Lawmakers could change the way Virginia votes for president

Posted at 1:17 PM, Feb 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-15 13:27:38-05

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- The Privileges and Elections committee voted Friday to move forward with a bill that could prove to be a game changer for future primaries and presidential elections.

The committee supports SB 719 bill introduced by Sen. Richard Black (R - Lessburg) , which reads:

Presidential elections and primaries; petition requirements. Reduces the number of signatures required for groups other than the major parties to gain access to the presidential election ballot from 10,000 to 5,000 signatures in the Commonwealth and from 400 to 200 signatures in each congressional district. The bill makes similar reductions to 5,000 and 200 in the number of signatures required for a person to qualify for a presidential primary ballot.

Last year the only two names to appear on the Republican primary ballot were Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, despite others vying to have their names added.

Some of the denied candidates blame the strict signature requirements for their downfall. But the bill is looking to avoid a similar situation by cutting the number of required signatures in half.

CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said if this bill ultimately passes it could reshape Virginia's primary policy.

“I think what happened is that a lot of people were angry at those folks but at the end of the day think that it harms Virginia if we don’t have a sort of healthy and vibrant primary," Dr. Holsworth said.

The bill now goes to the House for a vote.