The Republican Party of Virginia is suing the Department of Elections to get the Democratic candidate for governor, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, removed from general election ballots.
Per the complaint filed in the Circuit Court of Richmond City, Republicans allege McAuliffe failed to include his signature on his declaration for his candidacy. The lawsuit alleges that disqualifies him from appearing on the ballot and any inclusion of his name on any ballot would violate state law.
The relevant law, Code 24.2-520, does not explicitly state a signature is required to appear on the general ballot. However, it does state candidates must declare their candidacies on a form prescribed by the state board. The form includes a box that specifically asks for the signature of the candidate.
“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 GOP Chairman Rich Anderson said in a statement. “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.”
A copy of the candidacy form, which Republicans include in their lawsuit, shows the signature box blank, but includes two signatures from witnesses. The lawsuit alleges this shows that the two individuals made false statements of witnessing McAuliffe sign the unsigned document.
Virginia law requires two witnesses must sign the document or it be signed by an officer who has the authority to take acknowledgements to deeds. The lawsuit claims the alleged falsification of documents would also disqualify the former governor from appearing on any ballots.
The Republican Party is requesting declaratory relief that states the documents provided are legally insufficient and McAuliffe must be removed from the ballot. It also requests injunctive relief to halt the Board of Elections from printing his name on ballots for the general election.
McAuliffe’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment from The Center Square, but a spokesperson told NBC 12 that all the paperwork was properly submitted.
“Our campaign submitted the required paperwork,” the spokesperson said. “This is nothing more than a desperate Trumpian move by the Virginia GOP to deprive voters of a choice in this election because Terry is consistently leading in the polls.”
McAuliffe is running against Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, a businessman. The election will be Nov. 2.