RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – An independent candidate for Congress is challenging a Virginia law that prevents him from circulating his own petitions, and prevents his supporters from petitioning in districts where they are not registered to vote.
In his federal complaint, Herb Lux and three of his supporters claim the Commonwealth violated their freedom of speech and excluded more than 1,000 signatures they collected, citing Virginia’s district-residency requirement.
Lux is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. He says that without those signatures he will be left off the ballot.
“Not allowing a candidate to pass out his own petitions is a failure of common sense,” Lux told Courthouse News in a telephone interview.
Though Lux lives in Virginia’s 1st District, he says the Constitution gives him the right to run for the 7th District seat.
“I wouldn’t have to run in the 7th District if Congressman Cantor was adhering to his oath of office,” Lux said of the House Republican Whip. “For years the two major parties have failed to adhere to the Constitution.”
Lux said that he founded the American Patriots Committee after 16 years of working for the Republican Party and becoming disenchanted with the “corrupt” way in which it was run.
When asked about his alleged criminal past, Lux said, “It was public corruption. The charges brought against me were erroneous and bogus. I fought City Hall.”
According to a bill introduced in the Virginia Senate in 1997 for the relief of Delores Owens, Lux was “convicted in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court of one count of grand larceny by false pretense and one count of grand larceny-mechanic’s fraud in stealing approximately $5,000 during the construction of a home for Delores Owens.”
Lux was sentenced to 9 months in jail, 7 months of it suspended on the condition of good behavior and that he repay Owens $2,500, and repay a subcontractor $2,850. Lux refused to pay the restitution, was found to have violated terms of his probation, and was sentenced to serve the 7 months that had been suspended, according to the state Senate bill.
Lux sued Owens and the subcontractor, claiming they had conspired to have him prosecuted, but the case was dismissed for failing to state a claim, according to S.B. 713. Lux had completed bankruptcy by then “and is effectively judgment proof,” according to the bill, so S.B. 713 asked the state to write Owens a check for $450 to cover the legal fees she accrued defending herself from Lux’s lawsuit.
In his recent complaint, Lux sued three members of the Virginia State Board of Elections. He wants an injunction forcing the Board to count the signatures.
He is represented by Mark Matney of Newport News, Va.