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Federal court dismisses lawsuit seeking Virginia House elections this year

U.S. District Judge David Novak, joined by two colleagues, ruled that Paul Goldman, a longtime Democratic Party activist, lacks standing.
Credit: 13 News Now
Virginia State Capitol.

RICHMOND, Va. — A three-judge panel dismissed a lawsuit Monday that sought to force all 100 members of Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates to face an unscheduled election this year.

U.S. District Judge David Novak, joined by two colleagues, ruled that Paul Goldman, a longtime Democratic Party activist, lacks standing to pursue his lawsuit. Goldman had argued that House members elected for two-year terms in November 2021 must run again in 2022 under newly redrawn maps that properly align legislative districts with population shifts.

The 2021 elections were supposed to be the first held under constitutionally required redistricting under the 2020 census. But because the census results were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state held elections under the old legislative boundaries; new maps weren’t finalized until December. Goldman argued that has deprived Virginians of their constitutional voting rights, violating the “one man, one vote” principle outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court granted Attorney General Jason Miyares' motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

“I’m glad that the court agreed with my office, that there is no more uncertainty for voters and legislators, and that we were able to protect the sanctity of our 2021 elections,” Miyares said in a statement.

Goldman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ruling on standing comes after months of delays and voluminous briefings in the long-running case. Goldman, an attorney, former state Democratic Party chair and former adviser to ex-Gov. Doug Wilder, brought the suit alone and has represented himself. Miyares' predecessor, Democrat Mark Herring, also sought to have it dismissed.

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Associated Press writer Denise Lavoie contributed to this report.

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