The Virginia Republican Party recently persuaded the State Board of Elections to allow it to require voters in the Republican primary to sign an affirmation that they are Republicans. It’s not quite a loyalty oath, as it does not commit the signer to vote a particular way in a future election.
My signature below indicates that I am a Republican.
The ostensible reason is to prevent “crossover voting,” in which voters from one party vote in the other party’s primary so as to skew the results. Crossover voting, though, is a myth, a crock, and a lie.
Most local analysts suspect it’s a ploy to dissuade dupes, symps, and fellow travelers of Donald Trump from voting in the primary.
Several local pastors have now filed suit to void the ruling. They see sinister implications. The three main allegations in their suit, according to my local rag, are
- The state board did not comply with a legal requirement that rules for a party’s primary be established 90 days before an election, because the board certified the loyalty statement 76 days before the election.
- Black voters who must publicly proclaim they’re a Republican could face backlash from their communities.
- The statement amounts to an illegal literacy test for voting because those who don’t speak English, including a disproportionate number of Hispanics, won’t understand the form, “leading many to forego voting at all.”
The last two are highly theoretical, but quite interesting. The second one is, I suspect, a crock. Given that the Republican Party has become, for all practical purposes, the Party of the New Secesh, I would not be surprised if a black voter who voted Republican might face disapproval (assuming the fact got out), but “disapproval” and “backlash” are two different things.
The last point carries more weight with me. I remember literacy tests (though they were gone by the time I first registered to vote); literacy tests nothing more than a tool for disenfranchising black folks under Jim Crow.
The first point, if it holds up, is pretty solid, as it’s quantifiable.
Regardless of whether or not the suit prevails, the underlying reasoning is correct. It’s yet another Republican effort to gut out the vote.