114 votes

Vote Fraud, Power, and Privilege in Small Town Iowa

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.

*************UPDATE**************

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.



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My thoughts exactly!

My thoughts exactly!

Interesting, but ...

... how do you know that this Robin is "Roberta?"

If this is confirmable, it would not be amiss to send her an email or two telling her how naughty she has been -- and that people know.

Ahhhh......that would be the other side of small town priviledge

There was only one woman that hosted Michele Bachamann in her home......."Roberta" was recognized by the OP as the woman that hosted the candidate. 1+1=2

itzSteve's picture

Question...

You say, "Only registered caucus members are allowed to speak for candidates or vote in the straw poll."

If that is the case, then why was Mrs. Santorum able to speak for her husband, and some friend of Rick Perry's came in from Texas to speak for him on the C-SPAN feed I was watching in one of the precincts?

Maybe I was wrong about who can speak.

It seems to me that a caucus of a neighborhood should be by and for neighbors.

There probably is a way for outsiders to speak if the caucus wishes. If more than one caucus member wants to speak then I think the one authorized by the candidate should speak.
But I think that ANY registered member should take priority over an outsider regardless of the desires of a candidate's campaign.

******************************
The Virtual Conspiracy

Anyone can speak

Anyone is allowed to speak on behalf of the candidates. The Ron Paul campaign had some of the "Christmas with Ron Paul" students speak in precincts where there wasn't a resident volunteer.

I was also a first time caucus chair. Luckily the people in my small precinct were very nice and (as far as I know) honest. It is not an easy thing to manage, though. You and your wife did a great service and have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Remember, if any of them weren't on your list but they can show that they have a home in your precinct, they could have registered at the door and you would have had to let them vote anyway. And if they really wanted to, Roberta could have attested that Blue Blazer lived in the precinct, or with her, and could have gotten him registered at the door as well. So don't beat yourself up.

That being said, voter fraud of any type is a reason to be angry. It is a serious crime and while an instance like this may not have any real impact on the results of a caucus, that does not make it any less despicable. The people with whom we caucus are our neighbors, and when people commit voter fraud, they violate not only the law, but the trust that should exist among members of the same community.

On Santorum

He moved his whole family there from what I remember reading.
But for the rest, my assumption is either (A) you can stump in Iowa, think back to the RevPac deal to get supporters there. Or (B) they make small exceptions for guests of candidates, whether right or wrong..

-- Give me liberty or give me death --

What an awesome

well written story!

I am angry with you good sir.

I wish I was there to help you. I definitely would have.

Let this be a lesson to all Patriots of Liberty.

Have back up and additional people who are ready and delegate responsibility!

But most of all - have a lot of fun!

"It does not take a majority to prevail but rather an irate, tireless minority keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."

--Samuel Adams

No way

I can't ever imagine my self doing what you and your wife did because i am no where near as brave as you both. I'm mad too but considering your circumstances its nothing to be depressed over. This was your guys first time, so no worries. Do your best to help other county chairs for Paul in other Caucus states, that is what matters now!

"you're a funny dude, but who gives a fuck about that? I don't care about someone's wit, I care about the courage of their heart and the honesty of their mind."

No need to be angry

Thanks for leading the effort. Politics is a nasty business.

 
Freedom, Prosperity and Peace

Thank you, for your

Thank you, for your story!

Peace and good sleep!

________________________________________
my Ron Paul video collection:

www.youtube.com/austria4ronpaul
(4 years RP, over 2300 videos)

Thank you for writing & being there

That's what really matters. I bet if you weren't there, a lot more of that shady stuff would've gone on. Karma will come & get them. You just wait.

Brooke Day

You did great!

There are people like that and there is nothing you can do about it! Chim up.

Thank you..

excellent and enlightening. :)

.
~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

I would have to visit ms cheater

a least call her out and embarass her if that is possible. Election fraud is some type of crime if no to the law dogs for sure in the GOP rules. There must be some response to vote cheating its an act of treason against the people in this country.

sovereign

I would print that story out

and plaster my district with it. That biotch Roberta needs to be exposed.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. ~J. Swift

easy to do

cut and paste the post, followed by the links that glory posted. would make a great email blast to republican committee folks in every state. be sure to tell them how proud we are of the party. ;)

agreed

I would do the same.

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
http://www.dailypaul.com/203008/south-carolina-battle-of-cow...
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Good Writing

Nice job = a well written piece.

My Pro Liberty Blog: http://WalkerWire.com

Amazing Story

Nah,

You and your wife did very well considering the circumstances. I admire your candor and commitment to honesty. You're both a role model to follow and have a great future in politics. Although, I don't know you personally, I want to know more about your upbringing. This world apparently needs more folks just like you and your wife in politics. Don't be too harsh on yourself. You make me proud to be associated with Ron Paul. Iowans should be especially proud. :)

actually

I think you and your wife are pretty wonderful

good post

man these people, in the GOP

BMWJIM's picture

As my Maw Maw used to say,

My Chere', you done good out dere.

In all seriousness you did an exceptional job. I personally am very proud of you and your wife.

Jim

1976-1982 USMC, Having my hands in the soil keeps me from soiling my hands on useless politicians.

Insightful

Thanks for fighting the good fight. We appreciate the work you have done and will do for the cause. Do not be hard on yourself. You did your best.

Don't worry...

... you did a good job. We are winning this war. Hey, $13 million in the 4th quarter. Imagine that! We are going all the way to November 2012.

Plano TX

Brother

Do not under any circumstances get too down on yourself. You stepped up to the plate. You put in the time, you did it for the right reasons. This epitomizes what we are up against and is a valuable lesson for everyone moving forward. I certainly would not let them off the hook though. I would get this information out to your friends and neighbors, maybe even write an editorial in the local newspaper. You may even get this story to go national if you worked it right. However you handle it, keep it in perspective and thank you for this important information.

πολλα γαρ πταιομεν απαντες ει τις εν λογω ου πταιει ουτος τελειος ανηρ δυνατος χαλιναγωγησαι και ολον το σωμα

The only thing wrong was

that you had to do this as just the two of you. Small precinct or not, you were spread thin. More help - and any honest voter will do; it doesn't have to be Paul folks - and that wouldn't have happened.

They weren't expecting

that many people to show up. But yeah, maybe they could have asked an honest looking person for help?

"The world is a dynamic mess of jiggling things, if you look at it right." - Richard Feynman

Well, I don't know if it's okay to just ask someone

who happened to show up. You might have to sign up to volunteer, ahead of time. I just meant he shouldn't have felt bad that it was more than a reasonable job for two people.