Sunday, February 17, 2008

YELLOW DOGS

YELLOW DOGS: When Barack Obama trounces Hillary Clinton in the Hawai`i Democratic Party (HDP) Caucuses Tuesday it’s pretty certain there will be headaches ahead for the loser if the winner is a sore one.

Honolulu Star Bulletin Political Reporter Richard Borreca reported today
http://starbulletin.com/2008/02/17/news/story02.html
that “(t)he caucuses are run by the local Democratic Party under rules drafted by the national Democratic party; it is not conducted by the state Office of Elections”. apparently according to O`ahu party chairwoman Annelle Amaral.

But those national rules are not available through the HDP’s web site which instead answers it’s own “Frequently Asked Questions” http://www.hawaiidemocrats.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=246&Itemid=90
on the caucus eligibility rules and has no link to the actual National Democratic Party regs.

And the state Party’s web site is contradictory on what the rules are. First the page says:
Who can participate?Any member of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i. You MUST be both a registered voter in the State of Hawai`i and a registered member of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i to participate in the February 19th precinct election or the Presidential Preference Poll. No absentee or proxy voting is allowed.
As defined in Hawai`i Revised Statutes a voter is registered only when he or she has been properly recorded and certified as such with the appropriate county clerk’s office. No one is confirmed to be a “registered voter” until they apply and that little yellow postcard is received in the mail telling them where to vote. It notifies the applicant they are a recorded, registered voter.

However the rules listed at the HDP Web site go on to say

Is there walk-in registration?Yes, registered voters will be allowed to fill out Party registration cards. Any unregistered voters must fill out Wiki Wiki Voter Registration Forms.

Hawai`i has what is called a mail-in “Wiki Wiki” registration form. A voter simply fills it out, affixes a stamp and mails it in and gets a postcard later even if you hand it in at one of the clerks’ offices.

There are no longer “voter registrars” roaming the community in Hawai`i in election years, although the clerks and Election Division continues to try to give the impression there are. They’re as Manini as Marini with the Wiki Wiki forms, even though Federal and State law requires them to be widely available at places like schools, post offices and welfare offices..

So they ”request” that anyone who wants to collect filled-out Wiki Wiki forms receive training and certification although neither the state nor the national “Motor Voter” law have a prohibition against collecting them.

The state, through their county clerks, actually discourages people bringing bundled filled-out registration forms to the Cleark’s office But unless you know you legally can when you walk in you won’t get a stack of Wiki Wiki forms and told to bring them, back unless you’ve been trained.

It’ll be interesting to see if “official” collectors are trained and how they’re turning them in. Will they instruct the applicant to fill it out correctly? or does it depend on whether an Obama or Clinton supporter is helping voters fill it out.

So does merely filling out the form make you a “registered voter”? Doubtful but we’re
not the county clerk or the chief of the Elections Bureau and we’ve seen some of them do some bizarre things.(link to new Election System purchase article).

What are the national rules which the state rules are based on? For that matter where are the state rules- not just someone “Q&A answers” about them..

Given the accounts of blissful fear at the prospects of Tuesday’s Obama-mob http://starbulletin.com/2008/02/17/news/story02.html it’s doubtful that enough trained registrars will be there. And even if they are who’s checking what and how? Just asking....

“Hi I’m Keone Kanaka and I’m signing up. ID? Aren’t you the party fighting against showing ID to vote?”. And one thing about “small d” democratic secret balloting- there’s no way to trace the ballot back to the voter afterward if the voter isn’t eligible.

The real question is whether the national Party requires that caucus voters actually be registered voters or whether just “applying” is sufficient.

Despite repeated attempts to contact HDP through both e-mail and phone there seems to be no way to find out if those who are not registered voters on Tuesday will be eligible to vote in the caucuses or if the HDP plans to allow those not registered to vote but who “apply” to participate.

Will the HDP have voter registration rolls at each caucus site? Will potential voters have to have ID? Will they have to prove they are registered voters? Will they even have to show they are voting in the correct caucus since- delegates are awarded by proportionally by winning districts?

