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Lee Carter calls for randomization of candidate names on Democratic primary ballot

lee carter
Lee Carter

Del. Lee Carter is calling for the randomization of candidate names on the 2021 statewide Democratic primary ballots.

This randomization is the third and final request in the lawsuit Carter, a candidate for the Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination, filed with lieutenant governor nomination candidate Paul Goldman against the Virginia Department of Elections in December.

The suit detailed academic studies on the advantage of being first on the ballot and the advantage the current system gives to candidates with money and institutional party backing. Virginia law already requires the randomization of candidate names on ballots for presidential primaries.

Per Virginia law, candidates were able to submit their petitions starting March 8 at noon. Yet the Department of Elections, contradicting their own electronic petition submission instructions on the Candidate Bulletin, did not set up an online submission system in COMET and apparently advised some candidates to submit paper copies of electronic petitions instead.

Since ballot placement is based on time of submission, these mistakes by the Department of Elections disadvantaged candidates expecting to submit petitions electronically.

“We originally sued to randomize the candidate names as a matter of principle and fairness,” Carter said. “Since DOE failed to implement an electronic submission system last Monday, randomization has become essential to the integrity of this year’s process.”

augusta free press
augusta free press