Tag Archives: Caucus

Iowa Democratic Party Asserts Private Right Not to Disclose Vote Counts

By Shawn M. Griffiths – The Des Moines Register is calling for an audit of the Democratic caucus results after several reports of precincts being decided by coin flips and missing caucus-goers. The newspaper wants the Iowa Democratic Party to swiftly act to ensure that the results are accurate.

“What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy,” the Register’s editorial board writes.

[pull_quote_center]“Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.”[/pull_quote_center]

However, such an audit is unlikely to come. The Sanders campaign has done its own investigation, rechecking the results precinct by precinct. According to the campaign, it has found some irregularities, but the Iowa Democratic Party won’t allow the campaign to compare the math sheets and other paper work filed by precinct chairs.

“The answer is that we had all three camps in the tabulation room last night to address any grievances brought forward, and we went over any discrepancies. These are the final results,” Dr. Andy McGuire, chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, said in an interview for the Register.

The party has never released head counts, and it won’t this time as Democratic leaders claim a private right to keep that information from the public. McGuire said that the winner of the Iowa caucus is determined by state-delegate equivalent, rather than the final head count for each candidate.

In other words, garnering the most votes in the Iowa caucus may not guarantee a candidate a win. There are no paper ballots and precinct results can apparently come down to coin tosses, in accordance with party rules, to determine the allocation of local delegates.

 

 

This article was republished with permission from IVN.

IVN Prediction: Sanders, Trump Will Win Iowa – But Party Insiders Will Take the Delegates

Looking ahead to the Iowa Caucuses on Tuesday, February 1, IVN predicts that Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders will win their respective caucuses. However, IVN further predicts that the parties will find a way to take these wins away from them.

Every election year, IVN makes at least one prediction about the outcome of a major race. In 2012, IVN called Florida for Barack Obama before any other news outlet. In 2014, IVN projected that U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) was going to keep his seat in a hotly contested race against Republican Carl DeMaio.

This year, though the media reports a tight race going into the Republican and Democratic caucuses, IVN predicts that Trump and Sanders will take the popular vote and win their respective contests.

Both Trump and Sanders have strong support, not only from members of the Republican and Democratic parties, but from voters who are fed up with the status quo and feel disenchanted or disenfranchised by the current political system or cannot find a home in any political party.

The Republican leadership has frequently rebuked the candidacy of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is often at odds with the Democratic National Committee, which briefly denied him access to the party’s voter database in December and scheduled a limited number of debates on the weekend, an inconvenient time for a presidential primary debate.

This is why IVN further predicts that the parties will manipulate the private party rules that determine the allocation of delegates, including changing convention rules or going against the will of caucus voters, to make sure Sanders and Trump don’t get to eat the fruits of their victories.

It wouldn’t be the first time the parties have stepped in to alter the outcome in the nomination process.

In the 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus, Ron Paul officially came in third. However, Paul — who had a very similar appeal with voters as Trump and Sanders — had a different strategy than just winning votes. Paul’s grassroots-driven campaign encouraged supporters to remain at their polling location after the vote in order to become county delegates — the first step toward becoming a delegate at the national level.

[quote_right]IVN predicts that the parties will manipulate the private party rules that determine the allocation of delegates … to make sure Sanders and Trump don’t get to eat the fruits of their victories.[/quote_right]
Unlike his primary opponents, Ron Paul played the delegate game, aimed at caucus states, and he played it well. However, reports suggest that various state Republican parties and the Republican National Committee blocked several Ron Paul delegates, either by unseating them or replacing them at the Republican National Convention.

Party leaders argued that Paul hadn’t secured a majority of the popular vote in any of the primary states, and therefore didn’t deserve the nomination. The party leadership also changed the rules during the 2012 convention to allow the RNC to change convention rules between conventions without the say of party delegates.

Fast forward to the present. Donald Trump is leading in Iowa and several states. While many did not treat him seriously in the beginning of his campaign, it is beginning to sink in that Trump could very well win the nomination if he is able to mobilize his support on the ground.

