Virginia gives Goode spot on state election ballot

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By BOB LEWIS, Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Conservative former Rep. Virgil Goode will appear on Virginia's presidential ballot after state election officials rejected a Republican-led effort to keep him off. Republicans fear Goode will drain votes from their candidate, Mitt Romney, in a swing state where polls show a deadlocked race.

Virginia's State Board of Elections acted Tuesday after the state GOP challenged Goode's qualifying petitions and sought an independent review.

But the Republican-dominated board also asked Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (koo-chih-NEHL'-ee) and the state police to investigate.

The former congressman is the nominee of the conservative Constitution Party, and has held office as a Democrat, independent and Republican. He lost the seat to Democrat Tom Perriello in 2008.

Goode has called the GOP's action a heavy-handed effort to control ballot access and intimidate third-party participation.

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