What’s Happening In Virginia? Republicans Require Voters To Sign Loyalty Oath To Vote And So Much More

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I have so many reasons to love Virginia. Some of the kindest people I know come from Virginia. Then there’s Cantor. There isn’t enough space on the internet for me to describe the ways I dislike this man; his syrupy accent when he is trying to “Ah, shucks” the crowd. I picture him in a white suit with a smarmy grin that makes him look the part of a plantation man–my nickname for him. But surprisingly, I am here to discuss the GOP and Virginia–and Cantor is nowhere to be found. It just seems like such a waste but I swear to return with a Cantor smack-down on another day. Promise!

So one might query: What has Virginia been up to this week?

Well, it was just this week that we found out that only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul had their shit together enough to round up the signatures needed to appear on the ballot with Paul appearing on top after he was selected in a drawing held this week for the one-two position.

This left Perry scrambling to file a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and he now has a newly scheduled hearing date of January 13, 2012, to make his case for being included on the ballot.

Newt, crying like a spoiled brat, compared his inability to being placed on the ballot to Pearl Harbor. Yes, I said it: Pearl Harbor. Which required Mitt Romney to mock Gingrich by comparing Newt’s drama to the famous I Love Lucy episode in the chocolate factory.

Newt then challenged Mitt to a one-on-one debate (mano y mano) and dared him to repeat the insult. It turns out that Newt is now claiming “fraud” by his own campaign worker who purportedly gathered 1500 fraudulent signatures (sounding a bit ACORN to me) spoiling Newt’s chance to get on the ballot fairly and squarely (considering he hired an army of paid volunteers to gather signatures and paid them bonuses for different levels attained during his rush to qualify).

Can it get better than this? YES!

On Wednesday, December 28, 2011, the GOP of Virginia sought and obtained the right from the Virginia State Board of Elections to require voters to sign a loyalty oath in order to participate in the state’s presidential primary on March 6. Basically, Virginia voters–who have open primaries–meaning you do not have to be of a particular party to vote in the primary–will be required to sign a loyalty oath if they wish to cast a ballot.

Loyalty Oaths and Virginia. There’s a history here. Yes, the GOP of the great state of Virginia is once again putting forth a call for voters that vote in the March 6th primary to sign a Loyalty Oath; but this isn’t the first time. According to the Washington Post:

This is not the first cycle in which state Republicans have sought to impose such a pledge. In 2000, the GOP made voters in its primary promise not to participate in the primaries of any other party, after state election officials rejected the party’s request to disseminate a form asking voters to pledge support for “all of the Republican Party’s nominees in the next election.”

Virginia Republicans initially planned to include a loyalty pledge in the 2008 presidential primary, but then decided to scrap the idea amid fears by some in the party that the requirement might alienate some independent voters from the GOP cause.

So what does this OATH look like?

“I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.”

[T]he elections board approved a notice to inform absentee voters of the pledge, a sign to hang at polling places and the pledge form itself according to the Richmond-Times Dispatch. 

Signs for polling places and the pledge form will advise voters that “Section 24.2-545 of the Code of Virginia allows the political party holding a primary to determine requirements for voting in the primary, including ‘the signing of a pledge by the voter of his intention to support the party’s candidate when offering to vote in the primary.'”

The Daily Kos mockingly addressed the simple-minded oath stating:

This appears to be an attempt to skirt the state’s open primary law, supported by the State Board of Elections itself, in order to filter out non-party-members from causing crazy mischief by … well, by what? There’s only two candidates on the ballot, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Are they worried independents will tip things towards Ron Paul?

But that’s not what their loyalty oath is focused on. It requires you pledge that you “intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.” What if you only find one of the candidates acceptable, and but not the other?

Are you prevented from voting, then, because you are not willing to pledge fealty to a generic, unknown future candidate? Because that’s exactly what it says.

In reality, the loyalty oath is garbage. Since it is barring thoughtcrime, there is no way to enforce it, and you are perfectly free to walk into the polls, lie your ass off, and vote for whomever you damn well want. If the loyalty oath has any effect at all, it will be on people who are too honest or principled to lie on a pointless, makework form, and thus refuse. Those honest and principled voters will then be prevented from voting for Republicans.

And how will this saga about Loyalty and Oaths and signing and voting end for the voters of Virginia? Well according to Kyle Kondik, a political analyst for the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics reported to ABC News:

“I think there was a desire to try and keep the Republican party for Republicans,” explains Kyle Kondik, a political analyst for the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “It’s the one barrier to entry that the Republican party can put up to try and keep voting limited to people in the club.”

Kondik points out that the oath, however, is not enforceable from a legal standpoint, since voters are guaranteed the right to a private ballot.

“It’s an honor system,” says Kondik. “It doesn’t have any legally binding authority. People can go to the primary, sign the pledge and then vote for their candidate and then vote for Obama or a third-party candidate in the fall.”

Personally, I am having a big problem wrapping my head around the words “Loyalty Oath,” “Republican Party” and “honor system.” I am more inclined to join with the Daily Kos and their assessment that those that appear will sign and couldn’t care less if they are lying their asses off. This whole Virginia Caper as I am going to refer to the events starting with all but Romney and Paul being on the ticket to this latest Loyalty Oath feels more like Virginia’s version of Duck Soup with the Marx Brothers with Virginia playing the part of the state of Freedonia. Classic!!