SBE Rescinds Loyalty Oath, Hearing is a Train-Wreck for RPV

So, State Central comes to the conclusion that RPV should have come to months ago, formally rescinding the much-maligned, idiotic, poll-tax-esque Loyalty Oath, so let’s all move on, story’s over….right?


You see, this is a primary this year, and RPV can’t just go POOF, no more loyalty oath. No, no, my friends. Because it’s a primary, the State Board of Elections had to hold an emergency hearing to formally review, deliberate and decide whether or not to accept RPV’s request. That hearing was today, and thanks to two reporters (Max Smith – WTOP, (@amaxsmith) and Alana Austin (@alana_austin) – NCB29) in the room, we had a live-tweet insight into the State Board of Elections hearing, which formally killed the Loyalty Oath once and for all…this cycle…until RPV changes it’s mind again.

It was a train-wreck for RPV. One of these, you see something grotesque about to happen, but for some reason, you can’t look away. In this case, the ‘for some reason’, is because RPV brought this on themselves, and deserve all of the scorn, ridicule, and in this case, public humiliation.

The full live-tweet feed is below, but a quick recap first:

1) The interim-chair of SBE calls RPV’s actions “unprecedented”, with “no acceptance of responsibility”. That RPV sent out their official press release requesting rescinding the Oath somehow blaming Governor Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring made the board “extremely frustrated”. [Editor’s note: RPV, seriously, that was beyond dumb.]

2) RPV’s claims ‘We offered to pay the $60,000+ we bilked from Virginia taxpayers!’ argument was shot to shreds. While this offer was made in September when the original Loyalty Oath was requested, it was made with the caveats that RPV picked the language, the process, and the rollout of the Oath. Since it’s a state-run primary, SBE of course told them that wouldn’t work. RPV immediately drops their offer to pay, and as of today has yet to offer to make right what they made wrong. As you’ll see below, RPV’s twitter feed responds to Alana Austin with a ‘Yes, we did’ response to offering to pay…then no response at all to her understandable follow-up: ‘Why aren’t you still offering to pay?’

3) RPV claimed it ‘didn’t have enough time’ to review the final SBE approved language of the Loyalty Oath.

4) RPV knew in 2012, four years ago, that this half-assed attempt of data-mining would not work in their benefit. Not only did they put a non-required email address and phone number field, something that most voters would (justifiably) ignore and leave blank, they were prevented by Virginia code from receiving any additional voter information beyond state records those participating in the primary. Any information on the Loyalty Oath would not be shared with RPV. RPV’s only defense was a memo sent by David Palmer (@votingguy), arguing data should be shared. SBE summarily rejected that memo, having already resolved the issue in 2012.

5) As of Wednesday, 5,720 absentee ballots had been requested for the 2016 Republican Primary in Virginia. 1,316 of those had been returned to registrars, in theory, with the Loyalty Oath included.

6) Because RPV’s credibility has been so battered as a result of this fiasco, SBE required RPV to pledge (get it?) that there wouldn’t be another change to the primary process, requiring even more taxpayer dollars to be wasted. RPV admitted that the likelihood was “extremely small”.

But hey, the Loyalty Oath is dead…at least until RPV brings this zombie back from the dead in a few years to get themselves kicked around again.

[UPDATE] Here’s RPV’s (tin-eared) response to today’s hearing:

February 4, 2016 – Richmond, VA – The Republican Party of Virginia’s (RPV) issued the following statement following the Virginia State Board of Election’s decision to support our request to rescind the Statement of Affiliation:

“With the conversation about the Statement of Affiliation behind us, we can fully turn our attention to the pressing matter at hand: the March 1 GOP Primary,” said RPV Chairman John Whitbeck. “RPV is pleased that the State Board of Elections voted to rescind the Statement of Affiliation and we look forward to record turnout and tremendous enthusiasm for our candidates come Super Tuesday.”

Live tweets:

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