Virginia court throws out case claiming Fairfax county broke law over accepting absentee ballots

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A Virginia Circuit Court judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday claiming the Fairfax County Office of Elections had wrongly accepted absentee ballot applications. 

The dismissal comes just before Election Day on Nov. 2, when commonwealth voters decide their next governor.

Filed last week by the Public Interest Legal Foundation on behalf of the conservative Virginia Institute for Public Policy, the lawsuit argued Fairfax County was violating Virginia law by accepting and approving applications for absentee and mail-in ballots that don’t include the last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security number.

In its response, the county elections office referenced a Virginia law that says this type of lawsuit can only be brought to court by a candidate, a candidate’s campaign party, or an aggrieved voter.

The defendants noted the Virginia Institute for Public Policy is neither of these and Judge Michael Devine supported this view, ruling the litigants didn’t have standing.

However, the defendants didn’t state all of the ballot applications were entirely filled out either.

In a joint stipulation submitted to the court Friday, according to WTOP, both sides agreed Fairfax County General Registrar Scott Konopasek “has accepted and approved some applications for absentee and ‘vote by mail’ ballots that were submitted by mail (or other remote means) that did not include the last four digits of the applicants’ Social Security numbers.”

PILF President J. Christian Adams responded to the court’s decision saying the lawsuit was dismissed on a technical ground.

“The merits of the case were not reached. It is unfortunate that an important election will take place with the registrar of the largest county in Virginia breaking the law. It isn’t fair to change the rules in the middle of the game. Fairfax is the only county breaking the law.”  

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