By Ed Vallejo
As a 'new' Precinct Committeeman in the Arizona Republican Party, I have no 'vote' in current Party matters. Because of this, I did the next best thing I can do that is one step above 'attendence' - I volunteered to help the Party stage the event.
My first post was at the Maricopa County Convention a month ago. I showed up early at 7:00 a.m., and went through the training process. I was posted in front of the proxy table, checking ID's against the proxys held. Once Credentialing was closed for the last time, everyone went into the 'Sanctuary' (the event was held at a Church) except one or two people, and George Teegarden, at the laptops used for coordinating the process.
He kind of looked surprised when I was there at his heels, intoducing myself and asking him if he needed assistence further. He told me that he needed to take up all of the cords and equipment, and relocate to the area where the votes would be scanned in and tallied.
Being tech-savvy, my proficiency speeded up 'the process' and did my best to accomplish the tallying of the votes for the bylaws, and the Committemen-at-Large. Quickly.
Towards the end of the day, I started inquiring about the Straw Poll votes. These are the ballots with the Presidential Candidates and some local Candidates were being polled on their favoritability.
I was told "Oh, we aren't going to count those now - I can do them later in my garage." I really wanted to get those ballots counted in the presence of witnesses, but since I had no vote in the box, and I was BRAND NEW - I let it go, and watched him and Rob Haney (GOP County Chairman) drive off with them in the back of an SUV.
I watched and searched for several days looking for the 'Official results', and finally got them.
These ballots were dispensed via 'the process' unmonitored by anything other than 'the process', at no cost to the voters. No real telling who provided who with how many ballots, other than the results stating '569 ballots counted'.
Segue to yesterday.
I arrived at the 'State Convention' to find out that it wasn't what I thought. In the course of the day I found out that this was a 'Mandatory Meeting' where certain Officers were to be elected, but the actual State convention would be later in the year, when Delegates would be 'chosen'.
Once again, with no 'vote', I was welcomed by George heartily, and went to work.
Towards the end of the day, with the event almost over, each request on the Straw Poll activity was responded with 'they are still taking votes'. I'm not a rich man by any standard, and I was holding my dear ten dollars (that's what each vote costs - which goes to benefit the Republican Party) for the 'Last Chance to Celebrate' event the Ron Paul MeetUp Group of Phoenix were having for those supporters to have a nice buffet at Dillons on Central a couple of miles from the Meeting, so I didn't 'vote'.
Just before the Meeting adjourned, as George and I and Buck Shull (a good friend and Founding Member of the RP Group that I had 'recruited' to aid in the vote tally) were standing outside the counting room chatting, lo and behold what do we see but a nice lady walk up with the straw poll votes and ask if we can count them! Yesss!
We immediately flew into action.
It was close there, I tell you; an Official kept coming in to see if we had the results because they were fixing to adjourn inside, but we got it done in time. The results?
Rick Santorum - 8 votes.
Mitt Romney - 17 votes.
Newt Gingrich - 20 votes.
Ron Paul - 256 votes.
Just before we started the count, I said "shouldn't we get a few more witnesses in here so they can monitor like the others did in the previous races?" (there were 4 or 5 earlier) she said "well, I'm a Gingrich supporter, and he's for Mitt Romney, so there ya go!"
I agree. So there ya go.