If you’re a candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, it’s now pretty much certain you’ll be on the ballot in 462 days if you get the nomination or otherwise qualify. Judge David Novak of Virginia’s Eastern Federal District Court has dismissed a second lawsuit seeking an election this year. (read the ruling)
“Like just about everything else in our society, the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic impacted the work of the United States Census Bureau, delaying the sending of the results of the 2020 Census to the states,” states the introduction to Novak’s order to dismiss the case.
There are 113 days until election day and 59 days until the next time that candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives will have to file campaign finance reports. The most recent deadline was this past Friday for activity through June 30.
In the Fifth District, Republican Incumbent Bob Good of Evington has raised $848,271 in his reelection campaign for a second term, including $149,017 in transfers. Of the $679,372 in contributions, nearly 75 percent comes from individuals or entities who contributed $200 or more. About eleven percent came from political action committees.
There is still a possibility that Virginia will have an election this year for the 100 seat House of Delegates. A second federal lawsuit arguing that legislators elected last November are in unconstitutional seats still awaits a final ruling and November 8 is 115 days away from today.
That makes yesterday’s deadline for active candidates for the House of Delegates that much more compelling. There are currently three people seeking the Democratic nomination in the new 55th District, which includes most of Albemarle’s geography, as well as northeast Nelson County and western Louisa County.
There are 131 days until the general election and a new lawsuit to force a Virginia House of Delegates race is still alive. Richmond resident Jeffrey Thomas Jr. filed a suit against the Board of Elections in the Eastern District of Virginia earlier this month that picked up a dismissed complaint that the legislative boundaries in place for the 2021 race were unconstitutional.
As I reported earlier this month, Judge David Novak had set up a schedule for how information related to the case was to be filed. That schedule has not been followed.
Voters in Albemarle’s “Small Sliver” within Virginia’s new 7th Congressional District went to the polls Tuesday in the Republican primary. Eight people in all voted in the six way race and half selected Derrick Anderson, the candidate who came in second-place overall.
There were two votes for State Senator Bryce Reeves who came in third and two votes for the winner. Yesli Vega received 10,878 votes and will face incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger in November.
Albemarle County is otherwise entirely within the new Fifth District.
The state of Virginia has until June 24 to file a motion to dismiss a new lawsuit that seeks the Commonwealth to hold an election for the House of Delegates this year. Richmond resident Jeffrey Thomas Jr. filed a federal suit in the Eastern District of Virginia last week that picks up similar arguments made by Richmond attorney Paul Goldman for why some think the House districts currently in place are unconstitutional. Goldman’s suit was dismissed for lack of standing nearly a year after he filed.
Thomas and representatives from the Virginia Attorney General’s office were in court yesterday for a status update in the case. Judge David Novak issued an order requiring both parties to file a joint stipulation of facts by June 17.
Another Richmond area resident has filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia claiming that the House of Delegates boundaries in place for the November 2021 election are unconstitutional. The action comes two days after a three-judge panel ruled that Paul Goldman did not have the legal standing to make the claim that the Board of Elections erred in certifying elections for outdated legislative boundaries.
Jeffrey Thomas Jr. had filed to be added to a suit filed by Paul Goldman last October, but Monday’s opinion rendered that request to intervene moot. Yesterday Thomas filed a “petition of mandamus” that asks the court to consider his claim that he has suffered a legal injury because the 71st House District where he resides has a 2020 Census Count that contains more people than it should.
“Plaintiff and all other voters and residents in [House District] 71-2011 have had their voting strength and political representation unconstitutionally diluted or weakened by their failure of Defendants to conduct, enact, or oversee decennial constitutional reapportionment, redistricting, or elections,” reads paragraph 10 of the petition.
There are 518 days until the next time voters will decide on who will sit in the Virginia House of Delegates. That’s a year later than the 154 days that Richmond attorney Paul Goldman had wanted, but a panel of three federal judges have ruled that he did not have standing to bring the lawsuit either as a voter or a potential candidate. (read the opinion)
In his original complaint filed June 28 of last year, Goldman alleged that the legislative boundaries at the time of the 2021 House of Delegates elections scheduled for that November would be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He argued the population of some districts were much larger than others due to the outdated districts.
The case made its way up to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals before being sent back to the lower court this past March.
Attorneys for the state filed a motion to dismiss the case on April 1, 2022, and yesterday’s opinion granted their request.
“The current Motion to Dismiss follows a convoluted, months-long procedural history involving multiple complaints, motions to dismiss, motions to intervene, various hearings, as well as the appointment of a three-judge court and an interlocutory appeal to the Fourth Circuit of Appeals on sovereign immunity,” reads the introduction to the opinion.
The opinion is also a history of the delays experienced by the U.S. Census Bureau in delivering data from the 2020 count due to pandemic-related issues as well as the failure of the bipartisan Virginia Redistricting Commission to reach consensus last October.
The opinion notes that Goldman opted to not file paperwork to actually run in 2021, and notes Goldman resisted proving that he even voted that year. That means he could not prove he personally suffered an “injury” that would grant him the right to sue.
“Plaintiff bears the burden of proving that he has standing, but he has not properly supported his assertion that he voted in November 2021,” the opinion continues. “If Plaintiff did not vote in November 2021, he lacks standing, as he cannot claim injury to a right that he voluntarily failed to exercise.”
Goldman later did file an affidavit stating he did vote, but the opinion notes this was filed improperly. Still, the ruling goes on to state Goldman had not sufficiently explained why he was personally disadvantaged by voting in 2021 in the older district.
“Virginia has 100 House of Delegates districts, making the ideal district population 86,314,” Judge Novak writes in the opinion. “Plaintiff’s House of Delegates District, District 68, had an adjusted population of 85,344.”
The case is now closed, according to the order, with no possibility of appeal.
Governor Glenn Youngkin has named a member of the Augusta County Board of Elections to serve on the Virginia State Board of Elections. Youngkin named Georgia K. Alvis-Long to the position. A press release identifies her occupation as a registered nurse instructor.
Under Virginia law, the State Board of Elections is a five-member body that will have three members from the political party that won the Governor’s mansion in the last election.