GPVA Encourages Members to Attend Court Hearing on Ballot Access Lawsuit; Responds to Defendants' Reply to Suit

The Green Party of Virginia (GPVA) encourages its members to attend the upcoming hearing in our lawsuit to waive ballot access requirements due to the pandemic and subsequent public health measures. The hearing is at 9:00 a.m., Friday, June 19, at the Richmond Courthouse: Spottswood W. Robinson III and Robert R. Merhige, Jr., Federal Courthouse, 701 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 2321.

The GPVA and other plaintiffs have received a reply from the defendants that effectively pretends that the pandemic did not happen. It alleges plaintiffs did nothing to address this problem earlier, and that we, rather than the state government or the virus, are responsible for not being able to receive the required number of signatures. This allegation denies the fact that we publicly addressed a petition to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the State Board of Elections for relief in March - a petition to which we received no substantive reply. It further denies our efforts over multiple months to receive signatures on that petition, to distribute an informal, electronic petition, and to request the acknowledgement of potential signature-gatherers that they would have gathered signatures if not for the pandemic. The defendant's argument that some candidates succeeded in filing petitions by the deadline (and therefore everybody should) is an implicit demand that the plaintiffs meet a much more burdensome requirement for ballot access than the law requires, by foreshortening the time allowed for petitioning by months, in the case of the August deadline by more than four months. The defendant's statement that we can meet our signature requirement for presidential candidates, with in-person petitioning, by Aug 21 when such petitioning has been prevented by the states' own guidelines, and will be for the foreseeable future, is not only contrary to fact but utterly neglectful of the imminent danger to the petitioners and to the public were we to make the attempt. The defendants further claim that signature requirements have not been reduced to zero elsewhere is patently false in light of the recent Northern District Federal Court ruling in favor of the Illinois' Libertarian and Green Parties more than a month ago.The defendants response is flawed, and if granted would result in genuine harm to all third party and independent candidates in Virginia, as well a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of Virginia voters.

GPVA Co-Chair Ryan Wesdock said, "This lawsuit is incredibly important to protect the right of all Virginian voters to have their voice represented at the ballot box. If the defendants win, they will be denying real choice to voters in November."