Virginia state lawmakers have approved a congressional redistricting plan that could pose a high hurdle for U.S. Senate candidates who hope to qualify for the state’s primary on June 12, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch
The newspaper reported Tuesday that candidates will be required to gather at least 400 signatures from each of the state’s 11 congressional districts formed under the new redistricting plan passed last week in order to get their names on the ballot. The deadline for the signatures is March 31.
Trouble is, the new districts don’t really exist yet, and won’t until the Justice Department signs off on them. And that could take at least two months, the Times-Dispatch reported, once Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell actually signs the plan into law.
So candidates are having a hard time figuring out how they’ll qualify for the primary if they are not given enough time to gather enough signatures before the deadline, the Times-Dispatch noted.
Some candidates are particularly upset, especially those who had already begun collecting signatures from existing districts.
“It would be completely outrageous to change the rules in the middle of the game,” Republican Senate hopeful Jamie Radtke told the Times-Dispatch.
State lawmakers, however, are considering a number of options to deal with the issue, including emergency legislation to allow the acceptance of signatures from the current districts or — more drastically, to move the primary from June 12 to Aug. 31.
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