Tag Archive for: Politics


By Ernie Geigenmiller

Editor’s Note: This is the third article following the results of the March 30 Clark County GOP Convention held at the Vancouver Hilton. The event itself has been laden with charges of incompetence, vote tampering, political shenanigans, and fraud.

On Thursday, April 19, GOP Delegate Nathan Mellor, from Precinct 925, filed a legal challenge to the results of 18th Legislative District (LD) caucus election of delegates and alternates to the Washington State GOP Convention.

According to Mellor, the basis of his challenge is “simple – the 18th LD caucus election was fraudulent, violated the rules of the Washington State Republican Party, and should be set aside, because significantly more ballots were cast than the number of eligible voters (credentialed delegates) present at the caucus.”

Mellor is referring to events on the afternoon of March 30. The credentials committee representative Margie Ferris declared, prior to voting on delegates for the state convention, that 213 delegates were credentialed to vote.

After the first round of voting, 284 votes were cast, and that cast doubt on the entire process, which was beset with a confusing registration process and numerous delays.

Mellor contends in his challenge that there are only two possible explanations for the outcome.

“Either a significant number of people who voted who were not properly credentialed,” Mellor says. “Or else credentialed delegates cast multiple ballots.”


Legislative District 18 in a caucus breakout session gathered
on March 30 to vote on 32 delegates to send to the Washington
State GOP Convention in May.
He’s also upset that caucus leadership permitted the results of the election to stand.
Mellor claims Washington State Republican Party (WSRP) rules were violated. He cites rules 14, 15, 24 and 29. In rule 24, he says “rules are obviously designed to ensure that only qualified votes are allowed to vote in the election of delegates to the state convention.”
He says the 18th LD violated both the letter and spirit of the WSRP rules.
“The fraudulent results of this caucus must be struck as void, and the delegates and alternates elected from the 18th LD should not be seated at the state convention,” Mellor stated.
The proceedings were filled with confusion and delays. Several delegates were concerned that caucus leadership did not sufficiently control access to ballots. It was also clear that non-credentialed individuals were allowed to mix with delegates in the room. Daniel Rupp was seen carrying four ballots. It was later explained he was voting for his father, and that teller security officers closely monitored the process. An explanation for the other two ballots is less clear, but party officials state two ballots were destroyed.
“I smelled a rat from the beginning,” said Delegate Susie Huckvale, who witnessed the proceedings as they happened. “The whole day was chaotic.”
Delegate Craig Rollins, who was also witnessed the proceedings, said “I saw very well-meaning people overwhelmed and unprepared for the details of the day.”

“I really don’t know what happened with regard to credentialing,” Graham said. “But I felt from the aspect of running our district caucus we did the best we could. We had to give everyone time for nominations and speeches and that took a long time, but those are the rules.”

She said when Ferris provided her report to the district “she looked horrible, like something bad happened to her – and that’s not her, she’s usually very upbeat and happy.”

