Virginia State Board of Elections

The Virginia State Board of Elections met on July 11 to discuss several matters related to candidate qualifications, including the case of Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper). Left to right, Secretary Jamilah D. LeCruise, Chair Robert Brink and Vice Chair Dr. John O'Bannon.

Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) is still waiting to hear whether his name will be on the ballot in the 30th District on November 5.

Yesterday afternoon in Richmond, the Virginia State Board of Elections deferred the Freitas matter to a later date, just as it had at its June 28 meeting, and said it would seek guidance from the state attorney general's office.

At issue are two required candidacy forms, neither of which the Virginia Department of Elections received by the posted deadlines: a one-page party certification of Freitas' candidacy for the general election and a separate form validating his candidacy from Freitas himself.

The board heard from Freitas' attorney, Christopher Woodfin, and gathered information from state elections officials before going into closed session. Woodfin told the board Freitas believed he had submitted the “certificate of candidate qualification” via postal mail, and he said Bruce Kay, chair of the 30th District Republican Committee, had sent the party certification form to the wrong email address.

The attorney asked the board to note that Freitas had submitted his candidate’s filing fee on time in March and had the canceled check as proof. He said that Kay, a volunteer, made “a good faith effort” to submit the certification form. As for the other form, Woodfin said, "Delegate Freitas did believe he had filed it."

Woodfin also cited the "Kilgore precedent"—a reference to Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) of the 1st District, whom the board has allowed on the November ballot even though the elections office didn’t received his party certification form on time.

He argued that since the Republican Party chose Freitas as its candidate in District 30, "He is the Republican nominee." In addition, he said leaving Freitas off the ballot would trigger "a massive write-in campaign" that would cause a "fairly substantial disruption" to the process of tallying ballots on Election Day.

After reconvening the meeting in public session, Chair Robert Brink said the board had decided "to defer the action involving the determination of candidate qualifications for the 30th Delegate District in order to gain additional guidance from the Office of the Attorney General. We’ll get that guidance as expeditiously as possible and move forward on this issue as expeditiously as possible.”

In related business, the board voted after coming out of closed session to allow Clinton Jenkins, a Democrat running for delegate in the 76th District, to be listed on the November ballot. According to Jenkins' attorney, who addressed the board before it went into closed session, the chair of the 76th District Democratic Committee had submitted Jenkins' certification form to the wrong email address.

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Hilary Holladay covers education and politics for the Orange County Review. The author of five books, she is currently writing a biography of the poet Adrienne Rich.

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