- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Senate has narrowly defeated a proposal to allow voter registration by political party.

The measure was rejected Tuesday on a largely party-line 21-19 vote in the Republican-controlled chamber, with Republicans backing the bill and Democrats opposing it.

Two moderate Republicans, Sens. Walter Stosch of Henrico County and John Watkins of Powhatan County, broke ranks and voted “no.” Both have announced they’ll retire at the end of this session.

The sponsor of the measure, Sen. Mark Obenshain of Rockingham County, said it would bring Virginia into conformity with most other states, which ask people registering to vote if they’d like to state a party preference. He said the bill would give parties more control over their nominating process.

Opponents said it would discourage voter participation and increase partisanship.


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