GOP Delegates Revolt Against Romney & RNC
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - In a revolt against Romney, 123 would-be convention delegates claim the Republican National Committee has used violence, intimidation and ballot stuffing to deter them from voting for the candidate of their choice on every ballot at the national convention, including the first.
All 123 named plaintiffs are from states in the 9th Circuit. They sued the Republican National Committee, its Chairman Reince Priebus, and every state party chairman in the 9th Circuit.
"Plaintiffs are delegates elected to nominate the Republican nominee for president of the United States at a national convention to be held commencing the week of August 27, 2012, in Tampa, Florida," the complaint states.
"Names [sic - recte: Named] plaintiffs and plaintiffs identified as Does 1 through 1,000 are residents of the United States, including all states within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Federal Court who are duly elected delegates, alternate delegates, delegates elected by being denied certification due to their refusal to surrender their voting rights to vote in accordance with the free exercise of their conscience and not be bound to the nominee of defendant's choice."
The Republican rebels say they want to be "unbound to vote their conscience free from any intimidation from any person or entity."
The complaint continues: "Plaintiffs come to Federal Court to seek the guidance of the court regarding the federal question as to whether plaintiffs are free to vote their conscience on the first and all ballots at the federal election known as the Republican National Convention, or whether plaintiffs are bound to vote for a particular candidate as instructed by defendants' state party bylaws, or state laws, or the preference of political operatives seeking affidavits of loyalty to a particular candidate under penalty of perjury."
Citing 42 U.S.C., the plaintiffs claim it is illegal to try to force people to vote for a specific candidate: "'No person, whether acting under the color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of president.'"
But the Republican mavericks claim that in almost every state, the defendants have violated this law by harassing delegates who don't support Mitt Romney.
"This harassment included the use of violence, intimidating demands that delegates sign affidavits under penalty of perjury with the threat of criminal prosecution for perjury as well as financial penalties and fines if the delegate fails to vote as instructed by defendants rather than vote the delegate's conscience ...
"Defendants have used threats of violence, including dressing security type people in dark clothing searching out supporters of a candidate defendants do not approve of to harass and intimidate said delegates from voting their conscience."
They claim that Romney does not have the nomination sewed up despite the machinations of the defendants: "The Republican National Committee (hereafter RNC) and its chairman have been aiding the Governor Romney Campaign for at least 6 months up to and including the present time, notwithstanding that no candidate has won the nomination. Governor Romney does not have 1,144 delegates, the minimum number of delegates required to win the nomination, and no candidate can be assured that they are the nominee until the delegates vote because the delegates have a statutory and constitutional right to vote their conscience."
The plaintiffs accuse state party chairmen of fixing elections and changing ballot results so that all votes will count for Romney.
"Plaintiffs allege there has been a systematic campaign of election fraud at state conventions, including programming a voting machine in Arizona to count Ron Paul votes as Governor Romney votes; ballot stuffing, meaning the same person casting several ballots in several states; altering and falsifying ballot totals for each candidate; the use of violence at several state conventions; [and] altering procedural rules to prevent votes from being cast for Ron Paul," the complaint states.
They claim that the RNC and its chairman "intimidate delegates in support of the RNC's position that Governor Romney is the nominee of the party when Governor Romney does not have the minimum number of delegates and no vote has yet taken place and the convention has not begun."
They claim that delegates who refuse to sign loyalty affidavits to Romney "are told they may not serve as delegates, even though they were duly elected."
The plaintiffs ask the court to order the RNC to inform delegates that they can vote for the candidate of their choice; to reinstate delegates who lost their seats at the convention because they refused to sign loyalty affidavits; and to recount ballots by hand or hold another convention in areas "where the sanctity of the ballots are untrustworthy."
"Without the orders requested from this court, plaintiffs will be denied their right to vote in accordance with their conscience on the first and all ballots of the federal election that is the Convention of the Republican Party," the complaint states.
The delegates are represented by Richard Gilbert & Marlowe, who did not return calls seeking comment.