Saturday, March 31, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Death March During GOP Presidential Caucus in Jefferson County

Bob McCarty was pretty disgusted with the Republican caucus in St. Charles county. That caucus ended abruptly when police were called and has since been rescheduled for April 10th. Bob has written extensively about what he dubbed the "St. Patrick's Day Massacre":
The Republican caucus in Jefferson County had its own share of irregularities; however, unlike the relatively quick demise of the St. Charles caucus, the caucus in Jefferson County ran until around 7PM. By that time less than half of the original 424 participants had soldiered through the day-long death march. Jake Wagman of the St. Louis Post Dispatch noted that voting for the delegates did not start until 6:30PM. The reason that the caucus took as long as it did was because one faction squandered the time of the other participants through the use of dilatory tactics with the strategic objective of attriting support for the other factions.

With a scheduled start time of 10AM, that means that participants who didn't leave early were at Hillsboro Intermediate School for over nine hours. In fact, as Travis Forrest explains in the video below, some people arrived as early as 7AM:

Travis also explains that he and others that arrived early tried to enter the building by the back door. Several volunteers were allowed in; however, Travis and another couple were told to enter through the front door after 8AM.

Videographer Brian Mueller also shot video of the "volunteers" gathering inside the school.

The strategy this year for Missouri's caucus system, basically, require coordination among political factions prior to the start of the caucus. To maximize your faction's influence in the caucus you need to have the support of 50% + 1 votes. If your faction controls 50% + 1, then it is relatively easy to guarantee that all delegates elected at that caucus support your candidate. In the 2012 Missouri caucus, there were three viable factions: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum with a few Newt Gingrich supporters as well.

Each Missouri caucus is run according to Robert's Rules of Order (at right). Participants familiar with parliamentary process can maneuver the caucus to their favor.

There's nothing wrong with collaborating between factions and leveraging your knowledge of Robert's Rules. Ultimately, that's the whole strategy. However, denying access to the building, much like dilatory tactics, is a way of unfairly giving your faction a strategic advantage in the caucus. At the Jefferson County caucus this meant that the people left standing at the front door had trouble finding outlets for their computers.

The chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Central Committee even tried to prevent a printer from being brought into the caucus despite the fact that she herself had brought one. Ultimately, the printer made it in and was setup underneath a chair because there wasn't a better place to put it that also had access to a power outlet.

All of this points to a strategy of discomforting some participants while prolonging that discomfort until the electoral outcome could be manipulated to the favor of one faction. That's not how a caucus is suppose to be run.

More to come...


freespeak said...

This is MORE than oversimplified!
The ones that were left out at the front door, WHERE REGISTRATION WAS, were there AFTER the 10:00 deadline (by the rules!).
Actually, I think someone said, by law, no one was to be admitted after 10:00.
It was available to enter since 7:AM.
The deadline was a well known fact.
And, do voters routinely attempt to enter to vote, through a back door?
Also, the apparently "Libertarian"? slate was refused because of not enough names for the district slate.
They knew this, and still tried to get in that way.
And OH the time wasted by consistent interruptions and petty disagreements, with lengthy votes to clear things up so we could vote again!
This is not to say all disagreement were petty,
but the number of legitimate disagreements were small compared to the petty disruptive ones.
How things ended, concerning delegates, were just and right, because cheating does not win.

dsm said...


There's more coming which may help address your concern that this is "oversimplified".

It's my understanding that the Ron Paul slate was rejected because it did not include addresses and phone numbers for their delegates as per the agreed upon rules. It's also my understanding that their slate was complete. The slate that was accepted--I think it was called the Unity slate--included addresses but not phone numbers so it was not in compliance with the rules either.

Brian Mueller said...


Please allow me to correct you. There isn't any "law" governing the start or end of this event. It is a Republican Party event. It was not considered a Primary or Election, so the times are not dictated by the State.

Also, the doors were supposed to CLOSE by 10:00 AM. People were allowed to come in after that cut off. Again, not against the law, but against State GOP rules.

The "volunteers" did not allow us to enter until around 8:20 AM. No one was allowed in before that time unless they were a "volunteer".

As far as entering through the back door, this was the first caucus for many of the caucus-goers, so they didn't know where registration would be available. And if some were entering through that door, wouldn't you think that was the entrance?

The slate that was disqualified was called the "Sons and Daughters of Liberty" slate, not the "Libertarian" slate. They are Republicans! It was thrown out because it lacked addresses and phone numbers of the delegates listed on the slates, not because of a lack of names.

You are incorrect in stating that "they knew this, and still tried to get in that way." When it was thrown out, it was over. The rules were agreed to by all parties present. The rule that was violated was Rule #3. They were upset that they had failed to comply with their own rules.

