Sunday, February 5, 2012

#NVCaucus: "Not an Election"?

OK, I just can't help it. And frankly, I think I have to bring this up again... Especially since Clark County GOP boss Dave Gibbs actually said his caucuses were "not an election". Just as many of us were suspecting all along, the Nevada G-O-TEA's last minute decision to placate their #1 Mr. Moneybags, Sheldon Adelson, hold an evening caucus at the Adelson Educational Campus in Summerlin is now causing a whole lot of controversy... And possibly future legal headaches, as well.

Michael Dicicco, 23 and a Paul supporter, said he was unable to attend the morning caucus because he was working and came out to the Adelson school after receiving a call from the Paul campaign.

"I thought this was a second opportunity to vote," said Dicicco, who was turned away after refusing to sign the declaration. "I don't understand why I wouldn't be able to vote if I'm not Jewish." [...]

Metro Police were called to remove Stephen Melancon, who was obstructing the entrance while trying to question a Clark County GOP official about the declaration.

Melancon, a high school teacher who said he was a Republican delegate in the 2008 elections, missed the morning caucus because he had to cover a shift at an adult mental health group home where he also works, he said.

"It makes the whole thing a sham," he said of the declaration. "It bothers me that in a process like this they're requiring people to lie (in order to caucus). I didn't come here to do anything other than cast my vote for Ron Paul."

Even some who were attending the evening caucus because they had been honoring the Sabbath were uncomfortable with the form.

"I don't think it's any of their business why I'm here," said Donna Fisher, who is Jewish. "They should just be glad I'm out here to vote."

The Nevada Republican Party required all Adelson Campus caucus-goers to first sign a declaration stating that they couldn't participate at their regularly scheduled neighborhood caucus due to religious reasons. Yes. That's right. You read me right. These caucus-goers essentially had to sign a pledge addressing their religious beliefs in order to vote.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if federal election laws were violated last night. And no, I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of those angry caucus-goers is on the phone with an election law attorney right now. This is about to get awfully ugly.

But then again, it's already looking awfully ugly now. No, really. Look at the headline of this Sun story by Anjeanette Damon.

Nevada GOP dealing with “trouble box” of questionable ballots

And if that wasn't bad enough, there's even more explosive material in the actual story!

Party officials have confirmed that ballots in multiple precincts exceeded the number of voters who signed in. The “trouble box” also includes ballots on which two candidates were marked and other irregularities.

David Gallagher, executive director of the state party, could not confirm or even give a rough estimate of the number of ballots in question.

“It’s a small number,” he said.

Party officials spent much of the morning in a closed-door meeting with campaign officials to discuss the process for counting the ballots and determine what to do with the ballot box.

A procedure for dealing with the “trouble box” will be agreed upon by party and campaign officials, Gallagher said. He and other party officials acknowledged that some of the precincts may be “thrown out.”

“Obviously we want to count as many ballots as possible,” Gallagher said. “We want people’s voices to be heard.”

Wait... HUH??!! So Clark County Republicans want "people's voices to be heard", so they're actually considering throwing out votes from entire precincts? Weren't they supposed to honor the votes of participants who suffered in caucus locations plagued with mass confusion and improper ballot distribution?

And apparently, the chaos wasn't limited to Clark County. There were problems up north as well.

And again, this is leading to talk of making Nevada a primary state (again). After all, if we're supposed to believe Dave Gibbs of the Clark County GOP, "This is NOT an election. This is a caucus." Well, guess what, Dave Gibbs? Nevada voters want an election, not a chaotic hot mess and farcical fracas of a "caucus".

And we're wondering why the "snooty East Coast big media elite" were taken aback by the Nevada G-O-TEA's amateur hour?

Dave Gibbs may sound cruel, but maybe he has a point. This really doesn't look like an election... And that's the problem here. It's looking increasingly clear that people trying to caucus at the Adelson School in Summerlin last night were disenfranchised. And if Clark County Republicans just throw out ballots despite promising voters (who suffered "caucus irregularities" like not being given official ballots) that their ballots would be counted, then even more Nevada Republican voters will be disenfranchised.

Oh, and it wasn't just the "East Coast Big Media Elite" that snickered as the local G-O-TEA faltered. Their "Left Coast" West Coast colleagues were also appalled.

Sure, Ron Paul's fanatical band of fringe followers are harping on this issue and already crying foul. But you know what? Those "crazy Ron Paul people" may be right about this. Sure, they're wrong about all their other wackadoodle conspiracy theories involving everything from the gold standard to JFK's assassination to "the illuminati" to the "9/11 inside job" to raw milk. But when it comes to the Nevada G-O-TEA flagrantly violating voters' rights, putting up these ridiculous barricades to voter participation, and doing nothing to reassure Nevadans that the vote count they're releasing is honest and accurate, the "crazy Ron Paul people" may ultimately prove to be right on the money.

If this is "not an election", then why do we allow this to happen?

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