Graham said there were problems all over the place and was worried because there was no Sergeant-At-Arms. Graham is also addressing fraud allegations from delegates who claim there were alternates in the room than necessary – and that they came in before being credentialed.
“I’m looking closely at caucus paperwork and matching those names to registration records,” she said. “We are taking an exhaustive look at everything.”
Delegates from Precinct 966 felt disenfranchised because six delegates were voted in at caucus but the County GOP turned three away. What happened?
“The precinct representation shrunk over time,” Graham said. “Why? Because their voting habits show a decrease in voting, so they were cut in half. We flipped a coin to see which three would have to be turned away.”
Other precincts have reported their full delegation was in attendance and saw alternates mingling and voting at the convention.
“Those alternates should not have been there,” said delegate Rick Russell. “Our entire delegation was there and there were alternates from our precinct walking around and voting. I want that investigated.”
Graham says they continue to look into the matter and are checking registration records. And therein lies the problem – registration was chaotic.
Brent Boger, a GOP rules official said “it was a train wreck and I could see it coming.”
Boger said simply a lot of people were not properly checked in, so chaos ensued.
“It was clear there were alternates that should not have been there,” Boger said. “The convention showed problems within the party apparatus. There are many things that need to be fixed. I also wanted more rules to be transparent in the official book, but I was limited to two pages. I really wanted people to have all the rules in front of them, but I wasn’t allowed to do that.”
He also places blame at Ron Paul supporters.
“They like to cause chaos and delay and get their opponents worn out so they go home early,” Boger said. “We have lives, the Ron Paul people don’t.”
Regarding this challenge, Boger believes it would be embarrassing to have no representation from the 18th LD, but “to have no Romney delegates from a district that went overwhelmingly to Romney is simply wrong.”
If this challenge holds up, Boger says, the 18th LD results from March 30 would be null and void.
Mellor thinks the problems from March 30 stem from “a lack of planning for a group of this size.”
Mellor believes a good reform is to abolish the caucus system and reinstate a binding primary again for Washington state.
Brian Kashas, a Ron Paul supporter, disagrees. He says “our founders wanted a representative democracy and the caucus system does that.”
Kashas says the results of the convention were raw politics, but legal. But he agreed the process was disorganized and confusing, and invited tampering. He wasn’t pleased with the process and the delays.
Mellor also calls for an investigation on why the credentials report was so inaccurate.
 “Individuals who had not been credentialed were permitted to mix with delegates on the floor and ballots were distributed without verifying credentials,” Mellor said in his legal challenge. “These individuals could have been alternate delegates, they could have come from other counties, or they may even not have been registered voters or Washington voters.”
He says democracy was turned upside down and that the only way to protect voter rights is to not seat the 32 delegates because “they were elected by fraud.”
He says this will send a strong message to people who try to commit fraud and shenanigans.
So where is the problem?
An anonymous source within the County GOP thinks the party needs to purge the Ron Paul supporters from two leadership posts.
“They say one thing and then do another and then scream the loudest!” the source says. “They cause confusion and want to abolish everything. Sometimes I think they’re really radical Democrats, other times I think they’re anarchists. Either way, they really don’t belong in the Republican Party. They’re not our friends.”
Boger agreed with the anonymous source. “Ron Paul supporters don’t back down and have very strong opinions that are more in line with the Libertarian Party and that’s where they should be,” he added.
Huckvale questions Ron Paul supporter’s motives.
“I question whether they really support GOP principles or are just trying to make noise,” Huckvale said. “In the end will they really support the GOP nominee?”
The anonymous source also points blame directly at Katja and Mike Delavar. “They play right into the Ron Paul playbook which is delay, confuse, delay, confuse and then try to be the stand-up’s in the room. When the 284 count was announced Katja was the first to cry foul and then started yelling. They did this before and they’ll do it again. Katja stood up many times during the proceedings to interrupt and throw everyone off track. They just try to tire everyone else out so they go home before voting is complete. It pads their numbers.”
Dirk Bunker thinks Ron Paul supporters are “really Democrats trying to screw up the Republicans – and it’s working.”
“Katja acted like she knew what was going on,” said Rollins. “But we’re not so sure.”
The anonymous source also thinks long-time GOP activist Mike Gaston needs to go. For the record, Gaston is not a Ron Paul supporter.
“He has served the GOP well,” said the source. “But it’s time for him to go. He hasn’t kept up with technology and is very disorganized. We all end up following his lead – to our detriment. His heart is in the right place, but it’s just time he leave.”
The WSRP provided a letter from Chairman Kirby Wilbur, indicating they were in receipt of Mellor’s challenge.
In the letter, Wilbur states “I will refer these materials to the Credentials Committee of our Republican State Convention for their consideration. The Credentials Committee will review the challenge, and make a determination of how to proceed. WSRP staff does not evaluate the materials upon which credentials challenges are based or where the challenge complies with the convention rules. Those decisions are made by the convention’s Credentials Committee.”
There are several outcome scenarios. One outcome is that the entire 32-seat delegation will not be seated, citing irregularities and rule-breaking as the basis. Another outcome is to change nothing. Still, a third outcome, says Boger, is to re-do the 18th LD elections – but that’s unlikely.
The WSRP Credentials Committee will make a decision in May.

VANCOUVER, WA — More than 1,000 Clark County Republicans gathered on Saturday in an emotionally charged convention at the Vancouver Hilton to elect delegates to represent various legislative districts at the GOP State Convention in late May.

Delegates at the State Convention will vote on national delegates to represent Washington state at the GOP National Convention this coming August.
Saturday’s event was to finish business that began on March 3 at the local caucus events, which sent a majority of Romney delegates to the County Convention. Party organizers were again overwhelmed by the turnout, which resulted in hundreds of people waiting in line for hours and a delay to convene the proceedings.
Irregularities began before the event even started, said Romney delegate Rick Russell.
“Some lines are checking ID, while others don’t,” he said. “It seems like anyone can get in here if they get in the right line. They let some people in ahead of others. Some delegates are complaining because their name isn’t on the approved list, and they get turned away. They aren’t checking people in correctly. It’s a total train wreck.”
Dozens of people walked around unsure of where to go and what line to wait in. Emotions were running high before 9 am, and that was before the opening gavel.
The story continues after the jump (just below the photos):

GOP Convention
GOP delegates gathered at the Clark County GOP Convention
at the Vancouver Hilton.


