ACLU, Libertarians lawsuit challenges Virginia's ballot access law

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Libertarian Party is challenging a state law that allows only Virginia residents to circulate petitions to get minor party candidates on the general election ballot.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court in Richmond on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Virginia and Darryl Bonner, a Pennsylvania resident who often circulates petitions for the party's candidates in other states.

The complaint alleges that the restriction violates the plaintiffs' First Amendment right of free speech and association. In a similar case earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry challenged a related Virginia law that imposes the residency requirement for petition circulators in primary elections.

A judge said the requirement is probably unconstitutional, but ruled that Perry filed his lawsuit too late.