Stateline Story

Virginia GOP Primary to Require Loyalty Oath

  • December 29, 2011
  • By John Gramlich
Next year's Republican presidential primary in Virginia has made national news because it will not include Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, two high-profile candidates who did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. But the election also is attracting attention because it will require all voters to sign a loyalty oath pledging their support for the eventual GOP nominee.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Virginia State Board of Elections unanimously signed off on the loyalty oath on Wednesday (December 28). The board cited a state law that "allows the political party holding a primary to determine requirements for voting in the primary," according to the Times-Dispatch .

The policy will not be limited to Republicans. Virginia allows any registered voter to participate in a presidential primary, meaning that Democrats or independents — there is no Democratic primary in Virginia — also would be required to pledge their support for the Republican nominee in writing.

The Times-Dispatch notes that Virginia Republicans have required voters to sign a primary pledge in the past. In 2000, the party asked voters to swear that they would not participate "in the nomination process of any other party than the Republican Party."