the whitestick papers

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Disenfranchised?

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Since the adjournment of the 2012 Oregon Republican District Convention June 23rd we’ve heard a lot about how the Precinct Committee People (PCP) were “disenfranchised”.  They had a right, or so the story goes, to vote on Alternate Delegates to the Republican National Convention.  By ending the Convention at 5:00pm, even though the published agenda made it clear that was the scheduled deadline, and not casting ballots for At-Large and Congressional District (CD) Alternates, they were denied their chance to vote on those positions.

To add insult to injury, the Alternates were chosen by the ORP Executive Committee, who didn’t vote for the people the PCP had intended to vote for.  Instead, this group of so-called “elite” used their power to vote for their “friends”, ignoring the “clear will of the PCP”. To hear them tell it, it’s disgraceful and an obvious abuse of power.

But there’s more to the story.  To understand the full picture, we need to step back a bit and follow the tale starting not with the District Convention, but with the Primary election in May.  At that time, a majority of the Republicans voting chose Mitt Romney (204,176) as their preference for President.  Coming in a distant second was Ron Paul (36,810), followed by Rick Santorum (27,042) with Newt Gingrich trailing (15,451).  Based on criteria that had been set up before, this resulted in Romney earning 18 Delegates to the National Convention from Oregon, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum with 3 each and just 1 for Gingrich.

This is where the plot thickens.  Supporters of Dr. Paul decided to ignore the clear will of the Republicans in Oregon and, instead, ran a number of people loyal to him as candidates for Delegate and Alternate pledged to Romney, Santorum and Gingrich.  Since they had a committed minority of those attending the District Convention, this elite cadre could – and did – elect their friends in place of Delegate candidates actually committed to the other Presidential contenders.

Rather than a delegation that reflected the will of the Republican voters of Oregon, the scheme was to substitute a Delegation that reflected the goals and values of a minority of the PCP.  Based on voting results from each of the Districts, the Paul supporters comprised 40-45% of those in attendance but, because they voted in near lock-step, they gained a result far out of proportion not only to their numbers but out of keeping with what the voters had indicated.   Instead of the Delegate spread as determined by the Primary vote result, Ron Paul had 16 Delegates from Oregon with the other 9 scattered among the other three Presidential candidates.

The full scope of the plan was thwarted when the Convention ran out of time.  There are conspiracy theories about the ORP and/or Team Romney running out the clock, but the main culprit was simple human error and the logistics challenge of holding a single meeting in five locations simultaneously.  One District had the bulb on their projector burn out and then took an extended lunch break, putting it nearly three hours behind the agenda for the day.  Another changed the order of elections so that the CD Delegate elections came late in the day.  As a result, the intrinsically interlinked meetings were all stalled waiting for results before they could move on.  In any event, the Convention was adjourned before the Alternate elections could take place.

The ORP has a rule to deal with a situation like this, and has had since 2005.  Standing Rule 11 provides for the state Executive Committee to appoint Alternates to any position left vacant.  Usually, that occurs when someone who was elected isn’t able to go but, in the past, has also included situations when not enough Alternates are elected to fill all available positions.  Thus, the Executive Committee was called together to select those Alternates, and did so by election on June 30.

Since they understood the purpose of the Convention is to elect a Delegation that matches, more or less, the vote of Republicans in the state and as a way to honor those who had worked for the various candidates, the Executive Committee invited representatives from each campaign to send a representative to provide the names of people they’d like to see included as Alternates.  The Newt Gingrich campaign didn’t send anyone, and a long-time ORP activist was elected to that slot.  The Ron Paul representative spent the first four minutes of his time talking about himself and, after being reminded why he was asked to be there, spent the last talking about Dr. Paul.   Since he provided no recommendations, three people known to be Paul supporters were elected as those Alternates.

The person who directed the Santorum effort in Oregon presented recommendations and tales of what they’d done for the campaign.  He and two of the other two he suggested were elected.  The Romney representative provided a list of those who’d been involved in their campaign not only in 2012 but, in many cases, in 2008 as well.  This included 2 of the 3 people selected in CD2 after that meeting voted for an Extension in compliance with Robert’s Rules of Order after the Adjournment.  They, too, were elected.

