RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -

The Libertarian Party and nine former Virginia candidates have filed a lawsuit challenging state laws that they claim give Democrats and Republicans an unfair advantage in elections.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Richmond against the three-member Virginia State Board of Elections. Robert Sarvis, last year's Libertarian candidate for governor, is the lead plaintiff.

According to the complaint, Virginia's ballot access laws violate the Constitution's equal protection and freedom of association guarantees. Those state laws require minor party candidates to gather signatures on petitions to get on the ballot and place their names below those of major-party candidates on the ballot.

The state attorney general's office, which represents the elections board, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.