Home > Elected Officials, New Media, Politics > Chaos At The AZ GOP Revisited

Chaos At The AZ GOP Revisited

By Elisha Dorfsmith

I recently posted my observations of the May 12th Arizona GOP Convention.  It was one of the most disorganized and chaotic events I had ever attended. Many others are starting to step forward to tell their own stories. I hope these stories inspire everyone to fight even harder.

The Following first hand account was submitted by a Ron Paul supporter named Pepper Draper who observed the delegate vote tabulation at the convention.

“May 12, 2012 AZ GOP

Part 1

Pepper Draper

I am from CD4 and an Elected Delegate.  There was much pandemonium prior to us being dismissed to go into our designated area where we would conduct Caucus business. I am pretty sure that has been covered well, by others, so I will just briefly mention what happed the first time we were dismissed. The Delegate report was supposed to be announced by Steve Kohut and accepted unanimously by the delegates, but Steve only called for the CD leaders to go to the side so, he could speak to them and then walked away without giving us the delegate report. Tom Morrissey came to the microphone and dismissed us. Once half the audience were gone, someone started to yell a “point of order” that the delegates had not been accepted and therefore no business could be conducted. It was acknowledged that happened, but it took 45 minutes before everyone got word and came back to the floor.

Once we were seated again, the delegate report was announced by Counties and “points of order” were being yelled (there were no microphones in the middle or back, only in the front) that the delegate count was incorrect. There was commotion about it, but then the delegate count of 1147 was accepted and we were once again dismissed to conduct Caucus business.

Prior to me going to my caucus, I saw the gentleman who was yelling for “point of order” and asked him why he was doing that. He said that Coconino County had been announced as having 11 delegates when they had 19. If that was not corrected the delegate election in that county would have been thrown out because they would have had more votes presented than what was allotted. Wow! Glad that someone caught that and had it corrected.

When we were finally dismissed into our Caucuses, we were given our first Ballot to choose our A Delegate and Alternates. The ballot itself was in alphabetical order except for the first name, which was out of order with an asterisk beside it.

When the vote was taken, the ballot box was taken down, but I do not know by who or if it was even escorted by a representative from each campaign. I did ask if there were Ron Paul witnesses present while the ballots were being counted and I was told by just some member of the caucus that as far as they knew, no one was present. This greatly concerned me.

When the results came back, Steve Peirce had won the A Delegate spot with Joan Lewis and one other Ron Paul supporter winning the alternate positions. When the Chairman asked Joan if she would accept, she asked who had voted for her, no hands went up. Then the other person also asked who had voted for him, with the same result. Upon looking at the ballot, the two names that the Ron Paul Supporters knew we had voted for, was one below the delegates who had been announced as the winners.

Joan demanded a hand count, which they finally did consent to do, but I do not know who performed that hand count. Prior to the results of the hand count, the Chairperson initiated the second ballot for the B Delegate and Alternates.  Another “point of order” was motioned that we did not know the results of the first election and therefore we did not want to vote until those results were in. The Chairperson over-rode the “point of order” and had us vote for the B Delegate and Alternates anyway.

When they returned, the chairperson acknowledged that the name, Steve Pierce, which had been placed at the top with the asterisk, caused the program to read the ballots incorrectly and the two people, Patricia Lewis and Gianluca Zanna, whom we did vote for, were elected. This changed who the Ron Paul supporters would have voted for on the B Delegate and Alternate ballot, so another “point of order” was made because the results changed our plan.  Another “motion” was purposed that the second ballots be discarded and we receive a new ballot. There was a second on the “motion” and the Chairperson finally gave in after having the Parliamentary and Thayer Verschoor come up to consult. The Romney people just was getting disgusted because they were convinced that Romney already had the nomination so why were we wasting time. Joan Lewis said to the man who made the comment, that “nothing has been decided yet and if it’s a done deal, why not do it honestly?”

We then had to wait about an hour maybe longer before, we received the new ballot. At this point when I went up to place my ballot in the box, I saw only one man who was counting the ballots and I immediately said I was going to be the second counter and witness, which he agreed. I knew this man was not a Ron Paul supporter and there was no way I was going to allow only one person as counter. At the end of the count, we both insisted that we escort the ballots to the counting area, which the chairperson agreed to do. We then took the ballots and turned them in the same direction and did a recount to verify our 117 ballot count with 2 voided, which our numbers agreed. After we did this, both of us insisted that we stay with our CD box, since there were others ahead of ours waiting to be counted. I was impressed with this man that he had the same concerns that I did.

