I’m not keen on Operation Hilarity. I don’t think it’s actually illegal, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to push it here. I think instead we should be trying to make sure that the elections should be fair.
What I think is far more important is making sure that votes are counted, and counted properly. Many people here are political junkies, but in case you’re not, there’s pretty good evidence that Republicans’ votes are being miscounted, most likely deliberately, in these primaries.
The Iowa caucuses was the first example. They declared for Romney, by 8 votes, with the promise that they would certify them in two weeks (two weeks – why should it take so long?). Two weeks later the vote wasn’t certified. Then the Republican chairman said it was a tie. Then he announced that Santorum had won, by 34 votes, and stopped being in charge in Iowa. Rachel Maddow has had some great reporting on this.
CPAC is another. Now it’s nonbinding, but there’s great evidence of voter fraud. Paul won prior straw polls by bringing in loyal supporters; this time, it is the technique that was used by Romney. But that's a nonbinding event, and of course, as Woody Allen says, 80% of life is simply showing up.
More worrying is Maine, in which Romney was pronounced the winner, by the tiny amount of 194 votes. Yet there are places whose tallies were actually refused. There's some pushback, in that Maine Republicans are trying to censure their chairman:
And while some of that partisan fervor was evident at the meeting of Waldo County Republicans, the main concern voiced was the fact that 17 of the 18 towns that caucused together on Feb. 4 turned up blank on the official Maine GOP tallies, which were listed by town in a press release issued after the announcement on Feb. 11.I believe it is a combination of deliberate manipulation – that's right, fraud – by the Republican machine that wants Romney - mixed with some genuine incompetence. (Of course, it could be both simultaneusly.)
“I saw the results and saw Winterport: zero. I was like, whatever,” said Aaron Prill of Winterport before the Feb. 14 meeting of county Republicans. Prill voted at the Feb. 4 caucus, but figured maybe there was an error in the statewide results tally. “Then I saw Belfast: zero,” he said. From there he saw the pattern.
Now, I respectfully submit we should be using this information. There are a number of issues I'd like to bring up:
(1) How do we make sure that we prevent this sort of abuse in the general?
(2) Should we use this - I'm not sure how - to sow dissent among the GOP? And if so, how? Certainly all those who are not-Romney supporters should be mad - they need to hear about it more.
(3) Should we use this to point out that it's another instance of Republican fraud and/or incompetence ... another reason to vote for the Democrats?
I'm sure that others have experience and ideas - I'd love to see them.
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