Virginia's attorney general Ken Cuccinelli will intervene in the state's primary ballot imbroglio by filing legislation that would address the inability of most GOP candidates to run in Virginia's March 6 contest.
"Recent events have underscored that our system is deficient," he said in a statement Saturday. "Virginia owes her citizens a better process. We can do it in time for the March primary if we resolve to do so quickly."
Cuccinelli's proposal is expected to state that if the Virginia Board of Elections certifies that a candidate is receiving federal matching funds, or has qualified to receive them, that candidate will upon request be automatically added to the ballot.
Two former Democratic attorneys general are backing the move, along with a former Democratic state party chairman and a former Republican state party chairman.
Former state Attorney General Tony Troy called the Virginia process a "legal and constitutional embarrassment." Fellow former top Virginia prosecutor Steve Rosenthal said: "This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. If it takes emergency legislation, then we need to do it."
A spokesman for Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell appeared to defend the state's strict ballot rules, but opened the door to reexamining them.
The fact that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were able to meet the original requirements for the ballot would seem to suggest that the signature process wasn't that much of a burden. The problem wasn't the process but rather the lack of campaign organization of several candidates. The state election board sent a notice to candidates in October making them aware of the ballot requirements which should have been plenty of time for a serious campaign to gather the requisite number of signatures.
Still, Cuccinelli is acting on the atmospherics of the situation and is probably correct in seeking redress through legislation. Meanwhile, Romney and Paul won't be rewarded for following the letter of the rules in meeting ballot requirements while the other GOP candidates won't be penalized for their organizational failure.
Doesn't seem right somehow.