Court asks Miyares’ office to respond to election timetable appeal

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office has until Friday afternoon to respond to a motion to dismiss the state’s challenge to a federal lawsuit seeking to force another round of elections at Virginia House in November.

Attorney Paul Goldman, former chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, filed a motion Wednesday to dismiss the state’s appeal for a lawsuit he filed in the Eastern District of Virginia in June.

The lawsuit argues that the results of last fall’s election are invalid because they were held in legislative districts that were not updated with new census data to reflect population changes during the last decade.

Goldman wants the court to set one-year terms for the 100 state delegates and force Virginia to hold another round of elections in the redrawn districts. If the court sides with Goldman, the battle for control of the House of Delegates would be on the ballot three years in a row.

The lawsuit has stalled since then – Attorney General Mark Herring asked the court to dismiss the effort on procedural grounds. Herring’s office argued that senior state officials named in the lawsuit, including the governor, were immune from such lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge David J. Novak ruled the case could go forward against individual members of the state Board of Elections and the Virginia Elections Commissioner and go before a three-judge panel. But Herring’s office appealed that decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond.

“When the three-judge district court was created, the appellants had the right to request that the three judges meet to review the decision, not the 4th Circuit Court,” Goldman wrote in his motion to dismiss.

On Thursday, the federal appeals court requested a response to Goldman’s motion from the state by 3 p.m. Friday. Miyares’ office is now handling the case on behalf of the state.

A spokesperson for Miyares’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 4th United States Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral argument in the case on March 8. If the court agrees to dismiss the case, Goldman could appeal the decision. If the attorney general’s office’s appeal is denied, the three-judge panel, which includes Novak, will hear Goldman’s case.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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