Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Analysis Shows 82% of People Eligible to Vote at Republican County-Wide Slating Convention This January Were Appointees of the County Chairman

Marion County party chairmen like to sell the slating (pre-primary endorsement) process as being about grassroots party workers deciding who to support at the primary.  They tell party workers are that voting at slating is their reward for their hard work in the precinct.  When a candidate dares to run against the slate, these party workers are told the candidate is running against them personally. That's line is nothing but BS and let me explain why.

Marion County Republican
Chairman Kyle Walker
Precinct committeemen (PC) are elected at a party primary every four years.  Whenever there is a vacancy in a PC position, that vacancy is filled by appointment of the county chairmen.  Unlike with a PC who is elected, an appointed PC does not have to live in the neighborhood at all and sometimes does not even live in the county.  Unlike an elected PC, an appointed PC can be removed at will by the county chairman.

At slating, PCs, and their immediate supervisors in the party organization, ward chairmen (WC) are eligible to vote.  All WCs are appointed by the county chairman. With the 590 precincts and the approximate 90 WC slots, there are approximately 680 votes at a county-wide slating convention.

How many of those 680 votes at slating are appointees who are under the control of the county chairman?   In 2008, the Republicans elected 168 PCs.  Let's assume a 10% annual attrition rate on the elected PCs (probably a low rate) that means there are just 123 elected PCs left after three years into the cycle leaving 467 appointed PC slots.  Add that to the 90 WCs and that means 557 of the 680 votes at slating at appointees of the county chairman.  Translation:  the county chairman controls 82% of the votes at a county-wide slating.

In determining whether slating is "rigged" too much attention is given to whether people are told at slating who to cast a vote for.  That's not how these contests are rigged.  They are rigged by a system that allow party bosses to appoint "mummy dummies" as PCs whose only job is to go to slating and vote the way party bosses want them to vote.  The outcomes are decided before the slating convention. That's why 16 of 17 slating contests were uncontested this year.

To say the candidates, such as the judicial slate, were "endorsed" by the Republican Party is blatantly inaccurate.  After all, the GOP is not is not just the party chairman and his appointees, but rather the collection of individuals who vote in the primary.  But it is also wrong to say "party workers" endorsed the slated candidates.  Slated candidates are endorsed by appointees of the county chairman, certainly not by party workers elected by their neighbors.  An "endorsement" from a party boss is nothing to brag about.


artfuggins said...

I guess that those who are unhappy with slating should work to encourage people to run for precinct committeeperson. If only a few were elected then those who filed would be elected and could vote at slating. Both parties have chronic complainers about people being appointed but the solution is easy. Find someone to run.

Cato said...

What we really need is to strip party affiliation from the ballot. I don't care what private clubs you join, be it a quilting club, the Moose, the ACLU or the Republican party.

What you do in your spare time has no business being on a ballot.

Ballot access should be as straightforward as getting enough signatures.

Nicolas Martin said...

There is no way out of the transgressions of democracy, or government. Moving the chairs around won't stop the inhabitants from being harmed. There are rulers and there are ruled.

Democracy's greatest failing is that it gives the people the false impression that they have power. They have only as much as it is useful to the rulers to give to them. None which will destabilize the ruling class.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Art, here's another idea...only allow precinct committeemen who are elected or who are appointed, but who have served for a year and worked through one election, to vote in slating. Of course, the county chairman and other party bosses would never go for that because they want to be able to appoint people just for the purpose of attending slating and voting the way the party bosses want them to.

There are 590 precincts, many of which barely have any Republican voters, much less someone wanting to be on the ballot to be an elected Ps. There are always going to be lots of vacancies even under ideal situations. So why should the county chairman be allowed to appoint people to those positions before slating, people who don't live in the precinct and don't intend to do any work for the party? And why are ward chairman, all of whom are appointees of the county chairman, allowed to vote at slating?

The fact is you complain about the "complainers" but you'd never agree to reforms that would actually prevent the deck from being stacked for certain candidates at slating. It's all about the party chairman controlling who the nominees are, not letting party workers have a say in slating.