Attempt to Cancel HD97 Voting Fails; Why Saturday’s Canvass is Still On
The latest attempt to cancel voting in Saturday’s 97th District Republican canvass has failed, following a series of turbulent and dueling meetings which have sown confusion among voters in the race’s final days.
Currently, the canvass is scheduled for Saturday, June 1st, from 10 AM to 4PM. Republicans will cast their ballots at VFW Post 9808 in Hanover County, the Ruritan Park in King William County, and George Watkins Elementary in New Kent County. All Republicans may vote by bringing their photo ID during voting hours to the location in their county of residence, even if they had formerly been denied a vote following Hanover’s slated mass meeting.
The 97th Legislative District Committee (LDC) resolved in a Thursday meeting to send out emails and establish a website to correct misinformation aimed at suppressing turnout in Saturday’s vote.
The announcement came following a meeting of the LDC at the venue announced in the call, after an earlier attempt to hold a meeting failed for lack of quorum. The earlier meeting was out of order, as Mike Reynolds was still Hanover’s representative on the LDC — confirmed in an RPV General Counsel ruling from the day before, which found multiple glaring flaws in the process used to hastily remove Hanover’s chair at the behest of Scott Wyatt’s campaign.
With this latest assault on the vote rebuffed, nothing stands in the way of Saturday’s canvass.
Untangling Misinformation in a Confusing Few Days
Yesterday, the 97th Legislative District Committee (LDC) met at the venue announced in the call. The preparations for the canvass were finalized, once the LDC was able to achieve quorum. By a 76% weighted supermajority, consisting of King William Representative John Hubbard, elected as temporary chairman, and Wayne Hayden, carrying Mike Reynold’s proxy from Hanover, the meeting proceeding under order, after its Chairman, Tom Miller, and New Kent Representative Mark Daniel, left following earlier attempts to obstruct recognition of the proxy.
The LDC’s two remaining voting members were able to get through their business quickly.
This meeting had quorum and was legal. Unlike previous events, Thursday’s proceeded purposefully and quickly –without attempts to stonewall.
However, that was not the story which voters heard from Scott Wyatt and his allies, who claimed victory after yet-another appeal was heard in yet-another hastily called meeting.
On Thursday night, the executive committee of RPV’s State Central Committee gathered in a special meeting, called by Wyatt’s allies on SCC, to hear an appeal which was not properly before it. The full SCC is not meeting until June 22nd and cannot make a final ruling until that time. Even if the appeal were properly before the executive committee, pursuant to Art. III, Sec. E(1) of the RPV Party Plan, it may only act temporarily until the full committee is in session.
Because the improper removal of Mike Reynold from the LDC violated a General Counsel ruling from the day before, the actions taken at an earlier meeting proceeded without quorum and under objection. Daryl Carr, though deemed appointed by Wyatt’s allies, was never properly seated on the LDC.
That ruling reads as follows:
That makes this attempt at a meeting null and void, despite misleading information being circulated to the contrary, as Hubbard noted.
“I’d like to point out that we do not have a quorum,” he said. “I realize that what the Hanover committee did last night, RPV ruled that that meeting was out of order. You should be in possession of a General Counsel ruling from this morning stating that.”
“As such, with all the respect, Mr. Carr, he is not the representative of the Hanover County Committee. Dale is still the chair. Mike Reynold is still, by RPV’s rulings, which is the body that we follow, is still the representative from Hanover.”
That’s probably not what you heard from Scott Wyatt or his supporters, though.
Since the race went downhill, his camp has proven itself a serial violator of RPV General Counsel rulings — one refuting the improper attempt to seize the LDC, another concerning improperly heard appeals, and a third confirming a unit chair’s authority to make LDC appointments.
So far, binding rulings have proven insufficient in halting attempts to cancel Saturday’s vote. But despite the attacks, the LDC and its 90 volunteers remain committed to counting thousands of ballots tomorrow.
