The state GOP itself has stolen the state for Mitt Romney in Maine's 2012 Caucuses. Period.
Might Romney be the actual winner once all votes are actually cast and counted? Perhaps. But the fact is, the Maine Republican Party has purposely blocked that from happening and the apparent loser in all of this --- beside the voters of Maine --- is Congressman Ron Paul who, according to the official results reported by the state GOP last Saturday night, "lost" to Romney by just 194 votes.
Adding to the outrage, the election fraud was perpetrated by the Chairman of the state's Republican Party, Charlie Webster.
Readers of The BRAD BLOG may well remember Webster as the man who spent months attempting to wholesale disenfranchise thousands of legal student voters in the state of Maine, on the entirely fraudulent basis that they were committing "voter fraud" because they were out-of-state students who, living in Maine and going to school there most of the year, should be, nonetheless, barred from voting there.
Federal law clearly states otherwise, allowing such students to vote in Maine. And even the Sec. of State there, Republican Charles E. Summers, Jr., who investigated Webster's "evidence" for his case, found it to be entirely baseless. (Though that didn't keep Summers himself from sending threatening letters to many of those perfectly legal student voters, in apparent hopes of intimidating them into not casting their votes in The Pine Tree State.)
While Webster was pretending that massive voter fraud was occurring in Maine, he has now, himself committed a massive case of election fraud by announcing the winner of last week's Maine Caucuses as Mitt Romney despite his full knowledge that voters in at least three different counties have been entirely disenfranchised, with their votes not included in his "final" results. Many of those voters haven't even been allowed to cast their votes yet at all.
Last Saturday Night, the scheduled end of the week long state caucuses, Webster announced before live television cameras with much fanfare: "I'm now gonna announce the winner of the Maine GOP poll. And that winner is Mitt Romney."
But Webster was lying, and committing a massive act of knowing election fraud in the process as he made his announcement. His deceptive act was simply the latest in a grotesque and growing series of election fraud acts carried out this year by high-level GOP personalities and officials, including confirmed and alleged fraud by several of the party's Presidential contenders...
Webster announced the supposed results of the 2012 Maine Republican Caucuses before all caucuses had even been held. While the margin between Romney and Paul at that point was reportedly around 3% points, that translates into just 194 votes given the anemic reported turnout this year in Maine.
The caucuses in Washington County, previously scheduled to be held last Saturday, were postponed until this coming Saturday, thanks to a predicted snow storm which never came.
* "Washington County was the only county that Ron Paul carried four years ago. It was his strongest county," Paul campaign advisor Doug Wead, reported on last night's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. "The man who canceled [the caucus there] was a Mitt Romney supporter. ... And the snow storm he predicted didn't happen. But four years earlier when all the Ron Paul people came out and made it his only victory, they had 8 inches of snow."
Wead went on to note that the Girl Scouts met "just fine" last Saturday, on the same day Washington County's GOP caucuses were canceled due to the impending "snow storm".
Additionally, Maddow noted that, according to the state GOP's currently reported results [PDF], Kennebec County's town of Waterville shows 0 votes cast at the town's caucus because the clerk failed to call in the results of those votes on time.
Waldo County's towns are almost all zeroed out as well. The GOP's results document also shows a number of towns in other counties similarly showing 0 votes cast. That PDF is the only one we're able to find on the state GOP's website. It shows the results as follows, as posted on Saturday night:
Romney: 2,190 (39.21%)
Paul: 1,996 (35.74%)
Santorum: 989 (17.71%)
Gingrich: 349 (6.25%)
Other: 61 (1.09%)
So all of this amounts to missing votes in at least three of Maine's 16 counties, for an election said to have been decided for Romney, the GOP establishment favorite, by just 194 votes, as reported by the man --- Maine GOP Chair Charlie Webster --- and the party which had attempted to disenfranchise hundreds, if not thousands, of legal voters within the past several months on the baseless premise that they were committing "voter fraud" and thus canceling out the legal votes of others in the state.
Nonetheless, Webster's televised announcement on Saturday was reiterated in a press release posted to the MaineGOP.com website, entitled "MITT ROMNEY Winner of the Maine GOP Caucuses":
“We would like to congratulate Governor Romney on his win in the Maine caucuses, and thank Ron Paul and Mitt Romney for making stops in Maine over the past several weeks. Maine People were excited to cast their first vote against the Obama agenda and we look forward to working with our Republican presidential nominee to defeat Barack Obama in Maine,” said Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster.