GOP Convention
Delegates spent nearly 12 hours at the convention, which
was beset with delays and rule confusion.
Once started, GOP candidates or surrogates from every level spoke on themes of party unity, limited government, taxes, health care, beating the opposition and taking back the White House in November.
U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera spoke on party unity and “how debates are good.”
In her speech, the Congresswoman criticized President Obama’s spending and took him to task on increasing debts. She believes the current debates between factions of the party will eventually make the party stronger and are essential to a free society.
Earlier in the week, organizers from the Romney, Santorum and Gingrich campaigns had agreed on a “Unity Slate” that included 18thDistrict delegates who pledged to vote for the eventual party nominee. That Unity Slate plan was put on ice by an official Santorum representative, who said the campaign was not part of this agreement.  He instead asked supporters to unite behind an Open Convention Slate.
Tensions started to rise at that moment.
Camas resident Susie Huckvale was worried that when the convention divided into individual districts that the Unity Slate plan would fail.
“I don’t feel good about this,” she said. “I smell a rat. The Santorum people are up to something. I think they’re colluding with the Ron Paul people, and double-crossing the Romney delegation.”
When the convention broke into legislative districts, Lacamas Magazine covered the 18th District’s proceedings. The convention was already 90 minutes late and confusion reigned as Mary Graham, the 18th District Legislative Caucus Chair, convened her district’s meeting.
The district meeting’s primary job was to elect 32 delegates to represent the 18th district at the State Convention. Initially, 134 delegates were slated but that soon ballooned to more than 170 as people could nominate themselves.
Katja Delavar, a Ron Paul supporter, consistently interrupted the proceedings by challenging rules and motions, much to the exasperation of many around her. One delegate asked to stop talking and emotions ran high. She and her husband, Mike, a former Washougal city councilman, left their seats and went to the back of the large room.
“I find that woman to be very disruptive and annoying,” said Huckvale.
Once nominations were closed, it was a requirement to allow the delegates 30 seconds to make a personal statement. Delegates attempted to amend this rule and allow no time for personal statements. Again, emotions ran high. The rule stood and the audience listened to the delegates make their case.
Delavar challenged nearly every motion or rule by speaking up or going to the district board at the front of the room.
“Who is this person?” said Huckvale. “She’s all over the place and she’s delaying everything – and look how wrong she is most of the time.”
One member of Precinct 960 is going to investigate why a lower numbered alternate from the caucus was in attendance as a delegate.
“Our entire delegation was here,” he said. “And he wasn’t on our list. Something fishy is going on.”
He plans to take photos of the alternate on Monday to the Clark County GOP and show them evidence of fraud.
The proceedings were delayed another hour as delegates waited on alternate voting to fill in delegate absences. Once that was done, the voting could begin.
The credentials representative reported that 213 delegates from the 18th District were credentialed and allowed to vote.
Instructions were vague and sometimes contradictory as ballots were handed out, and several delegates noted there were no safeguards.
“Nobody is watching how many ballots each delegates receives,” said Cynthia Haddock. “People could take more than one ballot and nobody would notice.”
Santorum and Romney delegates kept raising concerns to officials, only to continue to get brushed off.
“It’s not a perfect system,” said official Brent Boger, multiple times to multiple delegates. “We’re doing the best we can.”
One responded: “This whole thing is flawed. You’re not getting away with this.”
One anonymous delegate reported she received two ballots that were stuck together.
“It was hard to punch through the chads and then I noticed two were stuck together, so I returned one,” she said. “A dishonest person can easily commit fraud.”
Whispers of concern ran rampant as voting for 32 state delegates began. Charges of fraud were audible as one Ron Paul supporter wearing a cowboy hat was seen and videotaped holding four ballots.
It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Votes were counted using a voting machine and party official Mike Gaston announced the first round was complete. “We have 12 winners out of 284 ballots cast,” Gaston said.
Chaos ensued.
Seventy-one ballots were in question. Delavar immediately ran around the convention hallway claiming a break down of the system. “How can that be?” she yelled out. “We only credentialed 213.”
She then returned to her supporters.
Delegates were aghast and concerned about time limits as it neared 4:30 pm. The event was supposed to adjourn at 6 pm and the voting was nowhere near completion.
“We had a credentials report that said there were 213 credentialed voting delegates from the 18th Legislative District,” said Boger.  “We think the 284 number is correct … but we cannot verify that, so we’re going to count everyone in the room … and if we are fairly close to 284 we can just accept that number.”
A worn down and exhausted delegation agreed to the proposal, but once again questioned the integrity of the entire process. Most kept looking at their watches wondering if there was enough time to complete the voting.
Once a manual count of delegates was completed, the original numbers stood, but that left 20 open slots, since nominees were required to receive 50 percent plus one in order to be seated at the State Convention. The first round of elected delegates were Santorum supporters.
“It looks likes the Santorum delegates betrayed the Romney people and colluded with Ron Paul supporters,” said Haddock. “I feel disillusioned.”
A second round of voting began but had to be scrapped because GOP rules require delegates with less than 10 percent in the first round to be dropped from voting in the second round.
Tension and frustration filled the hall.
Romney delegates were shut out completely in the second round as Paul delegates ran away with it. After the third round, Romney delegates realized they had been double-crossed by the Santorum people.
“It’s clear what happened,” said Doug Thurston. “The two other campaigns combined forces to shut the Romney people out.”
He said the disproportion of Ron Paul supporters to the Romney delegates didn’t make sense given the way the caucus turned out.
“Romney clearly won on caucus day,” Thurston said. “And there weren’t this many Ron Paul people that won. Something bad happened.”
Huckvale thinks fraud was rampant all day long.
“The Santorum people double-crossed us,” she said. “And the number of delegates compared to what was credentialed wreaks of fraud. Romney won the caucus and had a clear majority of delegates from the county to win this!”
In the end, only Santorum and Paul delegates were elected from the 18th District.
Delegate Kristy Wasson was saddened by anti-Mormon remarks by Ron Paul supporters. She said one delegate was making fun of Mormons, and then said he was only joking. Another reported several Ron Paul supporters make anti-Mormon comments. Mitt Romney is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I am at peace tonight,” said Delavar to her Ron Paul supporters. “I can happily lay my head on my pillow tonight for what we did. We wiped out the Romney people and our voice was heard.”
One of the supporters said they wouldn’t support Mitt Romney if he got the nomination. He said they hoped for a brokered convention and would embrace presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
Observers were dismayed by the day’s proceedings.
“There was a 30 percent discrepancy between the credentialed delegates and the number of people voting – that’s significant,” said Thurston. “Ballots were handed out and nobody was double checking – one guy had four ballots in his hand. There were no checks and balances in this system.”
Officials were overwhelmed by the process and kept brushing off complaints.
“The system today has been flawed,” said Romney delegate Joseph Burt. “Today we have had a lot of discrepancy, a lot of problems, complete disorganization. The chairman did not have the agenda until this morning. This has been a flawed system and I’m certain there will be challenges.”
Most delegates spent nearly 12 hours at the Hilton, and by 6 pm at least a dozen gave up and went home. The event ended just after 8 pm.
“That’s what the Ron Paul people do,” said Burt. “They delay, delay, delay, cause panic, cause confusion and get people to leave early so they can inflate their numbers. And today, it worked.”
A video component of this story is being produced and will also be at www.LacamasMagazine.com

