Some Democratic candidates file lawsuit against Virginia Department of Elections

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Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 5:10 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A democratic candidate for governor is calling out the Virginia Department of Elections. He says a rule governing signature collection is putting people in danger of getting COVID-19.

This comes as a few House of Delegate candidates await results of a lawsuit they filed against the commonwealth.

Del. Lee Carter (D-50th District) is running for governor and part of a team that filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Elections and won.

“We got a consent decree, which the court agreed to, which ordered them to give us a new form that did not require face-to-face interaction,” Carter said.

Carter wants an entirely digital signature collection process. He says the new form, which came out on Friday, Feb. 5, still creates a safety hazard.

“That new form that they put out still requires face-to-face interactions between a circulator and a notary. In fact, it requires more of them because it requires the notary to put their signal on each and every individual signature,” he said.

He is blasting the commonwealth for not obeying the new ruling.

“I’ve sent a demand back to the attorney general’s office and the Department of Elections saying, you know, you really did not comply with the order when you made this new form,” Carter said.

Carter, who is currently in the House of Delegates, also joined a lawsuit with House of Delegates candidate Jennifer Kitchen. She is running to represent the 25th District and says Friday’s ruling only benefited statewide candidates.

“In order for the House of Delegates races to be able to collect signatures digitally, we had to file a lawsuit,” Kitchen said.

Candidates running for statewide office usually need to collect 10,000 signatures with at least 250 coming from each of Virginia’s 11 Congressional districts. Their lawsuit knocked the requirement down to 2000 with 50 from each district. House of Delegate candidates need to get 125.

“We didn’t want to be in a position, and we didn’t want to put voters in a position, that they had to risk COVID or go outside of their comfort zone in order to participate in the democratic process,” Kitchen said.

The Virginia Department of Elections did not respond to a request for comment by deadline but both candidates say they expect a response to their respective inquiries sometime this week.

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