Credentials crunch

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A commenter on my brief summary of the Oklahoma Republican State Convention took issue with my account and helpfully provided a link to another, written by a Ron Paul supporter, on a site called "coup by memo". (It's unclear if the commenter is the author of this other webpage.) This other report is wrong in nearly every respect, but it was interesting to explore the rest of the website and learn about the values held by some members of the Liberty Values Coalition. (I will address that in a later entry.)

I can't speak to what occurred during the morning session, as I was in and out of the convention hall, waiting for my chance to work with credentials committee chairman Pam Pollard to get the tally spreadsheet set up. (During the afternoon voting, I sat at a laptop and entered numbers in an Excel spreadsheet as the roll call of counties was read.) Because of this, I was able to see up close what was happening during the credentials process, and why it took so long.

The check-in process went on at least 40 minutes longer than scheduled to accommodate the huge crowd. There were a number of people who were somehow left off of the list of delegates submitted by their county party chairman and so weren't in the database when they went to check in. The credentials committee acts as an appeals board for cases like these. Of the more than 1000 delegates, about two dozen were added by this process.

Once this was done, Pam Pollard went to the podium to read the preliminary credentials report, county-by-county: How many authorized delegates (based on a formula established in the permanent state party rules), how many delegates had signed in, and the maximum number of votes. That last number is the minimum of the number of authorized delegates and twice the number who signed in. In other words, the number of people (warm bodies, if you will) is weighted to match the authorized vote count, with a maximum weight of 2.

For example, consider a county that has 15 authorized votes:

  • If 45 people sign in, each of those 45 people count as 1/3 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 20 people sign in, each of those 20 people count as 3/4 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 15 people sign in, each of those 15 people count as exactly 1 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 9 people sign in, each of those 9 people count as exactly 5/3 vote, for a total of 15 votes.
  • If 5 people sign in, each of those 5 people count as exactly 2 votes, for a total of 10 votes.
  • If 2 people sign in, each of those 2 people count as exactly 2 votes, for a total of 4 votes.

At the end of Pam's report (it was about 11 a.m. at this point), those county chairman who wished to challenge the preliminary report went to the sign-in area. I saw about two dozen people lined up. The main problem was that some people who had signed in and received their credentials (a pre-printed badge and a button with the county's name) weren't showing up in the database as checked in. The problem was operator error -- a box wasn't checked by the clerks. This affected about 40 people.

In the meantime, I'm told that parliamentarian State Rep. John Wright ruled that it was permissible for business to proceed following the preliminary acceptance of the credentials report, and so the permanent convention organization was approved and the rules were debated and approved before the recess for lunch.

The claim that there were 500 more delegates present after lunch is based on (at best) misinterpretation of what was happening. The room was as full before lunch as after. There was no credentials activity during lunch, except to distribute ballots to the county chairmen and to get me set up to keep score.

At roughly 11, the total number of delegates (warm bodies) that had signed in was reported to the convention as 1003, according to my notes. That was the preliminary report I mentioned earlier.

The total number of raw votes cast in the three roll call votes was 1050 in the up-or-down vote on the Executive Committee delegate slate, 1032 in the National Committeewoman election, and 1035 in the National Committeeman election. That's the actual number of ballots submitted by delegates to their county chairmen during the roll call votes. So it appears that about 50 delegates were added after the preliminary credentials report, and nearly all of these had actually signed in and received credentials; they just weren't noted in the database has having checked in and so weren't included in the initial count.

The confusion of Mr. or Ms. coup-by-memo may be that the total for each roll call vote was announced as the weighted total -- the weighting being done in accordance with the process above as specified by the rules. Someone new to the process might have assumed there were suddenly 500 more delegates than before.

On whether to approve the Executive Committee delegate slate, the raw vote (number of warm bodies on each side) was yes 700, no 350. The weighted vote was yes 1105.5, no 554.5.

On the National Committeewoman vote, the raw vote was Carolyn McLarty 718, Denise Engle 314. The weighted vote was McLarty 1152.7, Engle 499.3.

On the National Committeeman vote, the raw vote was James Dunn 520, Steve Curry 515. The weighted vote was Dunn 833.6, Curry 824.4.

(Note that in each case, there is an almost identical proportion for raw and weighted, which you would expect. Mathematically, the only way the weighted vote would skew significantly from the raw vote is if many counties with roughly half their authorized delegates present voted differently from the general trend of the convention.)

Coming up next, probably tomorrow, a look at the values associated with the Liberty Values Coalition, and a comparison of their slate to the Executive Committee's slate.

P.S. I neglected to mention in the earlier entry: Tulsa County was the largest delegation present, and we had nearly as many delegates as we were authorized.

One other note: We finished just slightly after our hard-cutoff time of 3:00 p.m. The hotel gave us a few minutes of grace, and as soon as we adjourned they opened up the walls to the other half of the ballroom and began blaring music to get us out. They had to set up for an event at 7 p.m.: Vince Gill was giving a private performance to a SemGroup event.

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7 Comments

Andrew said:

You should know that Ron Paul is supported by a very diverse group.

