On July 21st, the Virginia Bar Association will be holding the first debate for the race for the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Virginia. However, like the debates they have held in previous years, they will be excluding one of the candidates who will be on the November ballot, Libertarian Matt Waters. Although the organization claims to be nonpartisan and “the VBA debates are not intended to in any way promote or advance one candidate over another”, it is obvious that through their exclusionary practices they intend to advance the candidacies of two of the options at the expense of their third.
Virginia has one of the most difficult hurdles for statewide candidates to achieve ballot access. An independent or third party candidate (or a Republican or Democrat competing in a primary but not a convention) needs to submit the signatures of 10,000 registered voters to the Election Board with at least 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. After a majority of Republican presidential candidates failed to make the cut in 2012, the Virginia General Assembly lowered the threshold for that office (and that office only) to 5,000 signatures.
If you are tired of being forced to select between the lesser of two evils, you don’t think that the Virginia Bar Association ought to be picking winners and losers in elections, and/or you feel that every candidate who succeeds in making the ballot ought to be given the same equality of opportunity of having his or her voice heard, I encourage you to visit the Facebook page of the Virginia Bar Association and let them know you don’t support their sham of a debate. I’ve spoken to them already and perhaps if enough of us make our opinions known, then politics in Virginia can become more free and fair.