Democratic operative Paul Goldman is asking a federal court to issue a temporary injunction blocking the State Board of Elections from issuing Certificates of Election in the House of Delegates certifying that the winners have the right to a two-year term. Goldman’s motion is part of his ongoing lawsuit arguing that the recent elections were unconstitutional since they were held on old district lines due to redistricting delays. Goldman filed his suit before the election. He said he didn’t receive support from Democrats, and that Attorney General Mark Herring slow-walked the process. Herring’s office is defending state elections officials in the suit.
“They have specifically avoided dealing with this. Herring could have issued an opinion during the election. They could have had the Supreme Court do a ruling. They didn’t do it. Why? Because the Democrats were trying to get a two-year term,” Goldman told The Virginia Star. “Now this same argument can be used by the Republicans.”
Goldman’s objection is to the two-year language on the certification, not to the winners of this year’s election taking office. He says new elections should be held next year. Although two races are headed for recounts, Republicans seem likely to take over the majority after the 2021 House elections; Goldman thought that might spur Herring and other Democrats to support him. But he said he hasn’t heard from anyone.
Republicans have also been quiet on the issue; staff for House Speaker-nominee Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) did not return a request for comment.
The census delays led to redistricting delays and the races were held in lines drawn from 2010 data that doesn’t reflect population shifts. As a result, voters are not equally distributed across all districts, and in some districts one vote is worth more than others. Goldman argues that holding the elections in the old lines violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The court may not decide to grant the injunction; Goldman said even if not, the court has the authority to say elections should be held next year, but he said voters deserve to have an answer on if their rights were violated by the law or not.
“I want the law followed. How people decide to vote is up to them. They’re exercising their constitutional rights. It’s not my job to tell people how to vote. It is my job to try to make people have the vote that’s guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and somebody should — at least one person in Virginia actually thinks that’s important.”