Monday, March 24, 2008

Loyalty Oaths

When you state your political preference in Pennsylvania you have to sign a loyalty oath.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Election in Ohio has launched an investigation as to whether any of the 16,000 former Republicans who voted in the Dem primary lied on the loyalty pledges they signed.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that "dozens and dozens" of the pledges contained hand-written addenda, like "I don't believe in abortion."
I don't see how the loyalty oaths would pass Constitutional muster.


LarryD said...

Hmm, well, political parties aren't part of the government, and they are voluntary associations. And this does address an issue brought up elsewhere.

To wit, it's possible for someone to file and run for some offices, and be labeled with a party identification, without ever havening gone through a nomination process. Imagine David Duke and you'll see what the problem is.

I admit, the term "loyalty oath" gives me gas in this context, but signing on to a statement of principals, or at least an agenda, would help make a political party stand for something besides naked self-interest. And it would help constitute "truth in advertising" as it were.

M. Simon said...

I agree mostly.

The problem I see is that government holds primaries by government rules.

If a party wants to be exclusive it should run its own primaries (or other system) by their own rules.

Ron Simpson said...

Kucinich had a court ruling agianst him in Texas over a refusal to sign a loyalty oath that is required to register as a candidate. The oath said that if the candidate lost, he would support the eventual party nominee. He tried to fight it and lost.

LarryD said...

The state, through their counties, run elections because they have to anyway, and the infrastructure is expensive. I don't know of any state that has laws enabling a private organization to compensate the state (or county) government for the expense, in effect hiring them to run the primary election on the party's behalf. But I think there should be such laws. I think that would satisfy your complaint. And it would make it easier for new parties to try and establish themselves.

The alternative is to go the strictly caucus route, which has it's own issues. Caucuses are a lot cheaper to hold, but they tend to have a bias against people with regular working hours.