The Infamous At Large Delegate Ballot
So, after lunch and getting re-credentialed, networking was a major part of the hurry up and wait process. The re-credentialing had been very confused, and took considerably longer than it should have as my own district and several others somehow got “lost” in the shuffle. We ended up waiting by a ballot storage room for them to credential us and give us our paper ballot, plus an innocent looking sealed whit business envelope. When held up to the light, this contained a small slip of paper.
Then it came; the big announcement about the wonderful electronic voting site, along with an instructional video. We were asked to pass in our paper ballots. Interestingly enough, those ballots had been given ut blank to begin with, whereas the FIRST paper ballots had been provided to each district group with the names from the district on them.
We were told we could choose one of four options–the “Trump” slate, the “Cruz” slate, the “Kasich Slate”, or the “unity” slate (this conventions buzzword of choice). We could, alternatively, choose to select our delegates manually from the entire list, up to 56 choices. I immediately decided to choose mine manually, and advised my fellow delegates to do the same. This choice turned out to be the wisest, as many of the delegates had slated for more than one candidate, some slating for all four choices.
The Electronic Process
It took about 20 minutes for the IT team to get the site itself to work on everyone’s smart phones and tablets, while the rest of us (several hundred) lined up by the one room that had about 20 laptops and tablets set up for us to use, with volunteers to talk us through the process. I went for the choose my own as stated, and I ended up choosing the full 56, all people I had personally approached and spoken to before the convention via email and phone, so I knew they were “safe”. I also voted for myself, for fun :-). Others voted for me also (arranged before the convention) but not enough to break the party’s slates, sadly.
I then went back to networking and waiting for the results, after also voting in the run off for our female chair for Cleveland. By 5:30, we hadn’t heard anything significant, and I was well beyond my endurance level, even though I went to the convention wearing my TENS unit, and with my medication, hoping to be able to last well beyond the voting phase and hear the results in person.
So my other half and I had to leave around 5:30 p.m.. He was loaded down with business cards, email addys, phone numbers for me, and I had my own pile of the same to work with in the coming weeks. So I unfortunately missed the big blowup by Jan Brewer and others concerning the vote.
What I Noticed and Heard About The At Large Election Ballot
As mentioned above, I noted that while some delegates were only labeled with 1 candidate or “unity”, more than 10% were labeled with 2 or more choices–so voters who blindly chose the “Trump”, “Cruz”, Kasich”, or Unity” slate didn’t end up with dedicated candidates in many cases. Also, some of the higher recognition names were NOT labeled for a specific candidate. As such, though I could get no confirmation the system was set up this way, there is a good probability that unlabeled candidates didn’t appear on specific slates.
I also noted when going through the final delegate list of primary and alternate for Cleveland that higher profile, more well known Trump delegates did NOT get primary slots–they got alternate slots or NONE. I CAN verify that about 2/3rds or so of the primary and the same of the alternate list are know (to me) Trump supporters–but many were also listed on the “Unity slate”.
The more interesting data is in the “alternate list”. Nobody can convince me that popular, well known people like Jim De Wit, Jan Brewer, Gabby Saucedo-Mercer, the Westermans and the Corbins didn’t get enough votes to make the primary selection. Unless, of course, for whatever reason they weren’t listed on the “Trump slate” in the system, as most people took the advice of the ground team and voted “the slate”. I do know having seen it with my own eyes that on my screen, I marked only delegates I had personally ascertained were Trump supporters, or who were known to me through local politics and listed themselves as ONLY on the Trump Slate.
- I do NOT believe the website was “rigged” in the conventional sense. I read everything VERY carefully as I went through it. As a matter of fact, I deliberately played stupid and wiped out my results 3 times so I had the maximum opportunity to double and triple check the listings.
- There was one man yelling fraud in the room where we were voting at the time. His contention of fraud was based on the fact that some of his Trump Slate people were slated for other candidates as well. As we have ZERO information that is reliable on how the slating process worked for the at large ballot, other than the fact all the candidates had someone present to accept/.reject the slate, we have no way of knowing whether the multiple slating was due to choice/consensus on the part of the CANDIDATES’ reps at slating, or the party being sneaky. Had I been a Rep, I would have busted my tail making sure that ALL of my people were multi-slated, specifically so all my people would land in the primary delegate pool.
- Allowing your people to be multi-slated is the optimal strategy in this instance as most of the delegates, being new to the entire convention process, played it safe and voted their slate. As such, if a hard core Trump supporter were also listed for Cruz, Kasich and Unity, no matter which slate a delegate chooses, that person gets a vote. The lesson is simple: NEVER SLATE YOURSELF FOR ONLY ONE GUY, ESPECIALLY IF THAT PERSON IS VOTING FOR AN UNPOPULAR CHOICE.
- I find it highly improbable, statistically, that most of the well known names only made alternate. A good number of them in ANY OTHER YEAR would have been going to the national, based on their years of service, effort, and financial support of the party (all of which earn you extra points, BTW). So I tend to believe people like Jim DeWit when he says something stinks. But I don’t feel the stench comes from the website–I believe it came from the slating process itself.
The 64,000.00 Questions:
- Why did our candidate’s rep at slating NOT slate for all choices, to make sure we couldn’t be overlooked?
- Why did Graham NOT explain that just because someone is slated for more than one team DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE NOT ON YOUR SIDE?
- Why were only about 20 laptops/tablets available for well over 500 people who don’t have smart phones or who couldn’t log on at first with their own device?
- Why did our ground team NOT make every effort to put us in touch with one another before the convention? I did my legwork myself–but not everyone understands how very important it is NOT TO WAIT AROUND FOR THE GROUND TEAM FOR INSTRUCTIONS.
- Who was on the Star Chamber slating team for the first congressional district slating, and why were so many established party members kept in the dark (not to mention the rest of us).
- And why, most importantly, were we–the voting delegates–not allowed to stump, introduce ourselves, or otherwise let people know formally who we were and why we should be the choice? I and my other 3,3’s only met ONE of our slated choices for our district in the caucus room, and it was made quite clear to us by sundry parties involved we were expected to blindly vote our slate and not worry about it…..
Inquiring minds want to know…..Because we know that something DID go on.
In Case You Have Missed The Point, Here—
Our responsibility doesn’t begin and end in the voting booth. If we want our candidate, when elected, TO BE ABLE TO GET ANYTHING DONE IN DC, WE NEED TO GET CONTROL OF THIS POLITICAL CIRCUS BACK IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE.
I DON’T CARE WHO TRIES TO TELL ME TO JUST VOTE A SLATE AND NOT WORRY. IT IS MY JOB AS A VOTER TO DO MY DUE DILIGENCE, ASK QUESTIONS, AND BE INVOLVED.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. AND RIGHT NOW, WE NEED ALL THE POWER WE CAN GET.