For once, I actually agree with the WaPo on this one:
The failure of former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry to qualify for the March 6 primary has renewed scrutiny of the state’s cumbersome laws governing ballot access. Seen as among the nation’s most stringent, the Virginia rules demand that a candidate collect 10,000 voter signatures, an unusually high number, with additional requirements on how they can be collected, where and by whom. Clearly, Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Perry, who has gone to court in a bid to get his name on the ballot, must accept responsibility for not gathering the requisite number of names; the rules are well known and have been in place for years.
Nonetheless, those most hurt by their failure are the voters. Elections are about choices, and voters are best served by having the broadest field of candidates.
I have no clue whether Gingrich, Perry, et. al. simply failed to get their acts together or whether the Virginia GOP did in fact change the rules mid-stream (as claimed here). All I know for sure is that we Virginians have been royally screwed. A choice between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney is no choice at all. And yes — in order to prevent this from happening again, we need to agitate for a change in our election laws. Ballot access should be easy; it’s the process of getting elected that should be hard.