It's intellectually dishonest to take one guy or gal with a website and use that website to characterize an entire group.

meeciteewurkor said:

I find the Ron Paul supporters way of getting things done very refreshing.

It's kind of like that orange juice that sits in your fridge for a week. You just stir it up a little and it tastes better.
Kind of like the R party.

Nathan Dahm said:

Let me first congratulate Mr. Bates on his excellent math skills; having said that I wish to inform the reader a little more about the use of proxy voting. First, according to National party rules, proxies are NOT allowed. Why you may ask? Well, see if you can follow my math:

County A is allowed 15 votes 8 yes, 7 no
County B also allowed 15 votes 7 yes, 8 no
County C is allowed 5 votes 0 yes, 5 no
County D is allowed 10 votes 4 yes, 1 no
TOTAL: 19 yes, 21 no

So we added them up and got 19 yes votes and 21 no votes- therefore the nays have it, correct? Nope, sorry- under proxy rules the county that is allowed 10 votes (county D) now has its 4 yes votes turned into 8 and its 1 no vote turned into 2. So what we now have is:

County A is allowed 15 votes 8 yes, 7 no
County B also allowed 15 votes 7 yes, 8 no
County C is allowed 5 votes 0 yes, 5 no
County D is allowed 10 votes 8 yes, 2 no
TOTAL: 23 yes, 22 no

So then, our new total is 23 to 22- the people have spoken- and now the ayes have it! And THAT, ladies and gentlemen is why proxies are not allowed because it can be used by a minority which controls a few select counties to overturn the vote of the majority- which is something none of us want. This is also where the confusion of the 500 extra delegates came from. They weren’t physically present, but their vote was counted as if they were- so while 50% of us got our vote only counted once, the other 50% got their vote counted twice. I’ll let you be the judge of how much this voting system is representative of “we the people”.

Nathan, this is not proxy voting. In a proxy situation, delegates who didn't show up could transfer their voting right to someone who did. If the five missing delegates from County D were to give their proxies to the lone no voter, you'd wind up with 4 yes and 6 no.

At the State Convention, using rules that have been in place for as long as I can remember, counties were allocated a certain number of delegates based on a formula which includes how strongly they supported the Republican ticket in the last general election. The use of a weighting factor allows counties to get their full voting strength if they have at least half the number of delegates as their alloted votes.

The state rules also make it possible for counties to come with more delegates than they have votes. If a county has 10 votes, but 12 people who want to come to state convention, they don't have to pick -- everyone can come, but their votes are pro-rated so that the county only gets their alloted number of votes. So we preserve the proportion of voting strength between counties as dictated by the delegate allocation formula.

There weren't 500 extra delegates, and the use of vote weighting had no effect on the outcome, as you can see if you look back through what I wrote regarding the raw totals vs. the weighted totals. Your side lost the delegate slate vote by a raw vote of 700 delegates to 350 delegates -- exactly a two-to-one ratio. Using the county-by-county weighting factors, the official result was 1105.5 to 554.5, just slightly below a two-to-one ratio.

By the way, Nathan, don't knock proxies -- If it hadn't been for proxies, your side wouldn't have had anyone at the Executive Committee meeting to take notes.

Nathan Dahm said:

Mr. Bates,

1. This may not be proxy voting in name but it certainly is in action. You said: "In a proxy situation, delegates who didn't show up could transfer their voting right to someone who did." So in a county with 10 people casting 5 votes, but getting 10 votes counted is not voting by proxy how exactly? Since those 5 people didn't show up, but had their vote transferred to someone who did show up through "the use of vote weighting" you say that is not voting by proxy? If you prefer to call it "vote weighting" that is fine, but proxy voting is what it is as your own qoute shows since "delegates that did not show up" are in fact having their "voting right" transfered to "someone who did (show up)".

2. Agreed: there weren't 500 extra delegates (not did I claim there were- I was addressing the CONFUSION that others have claimed there were 500 more delegates after lunch), but there were 500 more votes than delegates cast which is why I said: "This is also where the CONFUSION of the 500 extra delegates came from. They weren’t physically present, but their vote was counted as if they were..." (emphasis added)

3. I never claimed that the outcome would have been any different without the 500 allowed proxy votes. What I did say was: "proxies are not allowed because it can be used by a minority which controls a few select counties to overturn the vote of the majority- which is something NONE of us want." (emphasis added) I think most people would agree with me that proxy voting is something none of us want- and it's probably why national rules don't allow it. I'm surprised you misunderstood my point to such a degree- wouldn't we all agree that it would be detrimental for a small minority to overturn the vote of the majority due to proxy voting; like I initially stated?

4. My side? Since you, Mr. Bates, have decided to draw up "sides" on this issue (no where did I mention sides- I was showing how proxies can be detrimental to us ALL- especally those who get their vote only counted once, while others are counted twice) might I ask exactly what side you are putting me on? If it is the "side" against proxy voting then you are correct. If it is the true Republican "side" then you are also correct since I have been a Republican my entire life- as have my parents and grandparents before me. But since you said: "your side wouldn't have had anyone at the Executive Committee meeting to take notes." we all must conclude that you, Mr. Bates, see the Executive Committee as one "side" (which the "side" you classify me under is not a part of)- this mentality of drawing up "sides" being the main reason why the Executive Committee has so unfortunately turned our party into such a "side" show.