It is indeed possible that the race for the Republican nomination could last until the Republican National Convention, and there have been reports that elected officials and party leaders within the Republican Party have met to discuss forcing a brokered convention, which happens when no single candidate has secured a majority of party delegates headed into the convention.

Since the party has already shown that they can unseat and replace delegates at will — regardless of how voters cast their ballot — an argument can be made that an unsatisfied Republican establishment may insist that such tactics be used to prevent Trump from winning the party’s presidential nomination.

In short, the argument from the parties will be flipped this year from their respect for the popular vote in 2012. Delegate rules will matter and the popular vote will be underplayed, away from the public discussion in the media.

Just like the Republican Party, for Bernie Sanders and the Democrats, it will all come down to the delegate count at the Democratic National Convention. However, unlike the Republican Party, the Democratic Party has superdelegates, chosen from elected officials and party leaders in each state, who can commit to any candidate they want, regardless of how primary and caucus voters vote.

According to a report on IVN, more than half of the party’s 712 superdelegates have already decided who they plan to support at the national convention — 359 of whom said they plan to vote for Clinton.

“With more than half of the superdelegates already intending to vote for her, Clinton is beginning the contest with a 15 percent head start in the effort to win the 2,382 delegates needed to have majority support at the July convention — and not a single primary vote has been cast yet,” writes IVN independent author Andrew Gripp.

In total, 30 percent of the conventions delegates can commit to a candidate with or without the support of their state’s voters, meaning Democratic leaders have significant control over who ends up winning the nomination. By using convention rules and these superdelegates, the Democratic Party could easily ensure Bernie Sanders does not get the nomination.

For any dissenting voice or candidate who challenges the will of the Republican and Democratic parties, the deck is already heavily stacked against them. In the end, the parties may decide that it doesn’t matter what primary and caucus voters think because the system currently places the interests of two private organizations ahead of the will of voters.

And as the courts have decided over and over again, the party nomination proceedings are private. So the will of the public, nor the courts, can stop the party from changing the rules to protect their preferred candidates.

 

 

This article was republished with permission from IVN.

Kentucky GOP Approves Caucus, Allowing Rand Paul Presidential And Senate Run

The Republican Party of Kentucky approved a proposal to change its primary to a caucus on Saturday, paving the way for GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul to run for both President and for re-election in the Senate in 2016.

Paul took to his Facebook page, writing, “I applaud the Republican Party of Kentucky on their decision to hold a caucus in the upcoming Republican presidential cycle.”

“The people of Kentucky deserve a voice as the GOP chooses their next nominee, and holding a caucus will ensure that Kentucky is relevant and participates early in the process,” Paul wrote. “I am also grateful for the Republican Party’s trust in me, allowing me to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate and seek the nomination for the Presidency of the United States!”

While the proposal, which passed 111-36, does not change the law that keeps candidates from appearing on two ballots in one election, it does allow Paul to run for the GOP nomination on March 5, and for re-election of his Senate seat on May 17.

The Associated Press noted that this decision by the Kentucky GOP comes with one condition: that the state party, which currently has “less than $170,000 in cash on hand,” receives $250,000 reserved for caucus expenses in its bank account by Sept. 18, presumably from Paul’s campaign.

House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed the switch from primary to caucus, and he said that he asked Paul to “defray the cost,” and Paul “indicated he’s going to do that.”

While committee member Troy Sheldon said he thought the proposal was “the best thing for voters,” critics such as Kentucky’s chief election official, Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, said that she thinks the use of a caucus will “disenfranchise over 1.2 million Republican voters,” and that “one candidate should not be able to buy an election.”

After the vote on Saturday, Paul told reporters that he thinks Kentucky’s decision is about more than just him. “It really is about trying to grow the party and I’m thoroughly convinced that were I not in this race that this is just good for the Republican party,” he explained.

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