Ex-congressman Virgil Goode makes presidential ballot in Virginia
By Ben Pershing, Published: September 4, 2012, the Washington Post
Former congressman Virgil Goode Jr. has qualified for the presidential ballot in Virginia, the State Board of Elections ruled Tuesday, adding a potential obstacle to Republican Mitt Romney’s hopes of winning the pivotal state.
The state Republican Party is challenging Goode’s eligibility, alleging petition fraud, and the Constitution Party’s nominee still could be knocked off the ballot. Goode served in Congress as a Democrat, an independent and then a Republican before losing his southwest Virginia seat in 2008, and he could siphon votes from Romney.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein also made the ballot on Tuesday.
Third-party hopefuls rarely garner many votes in Virginia, but Goode’s status as a longtime officeholder — he spent 12 years in Congress and 24 years in the state Senate before that — could bring him more support than usual. Just 2 or 3 percent of the vote going to Goode could be enough to swing the contest.
Goode submitted more than 20,500 signatures to the election board, far more than required. State law requires third-party candidates for president to submit 10,000 valid signatures, including at least 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. Goode got significant help collecting signatures from the Independent Green Party, which assisted Goode because he supports the party’s top issue — more spending for passenger rail.
But the Virginia GOP filed a challenge last week, arguing that too many of Goode’s signatures are invalid. Republicans in Pennsylvania knocked Goode off the ballot in that state last month.
“Congressman Goode is on the ballot, and his name was drawn to occupy the third position on the presidential ballot,” said Virginia election board spokeswoman Nikki Sheridan. “The allegations of petition fraud against the Constitution Party have been forwarded to the office of the attorney general for investigation.” ………………………………..
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