Texas Gov. Rick Perry filed a federal court challenge to Virginia’s ballot-access rules on Tuesday, in response to his failure to qualify for the state’s Republican presidential primary vote.
The legal action is in response to Perry not collecting the minimum 10,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot of the March 6 GOP primary.
“Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multi-candidate election,” Perry campaign Communications Director Ray Sullivan said in a news release. “We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support.”
Perry’s campaign filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, according to the campaign. It challenges the “constitutional validity of the Virginia statute which regulates access to the ballot by primary candidates.”
All but two members of the GOP presidential field — Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — were unable to fulfill Virginia’s requirements and get on the ballot. In response, a number of candidates criticized the state’s rules as too stringent.
Candidates were required to submit 10,000 signatures by 5 p.m. last Thursday to qualify for Virginia’s “Super Tuesday” primary on March 6.
Perry claimed that the state’s laws in this situation violate his freedom of speech.
“Virginia’s requirement for petition circulators to be either eligible or registered qualified voters in the state violates Plaintiff’s freedoms of speech and association by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,” the Perry campaign claimed in its lawsuit.
Earlier in the day, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said Virginia’s laws are rigged in favor of the richest presidential candidates. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s (R-Ga.) campaign also called the state’s system “failed.”
Read the Perry filing below: