Virginia politics, policy and entertainment from the Greater Richmond-Washington Metro Area perspective.

Lucas Files Appeal in 51st

The Potomac News is reporting that Julie Lucas has officially filed her appeal in the contest for the 51st House Dist. nomination.  According to the article:

Lucas sent the appeal to the 51st District Republican Committee, which only has one member: Tom Kopko, chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee.

“There’s many, many potential human errors in here that all have to be looked at,” Kopko said. “Then there’s the intentional errors that could have been introduced.”

So far, he’s hasn’t made a determination because he’s still investigating committee rules and past methods of dealing with overvotes.

“I certainly plan to be thorough,” Kopko said.

He said there is no deadline to make a decision on Lucas’ appeal, but said he will provide one soon.

. . .

Once Kopko renders his decision, Lucas has the opportunity to appeal to the 11th Congressional District Committee, led by Becky Stoeckel.

Kopko is also a member of the 12-person congressional committee.

Stoeckel attended the June 2 convention and criticized the procedures used to disseminate and count ballots.

“Believe me, if I had anything to do with that convention directly I would have made sure it was run squeaky clean,” she said. “I wouldn’t want an appeal in my lap.”

The controversy surrounding the overvotes in the 51st House of Delegates convention has given the Republicans’ favored process of picking a nominee a black eye.

She said she supports Lucas’ appeal and thinks that the two precincts with inexplicable overvotes should be disqualified.

“If someone can put three extra ballots in, they could easily put in 10,” she said.

There would be no way of knowing if that happened, she said, since the ballots are anonymous.

Kopko said the committees must make a decision at least 60 days before the Nov. 6 election.

. . .

Lucas can appeal her case beyond the congressional committee to the Republican Party of Virginia.

Unlike Lucas, Stoeckel said she’s a fan of the convention process.

The Republican committee chose to nominate its candidate for the 51st House of Delegates through a convention, instead of holding a primary election on June 12.

“In a lot of ways I feel sorry for Faisal because his victory is tainted because the process was flawed,” Stoeckel said. “It could be overzealous newcomers, it could be very innocent or it could be very sinister.”

We’ll see what happens next.  Stay tuned!

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26 Responses to “Lucas Files Appeal in 51st”

  1. OPDitch

    I was a voting member of the Credentials Committee for the 51st District Republican Convention, and attended ALL of the credential meetings. Except the “field trip” to the registrar’s office, which my partner attended.
    There were many reasons to suspect things would go wrong at this convention, even though many people worked very hard to try to avoid them. With the Gill campaign submitting 132 duplicate delegate forms (Lucas had 4), multiple delegate forms where the signature was different on the duplicated forms, and some with name variations, the credentialing process was definitely a long drawn out task. There were a total of 34 application forms with signature problems, all from the Gill campaign. The Gill campaign also submitted 53 other non-registered voters (Lucas had 9). Because of these discrepancies there were “Sworn Statements” prepared that had to be singed by many delegates, making the credentialing and check in process more complicated, risky, and drawn out. Michele McQuigg calculated that her Credentials Committee actually met, in session, for some 27 hours between May 21 and June 2. Countless other hours were spent outside the meetings trying to resolve and track down these discrepancies, which were predominantly from the Gill campaign. Right up until the actual check in process at the convention, changes were being made to Michele’s “approved delegates list.” There were at least two “write in” delegates that morning. Mike May even had to track down one delegate that had been given credentials even though he admitted that he had NOT signed either of two delegate application forms that were submitted by the Gill campaign. The delegate’s credentials were eventually retrieved and destroyed. There were other problems with these “sworn statements”, it complicated the check in process for sure.

  2. charles

    OP, thanks for the information that Lucas had 9 non-registered voters, and that Lucas had 4 duplicates, not the two reported at BVBL.

    The delegate form issues were the DELEGATE’s problems, NOT a campaign problem . Each delegate form is filled out by a prospective delegate, and they are the ones who sign correctly or incorrectly.

