Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Primary Voters in Virginia Must Sign Loyalty Oaths

From The Roanoke Times:
The Republican Party of Virginia has no interest in thoughtful voters. It only wants mindless party loyalists who will vote Republican no matter what.

That's the sad message of a new GOP policy for next year's presidential primary approved by the State Board of Elections this week. People who want to vote in it must sign a loyalty oath swearing their intent to vote in November for the party's nominee, whomever that winds up being.

The oath precludes such careful analysis and leaves Republicans three options:

  • Lie. Virginia's ballots are still secret; no one will know if you vote against the party nominee.

  • Stay home from the Feb. 12 election and keep your options open.

  • Commit to an unknown Republican candidate nine months before the election.

  • Honorable Virginians do not give their word lightly and will not lie, even under these obtuse circumstances. We hope, too, that they put candidates' ideas, character and experience ahead of party affiliation.

    Honest, responsible voters therefore can only skip the primary.

    That, obviously, was not the goal of the Republican loyalty oath. The oath is an outgrowth of Virginia's open primaries and a two-party system that prizes power over all else.

    Democrats are susceptible to such electoral foolishness, too. In Roanoke, Democrats who want to help pick the party's city council candidates must vow to support the party's nominees.

    My Comments:
    If I still lived in the Commonwealth of Virginia, this sort of thing would keep me from voting in the primaries.

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    At 11/28/2007 12:54 PM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

    Wow. I may live in ultra blue Maryland, but here's another reason NOt to move to (moving bluer anyway) Virginia. That's just . . . craptacular.

    I personally think that primary voters ought to actually be members of the party. That sort of requirement makes sense to me. It's not right for Democrats to come into GOP primaries, or vice versa. But this sort of "loyalty oath" is ridiculous.

    At 11/28/2007 2:14 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

    A "loyalty oath" isn't going to stop a Dem bent on screwing up the Republican nomination process from voting in the GOP primary. If they're unscrupulous enough to claim to be a Republican voter, they're certainly not going to be deterred by signing a "loyalty oath".

    But neither am I a fan of closed priamaries. In our 2-party system, I don't think it's right to exclude "independent" voters from having a role in picking the nominees that they will have to choose from in the general election.

    At 11/28/2007 6:43 PM, Blogger Kasia said...

    I agree with not liking closed primaries. I also dislike the tactic (reputedly used to some effect here in Michigan in the 2000 Republican primary) whereby unscrupulus persons take advantage of open primaries and intentionally sabotage the opposing party by voting for a weak candidate.

    However, this loyalty oath takes the cake. As you pointed out, if I'm unscrupulous enough to try to sabotage a party that I don't support, I'm hardly going to be fussed about signing a "loyalty oath" that has no enforceability.

    If Republicans and Republican sympathizers stay home from the polls in Virginia as a result of it, I can't see any good coming to the Republican party from it. This smacks of something unsavory to me. It's like they're trying to guilt people who are actually conscientious enough to feel bound by an oath (even an unjust one) into voting for whoever the party picks. So if I go vote to try to keep Giuliani (for example) from getting the nomination, I have to promise to vote for him if he gets the nomination, even though the whole reason for my voting in the primaries was that I cannot in good conscience vote for him under any circumstances.

    I didn't click the article - is the primary binding on the party in Virginia? That is, do the delegates have to support the person who wins the primary?

    At 12/01/2007 4:09 PM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

    FYI, they've decided to scrap the idea. Thank goodness.


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