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VA ballot madness

VA ballot madness

It’s hard to think of a more absurd argument than the one that Virginia’s ballot hurdles did everyone a favor (via OTB) by telling us who had the organization to win:

Virginia, then, has done the nation a service. It has winnowed the Republican field in advance of, and with greater precision than, the place-proud voters of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Really, I thought winning an election was about motivating and inspiring people to vote for you, not setting up arbitrary hurdles and seeing which organization could jump over them.  It’s the Michael Dukakis competence argument — I bet he didn’t miss making a single ballot deadline.

And I don’t recall other ballot rules being changed in the final month of qualification, as appears to have happened here, so that two candidates (Newt and Perry) who would have qualified in prior cycles did not qualify.

Virginia A.G. Ken Cuccinelli has a good take on the situation (via Other McCain):

. . .it now appears that the only two candidates that will be on Virginia’s ballot on March 6th: Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Ron Paul. While I’m glad for them, it screams out for making our ballot more accessible….

Let’s face it, absent a serious write-in challenge from some other candidate, Virginia won’t be nearly as ‘fought over’ as it should be in the midst of such a wide open nomination contest. Our own laws have reduced our relevance….

It’s probably futile, but there is a campaign being organized to urge the Virginia GOP to reconsider not how it applied and interpreted its signature requirements.

If you want to help, do something this morning. This Action Alert appears at Doug Ross’ website, Director Blue:

Action Alert: I urge you to contact the Virginia GOP and demand that they include Gingrich and Perry on the ballot. Be polite, but firm. There’s no excuse for issuing new rules at the last minute that just happen to exclude the leading candidates. In fact, it’s an outrage.

Email: Contact Form
Phone: 804-780-0111
Fax: 804-343-1060
Twitter: @va_gop

This is not a good situation for Romney, either. A win in Virginia will be tainted due to the GOP establishment changing the rules, and a loss to Ron Paul would be a major embarrassment; if Virginia provided the margin of victory at the convention, the nomination would be delegitimized.   Romney should want to win, but not this way.


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O/T: via WSJ

“The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system,” said an April 2006 newsletter published by Mr. Gingrich’s former consulting company, the Center for Health Transformation.

Ruh Roh

Moe Lane’s post: Of the seven candidates, one (Romney) had more than enough signatures (15K) to bypass the verification process entirely.

Why such a threshold at all? I read somewhere that Ron Paul did NOT get the required 15K and yet his signatures were NOT verified. How many standards are there?

This smells like the Dems’ version of Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos.”

“Romney shoud want to win, but not this way.”

Precisely, sir.

[…] if she’s mounting an insurgency, she’s keeping it very, very quiet.Update: linked at Legal Insurrection, who notes:Romney shoud want to win, but not this way.Category: Mitt Romney, Republicans, Ron Paul, […]

I attempted to utilize the contact form to send my message below and three times, after entering the Captcha authentication codes, a message appeared that the e-mails were unable to be sent. Upon the fourth attempt, a message appeared that no more than three e-mails were permitted in an hour.

Be sure to copy your message, so you can paste it again for subsequent attempts, if you, too, receive the “unable to send e-mail” message.

Is it possible that the VA GOP is receiving so many e-mails, they’ve tweeked their contact form to kick back complaints? don’t know, but keep trying.

Here’s what I tried to send:

“Dear Virginia GOP: There’s no excuse for issuing new rules at the last minute that just happen to exclude the leading candidates. In fact, it’s an outrage. I respectfully request that you include both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on the 2012 Presidential Primary Ballot and stop using Democrat dirty tricks to maintain an elitist Republican Establishment heirarchy. It’s not right and it further undermines a fair electoral process upon which our entire Republic is founded and maintained – and that threatens the continuity of our Republic.”

    markn in reply to logos. | December 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Reworded: “Dear Virginia GOP: There’s no excuse for insisting on non-fraudulent signatures at the last minute if it excludes my preferred candidate. In fact, it’s an outrage. I respectfully request that you adopt the standards of the Democrats and give a hearty thumbs-up to ‘reasonable’ levels of fraud.”

I doubt that Romney cares how he wins as long as he does.
There will be backlash from this in ways the Va GOP has not thought of. They think to force voters to vote for Romney but there is a chance they will vote for Paul instead thus taking Va primary votes Romney was counting on out of the picture. It wouldn’t mean that Paul would be the nominee but that the states with later primaries will have more of a say, at last, in who is nominated.

The dim party in Alabama in the 70s took a legally elected nomination from one person and gave it to someone else, the loser, in fact. The majority of voters got so angry they voted republican for the first time and is still republican to this day. Rule #1 in an election: don’t p*ss off the voters. I hope nothing like that happens in this case. It would be a disaster. It is sad to see the republican party self destruct this way but since the arrogance they have shown lately, this is not surprising. Th establishment is on the ropes and this is their way of getting their way. It will come back to bite them.

scottinwisconsin | December 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

Thanks for the link. I urged them to keep the rules, and not show favoritism by changing in the middle of the process. I expect Paul to win Virginia now, which is a good thing.

Done. Unfortunately I could not tell if the message was sent or not. There was one message that said “Your message was sent” and another that said, “! Message not sent! Contact administrator!”

Kinda like where we’re at with the whole “stupid party” thing.