So, it kind of comes down to who disenfranchised whom, and who deserves representation.  You see, PCP are elected to be representatives of the registered Republicans in their precinct.  They can, of course, vote any way they want but, like those elected to the Legislature, are expected to reflect their constituency.   By substituting their own will for that of the people they are called upon to represent, did these PCP act like the worst and most corrupt of politicians?

And did the Executive Committee, by using the will of the people as their guide, really disenfranchise a minority of PCP or more accurately restore balance, to a point, to the Oregon Delegation?  If the PCP were right in voting their own will over a majority of the people, why is the Executive Committee wrong in doing the same thing in voting theirs over that of a minority  the PCP?

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Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

15 July 2012 at 4:54 pm

9 Responses

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  1. […] note: cross posted from The Whitestick Papers. Ron Paul supporters have been invited to provide a thoughtful […]

  2. Well because we are a Rule Of Law, a Well established Rule Of Law.
    The Republican Party has a high Archy of Rules Of Law. They make it hard to find. They never talk about them until they are using them against you. They always use the lowest book of Bylaws on you so when you look those rules up and try to use them, They then all of a sudden have another set of Bylaws that trumps yours.

    You know you have found the book of books of Bylaws when they all of a sudden reverse their order. Like at the meeting Saturday July 14th, all of a sudden the National Republican Committee (NRC) Bylaws were not in play. They have always been to my knowledge the top Book of bylaws to every Republican in each state.

    The delegates brought up multiple articles in both the Oregon Republican Party (ORP) Bylaws and the NRC bylaws but the State Chair of the ORP Allen Alley would chat with his new Parliamentarian then say your using the wrong book or your out of Order. Alley Declared the Alternate Delegates spots vacant when they were not. Then he said the RNC rules do not apply. The Alternate Delegates can vote. The real Alternate Delegates were locked out side by Security and could not vote. It was stacked by Alley for Alley.

    The RNC will have to still do Credentialing in Tampa. So the true Alternates should go to Tampa and be their to take their rightful spot. Because when the illegally appointed Alternate delegates are found to be illegal and their is nobody to replace them then they can stay. That would be the biggest tragedy.

    It happened before. It most likely will again if the Alternate Delegates do not go. But it is not a guaranty. It is a lot of money. It is a long shot.

    It is messed up and Allen Alley is to blame because of the 5:00**.so called deadline so he could get his worthless buddy’s that could not muster the votes to Tampa, to Tampa. Show me the Rule alley can change the Convection’s to Convention?

    Duewell

    16 July 2012 at 10:09 pm

  3. There is a glaring internal tension in this argument above – between the “oops we just ran out of time, but the ORP leadership followed the rules” line vs. “Thank God the ORP shut down the voting. The ends justify the means, because 40%-45% were voting a way that I did not like.”

    Let’s take up the “oops” argument first since it deals with questions of fact. Solomon Yue has reported publicly on his investigation of what went wrong. He never mentioned anything about a bulb going out, nor have any of the many witnesses I have interviewed. Nor was a three hour delay caused by a bulb caught on film (remember these kids film everything). What has been caught on film is the FACT that ORP officials told each convention that the delay was being caused by another convention as they all sat in downtime together. Neither Solomon Yue nor the cameras’ recording each convention would miss a three hour delay caused by a bulb.

    Let’s pretend they did. This would beg the question why a bulb would delay anything since we are talking about speeches here; the bulb would not affect the audio portion that mattered. An ORP leadership that does not want to run out the clock would simply play the speeches on audio only, after all they had no trouble having their executive committee vote by phone.

    I am slow to blame anyone of mischief, but I knew something was fishy when Solomon Yue, a seemingly very competent guy, offered a public explanation for the delay based on his “investigation,” citing facts that were so easily falsified with minimal due diligence. He has claimed: “The delay was caused by the Fourth Congressional District. If you remember we were in sync when we had the first ballot for at large delegates to the national convention. All five Congressional districts completed their ballots at the same time. If you remember the next vote really should be the elector’s ballot to save some time” going on to explain that for some strange reason CD4 decided to hold their district chair and vice chair races instead.

