Vote Fraud, Power, and Privilege in Small Town IowaSubmitted by spacehabitats on Thu, 01/05/2012 - 18:31
I know this is a long post. But if you enjoy small town soap operas and tales of political corruption, please read on.
OK, so it was only three votes.
In a statewide election that was settled by a margin of eight votes, three votes could be important. But I will be honest with you, I'm almost sure none of those votes were cast for the top three contenders.
So why should I care?
Because the people who cheated, did it in MY precinct.
They did it by lying to MY face.
They knew EXACTLY what they were doing and why it was wrong.
Because these people are rich, well-connected, and already enjoy a disproportionate influence over the political process in the United States.
Because their act of petty vote fraud was so gratuitous, so pointless, and yet so symbolic of the contempt that the political insiders have for the "peasants" that comprise We the People.
Let me explain.
As I have described elsewhere, my wife Nancy and I bit off more than we could chew on caucus night. As county chair I was ultimately responsible for seeing that the caucuses for the four precincts in our town were run fairly.
Nancy and I arrived early at the high school where I had reserved four rooms, one for each precinct in our town. A few more Paul supporters showed up and a short time later a lady (I will call her "Roberta"), a middle-aged man ("Gary") and a young man in a blue blazer arrived together carrying campaign material for Bachmann and Gingrich. I recognized "Roberta" as the local socialite who had hosted Bachmann in her home last week, Gingrich at a local restaurant, and a teleconference with Joe Biden and Herman Cain. Her fancy house on a hill is in our precinct so I wasn't surprised that she was at our caucus.
She asked if she had arrived in the "Ron Paul room" by mistake ("Ha Ha"). She started telling anyone who would listen that she thought that "we" should only support the candidates who had come to our town and that she had asked "all of them" to show up.
I asked her if she had invited Ron Paul and she said that she had. "We know him VERY well but he said he was going to Council Bluffs instead".
We had a record turn out in all of our precincts. In Precinct 3 (mine) we were trying to squeeze 80 people into a classroom seating 35. As the secretary, Nancy was being run ragged checking everyone against a registration list, and filling out voter registration forms for the unusually large percentage of new Republicans voting for Ron Paul.
I started the caucus and was elected as the permanent chairman. I invited a representative from each candidate (alphabetically) to speak for a maximum of five minutes, reminding everyone that the secretary (my wife) would be timing everyone and made a joke about how strict she was. Then we began.
"Roberta" spoke for Bachmann gushing about how wonderful it was that a WOMAN was running for president. "Gary" had an official letter from Gingrich and so I let him rant for five minutes about what a great thing the "Contract With America" was and how Newt had single-handedly balanced the budget during the 1990's. After five minutes my wife called "time", and he kept talking. I stepped to the podium and said "Excuse me, but your time is up". He kept talking. "I'm sorry," I said, placing my hand gently on his shoulder, "But we really need to move on." He finally shut up and angrily stepped aside.
"Anyone for Jon Huntsman?" I asked. Gary immediately said, "I'll speak for him!" As chairman I ruled that he could not.
Finally it came time to vote. My wife and I were scrambling to hand out the pre-printed ballots I had prepared. I came to "Blue Blazer" who looked unfamiliar and (thinking he might be a college student registered to vote somewhere else) I asked him if he had checked in and if he was a registered voter in our precinct. He hesitated. "Yes, he's registered," Roberta said almost immediately as she and Gary smiled and accepted their ballots. To save time Nancy and I started handing out the rest of the ballots to be passed down the rows since the standing room only crowd was difficult to navigate.
Noticing this Gary smirked and shouted out, "As they say in Chicago, 'Vote early and often'."
We collected the ballots and my wife (who was the official GOP reporter for all four precincts) left to count and call in the votes with Gary as an observer for Gingrich.
My wife was so busy and flustered, she had forgotten to vote. "Its too late!" Gary insisted, but Dave (our Ron Paul observer) went and fetched her a blank ballot so she could vote.
Ron Paul won easily followed by Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich a distant fourth. Gary seemed surprised.
The following night my wife was going through the stacks of caucus forms and noticed that there were three more votes than the number of caucus attendees.
Then she remembered that "Roberta", "Gary", and "Blue Blazer" had never checked in. On caucus night they had just walked past her registration table without stopping and sat down. She had recognized Roberta and Gary, checked to see if they were in the voter registration list and when they weren't, assumed that they were there as "non-participating observers" (as allowed by the rules).
But she didn't tell ME.
You see, the chairman is responsible for segregating any unregistered attendees (like underage children or news reporters). Only registered caucus members are allowed to speak for candidates or vote in the straw poll.
When Nancy told me about it, everything suddenly fell into place. I know that Roberta has another home in Washington DC and spends most of her time there. It never occurred to me that she would be registered to vote THERE. "Blue Blazer" was probably just a flunky; maybe her son, an intern or employee of her company. Gary? Who knows. All I know is that he is an obnoxious jerk who took advantage of our small town honor system and made a fool of me in the process.
I know what you're thinking. Nancy and I are amateurs, in over our heads, and we blew it.
And you're right.
But I am angry, and not just at myself.
I am angry because what they did was so unnecessary; like a millionaire stealing a penny out of the tin cup of a beggar.
Angry because these are the same people who assume that they should run our country.
Angry because they have the ears of the movers and shakers, that get the hugs from the presidential candidates, who get respect from my friends and neighbors who think I'm a kook.
Angry because they are helping to send our children to be killed and maimed in wars created by their buddies.
Angry because their price for selling out our country, our freedom, is so cheap; their ticket to the next inaugural ball.
Angry because I am the one who is angry; because THEY can sleep at night and I can't.
First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your kind words of encouragement, your understanding of my human fraility, and your dedication to our common cause; individual liberty.
Please understand that I did choose to release my story in its current form for a number of reasons.
While I appreciate your interest in seeing "justice" prevail, and while I sympathize with the feelings expressed in the comments about my story I also want YOU to understand and sympathize with MY position.
When "names are changed to protect the innocent", you need to stop and consider that some of the "innocents" might be my wife and children.
Believe me when I say that I have weighed my options, that I desperately want Ron Paul to prevail, that I want my Republic and liberty restored.
None of you (including any of you who may be from my area) can possibly know the details of my particular situation. Appearances can be deceiving. The bad economy has spilled over into almost every industry and certainly health care and the medical profession are no exceptions.
Politics in a small town can be very complicated, and I am not just speaking of presidential politics.
Physicians are just as vulnerable to economic catastrophe as anyone else. Our careers are just as vulnerable (and maybe even more so) to social pressures, networking, belonging to the right church, country club, or benevolent organization.
I don't belong to the right clubs. I don't belong to the right church. I don't schmooze or party with the right crowd.
And I certainly don't support the "right" presidential candidate.
When I was younger and single I could afford to take risks that I can no longer afford to take.
We all have to make our own decisions about when and where to make a stand.
We all have decide how much we can contribute and what we can risk in the cause of liberty and to support one another and Ron Paul.
We all have to pick our battles.
Trust me when I say that I have already stuck my neck out and risked the financial well-being of my family quite enough.
Thank you for your support and understanding.