This is really starting to smell. While I don’t plan on voting for Gingrich I believe candidates should be able to get on the ballot with consistent and fair terms. It looks like the VA GOP is gaming the system to insure a Romney win.

This is why I self-identify as a Conservative rather than a Republican these days…

[…] valid petition signatures, and while there is a controversy arising surrounding the validity of signatures for Gingrich and a potential recount, what’s clear is that some sort of monkey business is going on.  There are those who are […]

So, the 800 pound gorilla that isn’t being mentioned is this: what were these super-secret changes to the process that nobody knew about? Well, the answer seems to be that they didn’t previously verify signatures, and this time they did. So, some candidates thought it was OK to submit bogus signatures? Not much of a defense. I thought we conservatives opposed vote fraud.

    davod in reply to markn. | December 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Get it right,

    The requirement is 10,000 signatures. Now they verify signatures, but only if you submit less than 15,000 signatures.

      markn in reply to davod. | December 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      Does that really answer my point? It it possible to take the Dems to task for opposing ballot integrity measures while at the same time whining that they threw out phony signatures supporting *your* candidate?

      I’m guessing the 15,000 threshold is there simply because the chances of having more than 1/3 of submitted signatures disqualified is minuscule. Same reason we only do hand recounts in close elections.

1. This has happened while VA Governor Bob McDonnell is being mentioned as a potential running mate for Romney.

2. It brings to mind Obama’s early-career shenanigans in keeping opponents off the ballot.

3. Why should the country vote for Obama Lite when Obama is available?

Cynical question from a newbie here: is this going to have any serious repercussions on who wins the nomination? I mean, everyone knows that whoever wins this farce won a tainted victory and that it doesn’t have any real bearing on who wins the nomination now.

And it’s not really anything that Romney, Paul or Huntsman had any control over. They didn’t leave signature gathering until the last minute… they did their due diligence in spite of evidence that the VA GOP would not. And the VA GOP (for once) did and the folks who only half-arsed it got burned and, really, there is no legitimate complaint either the GOP or Perry/Gingrich can make about it.

What this says to me is that the political organizations in VA (the Dems did this too) have acquired a reputation that by rights should have made them irrelevant a long time ago. Now the local GOP get to spend a campaign in the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. At least it’s not eternal.

“Let’s face it, absent a serious write-in challenge from some other candidate”

Sorry, read the rules. No write-ins allowed.

I’m betting Paul will win, since Virginia has open primaries and the Dems will undoubtedly cross over to vote just for him. >:-(

BannedbytheGuardian | December 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Magnificent Virginia – the armies of The Potomac , The Guerilla Master Moaby , Jubal Early, Patsy Cline .

Virginia kneecapped by DC.

Hey hey – Virginians -rise up & take the Potomac back.

It gets down to this. Are you one of those towering giants along the Avenue of Heroes or the guy in the tennis shorts?

Well, at least it makes for a great post-primary book title. “How to Make a State’s Primary Election Irrelevant in One Easy Lesson”. Amateurs. Sneaky underhanded ones at the top, at that. Its becoming easier and easier to stop voting for establishment Republicans because they look so similar to Dhimocrats.

@ davod. How about a write-in at the general election in VA? Is that possible?

Below is what I *TRIED* to send, but their contact for kicked it back. So I’m going to call their office and try and leave voicemail.

I am very disappointed at the last minute rules change that has essentially tainted the Virginia Republican Primary process. While I am not a Virginian, I am a close and active follower of Republican party politics and have been for a number of years. This looks like politics at its sleaziest and is neither serving the interests of the national party or the reputation of the Old Dominion.

Such tactics whoever they seem to be serving in the short run are damaging the party in the long run and will be turning off grassroots voters in ALL states down the road. Electing Republicans nationwide is more important than serving the partisan interests of whatever candidate that this was seemingly done for, and you all need to fix it and fix it now.

Heh. Their voice mailbox is full.

At the risk of being tagged as a contrarian, there seem to be a few arguments being made here that are, shall we say, a little less than compelling?

A quick example:

“It’s hard to think of a more absurd argument than the one that Virginia’s ballot hurdles did everyone a favor (via OTB) by telling us who had the organization to win:

Oh, I don’t know.

How about, having inexplicably failed to collect a sufficient number of valid signatures to qualify for the Presidential primary ballot in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Newt Gingrich’s home state for the past 12 years, he and his campaign responded by saying the failure was analogous to the unprovoked surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, which we were all very recently reminded of on the 70th Anniversary, an event where nearly 2,400 American servicemen and civilians perished, just short of 1,200 were injured, the pacific fleet was deeply damaged, including the outright destruction of several battleships, the consequence of which was that as a nation, we were immediately plunged into World War II?

Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941,” campaign director Michael Krull wrote on the Gingrich Facebook page. “We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action.
. . .
“Newt and I have talked three or four times today and he stated that this is not catastrophic — we will continue to learn and grow,” he wrote.
. . . . “

As someone who’s followed the travails of third parties obtaining ballot access over the years, it’s satisfying to see the bipartisan duopoly’s rules wounding their own. Republicans (and Democrats) have been merciless in booting other candidates off the ballot whenever possible. I welcome the attention this draws to harsh ballot access laws – which effectively disenfranchise people who don’t support the major party nominees – and I hope Cucinelli succeeds in changing Virginia’s.