    CD4 was filmed in its entirety from many angles, one of which is publicly available if you google it. The evidence shows After completing their first vote for the at large (state-wide) delegates, the CD4 chair suggested it would take time for the ORP to count all the ballots so, to save time, he suggested they vote for the next CD4 chair. You can watch this on video! It only took 35 minutes – piece of cake. When they were finished voting on the next CD4 chair, STATE PARTY OFFICIALS WERE STILL COUNTING the at large delegate votes, so the CD4 chair suggested to save more time, they move on to the election of Electoral College candidates, exactly what Solomon Yue claims they did not do. The video of the convention makes very clear it was only when CD4 finished voting on presidential electors that they were first given the results of the state-wide vote, allowing them to precede. Not only were they not behind, CD4 was now ahead of schedule! Why does Solomon Yue claim the opposite is the case?

    I was a PCP throughout the 1990s and know these things can go overtime because of coordination problems. Usually we would be waiting for the results of the at large alternate vote when 5pm hit. Under the rules that was not a problem in the past nor was this a problem under the rules governing those conventions on the 23rd of last month, because the rules explicitly included a variable time of adjournment.

    The rules only give the chairman of the party the authority to set the time these conventions convene. He is given no authority to set the time in which they adjourn. That is why the only time that does not have an asterisk next to it in the agenda is the only time Allen Alley had the power to set in stone, the time in which they were to convene: 9:00AM. Every other time is explicitly made flexible with a foot note reminding the PCPs that the times that the chairman has no power to set are all “approximate.”

    Ironically, Alley now claims to have tried to change these rules secretly the day before, saying he had a “preparation meeting” the day before the conventions with a handful of ORP officials and his staff where he “made it clear to all present that if we get to 5:00 p.m. the Convention would adjourn per the agenda.” In other words, per an agenda with a flexible completion time, he now claims to have orally instructed a small group of ORP officials that he wanted to change that agenda from having a variable time of adjournment to a specific rule that the conventions must adjourn at 5pm, something the rules don’t allow him to do.

    Remarkably his letter also takes the time to remind us that he did not have the power to change the convention rules once they were approved by the RNC: “Everything we do is really governed by what is required by the Republican National Committee (RNC). First we set up a process. Then we file it with the RNC. Then we execute the process, and finally we present the Delegates to the RNC.” Alley of course is not asserting that there is a RNC rule mandating an automatic 5pm adjournment for indeed there is none. He is asserting that once approved, there could be no changes in the rules, because “if we deviated from what was approved, we could have jeopardized the seating of our delegation.” Did he not have any lawyer to vet this letter?

    As Alley digs himself further into a hole with this absurd claim that the conventions were bound by an Animal House like double secrete mandate to adjourn at 5pm which he communicated orally to a handful of his people the day before, even his close colleague Solomon Yue, the RNC committeeman, has abandoned him in that regard. On the Bill Post Radio Show when asked if Chairman Alley “had the right to adjourn the meeting at five o’clock.” Yue responded: “Actually Roberts Rules of Order governed this portion regarding a published deadline and it works like this: when you reach a published deadline every chairman in the Congressional District can adjourn the meeting. However, if you want the meeting to continue, a PCP, a participant in the meeting must move to extend, that’s the proper motion, move to extend. The presiding chairman must recognize the person that makes that motion and without hesitation and also without debate and call for a vote. It takes two-thirds of the body present to vote affirmative to count the motion.” If Allen Alley is a guy that actually thinks he can throw out his organization’s own rules because of a closed door meeting he held with insiders, for matters as trivial as these, imagine what he would do as Oregon’s governor. One lesson learned from all of this is he clearly is not the kind of candidate the ORP should run with as it seeks to retake an office it has been absent from since January 12, 1987.

    Neither the ORP Bylaws nor the convention rules explicitly establish a quorum, thus Robert’s Rules of Order governs this matter too. Thankfully it is very clear: “In meetings of a convention, unless the bylaws of the organization provide otherwise, the quorum is a majority of the delegates who have been registered at the convention as in attendance, irrespective of whether some may have departed.” So if four conventions departed and only one voted to extend, that one convention in attendance would decide all the at large alternates “irrespective of whether some may have departed.” Similarly for CD5, which finally got to vote on its own district alternates after more than half of the original body of PCPs threw in the towel and went home – those who remained met the quorum requirements. Those are the rules and they are not even vague.

    Now to the other side of the argument: “OK we broke the rules, but the end justifies the means, because there were 40% to 45% of PCPs voting ‘wrong’ so they had to be stopped some way.” This kind of argument does hinge on questions of fact but on normative questions of value, that there were a group of candidates that should have been elected.