An Attempt to Seize the LDC
The attempt to seize the LDC began in late April, when supporters of Wyatt’s campaign moved to remove Hanover unit chair Dale Taylor. By replacing her, they figured, the canvass could be canceled once the LDC was back under Wyatt’s control. Those attempts were rejected in an RPV General Counsel ruling issued before the vote took place, finding that signature and due process requirements were violated, leaving Taylor as unit chair in Hanover when the LDC met on May 30th.
The removal process has proceeded under heavy controversy. Even the tainted and improper vote, boycotted by its opponents, barely cleared the required threshold — one month after Wyatt allies succeeded in blocking membership renewals and banning new members from joining the Hanover GOP.
That is what’s happening in a nutshell — a stacked vote in violation of RPV General Counsel rulings is being used as a pretext to mislead voters, telling them the canvass is cancelled in an attempt to drive down turnout.
Nevertheless, the canvass is on.
Coming Vindication for Chris Peace?
What Team Wyatt seems unable to grasp is that everyone outside of their core few hundred thinks this whole episode is absolutely nuts.
These continued attempts to prevent Republicans from voting could ultimately backfire in Saturday’s canvass.
Meanwhile, Peace’s campaign remains focused on making voter contact, saying it hadn’t slowed the pace of telephone calls and door knocking.
Peace ultimately hopes for vindication at the polls — and he just may find it.
The percentage of Republican voters who attend meetings is very small. Those who might are turned off by these bizarre antics, especially when they learn the purpose is making voting deliberately difficult for those outside a select crowd.
And of that crowd’s opponents who did slip through? 350 were slated off in Hanover County, demoted to second-class “alternate” status — by design. Shortly after Wyatt chose his own convention, his team set the Hanover filing threshold too low, against RPV advice, setting the stage for what would follow.
He established himself as the point of contact for the convention with HCPS and kept it in his name until April 30th, 4 days before the planned convention was supposed to occur, according to HCPS email records obtained through FOIA.
By doing so, when difficulties were encountered, action wasn’t taken until it was too late, forcing either a rescheduling, a cancellation, or a last-minute change in location.
Wyatt’s allies ultimately chose to act unilaterally, moving forward without the LDC’s authority as required by motion and the RPV Party Plan, making false representations to the schools in the process.
The switch was purposeful. Just another roadblock for Republicans seeking to cast a single ballot.
One can’t overlook the fact that emails obtained through FOIA show that Wyatt himself had a backup date in the works, but chose this route instead of a two-week delay which would have given delegates proper notice.
Where Political Storylines Diverged
What’s happened, put simply, is that a campaign has lost sync with reality.
Political spacetime first broke after the LDC voted to cancel.
With no confirmed voting location three days before, it was too late to contact every delegate and let them know. Moving forward would have breached another basic principle of due process, that every voter receives adequate notice of when and where to vote, including changes.
The convention was the only way Wyatt could win. So, the show had to go on.
The campaign then invented a fiction. From that point forward, they would assume that Chairman Miller walking out of a room constitutes a proper adjournment. He had done it once before, days earlier.
In doing so, they erase the vote to cancel from their political storyline, campaigning and filing appeals as if it never happened. But they can’t erase video.
What followed was fiction after fiction, each in defense of the first, violating multiple RPV General Counsel rulings in order to keep a campaign narrative alive.
The problem? None of it was true.
With the vote to have a canvass in order, following Miller’s improper attempt at unilateral adjournment, the failed convention was replaced with a process letting everyone vote, with one month of notice for each side to prepare. As RPV confirmed, the LDC has the right to determine its own method of nomination.
The second major fiction which moved Wyatt’s campaign further out of sync with reality was the decision by supporters in Hanover to ignore another General Counsel ruling and improperly seat Darryl Carr as Hanover’s LDC representative.
Without quorum, the first attempt yesterday morning at a May 30th LDC meeting was null and void, despite misleading announcements to the contrary.
Once quorum was achieved, and the recognized LDC representative’s proxy in order, the committee proceeded to move forward with Saturday’s canvass.
97th District voters can watch the meetings and read the General Counsel rulings, and see as Wyatt continues struggling against Republicans voting, then decide for themselves whether what actually happened represents the narrative which his campaign is portraying.
Those committed to letting Republicans vote tomorrow say they have nothing to hide.