Voters who want to take part in the Commonwealth's March 6 Republican primary will be asked for a November commitment.
Virginia Republicans requested the Va. State Board of Elections to allow it to ask primary voters for a loyalty oath, promising to support the Republican party's nominee for president in the general election.
"The code of Virginia allows for political parties to require individuals who wish to participate in presidential primaries to sign a pledge that he or she will support the party's candidate in the general election," said Justin Riemer, deputy secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections. For this year's primaries, Virginia's Republican party chose to exercise that right.
According to the Times-Dispatch: "The pledge will require the voter to sign and to print his name beneath a line that says: 'I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.'"
The Va. State Board of Elections on Wednesday approved a request to post bulletins at polling places, to send out notifications to absentee voters, and for the party to present the pledge itself.
Virginia does not require voters to register for a party, so any registered voter is eligible to vote in the primary of either party's primary, except if the elections were held on the same day.
The Republican party asked for a similar pledge in the 2000 election, when Virginia primary voters were asked not to participate in any other party's presidential nomination process. In 2004, when President George Bush was running as the Republican incumbent, there was no Va. GOP primary and no loyalty oath requested.