A federal judge on Thursday rejected an effort by Donald Trump supporters to block the use of a party loyalty pledge in Virginia’s Republican presidential primary on March 1.
In her decision, U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to show that voters would suffer “irreparable harm” by signing a party affiliation statement before receiving a ballot on Super Tuesday, as Trump’s supporters argued.
The testimony “does not support the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction” against including the requirement on instructions for ballots issued on election day or absentee ballots mailed to registered voters outside the state, Lauck ruled.
The lawsuit, filed this month in the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of three pastors who support Trump, stems from the state Republican Party’s decision in September to require voters to sign a “statement of intent” before taking part in the primary.
The pledge, already on ballot instructions printed across the state, reads: “My signature below indicates I am a Republican.”
That idea, which has been proposed several times in recent years, has caused controversy in Virginia, one of about 14 states that hold “open primary” elections in which voters do not register by party.
Trump elevated the issue to national significance when he called the pledge a “suicidal mistake” that would turn away voters who are disenchanted with traditional party politics — many of whom support his presidential bid.
This might be the one and only time I ever agree with Donald Trump. If Virginians don’t have to register by party, then this pledge seems to be a tactic to circumvent the law by forcing voters to mini-register their party. Is it binding? No one follows you into the voting booth.
On the other hand, I know that party members often check out who has what sign in their yard. woe be unto someone who has voted in the Republican primary if there is a Democratic sign in the yard. Not good.
It seems to me that there are safeguards in this primary. Why would a Democrat throw out their own vote to go cause problems in the Republican primary? Both primaries are held on the same day. It makes no sense.
Why would anyone want to “pledge” to vote Republican (or Democratic for that matter)? It seems silly and childish to me, regardless of who is doing it. As an independent, it just seems like an exclusive act—one meant to cut everyone else out of the process. It’s another way of saying–“you don’t belong.”