Lynchburg Republicans accused of violating new law on party nominations
The Lynchburg Republican Party is facing criticism from a Democratic state legislator who claims that they are not complying with a new law that requires political parties to hold open and accessible nominating processesDelegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) sent a letter to Attorney General Mark Herring on Monday, asking him to intervene and ensure that the Lynchburg GOP follows the law.
The new law, which took effect on January 1, 2024, states that any political party that nominates candidates for public office by a method other than a primary must adopt and publish rules that provide for the participation of all qualified voters who are in accord with the principles of the party. The law also requires the party to provide reasonable notice of the time, place, and manner of the nominating process, and to ensure that the process is fair and impartial.
Rasoul, who represents parts of Roanoke and Botetourt counties, said that he was contacted by several Lynchburg residents who expressed concerns about the Lynchburg GOP’s nominating process for the upcoming city council elections. According to Rasoul, the Lynchburg GOP has not published any rules or notice for its nominating process, which is expected to take place in February.
Rasoul said that he believes that the Lynchburg GOP is violating the new law and disenfranchising voters who want to participate in the nominating process. He said that he hopes that the attorney general will take action to protect the rights of the voters and ensure a fair and transparent process.
“I think it’s important that we have a level playing field for all candidates and all voters,” Rasoul said. “I think it’s important that we uphold the rule of law and that we respect the will of the people.”
Lynchburg GOP defends its nominating process, calls Rasoul’s letter a political stunt
The Lynchburg GOP, however, has defended its nominating process and dismissed Rasoul’s letter as a political stuntScott Lloyd, the chairman of the Lynchburg GOP, said that the party is in compliance with the new law and that it has been transparent and inclusive in its nominating process.
Lloyd said that the party has posted its nominating process on its website and social media platforms, and that it has invited all interested candidates to apply for the party’s endorsement. He said that the party will hold a mass meeting on February 15, where the registered voters who are present will vote to nominate the candidates for the city council elections.
Lloyd said that the party has followed the same nominating process for years, and that it has never faced any complaints or challenges before. He said that the party is open to all qualified voters who share its principles and values, and that it does not discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, or any other factor.
Lloyd said that he believes that Rasoul’s letter is motivated by partisan politics and personal ambitions. He said that Rasoul is trying to interfere in the local affairs of Lynchburg and to gain publicity for his own campaign for lieutenant governor.
“I think it’s a shame that he’s using his position as a delegate to meddle in the affairs of another locality,” Lloyd said. “I think it’s a shame that he’s using this as a platform to promote his own candidacy. I think it’s a shame that he’s trying to undermine the integrity of our nominating process and our candidates.”
Attorney General’s office says it is reviewing Rasoul’s letter, urges parties to follow the law
The Attorney General’s office said that it has received Rasoul’s letter and that it is reviewing it. Charlotte Gomer, the press secretary for the Attorney General’s office, said that the office cannot comment on the specifics of the letter or the Lynchburg GOP’s nominating process, but that it urges all political parties to follow the law and to respect the rights of the voters.
Gomer said that the new law on party nominations was passed by the General Assembly last year with bipartisan support, and that it aims to ensure that the nominating processes of the parties are open, fair, and accessible to all qualified voters. She said that the law also gives the Attorney General the authority to enforce the law and to seek injunctive relief or civil penalties against any party that violates the law.
Gomer said that the Attorney General’s office is committed to protecting the integrity of the elections and the democracy in Virginia, and that it will take appropriate action if it finds any evidence of wrongdoing or violation of the law.
“We encourage all political parties to comply with the law and to provide a clear and transparent nominating process for their candidates and their voters,” Gomer said. “We also encourage all voters to exercise their right to vote and to participate in the democratic process.”