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Saturday, January 07, 2012

If it turns out that the GOP fixed the Iowa Caucus for Romney, imagine what they'll do on a national level
Posted by Jill | 6:38 AM
It just goes to show you, never, ever, ever bet against the money guys, because once the money guys anoint a GOP candidate, everyone else is wasting his/her time.

I sure hope that the White House is paying attention to this, instead of planning to go the John Kerry route of solemnly asserting that the process works so let's take our leftover campaign cash and go home.

The GOP's hypocrisy about who should be allowed to vote has already been conclusively demonstrated in Iowa. At the caucus, there are no rules about photo IDs, nor are there rules against same-day voter registration. But then, this is all about Republicans, and they only want to have such laws where groups such as students, people whose dermal pigmentation they regard as unseemly, and the elderly, are likely to vote for someone they haven't anointed.

But now, looking at Brad Friedman's report, it looks like even the Iowa caucus was may have fixed for Romney:
Thanks to the transparent, open counting process at Tuesday's night's Iowa GOP Caucuses, and a Ron Paul supporter who was paying close attention to the results, we may now be learning that Rick Santorum, not Mitt Romney, actually won the "First-in-the-Nation" Iowa Caucuses this week.

According to a report tonight from television station KCCI NewsChannel 8 in Des Moines, Edward True, a supporter of Paul's says he participated in the counting at the Washington Wells caucus in Appanoose County and wrote down the results he witnessed there on a piece of paper which he posted to Facebook that night. Later, in comparing his totals to the precinct results made available on the Iowa GOP website [CSV version here], he noticed that Romney is shown as receiving 22 votes at that precinct, rather than the 2 that True recorded him as receiving that night at the caucus.

If True is correct, and if no other anomalies are discovered in the coming days, it would mean that Santorum will have won the Iowa Caucuses by 12 votes, rather than lost it to Romney by 8, as reported by the GOP in the early morning hours on Wednesday...

According to KCCI:

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, said he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn't.

True said at his 53-person caucus at the Garrett Memorial Library, Romney received two votes. According to the Iowa Republican Party's website, True's precinct cast 22 votes for Romney.

"This is huge," True said. "It essentially changes who won."


True --- who said he's a Ron Paul supporter --- hopes it was a simple mistake.

"I imagine it's a good possibility that somebody instead of hitting 2 might have hit 22 by accident," True said. "I hope so."

But he said he won't stop talking about it until the state --- by his count --- gets the numbers right.

"Numbers that I personally witnessed being counted and assisted in counting and am certain are right," he said.

"The story on Romney getting extra votes as a result of a typo looks credible IMO," tweeted The New York Times' statistical wunderkind Nate Silver tonight. "Romney did very badly in other precincts in that county."

Indeed, according to the Iowa GOP's posted results, out of 13 caucuses in Appanoose County, Romney received double-digits at only one other caucus beside Washington Wells. He is said to have received 20 votes at Vermillion Douglas Sharon, but other than those two sites, Romney received just 45 at the other 11 caucus sites combined...

As the report indicates, it will be about a week and half before the results are certified. The question is this: Will anyone still remember this then, now that the "Ooh, shiny!" crowd has decamped for New Hampshire? And perhaps more importantly, will Iowa GOP voters demand that their votes be counted correctly? We already know that no one, not even the Democratic candidates, ever cares about accurate vote counts. Perhaps GOP voters in Iowa, most of whom no doubt support making it harder for people they don't like to vote, similarly don't care about accurate vote counting either.

UPDATED for clarification from Brad, received via e-mail:
In this case, we have what appears to be a misreported tally. The public hand-count of the paper ballots was done exceedingly transparently and, apparently, accurately at the polling place (or caucus site in this case).

The caucus site reported Romney's 2 votes to the GOP, as far as I can tell, but that 2 became 22 when it was put into the main GOP database. Also, from the same precinct, Buddy Roemer received 6 votes for some reason (odd, since he only received a total of 31 across the entire state, and the folks at the caucus site in question seem to confirm that he received NO VOTES at that site.

So -- until we find a broader pattern of this happening elsewhere -- this smells very much like a book-keeping error rather than either a counting error or an attempt to "fix" the results for Romney. At least at this time.

Rachel Maddow, by the way, got it similarly wrong (though much more so!) last night on her show, and I'm likely gonna have take time to take her to task today as well, as much as I hate doing that, since she's usually right on the money. In her case, she slammed the GOP for their inability to count. But that's neither accurate nor even productive here.

In this case, it was the most transparent type of election that we can have! And the fact that citizens have stepped forward to demonstrate minor book-keeping errors and those errors have been almost instantly confirmed by others who were also able to oversee the transparent public process, is a tribute to that process!

In other words, even if the GOP wants to fix the results for anybody, it will be next to impossible for them to do so, because we've got thousands of witnesses to what the real count really is, and any error (or, worse, attempt to manipulate) can and will be noticed by the public, and independently confirmed by many others who are able to verify that error. That's a great counting process! Not a bad one, or a failure, as Maddow painted it last night, unfortunately. It's the process that we should be fighting for EVERYWHERE in nation! And in favor of appears to be a fairly lazy partisan shot last night, that's the way more important picture that Rachel missed in her analysis.

Similarly, you may have misread my own in coming to your framing of it. Where that may have been my fault -- where I was unclear or misleading -- I certainly apologize! And, if you decide to clarify, please feel free to use, quote from, any of the above as helpful -- and/or let me know if you have any questions on any of this.

I stand corrected. By I'm keeping my tinfoil hat on the nightstand, just in case.

But the larger issue that affects everyone even outside of Iowa, is the double standard about the voting process and how accuracy doesn't seem to matter unless there are Democrats voting. Zandar over at Balloon Juice put it perfectly:
Republicans keep screaming how the voting process is inherently corrupt if it ever produces a Democrat as the winner because they always steal elections, therefore we must have strict voting laws in every state for every election that makes it as difficult as possible for people to vote in order to protect the integrity of the election system. We have to pass laws to immediately protect the sacred process from the evils of those people who may try to vote 4812 times. It’s the only way one of them could end up President you know, and if you don’t agree you’re evil vote-stealing scum anyway.

But that election system apparently doesn’t matter when it comes to the coronation of Mitt Romney as nominee as fast as possible. Strange how that works. Democrats aren’t even American as far as most Republicans are concerned, but it’s all good if Republicans fiddle with the election system. It’s just a caucus, right? Besides, ACORN ACORN ACORN BLAH BLOOGITY BLAH CHICAGO WAY.

Now Zandar is making the same mistake I did in seeing rigging where there may be just a typo. But to not make a correction and declare the actual winner is highly suspect, especially for a party that would rather disenfranchise a million people than allow one person to vote in error (unless that person is named "Ann Coulter" or "Newt Gingrich" or for that matter, "Rick Santorum."

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Blogger skywind said...
As long as people feel better about themselves, it can. Who knows?

Anonymous xulon said...
I saw Mr True's hand-scrawled note and the vote total was 29 for a 53-member caucus. It would seem that either Romney really did get 22 votes (for a total of 49) or there were a whole lot of unreported "none of the above" votes.