State Republican Party leaders voted in Richmond on Saturday to ask the state to cancel a required party loyalty pledge in the March 1 GOP presidential primary.
Roger Miles, a GOP state central committee member, said shortly after the unanimous voice vote that the party leaders are halting their plans because of “bad publicity.”
At the party’s request, the State Board of Elections has been requiring all voters in the GOP primary to sign and print their name on a statement affirming “I am a Republican” before being allowed to cast a ballot.
Now, let's discuss this development. 1 March 2016 is the Presidential primary in Virginia (and several other states). In September 2015, the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) State Central Committee (SCC) voted to require anyone who wanted to vote in the GOP primary to sign a statement certifying they are a Republican. Such "loyalty oaths" are permitted by state law.
HOWEVER -- as usual, this was a subterfuge on the part of the PRV SCC. This requirement had NOTHING to do with party loyalty. Instead, this was an attempt by the RPV to use official election personnel to collect information that would be used by the party to expand their membership. Here is a memo issued by the RPV SCC -- note the NUMBER ONE reason for requiring the loyalty oath.
SSC Members and Unit Chairs,So -- the REAL reason for the "loyalty oath" was to collect personal data that they can use for partisan political purposes.
Today, our Party formally informed the State Board of Elections that the Republican Party of Virginia intends to require a Statement of Intent to be signed by voters in the March 1st Presidential Primary. This request was approved by the State Central Committee on September 19th of this year. Our Party has this option available to us by statute.
Attached you will find a copy of the proposed Statement of Intent. Previously, our opponents in the media have messaged this as a "loyalty oath" that will hinder the participation of our military and civil servants. As you will find by reading the text of the proposed Statement, the statement was specifically constructed to allow for participation by our military personnel and civil servants.
The benefits of this statement are twofold. First, this Statement provides us with a huge opportunity to collect data. As you will notice there is an optional line for email addresses. A similar process was used in the 10th Congressional District canvass in 2014, it yielded over 9,000 email addresses that instantly benefited not only our Party but also our nominee. The statement has the potential to add tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of email addresses for the Party and our nominee.
Second, while that Statement if very broadly construed, it will hopefully deter Democrats from participating in our primary process. Without party registration, preventing Democrats from voting in a state run primary is nearly impossible. Given the critical nature of the 2016 elections, it is imperative to ensure every measure is taken to ensure Republican voters select our Republican nominee and I agree.
We know that the Democrats and the media will do everything to push back on us on this issue. In 2012, the State Board of Elections claimed that printing the statements would cost the Commonwealth $250,000. To be clear this claim is ludicrous! RPV staff have looked into the situation and the cost of printing for 1 million of the Statements would be around $10,000 and distribution to cities and counties would also come in at less than $10,000.
Please email me with any questions or concerns on this issue. Thank you for your time. Also please enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.
The RPV then ran into reality. They demanded that loyalty oath be administered by Officers of Election. Officers of Election (OE) are volunteers who are trained in polling place operations, who are paid $100 for one day's work (Election Day), and who administer the elections IN A NON-PARTISAN MANNER. Requiring the OE to collect data that will be used by the RPV for partisan political purposes IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
When the State Board of Elections (SBE) recognized the bullshit the RPV was trying to pull, they declared (1) the state will print the "loyalty oath," and, (2) after the election, the signed oaths become official election material, will NOT be given to the RPV, and will be locked away in the circuit court's vaults statewide, just as with all other election material.
The RPV went apeshit because their scheme did not work out. And that, folks, is why the RPV has cancelled the "loyalty oath" requirement.
Now, as of Saturday afternoon, 30 January, several Virginia rightwing websites are pissing and moaning because they claim that Democrats on the SBE and SBE staff undermined their loyalty oath. HORSESHIT. The RPV thought they would get away with something, they were caught, and now all they can do is whine, whine, whine. TYPICAL REPUBLICAN, TYPICAL TEA PARTY. You Tea Partiers and Republicans never want to play by the rules -- you may now KISS MY ASS.