    The forms are often collected by campaigns, and turned in by those campaigns, but the campaigns don’t sign the forms. The delegates are not bound to candidates, and are free agents at the convention.

    The Sworn statements I’m sure made things harder, but that was a decision made by the credentials committee.

  3. Anke Cheney

    Big difference between 132 (Gill) and 4 (Lucas); 53 (Gill) and 9 (Lucas); and then there’s the 34 signature problems, all Gill’s. There’s also a big difference between Charles’ spin and OP’s facts. There are always a FEW problems with duplicate forms and registrations…but Gill’s numbers were beyond the pale. SIGNATURE problems are quite a different story…there’s no excuse for those.

  4. Citizen Tom

    There is something quite funny going on here. Because he is a conservative, Faisal Gill gets the support of those supposedly bigoted people in the Republican Party. Instead of debating race and religion, for the most part we are now debating proper procedures. Only in a nation led by a knit picky aristocracy of lawyers……

    Yes, there is a big difference between 132 and 4; 53 and 9. I suspect this has something to do immigration, legal immigration. As was obvious to anyone at the convention, Gill brought in quite a few folks not seen before at a Republican convention.

    Many of the Gill people are still learning our procedures. Because of knit picky lawyering, our procedures are too infernally complicated. We should expect mistakes and work on simplifying the procedures. In particular, we should set a good example for the newbies.

    Unless someone can show deliberate cheating, why should we disenfranchise 107 voters? Both the Gill and Lucas campaigns participated in every convention activity. Where errors occurred, both sides were equally responsible.

    Fortunately, accidental errors tend to be random. On the average, accidental errors should have benefited Julie Lucas just as much as they did Gill. To fix random errors, we do not need to entirely throw out the vote from two precincts. This would not even be honest. What is obvious is that one side expects to benefit because the other side won the vote in those precincts.

    We all know the end does not justify the means. After all this is history, everybody involved is going to have to look at themselves in the mirror every morning. Instead of worrying too much about who wins, each of us needs to give our full consideration as to what we want to think about that person in the mirror.

  5. Riley, Not O'Reilly

    CT, I think a lot of people agree with Becky’s assessment that “In a lot of ways I feel sorry for Faisal because his victory is tainted because the process was flawed.” That is the reason why we need to be so nit-picky about process.

  6. O. P. Ditch

    CitizenTom,
    I didn’t think we were “knit picking” when we had to work into the wee hours of the mornings, for two solid weeks, after Gill filed all these duplicate and errored (notice I didn’t say the “f” word “falsified” or “fraudulent”) delegate forms. I had to make up a new word (errored) so as not to offend anyone. We were trying to figure out how to deal with them in the credentials meetings. After spending so much time on Gill’s errored forms, we started looking at ours too late in the game to get them corrected. We apologize for our errored forms, but we haven’t heard a peep from the Gill campaign about mistakes. Some of you are saying that Gill didn’t even file them, the delegates did. In fact, you Faisal Friends keep making excuses like “legal immigrants” making mistakes and “not being familiar with our procedures.” I sure hope Faisal will be able to deal with “our procedures” if he gets to Richmond. But maybe he intends to change those procedures to accommodate his …. ooops, I’m getting off track here. I don’t want to be called “culturally insensitive” a term used frequently in the credentials meeting. Tom “knit picky aristocracy of lawyers”??? come on man, get real. Oh and Riley, I don’t feel sorry for Faisal.

  7. Citizen Tom

    Riley, Not O’Reilly – Of course we need to be careful, but we also need to expect people to be responsible. If the average person cannot be held responsible for following simple procedures, then democracy itself makes no sense.

    Consider the implications of being held responsible. When you show up at a convention, because you are expected to be responsible, you are expected to have already registered to vote. If you cannot follow simple procedures, why should you be allowed to vote? Yet because of a nitpicking desire for fairness, the rules require that we let such people vote. That is dumb.

    Responsibility is also relevant to how we deal with errors. If there are errors, and representatives from BOTH campaigns had the opportunity to catch those errors, then why should we throw out the vote of entire precincts. BOTH campaigns have responsibility for the errors, not just one.

