Today’s Washington Examiner reports that Republican legislators in Richmond will make a push to require party registration in Virginia and allow political parties to restrict participation in a primary to party members:
Richmond (Map, News) – A group of Republican legislators, emboldened by last week’s flap over a primary election pledge, will push next year to require Virginians to declare a political affiliation when registering to vote in the state.
Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge, introduced legislation this week that would not only mandate that voters declare themselves Democrats, Republicans or independents, but also would permit parties to allow only their members to vote in primaries.
The bill would solve concerns the state Republican Party has voiced for a decade.
GOP officials have long feared that Democrats or independents would crash a primary and select a candidate not favored by most party members.
I was opposed to the loyalty oath that the Virginia GOP came up with last week and thought that it was a pretty stupid idea, but I think that this may actually be something worth considering.
The purpose of the nomination process, whether its done through a convention or through a primary, is presumably to select a candidate that best reflects what the political party stands for. Allowing that to happen in an open primary, when people who aren’t affiliated with the party in question are allowed to participate, means that the candidate selected may not necessarily represent the choice of the majority of party members.
I know its not going to happen, but I would go even further than closing primaries to anyone other than registered party members. There’s no reason that the state should be involved in the party nomination process to begin with. Every time the Republicans or the Democrats hold a primary, the State Board of Elections and the Registrar’s office for every jurisdiction in the Commonwealth, get involved. That means that taxpayer money gets spent on what should be a private matter. If the political parties want to hold a primary, they should be required to pay the entire cost of that primary.
But, like I said, that’s not going to happen anytime soon, if ever. Closing primaries, though, isn’t that radical a step. Twenty-five states already do it, and they seem to get along pretty well during primary season. There’s no reason Virginia shouldn’t do it as well.