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Planned probe into Goode's campaign worries election officials
Thursday, September 6, 2012
A planned investigation related to Virgil Goode’s presidential campaign is a cause of concern for elections officials.
Goode, a six-term former congressman from Rocky Mount who represented the 5th District, which included Henry County and Martinsville, is the Constitution Party’s presidential candidate. The Virginia State Board of Elections has asked the state attorney general’s office to probe allegations of fraud on petitions that the party submitted to get Goode’s name on the Nov. 6 ballot.
There is no timetable for completing the investigation, which could run past ballot-printing deadlines that are just a few weeks away, according to Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for Attorney General’s Ken Cuccinelli.
So what happens if Goode’s name is printed on ballots and then, based on results of the investigation, he is determined ineligible to run for president?
Under state code, it will be up to the state elections board to instruct local elections boards on how to handle the situation, according to Cindy Barbour, Martinsville’s voter registrar, and Nikki Sheridan, confidential policy adviser and spokesman for the state board.
But “this has never happened before,” Sheridan said. So if Goode is deemed ineligible, the state board might have to ask a state judge for advice on how to handle the matter, she said.
Asked to speculate on how it might be handled, Sheridan said that ballots may or may not be able to be reprinted.
If not, one option may be to post notices of the candidate’s removal from the race at polling places, she speculated.
Goode has said he thinks the Republican Party of Virginia questioned the validity of some signatures in his candidacy petitions as part of efforts to keep him off the ballot to avoid him taking votes away from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Goode and the Constitution Party submitted more than 20,500 signatures to the state elections board. Under state laws for “third-party candidates,” they needed only 10,000, including 400 from each congressional district.