Richmond Casino Opponent Sues Election Board Over Voter Data
Posted on: August 31, 2023, 04:53h.
Last updated on: September 1, 2023, 01:42h.
A political activist in Richmond, Va. who’s fighting city leaders over efforts to develop a casino in the city, claims he is being denied an opportunity to present his case to voters.
Paul Goldman, a local attorney and political consultant, established a new political group, “No Means No Casino,” to advocate against a ballot measure that would authorize the casino project. Richmond voters narrowly rejected a similar casino referendum in 2021, but city leaders want to revisit the question this year.
Goldman’s group wants to send mailers to voters and run a door-knocking campaign using voter data from the Virginia State Board of Elections. But he says the board is violating his constitutional rights by not handing the information over.
Under state law, voter data must be made available to candidates and political action committees, and Goldman says his group should be entitled to the same data to argue its case against the casino measure ahead of the November 7 election. He says elections officials are refusing to share the information.
Goldman filed a lawsuit in Richmond City Circuit Court against Virginia Department of Elections commissioner Susan Beals and members of the Board of Elections, according to a copy of the complaint provided to Casino.org.
A Department of Elections spokeswoman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.
Plans for the ballot referendum have, so far, survived a separate legal challenge from another Richmond nonprofit attempting to block the measure. The nonprofit argued that it amounts to an illegal no-bid contract and would harm charitable gaming operators.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and city council members have been broadly supportive of plans for the new casino, which they say will bring jobs and economic development to the city. Project proponents plan to unveil new plans for the $500M facility on Thursday evening.
Goldman says out-of-state interests are preying on residents, and the project will not deliver on its promises.
Grocery Magnates Fund Opposition
“No Means No Casino” was established in late July, according to paperwork filed with the State Board of Elections.
The organization has received a single cash donation of $100K from Barbara and Jim Ukrop, scions of a popular local chain of grocery stores and backers of an earlier anti-casino effort. According to campaign finance records, Richmond Action, LLC, another organization founded by Goldman, has made nearly $40K worth of “in kind” contributions.
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