Slouching Toward Maricopa

June 12, 2023  Saturday’s North Carolina Republican Party state convention made history in more ways than one when it voted by a “standing vote” to censure the state’s senior US Senator, Thom Tillis, with a stunning 67 percent margin, and then reelected Tillis’ main in-state leader, Party Chairman Michael Whatley, by an equally stunning 60 percent margin… but tainted by internet voting.

People Saw it Coming

Much of Friday afternoon’s floor debate involved getting rid of an internet voting software app the party has used since 2019, coincidentally the same year Whatley was first elected. A majority faction supported paper balloting, which allows for greater transparency.

The loudest laughter during the debate came after a delegate pointed out Rule 9.D, which states, “Delegates casting a vote must be on the floor of the Convention at the time such vote is cast,” and followed up to ask what would prevent a delegate from voting outside the room.

The Convention Chairman responded, “Republicans are honest.”

Delegates casting a vote must be on the floor of the Convention at the time such vote is cast”

— Convention Rule 9.D.

Thanks to design features in the mandatory internet-voting app, any credentialed delegate could illegally vote from beyond the convention floor, the hotel, or even the state.

What other vulnerabilities could a more malicious faction exploit?

Could anybody flip votes?

Since paper ballots were not allowed, the world will never know.

Rigging for Disaster

NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley

The Daily Haymaker has already posted two accounts of the convention chaos, and we link to them here: One covered the procedural matters involving quorum and the non-certification of Whatley’s “win.” The other gave something like a “gonzo” review of the suspicious events.

The general complaint we’ve heard from the beginning about Whatley, was that he was paid to protect Sen Thom Tillis from any party primaries. Then, following the footsteps of John McCain and Linsdey Graham, he could talk a conservative game and vote as liberal as he liked while in Washington.

That’s why the two key votes held Saturday raised questions about the internet voting results. People–literally–had to stand up to be counted either for or against an historic censure of the state’s senior Senator, Thom Tillis and a stunning 67% voted to censure Tillis. His man, Whatley, seemed to be next up for the chopping block. The reasoning was that the same people angry with Tillis would also oust his home-state enforcer.

But Whatley’s “won” that vote with a 61% majority, that was tainted by an internet-voting app, that featured lax security and no way to audit the results.

Those Pesky Rules

Normally, any changes to convention rules can be approved by a simple 50% plus one and the rules before being approved by that same margin. After their adoption by the convention, any changes require a two-thirds (66%) majority.

The strategy used by those backing Whatley’s challenger, an actual businessman named John Kane, involved the ban of internet voting before rule adoption, but Whatley’s forces fought to protect the nefarious voting method.

Perhaps fearing a grassroots’ convention coup, NCGOP insiders had quietly injected a provision requiring a two-thirds vote to amend the rules prior to the 50% plus one vote to approve them.

Why was such a loophole put in place?

An earlier test vote suggested Kane’s effort to outlaw internet voting, but the 66% margin rule simply made it unobtainable and convention goers were forced to use internet voting.

Evidence of Illegalities

According to the rules, as soon as the voting begins, party muscle locks the doors. People cannot enter the convention floor. If somebody had to leave, they were barred from reentry and such delegates cannot vote.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered a few credentialed delegates who failed to return in time and were locked the room.

Despite the rules and reassurances that such persons could not vote… but we obtained evidence confirming that some outsiders could indeed cast votes.

How could the party that parrots concern for election integrity ever engineer such an obvious effort, reminiscent of Maricopa County disasters?

So much for party unity…