Richard Winger over at Ballot Access News has an EXTREMELY interesting post (link via here) on the mess that the Virginia Republican party has found itself in over… access to the ballot in Virginia. For those coming in late, background here and here: the very short version is that the VA GOP only certified Mitt Romney and Ron Paul for its primary ballot. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich both had too many signatures tossed; Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann didn’t even try. Of the seven candidates, one (Romney) had more than enough signatures (15K) to bypass the verification process entirely. All of this has caused a lot of agitation among Republicans following the primary process, of course; and not just from people who disapprove of what the VA GOP has done. There has been a good deal of defending of the outcome; and one argument heavily used in this defense has been that the campaigns all knew the rules and that previous Republican campaigns were able to get on the ballot, so clearly a competent current Republican campaign should have done so.
One small problem with that: as Winger argues, the rules were allegedly drastically changed. In November of this year. (more…)