Candidate and Supporters Sue Virginia For Violating First Amendment Right To Circulate and Sign Candidate Petitions

James Madison Center for Free Speech
1 South Sixth Street
Terre Haute, Indiana 47807-3510
www.jamesmadisoncenter.org

PRESS RELEASE
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.
Phone: 812.232.2434; Fax: 812.235.3685; jboppjr@aol.com

Candidate and Supporters Sue Virginia For Violating First Amendment Right To Circulate and Sign Candidate Petitions

On Tuesday, Herb Lux, an independent candidate for the United States House of Representatives in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District, and three of his supporters sued Virginia to protect their right to circulate and sign a candidate petition in support of Herb Lux’s candidacy. The State Board of Elections rejected a majority of Mr. Lux’s petitions and refused to certify him for the ballot, citing a Virginia law that requires petition circulators to be residents of the congressional district. The group has asked the court to rule that the residency requirement violates their freedom of speech and to order the State Board of Elections to count the excluded signatures.

The Board of Elections rejected Mr. Lux’s signatures because Virginia law requires all petition circulators to live in the congressional district. When applied to Mr. Lux, the law prevents him from circulating his own petitions. The First Amendment clearly protects Mr. Lux’s freedom to circulate his own candidate petitions. It also protects his supporters’ freedom to help further his candidacy by signing a petition. If the Board counts all of the signatures collected by Mr. Lux, the group is more than confident that he will have collected more than the 1,000 signatures necessary to appear on the November ballot.

James Bopp, Jr., lead counsel for Mr. Lux and his supporters, stated, “The Supreme Court has clearly stated that a state may not prohibit large classes of people from circulating petitions unless it has a really good reason. There is simply no reason for prohibiting Mr. Lux from circulating his own petitions. It’s a silly rule and it makes no sense. And it’s really hurting Mr. Lux because he has been forced to place his campaign on hold while the court sorts out this thing. Hopefully, he will get the relief he seeks soon enough for him to wage an effective campaign.”

The case is before the Honorable Robert E. Payne in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division. The case is Lux v. Rodrigues, No. 3:10-cv-482. The complaint and the brief in support of motion for preliminary injunction may be viewed at www.jamesmadisoncenter.org.

James Bopp, Jr. has a national federal and state election law practice. He is General Counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech, former Co-Chairman of the Election Law Subcommittee of the Federalist Society, and was recently recognized as the Republican Lawyer of the Year by the National Republican Lawyers Association.