The Virginia GOP Oath is a Barrier for All of Us

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Vote photo Vote_zpsqrhxii2v.jpgby Dan Sullivan

There’s more to the Virginia Republican loyalty oath than the thinly disguised effort to suppress the vote. The GOP intends the process to provide a taxpayer funded voter contact list; the process places a barrier between voters and their ballots; it potentially confounds any recount process.

First, the suppression not only affects the Republican primary but also the Democratic primary. I have talked to registrars who have flatly stated that they will not have separate lines for the two sets of voters. Thus, Democrats will be delayed access to their ballots while enduring an increased wait caused while Republicans complete their oaths. That delay will potentially deny voters with limited time their privilege to vote. So Democrats have standing in this issue too. But for Republicans: the oath represents an artificial gate between them and their ballots that does not exist for Democrats; two classes of voters. Equal protection has never been a Republican forte.
On the loyalty oath form there are places for the voters’ e-mail addresses and phone numbers. While that information is neither required to vote nor for the oath, the form is designed to provide the GOP valuable voter contact information. The GOP plan is to collect those forms. Besides the impropriety of providing any party taxpayer funded voter contact information collection, those forms are as much part of the voting process as the ballots. The GOP isn’t going to receive consistent cooperation from Registrars. The Democratic Party of Virginia has been silent on this.

Should there be a recount challenge (oh the joy that would bring us all), those forms, essential to the voting process according to the GOP, should be required to reconcile the vote. How can a valid recount process not require a match between the oaths and the ballots? Where is the state's guidance on maintenance of and access to these forms? Where is the guidance for determining a valid oath during recount? 

This is not only Mr. Trump’s problem, it is all our problem.