The Office of Attorney General (OAG) Jason Miyares is arguing in court that it is too late to grant 2023 House elections — a response to Thomas v. Beals, a lawsuit alleging that the 2022 elections, held on pre-redistricting lines, disenfranchised voters in areas with significant population growth. The OAG argues that plaintiff Jeff Thomas delayed in filing the lawsuit — after Thomas alleged that both Miyares and former Attorney General Mark Herring themselves tried to block the elections through delay.
“This is a case about delay,” the OAG states in a July 1 memorandum supporting a motion to dismiss. “Almost a year after the first lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2021 House of Delegates election, seven months after that election took place, and just over four months before the 2022 general election, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the 2021 election.”
“Their eleventh-hour filing entirely precludes their relief,” the memorandum adds.
“And Plaintiffs’ delay precludes equitable relief, which is generally unavailable to those who sleep on their rights and which would be particularly inappropriate given the procedural and administrative chaos it would foment in Virginia’s ongoing electoral process,” the OAG argues.
Before the 2021 election, Paul Goldman filed a similar lawsuit, and Jeff Thomas tried and was unable to join that lawsuit. Goldman’s suit dragged on for months, before being dismissed in the beginning of June for a lack of standing. When that happened, Thomas filed his own suit since he comes from a district that was allegedly harmed by redistricting.
“Attorneys General Herring and Miyares and their litigators have little in common except their strategies to moot this matter through delay,” Thomas’ lawsuit argues.
Judge David Novak also said that Herring delayed a clear result in the situation through stall tactics, according to WRIC.
Under the schedule requested in Thomas lawsuit, primaries would be held on or before September 13, and the election would be held at the same time as the other November elections.
In its argument, the OAG says that violates U.S. Supreme Court guidance from Purcell v. Gonzalez.
“Recent Supreme Court decisions show that a federal injunction compelling a State to hold an entirely new election in 2022 would violate Purcell,” the OAG argues, citing Supreme Court decisions in February, March, and in June.
“Plaintiffs’ delay in bringing their claims has caused the Purcell problem with their complaint and the concomitant prejudice that would result to Defendants, elected representatives, and the people of Virginia,” the OAG argues.
This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.