“Virginia is going to be one of the closest swing states of 2016, and every political campaign can be won and lost by inches,” says Stephen Farnsworth, political science professor at the University of Mary Washington. “And so if the Republicans are able to collect this information from a significant number of voters, if they’re then able to have access to this information, that could be one of those smaller but significant impacts that could turn the tide in November.”
The effort to use loyalty oaths to collect get-out-the vote information is fiercely opposed by billionaire developer Donald Trump, whose supporters view it as a way to exclude them from participation. Because many of Trump’s supporters are not necessarily Republicans and many are first-time voters, they may be unwilling to sign a loyalty oath and perhaps discouraged from participating in the Super Tuesday primary. Ironically, these are the voters that Republicans would benefit most from adding to their contact lists.
“I think a lot of Republicans tend to be more libertarian and more suspicious of giving out information,” says Farnsworth. “And this could discourage turnout in the Republican primary.”