On February 3, the Virginia House passed HB 1132, the bill to allow write-ins in primaries, if the party holding the primary wants write-ins. The vote was 50-49.
Republican legislators were more supportive of the bill than Democratic legislators. Republicans supported it by a margin of 38-28. However, Democrats opposed it, with 11 “yes” votes but 21 “no” votes. The lone independent, Delegate Lacey Putney, voted in favor of write-ins.
Now the bill goes to the State Senate, where there are almost as many Democrats as Republicans. Virginia already allows write-ins in general elections, and the State Constitution requires write-in space on general election ballots. One wonders if the legislators who voted “no” on this bill would also like to eliminate write-ins in general elections. The mainstream Virginia press is not covering this bill. I could only find one news story about the bill, and it was written before the bill passed the House.
In 1984, the Democratic National Convention unanimously passed a resolution that said, “The Democratic Party of the United States recognizes the right to vote as the most fundamental of all rights in our democracy. And no duty of the Party is more important than protecting the sanctity of this right.” The right to vote is meaningless without the right of choice for whom to vote.
If this bill passes, it would not take effect in time for the March 6 presidential primary, in which only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are on the ballot, with no write-in space.