By Ernie Geigenmiller

In years past, the state of Washington has held both a caucus for each political party and a primary during the same election season.
That changed last year with the passage of SB5119, which cancels the 2012 presidential primary by amending RCW 29A.56.020, which was signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire on May 13, 2011. In the last two election cycles, the Washington Democrats (2004 and 2008) nominated by caucus while the Washington Republicans nominated by caucus in 2004 and by both caucus and primary in 2008.
It’s a temporary law, says the Governor’s office, because it expires in 2013, which opens the door to another presidential primary in 2016. The reason is to save the state money. The primary system costs the taxpayer money to operate. Political parties pay for the caucus system.
So, Democrats and Republicans, if you’re expecting a primary ballot this election season, don’t hold your breath. You won’t be receiving one.
So, what does a civic-minded citizen do now? You go to caucus.
What’s that? Put simply, it’s the most grass-roots you can get in American politics.
Todd Galbraith, who recently participated in a Minnesota caucus, says it’s chaotic and can be laden with fraud, but is also a lot of fun, if done correctly.
 “I went to cast my vote for Mitt Romney, but his name was off the ballot,” he said. “I had to request multiple times for a correct ballot until I was given one.”
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement, and is commonly used  in the United States and Canada. Each major political party, typically Democrats and Republicans, hold their own caucus on a separate date.
A caucus is a cluster of precincts in a geographical area. For example, in Camas there are 23 precincts that comprise the 15th & 18th Legislative districts. Each precinct has a Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) who operates their section at the caucus. If a PCO has an inclination to one candidate, he or she will organize their precinct to get the most supporters for that particular candidate.
It’s about organization. Supporters of a particular candidate can overwhelm a caucus.
Precinct members cluster in groups for their preferred candidate and a spokesman for each candidate makes his case and tries to persuade fellow precinct caucus voters. At the end of debate, each member in attendance casts his or her ballot for a chosen candidate. The ballots from each precinct are tallied and given to the caucus coordinator, who tallies all precincts.
Each precinct caucus chooses the precinct’s delegates (PCO is an automatic delegate) to the County Convention or Legislative District Caucuses [based on Washington State Republican Party rules 14, 15, 16]. The County Conventions will, in turn, choose delegates to the State Convention. The delegates chosen at state go onto the National Convention bound to support a particular candidate.
The Washington Democrats have similar system, but they are running on a different set of dates.
Ron Paul
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) took his presidential
campaign to Vancouver on Feb. 16.


