Washington state Republicans: Disenfranchised by party oaths?
To vote for Ron Paul in the Washington state primary, I must sign an oath that I am a member of the Republican Party.
I am not a member of the Republican Party. I am not aware of any means of membership in the Republican Party, and have no interest in membership in the Republican or any other political party. Like Woody Allen, I’m not sure I would want to be a member of a party that would have me as a member.
Only the Republicans were stupid enough to require party membership to vote in their primary. The Democrats settled for a looser sense of belonging.
According to the Pierce County Auditor’s website, to vote in the presidential primary February 19,
“Each voter must sign a one party oath, which will appear in the poll book for those voting at the polls, or on the envelope for those voting by mail.
“The major parties drafted the oaths to which voters must attest. They are:
Republican: I declare that I am a member of the Republican party and I have not participated and will not participate in the 2008 precinct caucus or convention system of any other party.
Democrat: I declare that I consider myself to be a DEMOCRAT and I will not participate in the nomination process of any other political party for the 2008 Presidential election.”
This is troubling. In order to vote in the Republican primary in Washington state, a voter must sign an oath declaring himself a member of the Republican Party. Merely refraining from participating in another party’s nomination process is not enough. One must declare party membership–not a sense of affinity or allegiance, but membership. There’s a certain Soviet sonority to this.
I have never joined the Republican Party. I have no idea how to do so nor interest in doing so. I prefer the language of the Democratic Party’s oath, that one considers oneself to be Democrat, with no party declaration required. But I do not consider myself to be a Democrat and have no intention of voting Democratic.
This is going to take some conscience grappling. Washington is having both caucuses and a primary election, and caucuses also require an oath of party membership. Bad, bad, bad.
Why have Washington state Republicans done this? How stupid! But stupidity leaves room for its own defeat. There is nothing on the Pierce County Republican Party’s website that defines membership or explains how to join the Republican Party.
It seems safe to presume that one can join the Republican Party for the purpose of voting in its primary, after which one can simply disavow one’s membership. So I will declare myself a Party member for the sole purpose of voting in the Party’s primary, and will go ahead and publicly disavow that membership prospectively at this time. I am a member of the Republican Party and will no longer be a member of the Republican Party after voting on February 19. There.