Virginia GOP Will Require Primary Voters To Sign Party Loyalty Oath


Written by Marie Diamond

Pledges have become something of a fad in the Republican primary this year. Except for Jon Huntsman, the GOP hopefuls have all signed pledges to radical right-wing groups like the FAMiLY Leader promising to ban pornography and only appoint anti-abortion cabinet members and judges, among other things.

As the New York Times editorial board put it, “It used to be that a sworn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution was the only promise required to become president.” But today, “each pledge they sign undermines the basic principle of democratic government built on compromise and negotiation.”

Now the Virginia GOP is extending the trend to voters, requiring them to sign a loyalty oath to the party before they are allowed to participate in the primary:

The state Republican Party will require voters to sign a loyalty oath in order to participate in the March 6 presidential primary.

Anyone who wants to vote must sign a form at the polling place pledging to support the eventual Republican nominee for president. Anyone who refuses to sign will be barred from voting in the primary.

During a brief meeting Wednesday at the state Capitol, the State Board of Elections voted 3-0 to approve three forms developed by the election board’s staff to implement the loyalty pledge requested by the state GOP.

Those who wish to vote in the primary must sign a form that says, “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.” The pledge so impinges on citizens’ fundamental right to vote for whomever they want in the general election that even some Republican lawmakers in the state have come out against it.

This is not the first time Virginia Republicans have tried to implement a loyalty pledge. They backed off their attempts in 2000 and 2008 over concerns about alienating independent voters.

Of course, loyalty oaths have disturbing historical connotations in this country, harkening back to the McCarthy era where many organizations required employees or members to sign loyalty oaths or lose their jobs.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Photo from mandamonium via flickr


Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer6 years ago

King Arthur's* Court

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer6 years ago

Mayhaps tis but an outbreak of too many nodgens getting knocked once too many times in the jousts at local Renaissance Faires or a new take on an old classic... "Republicant Yankees in King Author's Court"...

New post on my blog: The Cult of the Randites

Steven Brewer
Steven Brewer6 years ago

An oath of fealty is an oath of faithfulness and dates back to the middle ages when serfs and others had to swear an oath of fealty to their Lords and Masters to get protections and food. The Republicant Party has their politicians swear an oath of fealty to Grover Norquist with an oath not to raise taxes long before they can swear an oath to preserve, protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America... which seems to me to be illegal if the Constitution calls for them to raise taxes to pay for the army etc etc... In 1215 in a place called Runny Meade in England the Magna Carta was signed which was an oath of fealty to King Edward in exchange for the rights that made big steps towards democracy such as the right of inheritance, the right to a speedy trial by a jury of your peers among others. The strange thing about this oath of fealty in Virginia is how close it is to the Republican legislators of New Hampshire requiring all new legislation to be shown by its authors its origins in the Magna Carta... methinks they doth drink from the same chalice of Kool Aid... unless we are in the early stages of trying to bring a royal order to America... but this is one American who bows before no man... now women may be another

Mary B.
Mary B6 years ago

Sounds like somebody pulled this bit of outdated thought out of the ethers. Must have been a minor earth rumble that released some stuff from the middle ages when peasents were required to sign an oath of loyalty to the King and local land barron.

J.C. H.
Jc Honeycutt6 years ago

Well, it looks as if Republican primary voters in Virginia will be limited to the hard-line Obama-haters--not necessarily a small group, but not an impressively large one either. If people take this pledge seriously, that is. Personally, if I lived in VA, I'd be willing to register Republican & sign the pledge just to vote for the least offensive candidate....oh, wait a minute....never mind.

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

The GOP is a cult. They do NOT believe in democracy or human rights, just THEIR rights.

Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W6 years ago

I say "Let it Go"! It will serve to splinter the Republican Party even further guaranteeing more Democratic seats.

Although I'm sure this has to be Unconstitutional as all Hell, Yuck Yuck!

Ira L.
Ellie L6 years ago

Whomever is involved in this "pledge" or responsible for its content should be hauled off to jail for wanting to circumvent our Democracy. We MUST get rid of these people. Sooner rather than later. Holy crap. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Virginians should rise up and revolt.

Mark S.
Mark S6 years ago

If you support the GOP, you support fascism. I prefer freedom myself.

Geynell Eskite
Geynell Eskite6 years ago

Isn't that flagrantly unconstitutional? What is the "penalty" for violating the pledge? How would the GOP know? I think any registered Republican voter who is denied access to their right to vote for refusing to sign, has the basis for one hell of a lawsuit. The Republican War on Democracy has gotten way out of hand.