    Instead knit picking, we need to concentrate on the overall process. What is relevant that neither campaign has accused the other of cheating. If the overall process was fair, honest, and the results are reasonably accurate, then we should live with the results.

    Apparently, all that happened in this process is that some people got confused about which precinct (that is, table) they were expected to vote at. These people did not get stopped by either campaign’s representative. If we cannot live with that — if we insist upon weeping crocodile tears and calling the results “tainted,” we are being foolish nitpickers.

  8. NotNotJayHughes

    Citizen Tom:

    I agree with you that minor mistakes should not overturn a convention’s results. No convention will ever be run with 100% perfection. There will always be times when someone got slightly less speaking time than their opponent or perhaps a candidate will have one more sign up in the convention than rules allow. I think we both agree that these kinds of minor “snafus” should not be grounds to overturn a convention.

    But we’re not talking about minor snafus. Whenever I hear “overvoting” the hair on my back stands up, because in my 15 years of political convention participation I have never seen an instance of overvoting as an honest mistake; not one. For two simple reasons that 1. ballot slips don’t mark themselves and then levitate themselves into a ballot box and 2. it is totally reasonable to expect even the greenest convention newcomer to know that one person gets only one vote. In other words, anyone overvoting does so intentionally.

    Overvoting is NOT a minor error. It is a very serious problem that raises very serious questions of ethical and moral conduct within the convention environment.

  9. Denny Daugherty

    Not Jay Hughes–

    The use of the terminology “overvoting” is unfortunate because readers draw the same sinister conclusions that you have.

    I’m confident that no one tried or was allowed to cast more than one vote at this convention. And that no one was allowed to vote without being a credentialed delegate. The representatives of both candidates carefully checked IDs to assure that each person voting was the person whose name was on the name tag. In doing so, not all did a perfect job of making sure that the voter who presented himself was from the precinct in which the vote was cast. That wouldn’t matter at all in a mass meeting, but in a convention with weighted voting there is some minor significance as to whether a Rockledge voter voted in the Lake Ridge precinct (perhaps because both precincts are in the community of Lake Ridge.)

    I’ve not heard of any indication that the “overvote” involved unethical conduct. There’s a big difference in what is an appropriate response to unethical or fraudulent conduct and what is appropriate in the case of mutual error–honest mistakes not caught by the volunteers representing both campaigns.

    Absent evidence of fraud or errors sufficient to change the outcome, Republicans need to launch the general election campaign and stop 1)casting aspersions on each other and 2) trying to disenfranchise properly credentialed delegates by tossing out all votes cast in two precincts by well over 100 individuals because of a problem involving four votes.

  10. Citizen Tom

    So far no one has shown that anything except a minor snafu occurred. There was a system to make certain people voted only once. The issue seems to be whether some people properly voted in the right precinct. TwoConservatives probably has as good a description of the problem as any blog. See this post.

  11. O. P. Ditch

    Ahh Denny Daugherty, the Vice Chair of the PWCRC, are you developing the case for a decision by your fellow “impartial observer” and chairman of the PWCRC/51st Leg Dist Committee of one? “mutual error-minor mistakes”? Is that the case you all will be presenting? Pardon me for mentioning the unfortunate “O” word overvotes again, but it did become a little more disconcerting when we heard stories of identical voting ballots circulating in the hallways of the convention BEFORE the voting process began. Of course we found out much later that a “mutual error” had been made in the Elections Committee by letting one campaign (Gill’s) actually design the print file for the ballots. Of course they only used them to print out samples and circulate them to their people right before the voting. And, of course these identical “samples” were harmless, right? Not sinister, but minor snafus. Ok, I admit, I haven’t uncovered any “samples” among the copies of the real ballots…yet, but I’m sure Tom Kopko will scrutinize them until 60 days before Nov 6.

  12. anon

    Ummmm… weren’t the elections people given the credentials check in sheets to cross reference? Is so, then there is no way they could’ve accidentally given someone the wrong ballot. If the badges had the precinct names on them, again someone could not have accidentally gotten the wrong ballot. And if what the previous poster says is true, that one campaign had a copy of the offical ballot in advance….wow that’s really bad.

