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Court schedules Jan. 13 hearing for Perry's Virginia primary challenge

A hearing on the request from Texas Gov. Rick Perry for a federal court order to place him on the Virginia primary ballot has been scheduled for Friday, Jan. 13th in Richmond before Judge John Gibney, Jr.

Lawyers for Perry claim that Virginia's stringent requirements to qualify for the ballot froze him out of the March 6 primary.

"Because of the overly burdensome and unconstitutional requirements" of the state's election law, they argue, he was "unable to obtain a sufficient number of signatures from qualified voters to qualify for the Republican Party presidential primary ballot in Virginia. If either the state-residency requirement for petition circulators or the threshold amount of signators is constitutionally unenforceable, plaintiff should be certified for the March 6, 2012 Republican Party primary ballot."

The state requires that those who circulate petitions must be either registered to vote in the state or qualified to do so. Such a rule, however, prevents candidates from using out-of-state volunteers to gather signatures. And Perry points out it prevents even presidential candidates themselves from gathering signatures on their own petitions, unless they happen to be from Virginia.

The court must act soon, Perry argues, "because the deadline to print ballots is in the next two or three weeks."