That "news" --- still the most recent news item posted on the Maine Republican Party website --- was subsequently repeated by almost every major news outlet that night and for the next several days as if it was fact.
The matter has led Paul supporters to cry foul. And, in this case, rightly so. While Paul's supporters have been some of the most vigilant this cycle concerning election fraud, unfortunately, they've also been the most prone to crying wolf. Supporters have filed articles on the Internet accusing the GOP of fraud in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada among other states, despite a lack of evidence --- or, at least, with extremely speculative and/or circumstantial "evidence", at best --- to support their allegations.
In Maine, however, they have every right to scream bloody murder concerning the way Webster and the state GOP have blatantly gamed the results in Romney's favor. Webster has even gone so far as to outrageously declare that Washington County's results --- once their postponed caucuses are finally held this Saturday --- will not be included among the state's final, official results.
"Some caucuses decided to not participate in the Presidential poll, and will caucus after this announcement," Webster's press release at the Maine GOP website reads. "Their results WILL NOT be factored into this announcement after the fact."
Those voters, in one of the strongest Paul counties in the state --- presuming Webster's decree holds --- will be entirely disenfranchised from the Maine Republicans' caucus process.
There may be more recent results available somewhere, as those we linked above, published by the Maine GOP on Saturday Night, show 0 votes having been cast in Waldo County's town of Belfast, for instance. Nonetheless, on Daily Paul, a website run by supporters of the Texas Congressman, a commenter identifying himself as "MattMcDonald", claiming to be the chair of the Belfast caucus, says the state GOP's numbers are entirely wrong:
This is happening all over Maine.
McDonald continues in a follow-up comment:
If the GOP has numbers other than 0 for every candidate in Belfast, they've yet to report it at their website where Saturday night's numbers still seem to be the only ones available.
Paul voters --- as well as every Republican voter in the state of Maine, and even elsewhere --- have every right to be outraged by this overt gaming of the electoral system, even in a privately run state caucus.
Republican Election Fraud Epidemic Continues
The failure --- actually, outright fraud --- in Maine comes on the heels of a number of notable instances of Republican election fraud by top GOP officials, even as Republican legislatures and governors around the nation, since their 2010 ascendancies, have been attempting to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions under the premise that such measures are needed to combat voter fraud.
In truth, the only type of voter fraud such measures might serve to deter --- in-person polling place impersonation --- is extraordinarily rare. Even the Republican proponents of such measures in states where such draconian restrictions have been passed, are unable to identify any instances of such fraud occurring in their states.
At the same time, according to independent study after independent study, hundreds of thousands of legally registered voters --- largely minorities, students and the elderly (read: Democratic-leaning) --- stand to be disproportionately disenfranchised this year by those newly-passed restrictions.
Adding insult to disenfranchisement, as we've detailed in a number of previous articles, actual cases of election fraud by top Republicans have been all but ignored by both the GOP and the corporate media. To quickly highlight just a few such recent incidents:
• Earlier this month Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was, himself, found guilty of three voter fraud felonies, having been found by a jury to have registered and voted from a residence where he did not actually live. Prior to that, in a separate civil case, White was ordered immediately removed from office by a circuit court judge who found that his fraudulent registration made him ineligible to be on the ballot in 2010 in the first place. He was ordered to be replaced by the second-highest vote-getter on the ballot, his Democratic rival, Vop Osili. Both court rulings are being appealed by White in the state which, ironically enough, was the very first in the nation to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions. Those restrictions, however, failed to keep White himself, the state's top election official, from committing voter fraud.