    And why would there be more ballots available in a precinct than there were registered delegates? If there were only 50 people who checked in then there should’ve only been 50 ballots available.

    Why weren’t the precincts in question re-voted? Could’ve/should’ve been done either that day or even a few days later. That would’ve solved the problem and there wouldn’t be all this fuss about an appeal.

  13. Anke Cheney

    I thought RPV gave Kopko only 48 hours to complete his “scrutiny” before passing this on to the 11th District Committee? Since there has been no indication that he has passed the appeal on as yet, I take it that he considers RPV to be irrelevent to the process.

  14. charles

    The official ballots were marked with the precinct names, and NUMBERED.

    OP says “Ok, I admit, I haven’t uncovered any “samples” among the copies of the real ballots”.

    The ballots were handed out in numerical order, and you can be certain that the FIRST thing checked when there were discrepancies was that all the numbered ballots handed out were voted, that no number that was NOT handed out was voted, and that the ballots were cast in the princinct named on the ballot.

    So it would be easy to spot a sample ballot — it wouldn’t be numbered consecutively, or have the precinct name. If you HAD such a ballot, it would be a duplicate number. If it wasn’t a duplicate number, the number would be different than the ones handed out, and rejected.

    The only way a ballot could be “stuffed” would be for the election monitor who controlled the numbered ballots to do so. In Lake Ridge, that was Jane Beyer, who I’m assuming nobody here thinks stuffed the ballot box.

    Given that no invalid ballots were found, there is no “issue” regarding sample ballots.

    IF they had only had 77 ballots at Lake Ridge, when the last 3 people showed up with valid credentials, and there were no ballots left, someone would have had to produce 3 more ballots for the valid voters — unless by some miracle those last 3 were the 3 that voted in the wrong precinct.

    People left after the vote, before the problem was known, so you couldn’t re-vote them.

    Anke, there is no spin here. I was just pointing out that this is the first time I’ve heard of there being 9 non-registered Lucas delegates (although I don’t know if they were pre-May-21, or post-may-21.

    And again, I’ll point out they were not “Lucas delegates”, just forms turned in by Lucas. The problems with forms were the fault of the delegates who filled out multiple forms, who signed them wrong, who applied for registration too late for the primary cutoff.

    It would be WRONG for a candidate to tell voters that they could NOT participate and refuse to turn in delegate forms from voters. It’s the credentials committee job to ensure delegates are valid, NOT the candidate.

    I don’t want the Lucas campaign OR the Gill campaign throwing out signed delegate forms. Let the credentials committee do it with both campaigns represented.

    OP, if the work of the credentials committee was too hard for you, don’t volunteer next time. You should be thanked for your service, but I’m not shedding a tear for you because the voters made your job harder.

  15. God Bless America

    I was one of the people assigned to accept ballots at one of the precinct voting areas. We checked nametags, handed ballots to people etc. The two of us manning the station were given many more ballots than we thought we needed knowing that our precinct did not have a large number of delegates. However, we DID NOT have lists to check how many voters to even expect. We handed in the extra ballots before leaving our area. No one asked us to even check the numbers placed on the ballots, the number range we’d been handed or even the number of ballots we had………we were not asked to monitor anything except the nametag of the voter. The receptacles for the ballots were very large (big non-covered rubbermaid storage tubs). The tub had to sit a ways from us to allow both of us access to the person’s ID and to allow the voters some privacy as they marked and deposited their ballots. A huge opportunity for problems.

  16. OPDitch

    Charles, you are so far off base with so much of your BS speculation, i won’t even comment on it. You are a real trip.

  17. charles

    OP, the process was just explained by commenter 15, and stripping out the rhetorical flourishes is exactly what I expressed. Further, I have been in e-mail contact with several people who were involved in the convention, all of whom confirm the process I have described as the one that was used.

