This is Still America, Right?

When I first heard reports of this, I swore I was having a bad nightmare and mishearing the radio news. But, it turns out that it’s quite real. Virginia holds open primaries. You can self-select as Republican or Democrat and vote in the proper primary that you identify with. In fact, courtesy of Wikipedia: the Virginia Open Primary Law states that “[a]ll persons qualified to vote…may vote at the primary. No person shall vote for the candidates of more than one party.

Except that this time, if you choose to vote in Republican Primary, you will forced into signing an oath of fealty to the Republican Party.

I’m going to repeat that because it bears repeating.

If you choose to vote in the Republican Primary, you will be forced into signing an oath that you will vote for the Republican candidate in the Presidential election.

It’s not enforceable by law, but it certainly is odious, and I suppose, something I’ve come to expect from the Republicans in power.

9 Comments so far

  1. poo poo (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

    it’s been like that in washington, dc for years.

  2. Mike Licht (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

    Poo Poo: DC has separate party primaries but open general election ballots, so DC Dems can vote for Libertarian, Socialist Worker, Republican or Green Party presidential candidates.

    VA election law allows cross-over voting in primaries. The state GOP wants to enforce party loyalty, but this "oath" is as close as they can get. Republicans have done things like this before.

  3. Anon (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

    I remember this being somewhat of an issue in 2000 when McCain was coming off his victory in New Hampshire. The party establishment was afraid of there being a lot of independents or Democrats flooding the ballots, so they had a form that they wanted you to sign that said you weren’t going to vote in the Democratic primary too. I don’t think they went so far as to require you to vote for the Republican.

    Too bad my fellow McCain voters fell short that day. Had he won in Virginia, he may have ended Bush’s career right then and there.

  4. Ross M Karchner (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

    The Board of Elections should have added the obvious corollary– Only people who have previously signed the oath should be able to vote Republican in the presidential election.

  5. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

    Or, Ross, they could’ve done what so many other states have done and required it be a closed primarily based on party affiliation.

    It’s not that I find swearing an oath to be so odious, but it’s the mere ridiculousness of it all and wastefulness that I find so frustrating.

  6. Don (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

    This goes beyond closed primary tactics (though unenforcable), I’d say. There’ve been several election years where each party fielded someone in the primary stage who I’d be willing to vote for but ended up running someone I wouldn’t be willing to support.

    Asking people to commit to the party above all if they want to have any say in how it’s run is odious.

  7. gary (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

    This is pretty messed up. However, I know where I grew up (NJ), in order to vote in a primary, you need to be a registered/declared member of that party. That I don’t have a problem with, I mean it’s a party selecting a candidate for the general election, but what VA is doing seems over the top.

  8. KCinDC (unregistered) on November 29th, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

    Yes, having to be registered in a party in order to vote in that party’s primary is common and generally uncontroversial. That’s the way it is in DC and lots of other places. Checking "Republican" on your voter registration is in no way the same as swearing you’ll always vote for the Republican candidate in the general election. The problem is that Virginia doesn’t have party registration, so the Republicans are imposing this insanity instead and digging themselves further into the hole they’re in in Virginia.

  9. Arlington (unregistered) on November 30th, 2007 @ 11:45 am

    It’s not actually an "oath," and it doesn’t say "will vote for the Republican candidate."

    Rather, it reads:
    "Pledge: I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for President."

    I was concerned at first about this, but it seems to me an easy pledge for anyone who is likely to vote Republican in the general election. After all, you can "intend to support the nominee," but also intend to withhold that support in the event the nominee is Mike Huckabee.

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