How we won AZ CD1 DelegatesSubmitted by momof6 on Sun, 05/13/2012 - 12:38
I was an elected delegate in CD 1, which covers half the state. Everyone I talked to came from at least 3 hours away to participate in the convention. By the time the convention was scheduled to start, we used all our alternates to fill the delegate positions (with two additional alternates that didn't want to be delegates because they were caring for infants so the rest of the family could participate - including my husband!)
Skipping ahead several hours to when we broke out into congressional districts - no lunch, no access to outside for smokers, entrances to the area guarded by police officers to supposedly keep us from sneaking into other CDs to vote in their caucuses. The county chair had to make a list of delegates which would be checked against a master delegate list. She picked up the ballots for us, handed them out, and picked them up again to turn in after voting. On the first ballot, I noticed a couple concerns. First, there was an asterisk at the bottom of the page noting "This person is endorsed by the Romney campaign" The first name on the list was the one with the asterisk. When I looked closer, the first name should have alphabetically been second. I took a picture with my phone before turning in the ballot and brought it to the attention of the man in charge.
At first he tried to tell me the endorsement was something that they always did, and that Romney won the primary anyway. I told him that Romney was not on the ballot. The delegates were here to make the decisions about who would represent our congressional district and that electioneering was disenfranchising to the other candidates on the ballot. He had no explanation for the out of order name. We contacted the GOP attorney, Lee Miller, who came to the area to try explaining to my why this was okay. Even he did not know why the Romney name was at the top of the list. (By the way, every ballot at the convention followed this pattern - endorsement at the bottom, and the Romney slate as the beginning of the ballot with all remaining names in alphabetical order.)
Apart from the unfairness, here is what you need to watch for...
When the results came back, the Romney delegate was second, the winner was someone (who it later turned out isn't even in our district) that no one knew, and the 2nd alternate had 15 votes. One of our county delegates jumped up and said "FRAUD! There is no way our candidate got less than 15 votes! Raise your hand if you voted for Jill!"
Immediately hands started going up and when she counted, there were 51 votes, exactly the number of the supposed first place winner. What seemed like hours later, they agreed to have a representative from both campaigns watch the ballots go through the machine, and if the error was duplicated, to watch a hand-count. The result? The machine read the result by line number. Someone had been left off our ballot, so every name after #8 was shifted by one (Remember the Romney candidate was in the first position.) Our Delegate won!!! We were watching to see the result of the second ballot, but it took literally hours. There were two votes because Nevada wants to see if the delegates it lost for an early primary can be seated at Tampa after all. The second ballot was for the "just in case" delegate. We won that one too. However, we don't know if the same ballot error happened again because they knew to look for it and just gave us the correct name when the results were announced. We knew we had the numbers and any other result would have been protested.
What I don't know is if other districts had the same problem, or if it will be found on the at-large delegate results. Since they weren't counted last night, who know? We do, however, have pictures of all the ballots we used so we can compare the winners with where they were placed on the ballot compared to our delegates if we ever get the numbers.
By the way, the 5 vote difference between National Delegate and alternate was the number of people(including myself) that I invited to apply for State Delegate position last month. Three of those were far down on the alternate list, but we needed them all. Some known Romney delegates didn't show. Also, some districts at our convention were represented by exactly ZERO delegates. So if you are in the process, SHOW UP!!! We left at 3 am to get there in time and left kids and other normally important business and not one of us regretted it.