Virginia Beach officials won’t tell a group of citizens whether or not they have enough voter signatures to place the city’s proposed light rail project on the ballot for an up-or-down vote. The group, No Light Rail in Virginia Beach, turned in 26,236 signatures, more than enough to reach the requirement of 25 percent of the vote in the “prior” election.

Yet, in a letter, the city’s general registrar announced, “I hereby certify that the number of valid signatures reviewed by this office as of the date of this submission exceeds 25% of the number of votes cast in the 2015 Election but does not exceed 25% of the number of votes cast in the 2014 Election.”

In next week’s election for governor, Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis has signed our Initiative & Referendum Pledge to support bringing a statewide process of initiative and referendum to Virginia. Neither Democratic Party candidate Terry McAuliffe, nor Republican Party candidate Ken Cuccinelli has signed the pledge.

“I have a lot more faith in the people of Virginia than in politicians,” Sarvis wrote, in returning his signed pledge. “Initiative and referendum would enable voters to decide on many needed reforms to our government.”

Democrat McAuliffe and Republican Cuccinelli offered no response after numerous requests for them to sign the I&R Pledge and/or supply a statement of their position on the issue.

For the first time, Citizens in Charge has sent an Initiative & Referendum Pledge to all candidates running for the legislature and for governor in this year’s Virginia elections.  The pledge asks candidates to support initiative and referendum through a constitutional amendment that if proposed by legislators and passed by voters would make the Old Dominion the 27th state where citizens have the right to initiate or refer laws to the ballot by petition.

The 4th Circuit unanimously upheld a lower federal court’s decision declaring Virginia’s residency requirement for petition circulators unconstitutional. The challenge was brought by the Libertarian Party of Virginia; the case is Libertarian Party of Virginia v. Judd.

The three judge panel joins recent 6th, 9th and 10th federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, which have also unanimously overturned residency requirements for those circulating petitions.

Virginia’s law prohibiting out-of-state residents from circulating petitions for third-party presidential candidates is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney’s ruling last year that the residency requirement is an impermissible restraint on political speech.

The fate of Virginia’s law prohibiting out-of-state residents from circulating petitions for third-party presidential candidates rests with a federal appeals court, which heard arguments Wednesday on a judge’s decision striking down the statute as an unconstitutional restraint on political speech.

Virginia’s solicitor general, E. Duncan Getchell Jr., told a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that without the law, it would be too difficult to prosecute nonresident petition circulators who commit election fraud.

Occupy Winston-Salem members, saying their rights to free speech and assembly are slipping away, on Saturday began collecting signatures on a petition calling on the Winston-Salem City Council to “respect and uphold the right of citizen groups to conduct open-air meetings on city property.”

Members of Occupy Winston-Salem and Walkupy, a group of Occupy supporters marching from Washington to Atlanta, also met Councilman Dan Besse on the steps of City Hall on Saturday afternoon. Occupy Winston-Salem, like other Occupy movements across the country, is protesting corporate influence in politics and inequity among Americans.

“We have a separation of church and state,” said Kayla Cox, an Occupy member from Winston-Salem. “We need a separation of money and politics.”

Here’s a piece from the Washington Examiner:

Last weekend on “The Score” radio show, my colleague Scott Lee interviewed Paul Jacob, president of Citizens in Charge, a group dedicated to “…protecting and expanding the initiative and referendum process.” Paul made an impassioned case for initiative and referendum, but also noted that Virginia, the cradle on American political thought, lacks the process almost entirely.  How could this possibly be? There’s no easy place to look for an answer.  Virginia does hold regular statewide referendums on constitutional amendments, bond debt and the like. But all those matters come from the General Assembly and even then only after a very long and laborious process.

TSA Agent Gropes PassengerAs air travelers continue to voice their discontent with the Transportation Safety Administration’s invasive new security procedures, Washington DC’s Metro transit system has instituted random bag searches, and many travelers are just as unhappy about the “Security Theater” on the train as in the airport.

A hearing will be held next Thursday, December 9th at the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, VA to determine whether Maryland’s election law imposes constitutionally impermissible limitations on the right of referendum by requiring an excessive “triple match” on petition signatures. The case is called Paul Kendall v. v. Ann Balcerzak and will be heard by Panel III, Courtroom 3, Room 223 at 9:30 AM.

Virginia voters Tuesday will face three ballot initiatives that would amend the state’s constitution and affect tax and budgeting policy. None of the three questions has been especially controversial, but elections officials are urging voters to familiarize themselves with the issues ahead of time to speed the voting process Tuesday and avoid lines at the polls.

Read the story from The Virginian-Pilot

The James Madison Center for Free Speech in Terre Haute, Indiana issued the following press release today about a very important case that could potentially come before the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future:

The James Madison Center for Free Speech issued a press release today regarding events unfolding in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District:

Stalin Petition

Wed, Jun 23 2010 by Staff

Some folks are upset that a bust of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was put up at the National D-Day Memorial and have started up a petition to have it removed. This is not a petition signature drive to place a measure on the ballot. The National D-Day Memorial is located in Virginia, a state which has no state-wide initiative process.

To check out the petition click here.