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The judge agreed with the candidates that the requirement that petition circulators be Virginia residents is a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech clause, citing numerous prior cases challenging similar laws. “Had the case been timely filed,” he wrote, “the Court would have ordered the [Virginia State Board of Elections] not to enforce the residency requirement for petition circulators, and the plaintiffs could have tried, with the expanded pool of campaign workers, to get the 10,000 signatures.” However, he had earlier expressed some skepticism as to whether this was really the cause of their failure to obtain the required number of signatures, noting that “Jerry Kilgore, the campaign manager for Perry in Virginia, testified that he collected over 13,000 valid signatures on a ‘shoe string’ budget using friends and family members during the 1997 election for Attorney General of Virginia.”