Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ron Paul May Have Won Louisiana

Christopher Costigan

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that campaign for Republican US Presidential candidate Ron Paul is questioning results of this week's Louisiana Caucus. After all, this is the state that failed miserably to protect its citizens from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina (both before and after), pays its law enforcement officers the absolute lowest salaries, and has issued "sealed" arrest warrants for a few dozen online gambling operators after presumably coming under pressure from local casinos. The later became the State's number one priority, it seemed, following Hurricane Katrina. Go figure!

Now comes word that they have botched this week's Republican caucus. Surprised? Why should we be?

The Ron Paul presidential campaign Thursday called on the Republican Party of Louisiana to count all the ballots submitted in the state’s January 22 caucus.

“The failure of the Louisiana GOP to properly determine who was and wasn’t eligible to vote threw this entire process into disarray,” said Ron Paul campaign manager Lew Moore. “The party needs to correct this mistake by counting all the votes immediately, and releasing the results.”

Due to mistakes by the Louisiana GOP, hundreds of voters were forced to file provisional ballots, including nearly 500 that could change the outcome of the election. According to party officials, caucus locations relied on a voter list from November 1, 2007 despite the fact that under caucus rules, voters must have registered Republican by November 30, 2007. The Louisiana Secretary of State reports that 2,709 Louisiana residents registered as Republican between November 1, 2007 and November 30, 2007.

In multiple instances, state-certified Ron Paul delegates that were on the ballot were forced to file a provisional ballot despite the fact they were pre-approved as delegates.

The Louisiana State GOP also changed the rules at the last minute to allow other candidates to file more delegates. At the time of the original January 10 deadline, Ron Paul had the largest number of delegates pledged to him. The party then changed the rules to give other candidates until January 12 to file more delegates.

Just how important is the Louisiana Caucus?

Ron Paul supporter, Darryl DeMaris, explained to its significance in the whole scheme of things.

"I was on the ballot and understand the process here. The big problem with the Caucus is that registered Republicans as of Nov. 30 were allowed to take part, but the LA GOP only had a list current as of Nov. 1st. Many Ron Paul supporters had not changed parties by that time, but had (done so) by the 30th deadline. Over 500 of the 10,000 voters were provisional.

"The provisional ballots are key and could swing up to 31 national delegates Ron Paul's way. 31 would put him in second or third nationwide at this point."

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