    I have no idea what “speculation” you are referring to, and unless you want to make a specific reference to something I said that you think is inaccurate, your comment does not advance the discussion in any way. If you think something I said is wrong, let me know. I’m working very hard to get the facts together.

    The ballots were numbered by precinct, and had the precinct names on them. You admitted no invalid ballots were found. All the ballots were checked when the overvote was found, and no improper ballots were found.

    If the monitors knew how many people to expect, it wouldn’t have made much difference, as when they reached that number, they would simply have known a little earlier that there was a problem.

    as to 15, it doesn’t matter that there was some space available, because the elections committee had the ballots that weren’t cast, and therefore knew which numbers were valid, and would have been able to note any ballots IN the box that were duplicate numbers, unnumbered, or numbered outside the range of cast ballots.

    Look, it hurts to lose an election. When Allen lost by a mere few thousand votes out of millions, I felt sick, and I’m sure he felt like fighting the results. But fortunately he decided better for it, and I hope given we are all in the same political party and supposedly have all pledged to support ALL the republicans that we can get past all this petty bickering over sample ballots and muslim voters and get back to getting our candidate elected (even Maureen, who has apparently gone off the deep end).

  18. OPDitch

    Speculation: “…you can be certain that the FIRST thing checked…”, “…I don’t know if they were…”, “…So it would be easy to spot…”, “…IF they had only had 77 ballots…”

    Charles. I have to strongly disagree with you about your assertion that “the problems with forms were the fault of the delegates who filled out multiple forms, who signed them wrong,” The Lucas campaign made significant efforts to eliminate problems with the forms we turned in. We felt it was our duty and responsibility to do so. I personally contacted people who had filled the form out incorrectly and got it corrected. We weren’t perfect, but we didn’t turn in 132 duplicate forms and some of them with different signatures like the Gill campaign did. Charles, I guess you missed my comment earlier where one of Gill’s delegates admitted that he didn’t even fill out either of the two forms submitted for him. SOMEBODY ELSE SIGNED THEM!! Charles, you can claim all day long that it wasn’t the Gill campaign’s fault, but it won’t hold water with me. It was indeed their fault. I also wonder who really signed those forms. This is not “petty bickering”, this is laying out all the facts, about what happened during this convention process, so it won’t happen this way again. You can help by stop trying to sweep it under the rug, and stop speculating.

  19. charles

    “you can be certain that” – I was told that the elections committee checked the ballots in the overvoted precincts to see if the ballots came from other precincts, if they were misnumbered, or had any other difficulties. Did you hear differently? I haven’t seen a report otherwise. I suppose that’s speculation because I wasn’t there and therefore am relying on other’s reports, but my assertion is the elections committee would have to be stupid not to have done so, and with people from BOTH campaigns on the committee, and a Lucas choice RUNNING the committee, I don’t imagine you are asserting they were stupid.

    “I don’t know if they were” — that’s not speculation, that’s pointing out facts I don’t have. Speculation would have been guessing whether they were pre or post-may 21.

    “So it would be easy to spot” — not speculation, conclusion based on the facts I have been given about how the ballots were labeled and controlled.

    “If they had only 77 ballots” — not speculation, someone suggested it would have been better to only have the correct number of ballots for each precinct. I was pointing out that doing so would not have significantly changed the problem. In addition, it wouldn’t handle the case where delegates LEFT and then someone else over-voted.

    OP. suppose you had picked up delegate forms and found two from the same person. You looked at the signatures, and they weren’t the same. And it was the day they were to be turned in. Which one would you discard? You didn’t sign either of them, you don’t know which one was correctly signed (if either) from the prospective delegate. You don’t OWN the delegates, OR their forms, you are acting as an agent for the committee in collecting the forms (you have to agree that a candidate is not allowed to discard delegate forms handed to them that suggest they will vote for the opponent).

    While it makes more work for the credentials committee, it’s just work, it’s not like it costs you money or takes years off your life. I read about the person who didn’t sign either of his forms, and if I had been on the committee and that was ALL the information I had I probably would have rejected that person. But if there were one invalid, and one valid, form, I wouldn’t reject a valid form simply because someone submitted an invalid form.

