(Delegate Lee Carter D-Manasass)

by Brandon Jarvis

There is a hearing taking place Monday in the lawsuit of Goldman/Carter v VA Dept of Elections. Lieutenant Governor candidate Paul Goldman (D-Richmond) and gubernatorial candidate Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas) are both asking the Court to reduce the number of signatures required to qualify for the June Democratic primary from 10,000 to 2,000 for candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General and to eliminate the requirement to collect at least 400 signatures in each congressional district.

“UVA’s most recent adaptive model predictions for COVID-19 spread during the petition collection window are frightening,” said Carter. “We’re talking about weekly peaks that could be ten times higher than those we saw this summer.”

Goldman and Carter also asked the Court to order the implementation of electronic petition signature collection and to declare it unconstitutional that ballot placement of primary candidates is based on the time of filing signatures.

The suit cites a March decision by Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant to reduce the signature requirement for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate from 10,000 to 3,500 as requested by candidate Omari Faulkner. In April, a federal U.S. District Court judge in Michigan cited Faulkner in ordering Michigan to reduce its petition requirements and implement an electronic means of petition gathering.

Goldman sent out an email on Sunday providing an update from his point of view:

“Defendants and Plaintiffs in the Goldman/Carter v VA Dept of Elections case have finally come to same conclusion:  it would be a good idea in the midst of a pandemic to legalize the collection of electronic signatures by those seeking to qualify as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Gov, LG, and AG in the June Democratic primary. They also have come to the same place as regards the precise number of valid signatures required to get on said ballot and the particular process to be authorized for the collection and submission of said signatures by electronic means. There remains however a third issue, unrelated to those two above, that must be settled or dismissed before a binding agreement can be signed. This has proven to be a sticking point. Hearing on the lawsuit is tomorrow at 10am. “

Sources say that the defendants and the plaintiffs came to an agreement to drop the overall number of signatures required from 10,000 to 2,000, with only 50 signatures required from each congressional district. In addition, they have come to an agreement to allow people to turn in electronic signatures.

The judge on the case still has to approve the agreement at the hearing.

Virginia Scope will provide an update after the hearing.

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By vascope