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Appeals court reviews Va. ballot access law

Wednesday - 3/20/2013, 1:00pm  ET

LARRY O'DELL
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A federal appeals court is considering the constitutionality of Virginia's law prohibiting out-of-state residents from circulating petitions on behalf of third-party presidential candidates.

The state appealed U.S. District Judge John Gibney's ruling last year that the residency requirement curtails political speech in violation of the First Amendment. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday at the University of Richmond law school.

Virginia Solicitor General Duncan Getchell said that without the law, it would be too difficult to prosecute out-of-state petition circulators who commit election fraud.

Rebecca Glenberg, an ACLU attorney representing the Libertarian Party, argued that the state failed to prove that the law is the least restrictive means of preventing fraud.

The appeals court usually takes several weeks to rule.


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