• Last Summer, long-shot GOP candidate Fred Karger filed a complaint with Massachusetts officials charging that Mitt Romney was illegally registered to vote in his son's unfinished basement in Belmont, MA, despite having moved out of the state several years earlier. The recent release of Romney's 2010 federal tax returns did little to dispel the concern. The (occasional) Republican front-runner failed to include state returns in his release, nor any returns at all from 2009 or years prior. Karger has detailed that while Romney did not buy a house again in the state until July of 2010 (in anticipation of another Presidential run) he cast a ballot illegally in the January 2010 special election for U.S. Senate. Massachusetts law states that residency is clearly defined as "where a person dwells and which is the center of his domestic, social, and civil life." Nonetheless, residents in Belmont, MA, where Romney was allegedly registered in his son's basement at the time of his January 2010 vote, say neither he nor his wife had been seen in the town since selling their mansion and moving out of state years earlier. Karger has suggested he may file a federal complaint as well if state officials fail to act. An online petition calling on the Massachusetts Election Division to investigate Romney's alleged voter fraud was recently created at Change.org.
• Last month, in an exclusive at The BRAD BLOG, we confirmed the fact that the Virginia State Attorney General is officially investigating some 1,500 incidents of ballot petition fraud by the Newt Gingrich campaign related to the former U.S. House Speaker's failed attempt to qualify for the GOP Presidential Primary Election in his own home state. Gingrich had been video-taped late last year by CNN claiming to a supporter in Iowa, after failing to qualify for the ballot with 10,000 valid signatures: "We turned in 11,100 --- we needed 10,000 --- 1,500 of them were by one guy who, frankly, committed fraud." That, while Gingrich had joined with fellow Republicans over the years in falsely charging the community group ACORN with similar crimes. In fact, what Gingrich's campaign did in Virginia, if his own admission is accurate, appears far worse than anything ACORN has ever done. They had actually been the ones, in most cases, to have identified the fraud by a handful of their workers when verifying the validity of voter registrations before turning them all in --- as required by law --- to officials. Gingrich appears to have either failed to validate signatures before turning them or, unlike ACORN, appears to have failed to turn in the guilty parties to law enforcement once the fraud was discovered.
• In March of 2011, then GOP Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman was also identified as possibly having committed voter fraud. In his case, the former Governor remained registered to vote at the Executive Mansion in Utah well over a year after he had become the U.S. ambassador to China. As the Salt Lake Tribune noted at the time: "Huntsman voted by absentee ballot for last year’s general election using the state-owned mansion on South Temple as his Utah residence — months after Gov. Gary Herbert settled into the historic building and Huntsman purchased a home in Washington, D.C."
• In a case remarkably similar to Sec. of State White's in Indiana, Missouri U.S. House Rep. Todd Akin is currently vying for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, even though, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last year, Akin has been voting for years from a property outside of his own district where he does not live. The house, as the paper found, is currently vacant and has been long-scheduled for suburban re-development. Still, the Congressman has continued to use it as his voting address for some seven elections, ever since the time that he and his family moved to their new house in a different town some 18 miles away.
• In a ham-handed attempt to try and demonstrate that polling place voter fraud exists in New Hampshire, despite election officials' assertions to the contrary, GOP propagandist and federally convicted criminal James O'Keefe led a video-taped conspiracy to commit polling place voter fraud during the state's "First-in-the-Nation" Primary early last month. A Republican Mayor in the Granite State has since called for O'Keefe and his co-conspirators to be "arrested and prosecuted". A petition with more than 100,000 signatures was submitted recently to the state Attorney General calling for an investigation of O'Keefe on charges of voter fraud.
• In an amusing turn of events, religious Republican supporters of Newt Gingrich charge that religious Republican supporters of GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum rigged an informal election during a secret meeting near Austin last month. The confab had been called in an attempt by "religious conservative leaders" to coalesce their support around a single GOP alternative to Mitt Romney. The attempt appears to have failed.
Other recent cases of high-profile GOP voter fraud taking place prior to the last year, include, among others, GOP superstar Ann Coulter's multiple cases of demonstrated voter fraud, the 156-year sentences being served now by 8 top election officials in Clay County, KY, where they had changed the votes of voters on electronic voting systems, and the voter registration fraud convictions of the California GOP's voter registration firm before the 2008 Presidential election.
None --- not even one --- of the above detailed cases of election fraud would have been deterred or prevented by the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions Republicans are attempting to institute in at least a dozen states across the country prior to the 2012 Presidential election, even as the epidemic of election fraud by top GOP officials continues unabated.
UPDATE 2/6/12: More details on how the Maine GOP blatantly stole the 2012 Maine Caucuses for Mitt Romney, and whether it can be "stolen back". Full details now here...