The court's ruling means that nominating petitions for political candidates can be circulated by non-residents.
A federal appeals court in Virginia has ruled that the commonweatlth's law prohibiting out-of-state residents from circulating petitions for third-party presidential candidates is unconstitutional.
Wednesday's unanimous opinion by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a previous ruling that the residency requirement is an impermissible restraint on political speech.
The lawsuit was filed by the Libertarian Party of Virginia and Pennsylvania professional petition circulator Darryl Bonner.
Lawyers for the commonwealth argued that without the law it would be too difficult to prosecute petition circulators from other states who commit election fraud in Virginia. But the plaintiffs' lawyer from the ACLU of Virginia contended that the First Amendment trumps any administrative problems in enforcing the state's election laws.