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Virginia primary: Gingrich and rivals join Rick Perry’s ballot lawsuit

Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman have joined a lawsuit filed by Rick Perry to get on the ballot for Virginia’s 2012 primary election.

Gingrich campaign 2011 12 31Enlarge
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks at a town hall meeting at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Atlantic, Iowa, on Dec. 31, 2011. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman have joined a lawsuit filed by Rick Perry to get on the ballot for Virginia’s 2012 primary election.

According to Reuters:

Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul managed to submit the required 10,000 verifiable signatures collected by registered voters in the state in order to get on Virginia's ballot for its March 6 primary.

In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Perry claims that Virginia's requirement violates his freedom of speech, the Associated Press reported.

"I think you need to make it relatively easy to get on the ballot. That's my biggest problem with Virginia right now, is that they have made it just incredibly hard for anyone to get on the ballot," Perry told Fox News in an interview today, CBS News reported.

"The challenge in Virginia isn't about the candidates and it is about the voters," Gingrich said, according to Reuters. "For the voters in Virginia to be told that ... their options are limited to two people who between them are clearly a minority of the Republican voters is probably unacceptable."

Today, Virginia’s attorney general said he will propose emergency legislation that would allow any presidential candidate to appear on the ballot if they qualify for federal matching funds, the New York Times reported.

“Recent events have underscored that our system is deficient. Virginia owes her citizens a better process,” Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the attorney general, said in a statement, according to the Times. “We can do it in time for the March primary if we resolve to do so quickly.”

More from GlobalPost: Santorum surges, Gingrich falls behind in Iowa: poll

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111231/va-primary-gingrich-perry-lawsuit-ballot