We both watched CD7 and CD5 being counted. The man, who I now know as George Teagarden (sp) was scanning the ballots into a scanner that looked like your average day scanner, only fast. He was having issues with the scanner and the computer program. He would type things in and make comments about what a late night he had the night before and so he was very tired. At the time, I did not know what he was typing and still don’t, but it is my guess that one of the issues he was having was with rejected scans because that was also an issue that happened on the following Monday. However, his typing things in and doing things looked more like entering data vs what I saw needed to be done to rescan a ballot.

There were a few Ron Paul supporters as well as Romney Supporters viewing the process. I however seeing that the ballots were not being hand counted and verified started asking questions about, “How do we know the results are correct?” I then insisted that my CD be hand counted. Thayer Verschoor had been coming in and out of the room and at one point he turned to the man next to him wearing a Romney sticker and whispered loud enough for me to hear that, “he was sick of these (expletives) Ron Paulers and why can’t they just leave it alone and let us get on with it?”  I then turned to Thayer (whom I have known for at least 15 years) and said, “Thayer, you have to understand with everything that has gone on this morning with the all the CD why we would want accuracy, I should think you would too.” He then asked me what I was talking about and I replied “with just what happened in CD4 with the delegates being shifted up and I heard this happened in other CD’s as well” He then said “Okay” and backed away.

One Ron Paul supporter by the name of Brett Rayno was asked by John Laurie to observe while the papers were being scanned, that happened during CD7 and part of CD5. During this time, it had been determined to proceed with the “At Large Votes.” Several people asked, including Romney supporters how they could proceed with the At Large Votes when the CD had not been fully determined? Thayer said, “What does it matter? Don’t you think that if the person doesn’t win the CD nominations that they would prefer to be “At Large?” A few people took that answer as reasonable; however, I did not as it does change strategies especially since there were still three CDs left to count how those names could be changed out before the election was concluded.

Brett needed to leave for a little while so, I took over the watch in the front of the computer table that was within the cordoned off area.  When CD5 was finished, Gary Pearce, Kenneth Biehl and Kelsea Easton had been declared the winners for the B Delegates and Alternates. I asked those from CD5 who were present if they wanted this hand counted and verified? There was one woman, who was a Romney supporter, who said that she felt that all of the CD’s should be hand verified and with myself suggested how this could be done, by setting up tables and having witnesses from each CD and camp read the ballots, mark the totals of each on a separate paper and compare the printout to the hand count. However, the other CD5 members declined and so she was alone on the issue. Not being in her CD, I did not know if I could push the issue and I was afraid to push too hard since I was pushing for my CD, lest I be kicked out. Brett came back at that time, so I went back around the cordoned off area to watch the rest being scanned.

I also noticed that once the ballots were scanned there was no one from either campaign who was verifying the computer generated tallying before they were sealed in an envelope with the ballots. The only one who was even signing on the envelope was not from Ron Paul and as far as I know, he worked with the GOP.

CD4 was now being scanned and I told George, and the another man who was helping him, that we (myself and the man who helped me count) wanted to hand count the CD4 ballots. George then told me that was “impossible because we needed a clean room and no writing tools were allowed.” I then explained to him that I knew that was not true since I have been a witness to ballots being counted in an election and what is needed are witnesses from each party. It is also necessary that you have writing tools to mark down the ticks for each candidate to verify numbers. He ignored that and any suggestion to hand count ballots.

During this time, another woman, I think her name was Marla, who works for the GOP came to me and asked me why I wanted these counted and I explained again. She then said “if they are going to be counted we needed an elected official to be present,” So, she went and got another man, who then started to question me on why I wanted them counted.

At this point, they asked for Shawn Dow and John Laurie, so I went out to get them. When they came in, Thayer Verschoor had words with them in the corner to the right of the counting table. John Laurie then came over and asked me what was the problem and what I wanted to do? I explained again and John told me that he appreciated me and to “hold their feet to the fire.”  John then went back to where Shawn and Thayer were and told him something. At that time, I saw Thayer grab Shawn Dow’s arm, kind of lift it and pushed Shawn back a few steps, while he was angrily saying something to him. When he had him stepped back, he let go and then proceeded to point in my direction and continue to speak to him. I did not hear what was said, but I could tell it was not nice. I later told Shawn I was sorry for getting him in trouble and he just laughed and said that he had been being yelled at all morning.

