates for PARTY PRIMARIES (since 1950) has nothing to do with the GOP's attempts to disenfranchise voters in GENERAL ELECTIONS.

    December 25, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  5. Showmeyerpapers

    Id like to write in sheriff JOE! Lets go back 50 years. Say zero americans were killed by illegal hispanic invaders 1960~1970. If they killed 1 american per day per state since then which is highly likely thats 720 000 americans murdered. Not to mention the rapes robberies and assaults.California alone has 500 people shot PER WEEK! We had a rash of hit and run homicides here in denver recently i saw a policeman on the news say denver alone has 400 hit and runs PER WEEK! and those are just the ones with leads they can follow up on. If americans had any idea of the mayhem carried out in our cities we'd be out in the streets!

    December 25, 2011 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  6. Showmeyerpapers

    Not only have illegal invaders slit the throats of the working man they are responsible for 75% of the crime here in denver radioreference dot com monitor police and ems frequencies for yourself they must have killed 720 000Americans in the last 50 years look at lapd online all most wanted 95% spanic. I knew newt was the s samich. I dont care if an illegal sailed with washington , REMOVE THEM! The states want the laws ENFORCED PERIOD! Theyll bankrupt EVERY STATE! LOOK AT CALIFORNIA FOR GOD SAKE! Mehico is a cultural catastrophe and our govt has helped them spread their societal ills across our great nation. We would have the highest standard of living on earth if it wasnt for the constant stranglehold on our economy due to the invasion and occupation of our soverign land. Look noone wants to break up families just be sure to get them all on the same bus with the anchor offspring seated up front. What about all the american families torn apart by the federal invasion policy in effect. The

    December 25, 2011 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  7. Quit Whining

    Gingrich need to quit being a screw up he had his 1st campaign staff quit lock stock and barrel now He doesn't even know when he suppose to get the 10,000 signatures so he can get on the ballot even in his state of Virginia what I thought he was from Georgia what a loser

    December 25, 2011 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  8. Showmeyerpapers

    What about all the areas of our country where the standard of living is govt aid, where the american society has been utterly destroyed and unrecognizable. We once had the greatest nation on earth, now in so many places all we have is "the streets" depressed mehican varios or barrios as they are so proud to say. My once quiet street is now a mexexpressway . The clovis were here long before any mehicans or indians ever existed and they were WHITE. I say deport them all every single one of them, if theyve married americans send them along. Its time to go home and fix their rathole country and stop sucking us dry and preying on innocent americans!

    December 25, 2011 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  9. Showmeyerpapers

    Still got my vote Mr Cain. Herman my man, my main man,the "hermanator" got the nwo scared to death . The man will allow the states to enforce the dadgum law against mehicos invasion of our lives! That would ruin everything for the nwo. Illegals must have murdered at least 720 000 americans in the last 50 years. Cant you hear their blood scream for justice from their graves? Our american brothers and sisters victims of federal ethnic cleansing! Sometimes at night i can hear a car horn stuck on as if in an accident,then another and another and so on when one goes silent the tune is carried on by others till they fill the night with the constant blare,the horrific ane sickening symphony of americans getting wiped out by illegal "hispanic" drivers, theyre wiping out entire families daily

    December 25, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    If there were not so many wanting to be on the ballot the more realistic candidates would have less trouble getting the required votes to be on the ballot!?
    having said that too many rules and laws nd worse still in what is a national election topic not subject to one simple set of federal laws

    December 25, 2011 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  11. Nancy

    I guess it will be a merry christmas after all.

    December 25, 2011 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  12. anonymus

    IThis shows how great Gingrich campaign enterprise is running which will replicate his GOP presdential run and how he will govern this great land....but we must not be quick to forget how he run public offices before!

    December 25, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  13. John

    Newt Gingrich Is good at Breaking rules. He all so a Crook and a Cheat and He LIE a lot. Va. better off that He Is off the Ballot.

    December 25, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  14. Donkey Party

    Keith –

    Two entirely separate issues, but as usual, why let reality and facts get in the way of any type of idiocy that pours out of your pie-hole? Merry Christmas, moron.

    December 25, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  15. kenny

    "The Eye of Newt" is on course to screw up the Republican Party. All of this is being done to increase his speaking fees and to sell more books. When a clown isn't well enough organized to get on the Primary Ballot in his home state you know he will screw up this nation if given the chance as President.

    December 25, 2011 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  16. ja

    newt should join cain, due to scandal

    December 25, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
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