Votes in next Tuesday's Republican caucuses in Iowa will be cast on paper ballots and hand counted publicly at each and every caucus site, according to a report late this week from Politico's Jonathan Martin. In other words, Republicans will be relying on "Democracy's Gold Standard" when it comes to casting and counting ballots in their own election, in which they set all of the rules, even if they will not allow the same standards to be applied to elections in which Democrats will take part.
Martin's story should come as great news for Election Integrity advocates and, in particular, Ron Paul supporters who have very good reason to be concerned about the process after witnessing --- first-hand and on video-tape --- blatant voter fraud carried out by Mitt Romney supporters in years past. The news is also welcome in light of a recent report suggesting the GOP would be counting votes in secret to avoid a purported "threat" by the hacktivist group Anonymous to disrupt next week's caucuses.
Though the article, if accurate, is wonderful news, it underscores, yet again, the Republican Party's almost indescribable hypocrisy when it comes to elections. Over the years, as we have detailed on hundreds (if not thousands) of pages at The BRAD BLOG, Republicans have eschewed both paper ballots and their public hand-counting at the polling place, insisting that computer cast and counted "ballots" are far more reliable than anything human beings, with their own hands and eyeballs, are able to do themselves with everyone in the public watching. (That is, except in cases where they are challenging the computer-tabulated results of an election, in which case they insist, appropriately, on publicly hand-counted paper ballots.)
Moreover, as we reported on Wednesday, even though the GOP has worked overtime, since coming to absolute power in many states around the nation during the 2010 elections, to institute polling place Photo ID restriction laws for elections in which Democrats will take part (and be disproportionately disenfranchised by they), when Republicans are able to create all of their very own rules for their very own elections --- as is the case with the Iowa Caucuses --- they require absolutely no Photo ID for any voter, even those registering as Republican for the first time and voting on the very same day (something they also have long fought against allowing everywhere else!)...
The blatant good-for-me-but-not-for-thee hypocrisy, even for this jaded independent journalist, after this many years of covering such issues, is remarkable..
Martin detailed the supposedly completely public vote-casting and vote-counting procedures, as offered to him by GOP's Election Director Chad Olsen, as it is scheduled to occur at each of the Hawkeye State's 1,774 GOP caucus sites next Tuesday...
One person is designated to report the results to the Party, again in the presence of campaign representatives for verification, so that results can be aggregated and shared with the media in a timely manner. A high-level campaign representative is also present at the Party office where precinct results are being aggregated.
Those same campaign representatives on the ground in all 1774 precincts are able to "check" the results being reported in the media against their own observations in that precinct. If a discrepancy were to appear, the can alert both their respective campaign as well as the Party.
Every vote is counted. Every vote is reported. The vote-counting process is carried out in public.
So, to review: Voters in the GOP-run (not state-run) Iowa Caucuses next Tuesday will be able to register to vote right then and there, and then cast their vote on a paper ballot without having to show any form of Photo ID. Those paper ballots will then be counted publicly, at the "precinct", with the results of the voting at each site announced to everyone right then and there, before they are sent to a central clearing house to be compiled and announced to the media.
Those are all among the best, most transparent, and most reliable election practices we're aware of, even while they are all things that Republicans have fought virulently against --- for years --- when it comes to elections in which Democratic voters may be allowed to participate.
Despite that great news for voters in Iowa (at least voters in the Republican caucuses, if not in their general elections), we are still left to conclude: Hypocrisy, thy name is GOP.