While I was watching what was going on with Thayer and Shawn, the elected official kept trying to ask me “why do you need to count these ballots? Who are you to be able to count them? If they let you guys count them, then anyone can demand to count the ballots…where does it end?” He was trying to make me feel like I had no right to demand these ballots be verified and that I was going to cause mayhem, but I would not relent.

At this point the scans were done and the man helping George told me that “if you want these counted, you have to first get Thayer’s permission to have these run again, if the numbers don’t match, THEN  you can have them hand counted.” The issue with this is that it would not matter if their numbers matched or not because the program could have been the one to incorrectly tally the votes. That could not be verified without a hand count. The other issue is that them knowing that I was perusing the issue could change things to make it look like the other CD had to be right because George was at the computer typing things..so who really knew?

The man with me from my CD (he was actually a Gingrich Supporter) told me that he would support whatever I wanted to do. So, when the numbers came out, the top two people were Ron Paul supporters, I looked at my CD member and said, “these two names are Ron Paul supporters, I am perfectly willing to hand-count these to verify, but I am going to leave this in your court since they are demanding a rescan in order to do it.” He then said he was satisfied and then left. I looked at the elected official who was a Romney Supporter and asked him what he wanted to do, with some trepidation said, “It’s fine” and walked off.

Then, while CD6 was being scanned, the At Large ballots were being brought in and placed to the left of the counting table in a corner. Thayer was sitting next to me a short distance talking to George. I asked him if he needed help turning the ballots around so that they could be prepared to be scanned? His reply was, “NO. My people are going to take care of that.” I was afraid to push too hard so, I toggled between watching CD 6 and the “At Large Votes” to see if anyone was going to be standing guard over them, since there were people going in and out (not Ron Paul people, but other people I could not identify except many of them had Romney stickers on). I stood there for about 20 minutes watching and these ballots were left unsecured while people were walking around. At that point John Laurie came back and said he had some relief for me, but if I could come back in awhile, that would be appreciated.

After about 30 minutes, I came back in and there were three Ron Paul Supporters so, I asked them if someone wanted to leave, but they declined. I was concerned about having too many people back and having the media distort what was going on. However, I was also concerned that they might not know what to look for, but I left anyway.

By this time, they had also been doing the National Committeeman and Committeewoman voting. Before they came back with the results, they told the delegates present, that if there were a “run-off” they would mail the ballots to the delegates. That was “booed” and “points of order” were being made that this business needed to be done that night.

A little while later they came back and stated that, “we did not have a quorum and would have to be adjourned.” This also received “ boo’s” and “points of order” were made, demanding a headcount to finish up the business, but they refused. There were other “points of order being made that we didn’t need a quorum, but again there was nothing.  At this point several Romney Supporters left, bringing the numbers down even further from the long wait times we were being subjected to.

Finally, they came back with the results that Karen Johnson had over 300, Geise was over 200 and the other was over 100 votes. Just by these counts alone we knew that there could have been a enough delegates to finish up the NCW elections. Tom Morrisey announced that there would be a runoff and then declared that the Convention to be adjourned, a man popped up front and made the motion and a second, the gavel came down “adjourned” without a 2/3 present “aye” vote. Tom Morrisey left the podium.

A man from Tucson, went up to the microphone to make a motion to dismiss Tom Morrisey and a new Chairman be instituted. The Security was trying to keep him from speaking and additional security guards were standing on the sideline. However, a motion, a second and a majority of “aye” only one “nay” removed Tom Morrisey. David Fitzgerald was nominated, a second and a majority of “aye.”

Then David called for a vote on National Committee Chairwoman to be Karen Johonson, all in favor say “aye” (aye) all opposed say “nay”(silence) David declared Karen Johnson the winner.

There were several Romney supporters still present and I overheard many of them across the aisle saying  “we got more done in 5 minutes than what was accomplished in 5 hours!”

At this point we were told we had to leave, which we all did peacefully and reconvened out at the “BecomeaPC Booth.” There was no riot, no one causing trouble, but the police were called to tell us if we did not leave, we would be arrested.  Therefore, we quickly, took down everything and left the parking lot.”


  1. May 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm
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