UPDATE 2/3: Another Democratic candidate, Rachel Levy, also signed on to this…
Six Virginia Democratic Candidates and Lawmakers File Lawsuit to Allow Petitions to Be Signed Digitally During Pandemic
The House of Delegates candidates allege that current petition requirements are a public health hazard and exclude at-risk Virginians from the political process
RICHMOND – Six Virginia Democratic candidates and lawmakers up for election in 2021 filed a lawsuit today against the Virginia Department of Elections and Virginia State Board of Elections. The aim is to end the requirement that all petitions for candidacy in Virginia must signed in person and with a witness, which the plaintiffs allege is needlessly dangerous during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the plaintiffs – Jennifer Adeli, Delegate Lee Carter, Patrick Fritz, Karishma Mehta, Jennifer Kitchen, and Dr. Mark Downey — want to be permitted to acquire the requisite signatures digitally. The ability to collect petition signatures digitally is already allowed for statewide candidates in Virginia.
One of the plaintiffs, Jennifer Kitchen of Augusta County – who is running to represent the 25th District in the House of Delegates this year – believes the lawsuit is about public safety and the accessibility of the political process to at-risk individuals. “Requiring candidates to get signatures in-person, while we continue to live under a statewide emergency due to a pandemic, is dangerous and unnecessary,” Kitchen said. “There’s no reason to endanger the health of the public to sign a petition when reasonable digital means exist. No one should have to risk contracting the Coronavirus to participate in our political process, and we shouldn’t have to ask them to.”
Kitchen, 39, is a lifelong Augusta County resident, progressive activist, and entrepreneur. She previously ran to represent the 25th District in 2019 and received more votes than any Democrat ever has in the district. Kitchen is running because she believes rural Virginians lack a strong voice in the House of Delegates, which she believes is neglecting rural infrastructure and healthcare. The 25th District consists of Augusta, Rockingham, and Albemarle counties.
Jennifer Kitchen’s website can be found at https://www.electjenniferkitchen.com/