Josh Romney
Josh Romney poses with Kim Jaehee Rancourt and her
family at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver on Feb. 20.
He is acting as a surrogate for his father, presidential
candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney.
“On the Republican side, I think Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have the best get-out-the-vote drives,” says Camas resident Susie Huckvale.
“It is grassroots politics at its best,” said Brandon Vick, Clark County Republican Chair expecting a higher-than average turnout at the Caucuses this year.
This year, Republicans will hold their caucus on Saturday, March 3.
Democrats will hold their caucus on Sunday, April 15, from 12:30-4 pm and exact locations have not been confirmed.
This cycle, Washington has a real say in the partisan battles. By April 2008, the GOP had already decided on John McCain, and the Democrats hadn’t had their caucus yet.
Republican Party Caucuses meet in each precinct at 10 am on Saturday, March 3, with doors opening at 9 am. Participants are required to sign a form stating they are Republicans and must confirm their address. Clark County is divided into 194 voting precincts, ranging in size from 2035 registered voters to 85.  Registered voters who consider themselves Republicans will attend Precinct Caucus Clusters.
They’re “clustered” rather than having a meeting place for each precinct, with 11 to 31 Precincts meeting in ten locations. There is no cost to participate.
Republicans who live in Camas will caucus at Camas High School, in the Commons area. The address is 26900 SE 15th, in Camas, and includes the following precincts: 606, 625, 900, 905, 910, 913, 914, 917, 920, 925, 930, 935, 940, 947, 950, 960, 961, 962, 963, 964, 965, 966, and 985.
Basically, if you live in Camas, go to Camas High School to caucus. If unsure of your precinct, it’s on your voter registration card. There will also be a map at the caucus.
The March 3rd caucus is the reason why presidential candidate Ron Paul attended a rally in downtown Vancouver last Thursday at the Vancouver Hilton, and Josh Romney, the son of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, spent time in Vancouver on February 20.
Ron Paul’s rally had an estimated 1,500 in attendance.
“I’m supporting Ron Paul because I am ready for someone who takes the Constitution seriously and has a record to back it up,” said Camas resident Brian Kashas. “I think the Executive has too much power. I want an end to the interventionist foreign policy that we can’t afford and wins us no friends. He’s [Ron Paul] the only one talking about the role of the Federal Reserve system in funding the deficits and creating the booms and busts through fractional reserve lending- and wants to end this corrupt system by returning to sound money as required by the Constitution. It’s time to live within our means and get back to a principled government that stays within the limits imposed upon it.”
The younger Romney is acting as a campaign surrogate for his father by traveling through Washington and Alaska this week.
“My dad tackles things head on,” said Romney, who isn’t an official member of the campaign. “And he has more energy than anyone I know. We always have to get advance guys because Dad wears them out all the time. And he really has what it takes to turn this nation around.”
Romney rallied the supporters to do phone banking, take 10 people apiece to the March 3 caucus and to come visit with his father on March 1 as he campaigns in Washington.
“I also encourage you to respect our opponents,” said Romney. “We have disagreements but we need to be respectful.”
Romney spent about 90 minutes with the crowd addressing questions, shaking hands and watching a family sing.
The Rick Santorum campaign said their candidate will come to Washington next week and to stay tuned for upcoming announcements. The Newt Gingrich campaign hasn’t announced their intentions.