I am writing this on Saturday at noon, fresh out of the Republican caucus at Reed High School. At this moment, great news for my candidate: Ron Paul won 33 1/3 percent of the vote in my precinct. Bad news: Romney got 66 2/3 percent. Yes, for the three members of precinct 7413, my precinct, the vote was one for Paul (me) and two for Romney (my wife and son Daniel).
So, how should we sum up the brand new caucus process? What would an unbiased observer say?
Can’t honestly answer that, as I am hardly an unbiased observer. But, I can say as objectively as possible, the whole thing can be summed up in simple adjectives.
Absurd; confused; bizarre; disorganized; jumbled; in short, a poor way to run an election.
To start off with, the possibility of the dreaded “voter fraud,” of ballots being lost, ignored, tossed out, double counted, etc is greatly enhanced by the process. Whole groups of ballots are stuffed rather haphazardly into a large manila envelope and turned in at the head honcho’s desk, and where they go from there and how they are counted is a mystery yet to be explored.
Standing in a long line that snaked around the both the east and west sides of Reed High School, the talk in the 16 degree weather was surprisingly optimistic. Most seemed willing to give the new voting system a fair shot. However, the most common thought shared was what was wrong with the old system of using a primary? A real honest to goodness voting machine and a secret ballot? Localized polling places?
As we crept along and then into the school, we were informed if we knew our precinct number, we could leave the lines and proceed directly to where ours was to meet.
So, from slow, orderly lines, a group of cold but expectant voters flowed in a disorderly mass, heading for various parts of the building. Ours was in the “big gym.”
Entering the big gym, above the bleachers were posted small print outs with the precinct numbers. We headed for ours, and discovered the all important, must have “precinct package” was missing.
GOP stalwart Mike Weber was standing in the middle of the gym, mike in hand, trying to make some order out of the chaos, giving directions and trying to answer the myriad of questions the crowd surrounding him were rather randomly blurting out.
I tried to find out who had our precinct package which had been signed out by one “Dennis Furhman.”
Mike asked over the loudspeaker for Furhman to report to him, and I stood around and waited. Nobody came. I asked what to do if someone took off with the packet. No one knew what to do about that. We milled around a while, then bugged Mike again. He again asked over the mike for the fugitive Mr. Furhman. No luck.
I ended up going back to the main table, stood in line a while, and asked what to do if someone absconded with our precinct packet. Another unsolvable mystery.
A take charge type of lady jumped in, and did some quick double checking. Turns out the unfortunate Mr. Furhman had merely signed on the wrong line; the missing precinct packet was found right there in the file!
I was informed that, since I picked the packet up, I was the “precinct chairman.”
Finally, some real, raw power. It went right to my head. (Lord Acton is right.) I was immediately inflated with the authority vested in me. But, being a benevolent dictator type, I would be firm and fair, as long as my candidate secured the majority vote.
By some unknown parliamentary procedure, I was quickly maneuvered out of power and into a painfully weak “minority” status. My son and wife teamed up and blocked by ever clever sophistry. I was even outvoted on being a delegate to the county convention. My wife secured all the “delegate” power, since our precinct had only one and she and my son conspired to thwart all my worthy ambitions. Since she packaged up and turned in the ballots, I’m even suspicious she could have, by slight of hand, simply dropped my “Ron Paul” marked ballot under the bleachers.
Seriously, the whole thing is a joke as far as a serious means of voting goes. It was reminiscent of some dopey high school cheerleader type election. Who came up with such a goofball process?
I happen to know the answer: HARRY REID. Ahhh, now it all makes more sense.
Ira Hansen is a lifelong resident of Sparks, owner of Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing and his radio talk show can be heard Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. on 99.1 FM.