David Reynolds: Only in Virginia

On Tuesday when my wife and I went to the polls to vote we found out that the privilege to freely vote for the candidate of our choice has been completely taken away. Yes, again, this is politics as played in Virginia – and other lands where government restricts your choices.

I am not referring to the well know fact that only two Republican candidates for President of the United States were on the ballot, Mr. Paul and Mr. Romney, because the other two active candidates, Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum, were not able to timely obtain the 10,000 necessary signatures in all eleven of Virginia’s Congressional districts (a minimum of 440 in each district) or the requirement that only a Virginian can solicit signature partitions.

But, did you know that no write-in’s were allowed yesterday? This is in spite of the fact that it was a so-called “open primary.” No party identification is required, in as much as Virginia does not have formal party registration. If you tried to write in a name — even if those those names were Ron Paul and Mitt Romney — it was impossible! On electronic machines the write-in space was blacked out. And if you tried to exercise your free choice on a paper ballot, election officials were instructed to destroy that ballot.

I’m sorry, I am not making any of this up. Welcome, to Virginia! What’s next? A new poll tax to restrict voting?

Oh, yes. What did we do? My wife, who has far more principles than I, walked away from the polls. She, like so many others when they heard that write-ins were not permitted, chose not to vote. I, with far fewer principles, decided to vote for one of the two choices our imperial state government offered.

Will there be a day when only one name appears on a ballot and no write-ins are permitted? If there is, Virginia has a head start.


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