The Republican Party of Virginia filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Virginia State Board of Elections and the Virginia Department of Elections, asking the courts to remove the state’s gubernatorial candidate Democrat Terry McAuliffe from the ballot for failing to sign a required form declaring his candidacy. This means the former Virginia governor might not be getting his old job back any time soon.
The Virginia Republican Party’s lawsuit also contends that McAuliffe’s Declaration of Candidacy contains “signatures from two individuals claiming that they witnessed McAuliffe sign the Declaration despite his signature appearing nowhere on the face of the document.”
According to DCist, an independent copy of the form obtained from the Department of Elections is indeed missing McAuliffe’s signature in the box labeled “SIGNATURE OF CANDIDATE.”
When asked about the lawsuit by Fox News, McAuliffe campaign spokeswoman Christina Freundlich said the former governor’s campaign “submitted the required paperwork” and that the suit was a “desperate Trumpian” political move to force McAuliffe, who “is consistently leading in the polls,” out of the race.
In the past, however, enforcement of election laws and procedures has been carried out irrespective of political party. In 2019, Republican candidate Nicholas J. Freitas was forced to run as a write-in for Virginia’s House of Delegates after failing to submit the required paperwork to the Board of Elections by the deadline.
For all their cries that the lawsuit is a “desperate Trumpian move,” the Democrat Party itself works very diligently every election cycle to win on technicalities and kick legitimate third-party candidates off the ballot.
In the 2020 election, Wisconsin Democrats disenfranchised the Green Party presidential ticket. They did this apparently because many people believe Trump carried Wisconsin in 2016 because Green Party candidate Jill Stein won more votes than Clinton’s margin of defeat. In 2020, the Green Party filed double the necessary number of signatures to be on the ballot yet was illegally disqualified by the Wisconsin Election Commission on an absurd interpretation that violated Wisconsin law.
Ironically, when McAuliffe was the chair of the Democratic National Committee, 2004 third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader alleged that the DNC engaged in groundless and abusive litigation to bankrupt his campaign and force him off the ballot in 18 states.
While the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Nader’s allegations exceeded the statute of limitations in 2009, Nader and former members of his campaign maintain that McAuliffe employed crooked politics.
In her book “The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny,” Nader aide Theresa Amato — who managed his 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns — revealed how McAuliffe tried to bribe Nader to stop campaigning in key states. According to Amato, McAuliffe allegedly offered Nader an unspecified amount of money, presumably in the form of contribution checks from big Democrat donors, if he avoided campaigning in 19 battleground states.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and Terry McAuliffe’s clear violation of the law severely jeopardizes the integrity of our elections in Virginia,” Virginia Republican Party Chairman Rich Anderson said in a Thursday press release.
“For decades, Terry has used his political connections and proximity to power to avoid consequences for his reckless behavior and disregard for people and laws, but no amount of political favors and back-slapping can refute the fact that McAuliffe is a fraudulent candidate and cannot be Virginia’s next governor,” Anderson stated.
“These are very serious questions, and the McAuliffe campaign seems to be claiming that Terry McAuliffe doesn’t have to follow the law like everyone else who runs for office in Virginia,” said a spokeswoman for Glenn Youngkin, McAuliffe’s Republican opponent. “We will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure all legal requirements are followed.”
Evita Duffy is an intern at The Federalist, co-founder of the Chicago Thinker, and a senior at the University of Chicago. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1