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Ballots, Presidential Challenges Dominate State News

It’s been a gem of a week for Virginia news junkies in possibly the most hyper-political few days yet leading up to the Nov. 6 general election.

Virginia made headlines when former Gov. Tim Kaine called Virginia a “checkmate state” for President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode made the presidential ballot (and plenty of Republican enemies simultaneously) and absentee-ballot requests by military personnel have plummeted to mysteriously low numbers.

Kaine calls VA the ‘checkmate state’

In the presidential chess game, Virginia is the “checkmate state,” former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Kaine told fired up Democratic delegates at breakfast Tuesday.

Kaine, who also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, reminded delegates attending the Democratic National Convention inCharlotte, N.C., that President Barack Obama has said, “I can be president without Virginia, but the other guys can’t.”

Later Tuesday, Kaine had yet another chance to tout his own record and praise Obama.

McDonnell gives Republican response to DNC

When all was said and done at the DNC, Gov. Bob McDonnell — who had a prime-time spot at the Republican National Convention a week before inTampa, Fla. — refuted Democrats’ claims.

State puts Virgil Goode, Libertarians and Greens on presidential ballot

The Virginia Board of Elections on Tuesday approved three minor parties for the state’s presidential ballot, but not without a fight from the Republican Party.

The Constitution, Libertarian and Green party candidates were designated to fill the third, fourth and fifth ballot lines, following the Republican andDemocratic and parties, which drew the first and second slots.

Republicans, who worry that former U.S. Rep. Goode, R-District 15, who is the Constitution Party’s presidential candidate, will siphon votes from GOP nominee Mitt Romney in this key swing state, claimed irregularities in the Constitution Party’s petition submissions. But the state didn’t cave.

Justin Riemer, deputy director of the State Board of Elections, said, “Virginia has no procedure for any outside group to challenge a finding of elections officials that a petition is sufficient.”

Special election produces predictable results, costs taxpayer dollars

Virginia taxpayers are footing the five-figure bill for a special election that won’t change the balance of power in the Republican-dominated House of Delegates.

The outcome of Tuesday’s 45th District race to replace resigned Delegate David Englin, D-Alexandria, who stepped down this summer following the announcement of an extramarital affair, won’t make a dent in the grand scheme of things. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the House roughly 2-1.

Democrat Rob Krupicka won Tuesday with more than 75 percent of the vote, compared with Republican Tim McGhee’s less than 21 percent and Libertarian Justin Malkin’s 3 percent, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections.

But holding the special election is costing the city of Alexandria between $30,000 to $40,000, Arlington County roughly $10,000, and Fairfax County between $5,000 and $10,000, according to each county registrar.

Military absentee ballots going AWOL in 2012 

A 92 percent drop in absentee-ballot requests by military personnel in Virginia is raising concerns that the Pentagon is failing to carry out a federal voting law.

With only 1,746 military voters in Virginia requesting absentee ballots so far this year — out of 126,251 service members in the state — the Military Voter Protection Project says the system has broken down.

Contact Kathryn Watson at [email protected]

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