Donald Trump has been tweeting that the Republican Party of Virginia, which is controlled by the RNC (Republican National Committee), is plotting to keep independent, unaffiliated, and new voters from registering as Republicans and voting in the Primary. He wants the RNC to act.
It begins, Republican Party of Virginia, controlled by the RNC, is working hard to disallow independent, unaffiliated and new voters. BAD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2015
Republicans say they want to discourage Democrats from deciding who the Republican nominee will be by having new voters sign a loyalty oath.
However, this would be the first time the GOP will be implementing this in Virginia. It looks suspicious. It appears to be a clear shot at Trump by discouraging first time voters.
On the other hand, a lot of states, including Virginia, already allow voters to cross party lines to vote in the primary. The sixteen open primary states allow voters to cast a ballot in any party’s primary.
Del. David I. Ramadan (R-Loudoun) said Sunday that he supports the party requirement. He responded to Trump with an angry tweet of his own: “Our party, our rules; your $$$ and your bullying do not work in the Commonwealth. MORON!!”
In an interview, Ramadan said, “If Trump considers himself a Republican and his supporters consider themselves Republican, then what’s wrong with signing a pledge saying they’re Republican?”
There are reports from the Conservative Treehouse that the GOP might disqualify first time voters and set a time limit to be registered which is coming up soon but I haven’t yet found evidence of those changes.
The GOP loyalty oath asks people to declare that they will support the party’s candidate after the primary. The GOP tried the loyalty oath in 2012 and had to withdraw it because it created a furor.
The oath will require voters to say they are a Republican before they cast a ballot. It states: “My signature below indicates that I am a Republican.”
Voters are required to print and then sign their names. The form asks for phone numbers and email addresses, but those requests are optional.
It isn’t clear that the Virginia GOP reviewed election law before this leaked but it’s completely unenforceable.
“It’s not a specific pledge, and, in fact, the way that we designed this statement was to be as inclusive as possible,” said Republican Party of Virginia Executive Director John Findlay.
Election workers say it will create nightmarish long lines.
“If they’re [voters] given something that’s between them and the ballot, they get angry,” said state official Lawrence Haake, of the Chesterfield County General Registrar.
Another ongoing discussion will be who has access to the signatures after the primary. For now, officials say they think the forms will be sealed. However the Republican Party wants access to them.
“To be straightforward, yeah, we do want to data mine it, if at all possible,” said Findlay.
It seems like a useless exercise. Oaths don’t mean much these days.
Trump is concerned because he does well among unaffiliated voters and he thinks it might be a way to discourage voters who are coming out to support him. In a recent survey by American Research Group, for example, he got the support of 15 percent of registered Republicans in New Hampshire, but 29 percent of those who were not registered with either political party.
There are reports that large numbers of independents and conservative Democrats are registering as Republicans to support Trump.
The belief by some and by Trump is that this will discourage non-traditional Republican voters. What do you think? Fishy or a tempest in a teapot?