First, Virginia prevents everybody except Romney and Paul from appearing on the Republican primary ballot. And now this:
In order to cast their ballots in the GOP nominating contest, Virginians will have to sign a form that says, “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which first reported the move.
On Wednesday, the state Board of Elections approved the pledge form, as well as signs that will hang in polling places advising voters of the state party’s policy.
The pledge has no legal weight — voters are free to sign the form and then disregard it if they choose — but it is meant to discourage mischief-making by non-Republicans. Virginians do not register to vote by party, making it possible for Democrats and independents to show up and vote in the Republican contest.
Not everyone in the GOP is on board with the idea. Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) said in a press release Thursday that he was opposed to the pledge.
“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.”
Marshall noted that the pledge would even disqualify Gingrich, a McLean resident, because the former speaker has said he could not support Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) if Paul secured the nomination.
To bind voters’ conscience or to encourage people to perjure themselves is beyond the pale. (I know it’s no legally binding, but, as I keep saying, promises are morally binding.) I guess I won’t be voting, which I bitterly resent, since voting to me is a high civic privilege. I’m thinking I’ll quit being a Republican.