Va. Lawmaker Sues State Dems in Signature Fracas

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – Former Virginia Delegate Joe Morrissey is asking a circuit court judge to review 750 petition signatures rejected by the Democratic Party, a move that made him ineligible to run in a state Senate primary.
     Morrissey, who was re-elected to his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates despite his being jailed on charges of contributing to the corruption of a minor, vacated that position in March to challenge Democratic Sen. Rosalyn Dance.
     In a lawsuit filed in the Richmond circuit court this week, he claims Democratic Party officials deliberately rejected valid signatures and violated his constitutional and civil rights all in an effort to thwart his bid.
     He also calls for the Board of Elections to stop printing ballots until his case is heard.
     According to his complaint, Morrissey submitted petition signatures as required for candidacy in the upcoming June 9 Democratic primary for the 16th Senatorial District. Morrissey says he submitted the signatures on time, but that the committee waited until the final deadline to arbitrarily question the authenticity his paperwork.
     Of the 972 signatures submitted, Morrissey alleges, only about 20 percent received a concise review over last Easter weekend, of which at least 33 signatures were challenged.
     Morrissey says he was then denied a request to appeal the decision made largely by and through the Democratic Party of Virginia, “without any meaningful review or even a random sample of the signatures.”
     The State Board of Elections requires senate candidates to submit at least 250 voter petitions by deadline.

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