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Libertarian Plans Legal Action to Seek Ballot Access

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A third-party challenger to fill Eric Cantor’s congressional seat says he’s ready to sue the State Board of Elections after a last-minute change left him off the ballot.

Libertarian candidate James Carr turned in enough signatures in June to qualify for the ballot in the 7th District congressional race alongside Democrat Jack Trammell and Republican Dave Brat.

But following June’s primary loss, Cantor vacated his seat Monday before the end of his term. Gov. Terry McAuliffe authorized a special election that would put the winner in office two months before the new term begins.

That special election will run at the same time as the regular one, meaning voters will go into booths to vote twice for the same office.

Candidates had 10 days to submit 1,000 signatures from registered voters supporting inclusion on the special-election ballot -- except for the Republican and Democratic parties, which don’t have to petition for ballot access.

So while Trammell and Brat were safe, Carr was left scrambling. After protesting the signature requirement as too high, he failed to turn in the required signatures by the Aug. 15 deadline.

Carr told Style Weekly on Monday that he was likely to file a lawsuit against the elections board Tuesday. He cites a 4th Circuit Court precedent that eases requirements in special elections. He says his regular campaign will continue as planned.

“Our entire approach has been to get out and talk to as many people as possible,” Carr says. “The only thing that is going to change is we’re going to have to illustrate to voters that they have an option to write me in.”

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