By Mark Wachtler
February 16, 2012. Augusta. (ONN) More information is coming out about this past weekend’s Maine Caucus and once again it’s not looking very good for Republican Party officials. For readers that haven’t been following the events in Maine closely, the state Republican Party prematurely declared former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney the winner. This is the same mistake the Party made in Iowa after that state's caucus. Critics condemn the Party however, calling it no mistake.
Maine GOP Chair Charlie Webster under fire for handling of caucus. Image courtesy of KJonline.
It’s no secret that each time a mistake is made in counting or reporting official vote totals, the mistakes always seem to go in Mitt Romney’s favor. In Iowa, he took home the coveted prize and was proclaimed the certain nominee. Two weeks later, the Iowa Republican Party announced that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum had actually won. By then however, the spoils of a first caucus in the nation victory had already been used by Romney. The Iowa Republican Party Chairman has since resigned.
In Nevada, a similar situation ensued. It took the Nevada GOP one hour to count the votes from half the state, but two days to count the remaining half. Coupled with allegations of vote stuffing and totals not matching precinct level results, Mitt Romney was declared the winner none the less. The Nevada Republican Party Chairman has since resigned.
For more information on the above two incidents, read the article, ‘Paul camp cries Fraud over Nevada Caucus results’.
When Maine’s turn came this past weekend, Mitt Romney was again immediately declared the winner, seemingly before the election took place. With hindsight being 20/20, that appears to be exactly how it went down.
Unlike most states, Maine allows each individual precinct and county to schedule their own votes any time over a couple of weeks in February. With roughly 5 percent of the precincts voting during the week, the Maine GOP kept the results secret to avoid influencing the votes of the upcoming precincts. Another 78 percent of the precincts in Maine voted on Saturday. When the polls closed Saturday night, the national corporate media instantly announced Mitt Romney’s victory. As the night went on however, that sure thing appeared to be in doubt.
Slowly but surely, as the votes continued to be counted, Ron Paul crept ever closer to Mitt Romney’s lead. By midnight, it was announced that all votes from the Saturday caucuses had been counted and Mitt Romney was in fact the winner of the Maine Caucus. The truth however is that not all the Saturday votes had been counted and there were still 16 percent of the state’s precincts scheduled to vote in the coming days.
As the vote sat at Midnight Saturday night, only 83.7% of the precincts had been counted. Mitt Romney led Ron Paul by 194 votes. According to the Maine GOP, the estimated remaining 900 voters in roughly 98 Maine precincts left to vote would no longer be allowed to vote and their upcoming caucuses were cancelled. The fact that the outstanding precincts were located in areas where Ron Paul was winning is overshadowed by the fact that 17 percent of the citizens of Maine just had the right to vote revoked.
Read the article, ‘Maine Caucus results – a vote of No Confidence’ for further details.
Today, we get word that on top of the cancellation of Maine’s remaining caucuses, thus insuring Mitt Romney’s victory, individual Maine Republican precinct captains are coming forward and declaring that the Saturday votes in their respective precincts were not properly counted by Maine Republican Party officials. In some cases, the votes weren’t counted at all.
InfoWars.com announced today, ‘Yet more evidence of possible vote fraud has been uncovered in Maine, where several towns and counties did caucus but were omitted from the final state count for no identifiable reason’. Quoting an investigation by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the article details some of the following examples.
Responding to the groundswell of outrage, Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster remarked, “What I tell people is - I’m not going to fire or discipline my staff for clerical errors.”
With hindsight being 20/20, if the Republican Party believes what happened in Iowa, Nevada and Maine are “clerical errors”, it’s no wonder Republicans are deserting their own party in droves. Republican turnout in the heavily contested race has been far less than expected so far this election season. While the GOP appears to be pulling out all the stops to insure Mitt Romney is the party’s nominee, what they are really doing is insuring his overwhelming defeat in November.