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Presidential Primary Ballot Set – GOP Calls for Loyalty Oath

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The Virginia State Board of Elections held a drawing today to determine the ballot order of the candidates for the March 1, 2016 Presidential Primary.  For the Democrats, it will be Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and
Bernie Sanders.  For the Republicans it’s Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Jim Gilmore, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, John Kasich, and Carley Fiorina.

Virginia lacks party registration, so voters will indicate a preference for a Democratic or Republican primary ballot, and that preference will be recorded.  Under the Presidential Primary Statute, Va. Code 24.2-545, a party may require a pledge of party support to vote in its primary.  The Democrats have never required a primary pledge.  The Republicans have suggested, and then withdrawn, that requirement at least once.  This year, the RPV has asked the State Board to require that each voter receiving a Republican ballot sign a statement indicating that the voter is a Republican.  (See RPV Letter below.)  I can see this leading to some confusion and delays – voters may want to know that that means, e.g., whether they have to vote for Trump if he is the nominee or, conversely, if they can vote for Trump if he runs as an independent.  Election officials will have to be trained to respond to those kinds of questions.  My recommendation would be that polling places have separate Democratic and Republican lines, so Democrats can check in, get their ballots, vote, and leave, without being delayed by standing behind Republicans trying to figure out this extra paperwork.

The GOP will have its State Convention in Harrisonburg on April 29-30 to elect the National Convention delegates, which seems early.  (See Call below.)  Republicans will also (re-)elect their Chair and RNC members.  Democrats are meeting in Richmond on June 18 to elect national convention delegates and DNC members.

Note that after the primary, Democrats will have caucuses to elect delegates to the Congressional District and State Conventions.  The allocations of delegates at every level among the Democratic Presidential candidates will reflect that candidate’s percentage of the vote in the primary.  Democrats, as usual, will require a Democratic Party pledge to participate in the caucuses or conventions that elect the state and national convention delegates.  But voters who want to participate in the March 1 Democratic Primary – which will determine allocation of those delegates among the candidates,  will not have to sign a pledge.  See the DPVA web site  and other posts on this site for more information about the National Convention Delegate Selection process.

  RPV 2016 Convention Call (55.3 KiB, 2,368 hits)

  RPV 2016 Primary Letter (149.2 KiB, 1,274 hits)