Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cuccinelli reconsiders changing 2012 Virginia ballot

By Lauren King
The Virginian-Pilot

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is reconsidering a call for emergency legislation to allow more Republican presidential candidates on Virginia’s primary ballot.

On Saturday, he said Virginians should be able to have their chose of the full field of presidential primary contenders, instead of the two who qualified for the March 6 primary. Of the four Republicans who filed petitions in Virginia, only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas made the ballot.

Today, he said in a statement that he still feels strongly that Virginia should change its ballot access requirements.

“However, after working through different scenarios with Republican and Democratic leaders to attempt to make changes in time for the 2012 Presidential election, my concern grows that we cannot find a way to make such changes fair to the Romney and Paul campaigns that qualified even with Virginia’s burdensome system,” he said in the statement. “A further critical factor that I must consider is that changing the rules midstream is inconsistent with respecting and preserving the rule of law – something I am particularly sensitive to as Virginia’s attorney general...”

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling applauded Cuccinelli's decision to reconsider his call for ballot access changes this year, saying it would have been unfair to Romney and Paul who successfully complied with Virginia's requirements and qualified to be on the ballot.

"Going forward, I would also encourage Attorney General Cuccinelli to avoid making public statements that criticize our state election laws while his office is defending the State Board of Elections in a lawsuit that has been brought against them by Governor Perry and certain other presidential candidates," the statement from Bolling's office said. "I am concerned that such public comments could be used against the Commonwealth in our effort to defend these lawsuits, and I am confident that the Attorney General would not want to do anything that could jeopardize his office's ability to win this case."

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