Perry suing Virginia for ballot access
Rick Perry is suing the state of Virginia, alleging that the ballot access requirements are too stringent and violate free speech and freedom of assembly rights.
He might have thought of doing this before the deadline.
Perry's lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a state law that says those who circulate petitions to get a candidate on the ballot must be eligible, or registered, to vote in the state. Perry claims that requirement violates his freedom of speech and association.
He also challenges another provision of Virginia law that requires that a portion of signatures for statewide candidates must come from each congressional district in the state. Those signers must attest that they intended to vote in the primary of the candidate's political party.
Perry's campaign notes that other states' laws similar to Virginia's ban on out-of-state petition circulators have been struck down by federal courts.
One of the nation's leading experts on election law predicted tough going for Perry's challenge.
"Such a suit now faces long odds, both legally and politically," said Prof. Rick Hasen of the University of California at Irvine Schoool of law.
The initial hurdle, Hasen explained, is the failure to bring suit before filing time. "This is an emergency of Perry's (and Gingrich's) own making. Surely they knew of the requirement earlier," he said.
Hasen said the federal courts have reached mixed decisions on residency requirements for petition circulators.
The courts are usually extremely reluctant to intercede in how states run their elections unless race can be shown to be a factor. And while there is little doubt that Perry has a good point - perhaps even a legitmate point of law - to make, the fact is all candidates were subject to the same rules and Romney and Paul showed the organizational muscle to get on the ballot while Gingrich, Perry, and the others didn't.
That alone should seal the fate of Perry's suit.