Daily Paul I am not exaggerating when I say SEVERAL HUNDRED. Our entire county caucus was consolidated to a single location, our local Three Rivers Convention Center. The GOP website said they would close registration at 9:45 am SHARP. I showed up at 9:20, and the lobby was packed, the entire side hallway was packed, and the line streamed out the door into the parking lot.
At 10:00 am, someone got on the loudspeaker and told the crowd that they wanted to get everyone in and not disenfranchise anyway, and to make things easier for them, we should queue into two lines: One line for people who had their voter’s registration cards, and one line for people who showed up only with I.D.
Mayhem ensued as the massive crowd attempted to shift into two lines without being rude and cutting in front of anyone. It was a confused mess.
At 10:30, someone got on the loudspeaker and told us that:
1) If you have not yet been “accredited” you will not be allowed to vote, and that voting had already begun.
2) They did not have room to accommodate everyone anyway.
They asked us to go home, and people began booing, hissing, and shouting. Then the chanting began, “We have a right to vote! We have a right to vote!”
I pressed to the front of the line, and told the volunteers up front I had a right to be there, and to at least witness the proceedings. I found my precinct number online, and found my precinct.
The voting was held in two separate chambers of the convention center- one room was filled to capacity (the smaller room). The main chamber had an entire empty section, with 6-8 or more empty tables. I took a few photos and don’t know how to upload them here.
The representatives for each candidate were just beginning to come to the podium to speak, several minutes after I entered the chamber.
So they lied! 1) Voting had NOT begun. 2) There were entire precincts, some with 6-7 delegates, that were EMPTY. They didn’t let the voters in!!!
There was no order: No one called point of order, no process was followed. The reps spoke their piece, we were told to vote, we voted, they collected the envelopes, and that was it!
No results were given- they told the crowd that results would be released in a couple of hours, and no one made any noise.
When I left the chamber, I noticed that the crowd in the lobby had mostly dispersed, probably because they called the police when the crowd got angry. There was a line of police out in the lobby when I came out.
Please call the Benton County GOP, the Washington State Republican Party, and the media. I called the campaign and gave them my report. I hope that the spotlight is shined on Benton County for cutting off hundreds of people who have the right to vote. Unbelievable! It should be national news!
On the positive side, I found my precinct, and was the tiebreaker! Our precinct only has one delegate, but I am proud to say that our delegate is a fellow RP supporter and that I made the difference for our precinct by not listening to the B.S. that I had to be “accredited” in order to vote. I am an American and a registered voter. That’s all the accreditation I need!
1500 Voters Turned Away In Kennewick, Washington!
POLITICS: Local GOP apologizes for turning 1,500 away from caucuses in Kennewick
By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City Herald staff writer
Kennewick About 1,500 people were turned away from pooled Benton County caucuses in Kennewick by event organizers after rooms at the Three Rivers Convention Center reached capacity this morning.
Some potential caucus voters said they arrived at 9 a.m. to find the large hallways at the convention center packed to the rafters and were told no more people could enter the caucus rooms.
Ray Swenson, a Richland lawyer, criticized local GOP officials for poor organization and said the results today should be invalidated.
“I think it’s illegal,” Swenson shouted to a gathered crowd, many of whom were filming him with cell phone cameras. “The Republican party leadership is taking away our freedom.”
Swenson told the Herald he may file a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the caucus results.
“I think it’s unconstitutional,” he said. “Our right to vote is the most fundamental right in the Constitution. … This is exactly equal to walking into a polling place and being told, ‘We’ve run out of ballots. We didn’t expect this many people. Go home.’”
Benton County Republican Party members who organized the caucuses said they estimated 2,000 people would show up at the convention center, where most of the county’s precincts caucused today.
But their jaws dropped when they saw an estimated 3,000 people packed into the convention center’s hallways and spilling outside.
“We where overwhelmed,” said Tony Benegas of West Richland, chairman of the Kennewick caucuses. “It’s tough because it’s all volunteers — nobody gets paid to do this.”
Benegas said it quickly became apparent there weren’t enough volunteers to check everyone in — which in most cases involved looking up their voter registration on a list provided by the county Auditor and helping them find their precinct number, and that the rooms they booked were filled to capacity.
And the party was under pressure to finish by 11:30 so that results could be tabulated and turned over to the state party.
“We did pull the leadership aside and said, ‘What are we going to do?’” Benegas said.
The only choice apparent was to close the doors and turn an estimated 1,500 people away, he said.
“I am extremely sorry we could not accommodate everyone,” he said. “I apologize to those folks who we had to turn away. We fit in as many as we could, but we had more than we could physically fit in the rooms.”