Political party registration could be coming to Virginia. A General Assembly subcommittee just gave the first round of approval to a bill that would set up a voluntary party registration system.
Right now, Virginia voters do not declare a party affiliation when they register and anyone can vote in party primaries. But momentum is growing for a change after a recent flap in the Republican party. The governing committee voted in -- then scrapped -- a requirement for voters to sign a loyalty oath at the March 6 GOP Presidential primary. The blowback of criticism came from Gov. McDonnell on down. In their Saturday meeting, the Republican State Central Committee will officially ditch the oath.
Now Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins is pushing the move to voluntary party registration. He testified to lawmakers, "Voluntary registration by political party would let voters declare their intentions....Parties would no longer be forced to ask for a pledge of support at the polling place in order to keep those who are playing for another team from calling the play."
Other Republicans argue however, there's been little evidence of "party-crashing" in previous primaries.
With voluntary registration, voters would designate a party when they register. If they don't list an affiliation, they will be designated as an independent. Under one bill being considered, current voters would be considered independent until a change was made. The parties would decide who votes in their primaries.
Said Mullins, "The fact remains that both Democrats and Republicans should be able to choose our nominees without involvement from the other party."