Are you a loyal Virginia Republican? How loyal? Well only those loyal enough to sign an oath will be allowed to participate in the party's March 6 Super Tuesday primary.
According to the Virginia GOP's new rules, anyone who votes during the primary must first sign a form pledging their support for the eventual Republican nominee, whoever it may be. Refuse to sign and you're barred from voting that day.
The state Board of Elections approved on Dec. 28 pledge forms requested by the Virginia GOP, as well as signs informing voters of the new policy.
The pledge reads I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president. Though it is not meant to be legally binding, the move is meant to deter non-Republicans from causing mischief in the primary. In Virginia, the primary is open to any voter, including Democrats and independents, as voters do not register by party.
The pledge is a departure from the pledge signed by Virginia Republican primary voters in 2000, which stated, I, the undersigned, state that I do not intend to participate in the nomination process of any other party than the Republican Party.
That pledge was academic in subsequent elections, when there was either only one GOP candidate or a Democratic primary held the same day. Now, Virginia Republicans want to ensure Democrats don't come out in force to hand over a strong showing to a candidate otherwise wholly unpopular within the state.
Bob Marshall, a GOP delegate, opposes the plan, according to The Washington Post.
Virginia's Republican leadership wants to mandate a loyalty oath when Virginia's Republican officials are in court fighting the Obamacare mandate? Marshall said. This sends the wrong message.
The move comes after only two candidates managed to meet the requirements for getting their name on the primary ballot, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.