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An effort to add party affiliation to Constitutional offices is dead


Candidates for some offices in Virginia are identified by party affiliation and some are not. An effort to add more party affiliation has been unsuccessful.

Pop quiz: Is your local commissioner of revenue a Republican or a Democrat? Answer: It's a trick question because that office is not identified on the ballot by party. Senator Lionel Spruill is a Democrat from Chesapeake who says candidates should reveal their alliances.

"If they want to be independent, then why do they get involved in endorsing candidates to run for governor? Why do they get involved in those who are running for president? So if they want to be independent then they should stay away from that," he says. "And then if they want to be independent, then why not run as an independent?"

Delegate Otto Wachsmann is a Republican from Sussex County who says he's been hearing from elected officials in his district about this bill.

"I've had the majority of constitutional officers in my district contact me about not wanting that affiliation on the ballot because they like to be very neutral because they do work so close to the citizens," Wachsmann explains. "And they've indicated to me this would be a hindrance to them performing their services."

The bill was rejected by a Republican-controlled House panel Wednesday morning. Aside from identifying the party of commissioners of revenue it would have also applied to sheriffs, county treasurers and clerks of court – positions that are referred to as constitutional offices because the Virginia Constitution calls for those positions to be elected by voters.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.