    The problem with this argument is that it assumes a fact libelously not true: that those members of the Republican Liberty Caucus who have been duly elected to the office of pledged Romney delegates and alternates are planning not to vote for him as ORP rules require. There is no evidence of any kind for this accusation, beyond surfing around the open sourced hyperbole of blogs where, like in any such format, all manner of speculation is to be found from people peripheral to the activists who were actually elected to the office of PCP and showed up that day.

    Ron Paul suspended his campaign in March, to focus on transferring his candidacy’s energy into the momentum of a larger movement. Here are the facts regarding the Paul’s goal of amassing 500 elected delegates of like minded Republicans to go to Tampa. 1) The Paul Campaign has been publicly silent as to what they are going to ask them to do. 2) The Paul Campaign has been privately trying to pour cold water on the notion they are going to be electing Paul as the nominee in Tampa. 3) When a few delegates signed up to an unauthorized outside group called Lawyers for Ron Paul, the real Ron Paul Campaign sent out its operative Doug Wead to publicly try and steer its supporters away from challenging these state laws that do not interfere with what Paul will actually be asking his supporters to do. Wead has publicly pointed out two things: a) with all the RNC committeemen and members of Congress who have a vote, there are 2,286 delegates at that convention. Even if Paul had 500 votes, it would not be enough to win. b) More importantly, speaking officially for the campaign, Wead has said publicly to Ron Paul’s supporters that their campaign seeks to win over the rest of their party to this cause, therefore he doubts Ron Paul would want to win the nomination this way even if he could since it would admittedly be controversial. 4) It is a FACT that every member of Oregon’s Republican Liberty Caucus that has been elected to the office of being a pledged delegate to a candidate other than Ron Paul plans on voting for the candidate to which they are pledged to.

    Accusations to the contrary based on random postings found in the social media rumor mill say more about the accuser than the accused. These conservative friends of mine need to really think about what they are saying when they defend the blatant rule breaking of the ORP leadership at our district conventions as somehow justified because the “wrong people” were winning too great a share of the coveted seats to go to the national convention.

    Since the primary goal of this growing caucus is to purge the corruption of big government conservatism from their party, were we to speculate on what Ron Paul, as a leader of a movement, intends to do with all these ideological allies at the national convention, comparing this convention to the one sixteen years ago is helpful. In 1996, Ralph Reed amassed an army of Pat Buchanan and Alan Keyes supporters to come to the convention as pledged Dole delegates. They used their numbers and even the threat of causing nomination problems as leverage to get their people prominent speaking slots, preserve the pro-life plank of the platform, and preventing Dole from nominating a pro-choice running mate. I would not call this corruption. This is not fraud. This most certainly is not the disenfranchisement of the registered Republicans that elected them to their office. This is legitimate party politics where a committed group of people seek to use the party organization and its limited powers to advance their cause.

    To my conservative friends who are not down with this dynamic, it is with love, that I say it is perfectly ok to not agree with this caucus’ values, but it is absolutely shameful to denounce these fellow Republicans as saboteurs simply because they have out organized you. What is really going on here is that people who thought they were entitled to enjoy the honor and privilege of being allowed into the national convention and rub shoulders with the powerful could not get duly elected to do so, so they relied on their friends in the ORP leadership to afford them the opportunity by illegally appointing them. On the Bill Post Radio show, Solomon Yue said that during those hours of down time, he was very busy on the phone talking to people who lost their election and as he said had their feelings hurt. What were they asking of him?

    By asking what he thinks is a rhetorical question, Jeffrey Smith actually betrays what the real problem is here with the Republican Party: “By substituting their own will for that of the people they are called upon to represent, did these PCP act like the worst and most corrupt of politicians?” The worst and most corrupt politicians are those that fail to use their office to lead independently to vote their conscious. The entire point of having a constitution is to intentionally limit the democratic will of the people which our founding father knew to be the ultimate source of corruption. Let’s not forget that the three structural barriers to the expansion of government that the Progressive Movement sought to remove were 1) replacing the origination of all laws in legislatures with referendum, 2) replacing the election of US Senators by legislatures with a popular vote, and 3) replacing party authority with primaries. If Obama wins the popular vote but loses in the electoral college I suppose Jeff will be pounding the table for the will of the people then too right?

