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Friday, 9 March 2012

Vote rigging in the USA, not Russia

Randy Reudrich
GOP Alaska Chairman
The Latest Facing Accusations of
Electoral Impropriety
It has been another strange week in world politics, first the Russian Presidential elections took place and I and anyone else who cared to log in could watch the ballots as they were cast anywhere in the world. The C-Span network and Fox News streamed live from webcams set up around Russia in what is unprecedented transparency during an election.

The Western Press has of course held that the election was fixed, that there was no real alternative to Vladimir Putin, that the media coverage was biased, and so on and so forth. Of course those exact same criticisms were levelled in Jersey at the last election. I don't think they are necessarily unfair criticisms but it seems the same standards must apply to all elections anywhere around the world. And then there is the good old USA where the question on everyone's lips is 'How did Ron Paul lose Alaska?'

Paul's ardent supporters in the 49th state were on Wednesday casting a wide net, including allegations of polling impropriety, disenfranchisement and other shenanigans by Alaska Republican Party officials.

As the only Republican presidential candidate to make the lonely journey to Alaska this election cycle, and with a groundswell of support from the state's libertarian-leaning independents, many national pundits and local political watchers had expected a Ron Paul win here on Super Tuesday.

It did not come to pass. Paul ended up placing third in Alaska's presidential preference poll. Mitt Romney won Alaska by the skin of his nose, taking 32.4 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press. Rick Santorum, in what seemed surprising, came in a strong second here, taking 29.2 percent. Paul received 3,175 votes, or 24 percent of the turnout. That should net Paul about six delegates to the GOP National Convention in August.

Ron Paul for Alaska campaign chief Evan Cutler harbors other suspicions. An email Cutler sent Ruedrich was forwarded to Alaska Dispatch.
"the voter-roles the poll workers had were released last Tuesday and were only updated the previous Friday. Thus, anyone who had changed their voter registration in the past week would not be in the voter rolls database at the polling location, but that they should still have the right to vote and either have their ballot entered into “questioned” status, or rather, that they should have been given the opportunity to re-register again at the poll.
There were some other complaints about the process in your own district," it said. "According to the reports I received, when the District Convention convened there were 7 delegates in your cohort and 7 in the Ron Paul one. Instead of letting people vote then, I was told you instead called supporters from your side one by one until you had enough people on the Romney side on the phone to take all the delegate slots. …"
Did it really happen? "Absolutely not," Ruedrich said in an interview Wednesday night. "It just isn't true, absolutely not true. We did not vote via teleconference even though it would have been fully appropriate."

Ruedrich says that he and another party worker left his district's polling place "to process state data from the preference poll. When we issued an all-data-in report, we returned to the convention because it was still in process. We participated in the vote in person."

Ruedrich went on to refute the poll tax allegations, the disenfranchisement, the other things Paul supporters were whispering. He said complaints were common for a constituency that failed to achieve its objective. But he also said the Paul campaign's accusations were something more than just sour grapes.

"This is a little bit more severe," he said.

While the he-said, she-said continues, one thing is certain: the Alaska Republican Party's rules are labyrinthine. Who knew that people could vote via teleconference in a district convention? Doesn't that seem like a recipe for accusations of preference or vote-weighting?

"It's fully appropriate," Ruedrich said.

The Paul campaign doesn't think so and Cutler said he and other up-and-coming young Republicans weren't pleased with the way Ruedrich was managing the state's GOP.

"Ruedrich and others are bending their own rules for Romney. It's not fair. There's a history of game playing in Alaska's Republican Party. People shouldn't be disenfranchised. They shouldn't have to pay to play. … Ruedrich should probably go," Cutler said.

Alaska's Republican presidential poll is conducted solely by party bosses like Ruedrich and isn't overseen by the state's Division of Elections. Cutler isn't the first conservative to call for Ruedrich's head. But much mightier politicians (including Sarah Palin) have taken him on, only to be frustrated again and again.

On Ron Paul delegate hopeful relayed the events of Ruedrich's own Caucus as follows:
"How disappointing that Reudrich straight up lied to you. I was one of the nominated delegates from District 18 that was not chosen. I am not so much upset about not winning my delegate seat hands down as I am that A) more of my compadres didn't show up to vote (in part due to an exorbitant caucus fee of $50—which apparently was intended to pay two full years' worth of ARP business expenses,) and B) these hi-ranking ARP members, including Reudrich, his wife Gloria Shriver, Senator Drue Pearce, and District 18 Chair Berkely Ives (among others) chose to conduct themselves as if they were the same Old Boys Club they're used to, and then took drastic and inappropriate measures when they saw that would not be enough!
Reudrich was NOT present initially at the caucus, in violation of rules that state he must be present within one hour of the start of the meeting. He and another woman were called in after present members attempted illegal proxy voting (one of which was on behalf of Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell!) When that effort was squashed, two members, including Shriver, took to the phones to call their significant others who were running for delegate seats. Teleconferencing IS allowed, but the rules of attendance still follow—the teleconference should be live within the one-hour time frame of the start of the caucus, or at VERY LEAST BEFORE the motion is made in order for them to hear the motion and vote appropriately.
When THIS was questioned and other members of the district requested to see the specific rules that allowed these actions, they could not be produced despite the fact that I sat a laptop in front of of the District Chair with ARP rules website open. 
At that point, Shriver called for a recess which was neither seconded or voted on and got on the horn to bring in the back-ups, including her husband Reudrich and one other woman whose name escapes me. These two should not have been allowed to vote because they were not present at the start of the caucus or following the same rules the rest of us were expected to follow.
So there you have it folks, cronyism in the ARP. Imagine that."
But the real story is that the 'establishment candidate' is not favoured by the grass roots of the party which predominate in the old Confederate States, the future voters are only inspired by the one man they are pulling out all stops to block and the other two candidates well they just are not going to beat Obama.