Over the past week or so, while the rest of the media has been covering the "horse race" non-stop, The BRAD BLOG has, as is our wont, been keeping a close eye, as usual, on the otherwise ignored "track conditions" which can make as much of a difference in the results as anything else.
We've been reporting on a number of key points about the way the voting and counting will be carried out in tonight's Iowa Caucuses (beginning at 7p CT), all of which are worthy of quick summary here today, as all of the rules for the Republican Caucuses in the Hawekeye State --- who can vote and how those votes will be counted --- are not set by the state, but by the Republican Party itself.
The Iowa GOP has, therefore, determined that...
- No Photo ID is necessary for any voter in the Republican Iowa caucuses.
- No Photo ID is necessary to register as a Republican at the caucus site, even if you're not already a registered voter. You may then cast your vote at the caucus on the same day you've registered (without a Photo ID).
- All caucus votes will be cast on hand-marked paper ballots.
- All of those paper ballots will be counted, by hand, in public, with the results announced at each of the 1,774 caucus sites before the results are called in to a central GOP headquarters (where the results will subsequently be compiled and announced to the public and media.)
If it seems that all of the items mentioned above are ones that Republicans --- even Republicans in the Iowa statehouse and the Iowa Secretary of State's office within the past year --- have fought virulently against allowing, for years, for elections in which Democrats will be participating, you would be correct. Nonetheless, when the GOP is able to set any rules they like for their own elections --- including tonight's all-important "First-in-the-Nation" Iowa caucuses --- those are the rules that they've selected. Go figure.
So with that very good, if breathtakingly hypocritical, news out of the way, here are five quick points, from Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, on how folks on the ground tonight can fight to try and ensure and/or oversee the accuracy of caucus results...