    But perhaps the greatest irony comes from the implied assertion that the party insiders who were appointed, the donors, the power brokers, the consultants, and friends and employees of Allen Alley – they represent Oregon Republicans more? The Oregon Republican Party is made up mostly of conservatives. Given the role Team Alley played in watering down the social conservative language of our platform last year, are these the kind of folks the majority of Oregon Republicans would prefer to defend the abortion plank from a moderate like Mitt Romney? Remember, the primary was over when Oregon voted, many conservatives voted for Romney because their first choice had left the race. It is one thing to send pledged delegates to the convention to engage in a scripted coronation; it is quite another to sell out our national platform to a man who is many things, but a conservative like the average Oregon Republican Romney is not. So Jeff, in your attempt to equivocate on whom disenfranchised whom here is a modest proposal: why don’t we just all participate in our party according to the rules to avoid this kind of moral relativism?

    The notion that the Republican Liberty Caucus does not belong in the ORP is identical to the position of the pro-abortion ORP establishment of Bob Packwood that broke so many rules trying to cling to power as social conservatives began establishing their majority in the 1990s. Allen Alley has essentially returned the ORP leadership to the bad old days of Craig Berkman. My conservative friends with ties to Alley need to look themselves in the mirror and ask if that is what they want their party to be.

    Eric Shierman

    17 July 2012 at 3:37 am

    • Eric,
      I find your comments very persuasive. The ORP is out of control and has started a unwarranted civil war in Oregon that will only hurt the conservative movement. I wish I had some answer on how to “put Humpty-dumpty” together again but I expect that will have to wait until Feb and the ORP re-organization meeting.

      Jeff,
      I find your blog to be full of inaccuracies and “the party line” vs a real analysis of the situation. I doubt that anyone will actually find why the vote stalled or why the “rules” were twisted and broken so many times.

      zlazer

      17 July 2012 at 10:27 am

  4. “And did the Executive Committee, by using the will of the people as their guide, really disenfranchise a minority of PCP or more accurately restore balance, to a point, to the Oregon Delegation? If the PCP were right in voting their own will over a majority of the people, why is the Executive Committee wrong in doing the same thing in voting theirs over that of a minority the PCP?”

    Maybe because of the rules of the Oregon Republican party, which one would think that the allow the former and do NOT allow the latter? Jeff, as chair of CD1, I would think you must know this.

    Photo Evidence of CD4 Alternate Votes, including a photo of CD4 chair Wendy Frome delivering the sealed official ballot box to Allen Alley personally: http://imgur.com/a/7KMy8 . Affidavits are linked.

    Jen

    24 August 2012 at 12:05 pm

    • Thanks, Jen –

      First, please indicate what rule you’re talking about. I’ve heard a lot about a supposed rule broken by the ORP, but have yet to have anyone define it.

      Second, while Wendy did present the list, and a gentlemen (not part of the past or current District leadership) did the same for CD5. However, District Convention Rule 7.2 (CR7.2) requires they be in a sealed envelope, signed by the Chair of the Teller’s Committee,neither were. CR7.3 requires all the ballot envelopes be placed in a box provided by the ORP, sealed and signed by both the outgoing and incoming District Chair; neither of these “Alternate elections” took these important election integrity steps, either.

      The adjournment at 5pm was unfortunate, and the ORP is planning to review procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But it did happen, and would have regardless of the election outcomes. The ORP had no choice but to follow the rules, implied in CR 7.4 and detailed in Standing Rule 11 (which takes precedence over the Convention Rules).

      That’s what I know.

      Jeffrey S. Smith

      26 August 2012 at 6:32 am

    • I would argue Alley & those responsible for breaking our rules & disrespecting the process did not represent the will of the popular vote!

      As if you look at the BIG money donors that contributed to both John McCain & Romney in both elections the overwhelming amount of media coverage given to them over all other candidates, you would see this country does not have an informed voting base rather a complacent one willing to accept the presumed candidate or as all of us call it the lesser of 2 evils.

      Joe

      9 February 2013 at 6:32 am

      • The biggest problem with refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils is that it usually means the greater evil gets elected.

        Jeffrey S. Smith

        9 February 2013 at 7:38 am


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