The Republican Party of Virginia will require all citizens of the state voting in the Republican primary on March 6, 2012 to sign a loyalty oath before being permitted to cast their votes. Put plainly, anyone who shows up at the polling place must sign a form wherein he or she swears to support the Republican candidate who wins the nomination. Refusal to sign the pledge results in revocation of the right to vote in the Republican primary election.
Local media reports that, “During a brief meeting Wednesday [December 28] 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.”
This rather radical requirement invokes several questions of constitutionality. First, the decision to make the loyalty oath a non-elective qualification for voting triggers a 14th Amendment analysis. The threshold question, then, is whether this decision on the part of the Republican Party of Virginia qualifies as state action.
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Photo: Virginia's Republican Governor Bob McDonnell