And you want to talk about time that was wasted, here's a run down:
1. Janet Engelbach, Republican Central Committee Chair and temporary Caucus chair, was out of order by attempting to read the 2012 Call to Convention. This is supposed to be done by the new Secretary, not the temporary Chair. Mrs. Engelbach entertained a motion to not read the Call to Convention. This was also out of order. A debate was had on the motion, as the posted Call to Convention was different from the one posted on (a website that was down all evening and night prior to the caucus). Then, it took nearly an hour to vote on the out of order motion on an out of order agenda point.

After the motion to not read the Call to Convention eventually passed, it was time to nominate a permanent Chair for the caucus. This part didn't take long, but when it came time to vote, Janet Engelbach took it upon herself to vote by ballot. This is not something the Chair can do! A motion for ballot vote must be approved by a majority of the assembly. And it was shady because ballot voting is the only way the Chair and Parliamentarians can vote. If it was by voice or Division (standing vote), the Chair and parliamentarian cannot vote. The voting and counting of ballots took nearly an hour. Remember, the ballot vote was out of order as it was not approved by the majority of the assembly.

The first time, no one received the 50% + 1 vote requirement. One nominee dropped out, then a vote by Division was taken. This took about 10-15 minutes.

Immediately after the Chair was elected, nominations for Secretary were taken. The Secretary was elected. The Chair appointed parliamentarians, Rules Committee, and Credentials Committee. The Credentials Committee presented a report that 424 people were credentialed to vote. This was the number they proposed using. By this time in the process, almost 3 1/2 hours had been wasted thanks to Janet Engelbach being out of order. A motion from a gentleman named Norman came from the back of the room. He motioned to have everyone re-credentialed, since some had left. An amendment to the motion was made by Jared Poyner. His amendment was to count all of the votes and base the percentages on the number of votes cast. Should there be more than 424, we would revote. The motion passed by voice vote.

(continued below)

Brian Mueller said...


At this time, David Courtway called for a roll call vote. After a little bit of discussion, he rescinded the request. At this point, Derrick Good called for a roll call vote. He would not rescind. The problem? The credentials list/roll had been taken out of the building. Janet Engelbach has admitted this on multiple audio recordings. The Chair decided to re-credential everyone, which was out of order as the Amendment to the Motion on the table had not been voted on.

During the process of re-credentialing everyone, some members of the assembly noticed Derrick Good making copies of the roll. How did it get back in the building? Why wasn't it presented immediately to the Chair? To this day, we do not know where the originals are, as the only thing that was eventually given to the Chair were the copies.

A roll call vote was taken. At that point, they discussed rules, then slates, etc.

I must also let patriotsoul know that the "Unity" slate that "won", is disqualified as it was missing phone numbers, also against Rule #3. Jefferson County will be sending ZERO delegates to the Congressional District Conventions and ZERO delegates to the State Convention.

What caucus did you attend? It doesn't sound like you were even there.

freespeak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
freespeak said...

I was at Jeff. the front door, in the morning.
The caucus rules said 10:00 am. It was a known fact.
dsm, you are correct on the R.P. slate.
Someone else said, "by law" on the time, not me. That is just what I heard.
And yes, it was a Republican caucus....that was also a known fact.
Caucuses need to go, since they are so easily flawed and manipulated.
We need a PRIMARY.

freespeak said...

If people were let in after 10am, that was the first sign I know of, of a breech in the integrity of the caucus, or any attempt at that.
If that's where it started, that is from where it continued.
It is a simple rule, and there are still excuses for not following it?
There was no excuse to HUMBLY leave, once that ONE SIMPLE RULE was made known ...

dsm said...

I've just finished a post about the call to convention that was posted at the Jefferson County caucus. It seems odd that they used a draft and not the final version.

freespeak said...

dsm, the whole thing as odd...
right down to the bogus primary.
Those in charge from the very beginnings need to be investigated....hello establishment? I can only guess.
For us to be in this divisive environment can only seem setup from the start...
They are trying to change our voting system anyway.
To give them a swift kick, ALL should have the delegates that DO have names and addresses. or find the ones who do not, and get that info.
Hell, why not? Aren't the rules made up as we go?

Brian Mueller said...

Missouri was forced into this primary/caucus situation by not changing their primary date. If delegates had been bound to the caucus, Missouri would have forfeited half their delegates, just like Florida did.

No one should have been allowed in after 10 AM, that's a given.

What I can't explain is why Rick Santorum got over 4,000 votes in the primarybin Jefferson County, but couldn't even get 200 people to show up at the caucus to support him.