Will voters even be required to prove they are Democratic Party members? Democrats have recently made a stink about the legality of the state requiring “open” primary system- presumably to increase membership. But will they even be able to handle the influx of members - or for that matter want the independents and Republicans seeking to vote join their caucuses?

And the bigger question is whether the loser- presumably Inouye’s ol’ girl choice of the ol’ boys Democrats- will challenge the results based on all of these process anomalies (obvious answer:- you betcha... that’s what they DO to keep themselves the ol’ boys and girls) at a contested national convention this August, if not the HDP State Convention this spring- the actual place delegates will be selected supposedly based on the caucus vote.

Prognostications of storm cloud brewing with credentialing challenges and back-room fights in Denver in a virtually tied race, when combined with the reported desperate nature of the Clinton campaign, are gaining credibility. She will only fight more as she loses state after state by wide by enough margins to give Obama a huge lead in “elected” delegates.

Her superdelegates count- a designation originally created to allow the old boys to be such http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/14/superdelegates/?iref=mpstoryview ) will need supplements.

Full disclosure: Andy Parx is not nor has he ever been a Democrat, Republican or Independent and has been a proud Green since 1996. He remains though a Parxist

4 comments:

line of flight said...

The yellow cards are not certificates of registration which are separate and are not given unless requested and proper fee paid.

However, my understanding of the registration issue is that the filling out of a registration form and signing the affidavit is sufficient for party purposes to allow someone to vote in the caucus. The statutory definition of a "registered voter" is not necessarily the party rules definition of the same.

It is also an issue of party rule interpretation which has its own process of resolution.

The transparency of the rules is an issue. But my understanding is that party members who are registered with the website can look at them. Perhaps not?

Andy Parx said...

Good points on the voter registration issue and I did attempt to find out what the rules were but I couldn’t get a hold of the precise wording of the local rules nor the national rules upon which they were based, according to the S-B. If the national rules call for voters to have been registered to vote at the time of caucusing and said that state parties had to follow the national rules then the Hawai`i DP would be in violation.

While those little yellow postcards are not needed for voting or any official purpose they are considered official notification that you are correctly registered and are in fact mailed to all registered voters each election and are sent when you either change your address or register for the first time. Ask your County Clerk.

Andy Parx said...

Doug at Poinography had some questions as to what I was talking about regarding "registered Democrats" so here's the comment I posted at his blog
----------
What I meant about voter registration- and something one of the commenters here also was confused about- is that in Hawai`i the state doesn’t record or track your membership in a party when you register to vote or at any time

That’s why ever since the announcement a few months ago that the Democrats might sure to “close” their primaries I have had an on-going discussion with Advertiser Capitol Correspondent Derrick DePledge about the terminology used in the Advertiser- and by the parties and everyone else for that matter- calling people “registered” Democrats or Republicans.

There is not such thing in Hawai`i technically. “Registered D or R” refers to states like California, New York and about 25 others where, when you register to vote, you can choose a party so that when you show up to vote in a primary you automatically receive one party’s ballot. In Hawai`i we choose which primary in which we want to vote when we get our ballots but even that is a secret choice- the party does not get to see who voted in their primary just how many.

So all their “members” are sign-ups determined only by their internal rules of their won design. They essentially function as private clubs.

But still the MSM continues to add to the confusion by saying people needed to “register as a Democrat” rather than saying “join the Democratic Party”.

There were to requirements on Tuesday according to the DP rules- you had to be a registered voter AND you had to join the Democratic Party of Hawai`i. But as far as I know no one in the MSM ever did a piece trying to un-conflate (if you will Doug) the two.

There are 51 different rules for registration and voting in the country but since people don’t know that they assume that the way it is where they are from is the way it is everywhere. No so.

Hawai`i has an “open primary” system but in Jones v California the principle of “free association” rights of the parties was confirmed so the Dems could very well “close” their primaries- which are conducted by the state in September for legislative and gubernatorial elections- if they wanted to. But either the law would have to be changed in some way or the “membership” requirements would have to be tightened and be subject to some kind of State confirmation at the polls if the change were to be requested- or a lawsuit filed- by the Democratic Party.

Probably more than you ever would want to know but....

Andy Parx said...

Oops- I'll get the hang of this yet- Poinography is at

http://poinography.com/