Virginia GOP requires loyalty oath from primary voters

By David Edwards
Thursday, December 29, 2011 11:59 EDT
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Voters stand in line to get their ballots (Flickr/pennstatelive)
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The Virginia Republican Party is planning to force voters who wish to participate in the March 6 primary to sign a loyalty oath.

The Virginia State Board of Elections has given the party permission to go ahead with their plans to make primary voters pledge their support to the eventual nominee no matter who it is.

“The code of Virginia allows for political parties to require individuals who wish to participate in presidential primaries to sign a pledge that he or she will support the party’s candidate in the general election,” Board of Elections Deputy Director Justin Riemer told NBC Washington.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, voters will be required to sign a document that reads: “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”

Virginia does not oblige voters to be registered to a party before participating in the primary. Voters are welcome to vote in both Democratic and Republican primaries unless they are held on the same day.

During the 2000 presidential primary, the Virginia GOP required a slightly less onerous loyalty oath that made voters promise not to participate in the Democratic primary.

Civil rights advocates cried foul in 2004 when President George W. Bush’s campaign insisted that citizens attending campaign events sign an oath that they would vote for the Bush-Cheney ticket.

“Maybe we should start having joint fundraisers with the DNC,” then-RNC communications director Jim Dyke quipped at the time. “Please.”

Photo: Flickr/pennstatelive

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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