So let me once again congratulate you on your article and your explanations used, and let me hope that I clarified any misunderstandings you had about my post as I hope that you will now see how we can all agree that voting by proxies can be detrimental to us ALL. I also hope you and all those on the Executive Committee will look at me and all committed, life-long Republicans as exactly that, and no longer choose to look at us as some specific "side"

Nathan, you're on the get-Ron-Paul-nominated side. The unwillingness of you and your compatriots to acknowledge that publicly is one of the reasons long-time conservative Republicans don't trust your motivations.

Nathan Dahm said:

Mr. Bates, first let me start by posing a question: what exactly is WRONG with wanting to have the most Constitutional-savvy candidate, that our party is currently offering, becoming our nominee? You make it sound like Ron Paul getting nominated would be a bad thing! UNWILLINGNESS? Really Mr. Bates? Is that your claim? Well number 1- At the conventions I attended, I didn't hear any of the Romney, Thompson, Giuliani, or Huckabee people that were running for national delegate mention who they originally supported (although it was quite clear with some of the Huckabee people)- perhaps they were unwilling as well?- or perhaps since THEY were seeking election, they thought it best to mention why people should vote for them and not mention why people should have voted for their choice for President… just a thought…; number 2- I don't see you requiring this of the Romney, Huckabee, Thompson, or Giuliani supporters but I'll tolerate this slight hypocrisy for the moment; number 3- I was not publically asked who I support, and had I been asked I would answer: "I support the Constitution! And I will support any candidate that supports it in action and deed and not merely with empty rhetoric and lip service!” So yes, Mr. Bates, I agree with and support Ron Paul on many of his ISSUES. Is that enough of a public acknowledgement so you and the rest of the 'long-time conservative Republicans' can now trust my motivations?

Let me explain to you why I now hold the views I hold concerning government. You see Mr. Bates- I spent the last 6 years working in the Eastern European nation of Romania. A nation that is VERY socialist, a nation that is a former Communist dictatorship, a nation rampant with runaway inflation, a nation that joined NATO and the E.U. (the European Union) while I was living there, a nation that went from having next to nothing to having a bustling economy due to the free market. Having lived in these dire circumstances, seeing the inflation, the socialism, etc. one could imagine my surprise when I returned to America to find many of these same problems (albeit not to the same degree- but heading in that direction none the less)! And having let my country deteriorate to such a low level while it was under Republican guardianship is why I must question the motivations of you and the other 'long-time conservative Republicans' and must distance myself from you by saying that I am a TRUE conservative Republican, because I am one in belief and action and not merely in a ‘label’ designed to play to the crowd. So, Mr. Bates, it's not merely about the candidate for me. Ron Paul is not the answer to America's ever growing problems. What is the answer? The Constitution! The Presidency alone is not enough as long as we have Supreme Court justices, Senators, Congressmen, aides, State and County Chairmen, Executive Committee members, etc. that are willing to toss aside the rule of law in order to maintain the status quo- i.e. their 'power' at the expense of their neighbors and the nation as a whole. All of America is currently suffering due to the vast departure of the vision originally intended by our Founding Fathers and laid out for us, in writing, by way of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. So, Mr. Bates, I don't merely speak of my “opinion” like others do, I speak from experience- backed by History as well as our Constitution. (Might I ask what you back up your beliefs with?) America MUST return to the rule of law and abide by the Constitution or it WILL go the way of all empires. The bread and circuses, inflation, and military expansion can only result in our economic collapse. (oh, and by the way- Ron Paul has written books on economics, another great reason he would be able to help turn our nation around.)

So in closing, if you- Mr. Bates- would like to make this all about the "candidate" instead of all about the issues and the CONSTITUTION, might I suggest you switch to the Dems and join in the Hillary vs. Obama popularity contest? Or, better yet, if a popularity contest is truly what you seek, why not return to high school and vote for your prom king and queen. But as for me and my 'compatriots', we will continue to pursue the rule of law and the reinstating of the Constitution in the hopes of saving our great nation. God bless America!

Nathan Dahm

P.S. I voted for Bush/Cheney in the Presidential race, and Republican in all other races by absentee ballot during the '04 election. By voting absentee, I waived my rights to a secret ballot so it is now a matter of public record. I also was a Thompson supporter for the last several years before I ever even heard of Ron Paul. Now, I do support and will continue to support Ron Paul as long as he supports the Constitution. If he leaves the Constitution, so will my support leave him. If you, Mr. Bates would like to point me in the direction of a candidate that supports the Constitution more fully than Ron Paul does, I will gladly support them as well. Hopefully by now I have made it abundantly clear what it is about for me (the Constitution/Rule of law/America!) and what it is not about for me (a candidate/electability/a popularity contest) and what it SHOULD be about for every American and ESPECIALLY every Republican- it should be about the Constitution!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 3, 2008 11:08 PM.

Oklahoma Republican convention report was the previous entry in this blog.

Gomez post-deadline fundraiser is the next entry in this blog.

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