    In the case where an uninformed voter signed for other uninformed voters, I suppose having gotten corrected signatures it would have been easier for the committee if the bad ones had been discarded by the Gill campaign. However, if we really wanted to know about the problem (and I understand the Lucas campaign wanted those rejected, so they certainly wanted to know about it), having the GIll campaign turn them in was the best way for the election committee to operated with a FULL set of facts.

    Where there were duplicate forms with the same names, addresses, and signatures, yes Gill should have cleaned those out. But given the accusations being made, turning them all in DID provide a more complete set of information, and if someone heard a bunch of forms had been thrown out, accusations could well have been made about THAT being the wrong thing to do.

    I guess I just don’t share your concern about work for the Election committee. If I were turning in forms, I would have removed the obvious duplicates. Maybe I would have gone back to each delegate to ensure the signatures were correct. Maybe I would have tried to train my helpers better on how to get the forms filled out correctly the first time.

    But the Credentials Committee had all the information it needed in the forms to make decisions necessary. I’m sorry it was so hard, and I’m sorry there was no way I could help make things easier, as I was not invited to be a part of the fun.

    I do wonder who signed the forms. I’m surprised the Lucas campaign didn’t ask for a signature from every Gill campaign worker to check against the forms. If I really had that kind of suspicion, I would have asked so I could relieve the suspicion, rather than leave it unanswered and bring it up later as speculation (btw, that’s the correct use of speculation — “I also wonder who really signed thos forms”).

    I apologize for the “petty bickering” comment, it doesn’t add anything to the discussion. Believe it or not, I want to know the truth, and I don’t care who it helps. If there was real evidence that Lucas actually had more delegates show up than Gill, but extra votes were cast, I’d want to know that.

    But (and here’s speculation), I presume that both Gill and Lucas had a complete list of the delegates they thought were supporting them, and those lists were checked against the delegates who showed up. So if Lucas actually had MORE delegates show up than Gill, I’m sure we would have read about that.

    Therefore, I SPECULATE that the list of registered delegates AT THE CONVENTION pretty much matched the vote as it was recorded, except for the 4-5 overvotes. Which leaves only the spculation about whether, since there were dozens of undervotes, more Gill delegates left early, or more Lucas delegates left early.

    OP, you are part of the Lucas campaign. Can you provide the count for how many of the delegates that registered were KNOWN to be Lucas delegates, and were EXPECTED to be Lucas delegates?

  20. charles

    OP,

    Do you remember if the ballot you were handed had a number on it? I heard from two people that the “ballots were numbered by precinct”, but someone else has told me they didn’t think they were numbered.

  21. O. P. Ditch

    Charles….. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. Is this what you bloggers do all day long? What am I doing here?

  22. James Young

    Great response (21), O.P. Like much with Lucas’ supporters, your double-standard (raising questions that tend to denigrate the nominee are to be welcomed, while those that tend to belie the myths offered by “Team Lucas” are to be disparaged) is showing.

  23. Julie Supporter

    What do you expect from a candidate who says that he is a lobbyist, but isn’t, and from James Young who does not even live in the 51st nor the Neabsco District but has a prejudice against Ms. Lucas and has made it his “mission” in life to attempt to destroy her every step of the way. Like Ted Kennedy, I look at Jim and WHOEVER he supports, I will support the opposite.

  24. charles

    OP —
    no, it’s what we do all night long.

    So does your response indicate you now understand the difference between what I wrote and “speculation”? Or merely that you have lost all interest in conversation?

    Surely this type of back-and-forth is not new to you, I know you participate in other forums where this type of discussion would be considered child’s play.

  25. Mitch Cumstein

    Julie Supporter:

    Take heart. Jim Young also never misses an opportunity to belittle (unsuccessfully) Sean Connaughton and Marty Nohe. I’d say she’s in pretty good company.

    Of course in Sean’s case, Young’s obsession approaches stalker level. But the good news is, he’s relatively harmless.

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