Will April 25 be the day that kills the RPV, or the day that they get out of their own way?
Anyone who has been following the nomination process for the GOP candidates in Virginia this year has had at least one moment of sheer frustration … screaming at a totally inanimate object like it matters. I have had too many to count. I’m just grateful no one had a video camera in my room last night, as I was screaming at my phone screen … at midnight.
The current State Central Committee (SCC) is bipolar (that is being extremely kind). There are two distinct factions now, and I’m here to tell you they will never agree. So, they should stop trying to reach the impossible consensus.
However, they still need to try to pull off this convention so I have decided to give them some advice on just a couple of points that jumped out and smacked me during the meeting last night. They can be smart and take it, or ignore it and end up sued to oblivion.
What, pray tell, do they need to do?
First off … the next SCC meeting is Sunday, April 25, at 7:00. The committee needs to approve the rules, and the rules might save them.
The Orthodox Jewish community has sent two or three letters asking the RPV to find a way they can participate. Usually, this would be a no-brainer, but this is not a usual year.
The SCC spent almost two hours arguing over whether they should provide a religious exemption for the Jewish folks who will not otherwise be able to vote. In America … in 2021. Then failed to do it.
I advise rapid backpedaling and a swift reversal of this disastrous vote. I mean … is someone secretly trying to feed the Donkey Clan even more ammunition for November?
Just amend the damn call, allow them to send a proxy, and cover it in the rules. This isn’t rocket science.
Secondly, at the moment James City, Williamsburg, Charles City, and Richmond (I may have missed a locality) don’t know for sure where they will be voting. No shit … two weeks out.
I am not in favor of splitting jurisdictions with RCV due in part to the numerous issues that I mentioned back on March 15 (yes, I was right; glad the campaigns are paying attention) but specifically because of the way the RCV ballots must be handled and counted. Screw this process up at your peril.
The process for this convention coupled with the extremely high delegate numbers is going to require some intervention. If something isn’t done, thousands of delegates are going to arrive on May 8 and spend hours in a car or a line waiting to vote, being chased around by overzealous campaign tweens … and that’s the folks who understand the Rank Choice Voting (RCV).
Those with questions are going to be at the mercy of whatever volunteers the districts can manage to find … so long as those volunteers understand RCV.
My advice here is simple. Approve the additional convention sites, but don’t split jurisdictions. Make the rules on ballot chain-of-custody and security airtight. Try to have impartial people handle data entry for the RCV. Find and train volunteers to work the voter lines.
Require all campaigns to remain at least 50 feet from voters while on convention property. Buy a ton of water and ink pens, and whatever you do … have a separate ballot for each of the three statewide races; just staple them together.
And for pete’s sake … stop fighting like petulant children.
This committee can use the meeting on Sunday to stop embarrassing itself, or guarantee the lawsuits that come from this process are never-ending. Will these people be loyal to a campaign, or the greater party?
Stay tuned … and good luck.
Photo: Lines form for Virginia 5th District drive-thru convention in 2020