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Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.

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Goode to be on Virginia presidential ballot

Virginians will have more than two choices for president when they go to the polls in November.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ruled today that petition signatures from Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode are valid, and that Goode will be on the ballot.

The Republican Party of Virginia had challenged Goode’s petition signatures, charging that there were irregularities with his signatures. Presidential candidates must submit to the state Board of Elections petitions with the signatures of at least 10,000 eligible state voters, 400 from each congressional district. Goode submitted nearly twice that.

At a meeting early this month, the elections board decided to certify Goode — as well as Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein — to be on Virginia’s ballot, but asked Cuccinelli to investigate Goode’s petitions.

A statement from Cuccinelli’s office today said, “It is not uncommon to find some irregularities in candidate petitions that contain thousands of signatures.  Regardless of any such irregularities, the candidate had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.  Therefore, the attorney general has concluded that the State Board of Elections was correct in certifying Goode for inclusion in the Virginia presidential ballot.”

“We call them like we see them,” Cuccinelli added.

Goode, a former state lawmaker and congressman from the 5th District, in Southside, is considered to be somewhat more likely to take votes from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney than from President Barack Obama in November. But no polls that have asked voters about Goode have suggested he has more than a small fraction of voter support.

Goode has steadily tacked right in his political career; once a Democrat, he became an independent and then a Republican. He lost his House seat in 2008 to Democrat Tom Perriello, who then lost it two years later to Republican Robert Hurt.

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