Settlement reduces signature requirement for state Democratic primary amid pandemic | Govt-and-politics

A Richmond judge has approved an agreement between two statewide candidates and state elections officials to reduce the ballot signature requirements for the June Democratic statewide primary amid COVID-19.

The Democrats’ candidates will only have to secure the signatures of 2,000 qualified voters, including 50 in each of the state’s 11 congressional districts. Petition signers will be able to submit signatures to campaigns by mail or electronically.

Richmond Circuit Judge David Eugene Cheek Sr. approved the agreement. By Feb. 5 state elections officials will develop a new form that will let qualified voters sign their names without being in the presence of someone circulating a petition. Candidates will have until March 25 to submit petition signatures to the Department of Elections.

Paul Goldman, one of five Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor, and Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, one of the party’s five candidates for governor, sued state elections officials last month, asserting that amid the pandemic the state should reduce the signature requirement and allow for electronic signatures.

Ordinarily, in order to qualify for the ballot in a state-run primary, a candidate for governor, lieutenant governor or attorney general must obtain 10,000 signatures from qualified voters, including at least 400 from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts.

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