Carter, Goldman file suit to ensure safe petition circulation process
Two men with eyes on 2021 Democratic Party nominations are spearheading a legal challenge to ensure a safe petition signature collection process for the 2021 statewide primary campaigns.
In a suit filed today in a Richmond state court, Lee Carter and Paul Goldman asked for a reduction in the number of signatures required to qualify for the June statewide Democratic primary from 10,000 to 2,000, and for an elimination of the requirement to collect at least 400 signatures in each congressional district.
Carter, a state delegate who has filed paperwork to raise money for a bid for the party’s gubernatorial nomination, and Goldman, a candidate for the lieutenant governor nomination, are also asking the court to order the implementation of electronic petition signature collection and to declare unconstitutional the ballot placement of primary candidates based on time of filing submission.
“For Del. Carter and myself, this isn’t about politics, but about people, protecting people, and ensuring that people can safely and fairly exercise their right to have the candidate of their choice on the primary ballot,” Goldman said.
The suit cites a March decision by Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant to reduce the signature requirement for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate from 10,000 to 3,500 as requested by candidate Omari Faulkner.
In April, a federal U.S. District Court judge in Michigan cited Faulkner in ordering Michigan to reduce its petition requirements and implement an electronic means of petition gathering.
“With the worsening pandemic, we cannot allow our petition drives to become superspreader events,” Carter said. “The courts recognized this health risk in 2020, and it’s time we apply pandemic standards to the 2021 process before a single person is unnecessarily put in harm’s way.”