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Malfunctioning Diebold Voting Machines Run By Romney Team Member At Iowa Poll
Ron Paul snatches fifth place in Straw Poll as voting machines again fail, questions raised over conflicts of interest in oversight personnel

Steve Watson

day, August 13, 2007

Ron Paul supporters were angered at this weekend's straw poll in Iowa by the fact that Diebold voting machines once again malfunctioned and caused significant delays in the count, coupled with the fact that a Mitt Romney team member was placed in charge of overseeing the voting procedure.

Earlier in the week a group of Paul supporters attempted to block the vote based on concerns over insecurities in the Diebold machines. The Paul supporters took their case to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, after being blocked by a lower court, but the appeals panel also refused to join an injunction against the vote, an attorney for the Iowa GOP, Matt McDermott, told the AP.

More concerning was the fact that earlier in the week a huge conflict of interest was exposed by a Ron Paul supporter as it was revealed that oversight of the voting procedure was conducted by a "Mitt Romney Leadership Team" Member.

The Story County Auditor's Office, which was in charge of running the votes is headed by Mary Mosiman who also happens to be on Mitt Romney's "Romney for President Leadership Team".

Though Ron Paul's campaign people chose to remain uninvolved in these matters, it turned out that the fears were justified as around 4500 ballots were re-run and the announcement of the poll results was delayed by around an hour as a recount was initiated.

The machines used were Diebold's optical scanners, which do provide paper ballots, unlike the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines which provide no paper trail to go back to should the machines fail.

Though it was reported that about 30,000 to 33,000 Republicans came to meet candidates and cast their votes, only 14,302 were actually cast. Over a quarter of the votes had to be recounted after the malfunction.

Though it was also reported that "there were nothing but Ron Paul signs in the crowd" and that his campaign signs lined the highways and streets leading into Ames, Iowa, Paul came in fifth place behind Romney, Huckabee, Brownback and Tancredo. This is encouraging however because many of Paul's supporters came from out of state, meaning they were ineligible to vote.

Mitt Romney 4516 31.5%
Mike Huckabee 2587 18.1%
Sam Brownback 2192 15.3%
Tom Tancredo 1961 13.7%
Ron Paul 1305 9.1%
Tommy Thompson 1039 7.3%
Fred Thompson 203 1.4%
Rudy Giuliani 183 1.3%
Duncan Hunter 174 1.2%
John McCain 101 1.0%
John Cox 41 0.1%

14,302 Total Votes
26,000 Total Tickets Sold

Given that Romney reportedly spent millions on advertising the straw poll and personally paid for his supporters travel expenses, laying on hundreds of buses, as well as paying for their tickets, it was not surprising that he won by such a margin.

In addition, given that only about 14,000 votes were reportedly cast, Ron Paul’s showing of 1305 votes is almost 10 percent, quadruple the 2% of the vote he supposedly has in national polls and what sources said was the base level of support that the campaign hoped to achieve in the Iowa Straw Poll.

Ron Paul's campaign is encouraged by the result which has proven that he is able to turn online support into actual votes and has disproved ridiculous claims that his supporters are merely trolls and spammers who are adept at fixing online polls.

"We are pleased and encouraged by the results. ... Our campaign has begun," Paul's campaign chairman Kent Snyder said in a statement posted on the RonPaul2008.com. Snyder listed three ingredients for success: the message of "freedom, peace and prosperity"; "the man: Ron Paul"; and Paul's committed supporters.

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The Ames Straw Poll's results are non-binding and have no official effect on the presidential primaries. However, the straw poll is frequently seen as a first test of organizational strength in Iowa by the news media and party insiders.

Gambling 911 has reported that the Straw Poll results seem not to have mattered as far as the online bookmakers are concerned. Huckabee remains at 50 to 1 odds while neither Romney's or Ron Paul's numbers changed remaining at 8 to 1.

Related: See Ron Paul's keynote speech and how it was once again spun by the corporate media here.


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