Case: Faulkner v. Virginia Department of Elections

20-01456 | Virginia state trial court

Filed Date: March 23, 2020

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

COVID-19 Summary: On March 23 a Republican running for U.S. Senate sought to enjoin the defendants from enforcing the candidate signature requirement for the U.S. Senate candidates. Two days later, the court granted the motion for preliminary injunction and ordered the defendants to allow the qualification of the candidates for the 2020 primary election to be 3,500 signatures for the state of Virginia and 100 signatures in each district. Despite this, the candidate did not qualify for the prima…

COVID-19 Summary: On March 23 a Republican running for U.S. Senate sought to enjoin the defendants from enforcing the candidate signature requirement for the U.S. Senate candidates. Two days later, the court granted the motion for preliminary injunction and ordered the defendants to allow the qualification of the candidates for the 2020 primary election to be 3,500 signatures for the state of Virginia and 100 signatures in each district. Despite this, the candidate did not qualify for the primary.


On March 23, Omari Faulkner, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate and his campaign committee filed this lawsuit in Virginia state court. Represented by private attorneys, the plaintiffs sued the Virginia Department of Elections, the Virginia State Board of Elections, and the Republican Party of Virginia, seeking to enjoin the defendants from enforcing the candidate signature requirement for the U.S. Senate candidates. The normal requirement for a candidate to qualify for the primary ballot is 10,000 signatures. The plaintiffs, had been unable to obtain the necessary signatures required due to the COVID-19 emergency and lockdown and claimed that they were unlikely to be able to do so in the future before the deadline, which was March 26, 2020.

They brought the lawsuit as a declaratory and injunctive action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that enforcing the signature requirement would be against the First and Fourteenth Amendments. They sought declaratory and permanent and preliminary injunctive relief to reduce the signature requirement down to 3500, a number which Faulkner claimed he would able to obtain.

On March 25, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and ordered the defendants to allow the qualification of the candidates for the 2020 primary election to be 3,500 signatures for the state of Virginia and 100 signatures in each district. Despite this order, Faulkner did not qualify for the primary.

The case is ongoing.

Summary Authors

Averyn Lee (6/14/2020)

People


Judge(s)

Marchant, W. Reilly (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Lienhard, Jonathan (Virginia)

Lienhard [inactive], John P. (Virginia)

Sheehy, Shawn Toomey (Virginia)

Torchinsky, Jason Brett (Virginia)

Judge(s)

Marchant, W. Reilly (Virginia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Lienhard, Jonathan (Virginia)

Lienhard [inactive], John P. (Virginia)

Sheehy, Shawn Toomey (Virginia)

Torchinsky, Jason Brett (Virginia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Verified Complaint

Omari Faulkner for Virginia v. Virginia Department of Elections

March 23, 2020 Complaint

Order

Omari Faulkner for Virginia v. Virginia Department of Elections

March 25, 2020 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Virginia

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 23, 2020

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A Virginia Republican primary candidate and his campaign committee

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Virginia Department of Elections, State

Virginia State Board of Elections, State

The Republican Party of Virginia, Political Party

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 2020 - None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Voting

Voting:

Candidate qualifications