August 16, 2009

Curiously Immoderate Signature Withdrawals

Justin Katz

An interesting email from the Moderate Party's Ken Block:

A flurry of phone calls has been coming into the BOE with folks asking to have their names removed from the MPRI petition sheets.

Enough calls have come in such that this could only be a coordinated effort.

It won’t amount to much, since we have many more signatures than partisans could have provided to us in the first place (most hard core dems or reps declined to sign), but it does say something about how we are being perceived, no??

Actually, I'm not sure what it says. I haven't heard anything indicating this sort of action on the RI right, and it doesn't seem likely in any case. There are some folks, in Rhode Island, who just like to organize against anything that represents change and challenge.

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>A flurry of phone calls has been coming into the BOE with folks asking to have their names removed from the MPRI petition sheets.

I wonder if this is from Democrats / union types - beneficiaries of the status quo - who are afraid that their names will become public and they'll incur blowback from "the boss" (union boss, party boss, whatever)?

Coming from the right side, while I don't know if I'm at all representative, I'd like to see the Moderate Party make it, simply because I would like to see it siphon off the Chafee / moderate types that still control the RIGOP, and so keep it from becoming a true state Republican Party and from becoming an actual opposition party fighting the forces of the status quo for the betterment of Rhode Island.

Posted by: Tom W at August 16, 2009 10:48 AM

Wouldn't be surprised if the Patrick Lynch camp was behind this. He didn't challenge the court decision, and maybe it was why he took his opposition to the Mods to this forum instead.

Posted by: rhody at August 16, 2009 12:06 PM

It just surprises me that anyone would go to the trouble of organizing something like this when the process itself is not defined as a 'high stakes' process.

If we don't get our signatures in this round (I can't imagine how this is a likely outcome) we simply go and get more signatures.

Posted by: Ken Block at August 16, 2009 4:38 PM

Best of luck to the Moderate Party
The RI GOP is a complete joke,and a total failure.
Even in the redest, of Red States, the Democrats are more sucsessful than the GOP in RI

Posted by: I traded my clunker at August 16, 2009 9:06 PM

Similar situation in EP last election season. The democrats pestered their groups to call and deny they signed for candidates that didn't have the blessing. Fortunately the BOE did the right thing for a change. You have to have cameras on them to make sure they do, unfortunately. Everything turned out ok, but these folks had to pay for lawyers. Just more bullies trying to fix the elections.

Posted by: kathy at August 16, 2009 9:08 PM

I doubt it's part of some deliberate campaign. When you have that many signatutes, a certain percentage are bound to be problematic no matter how dilligent you are.

What I'd be willing to bet -- and I know exactly what Kathy is referring to, because we dealt with a very similar issue in EP regarding some local races -- is that the Board of Canvasser's in certain towns are almost certainly calling people who signed the petition(s) forms -- if they think the signature doesn't match what is on file for the voter -- and are asking them if they "really" signed it.

When people get a call out of the blue from someone sounding official, it spooks them. If they say "I don't remember signing that," they are probably being told to call the BOE. I sincerely doubt that people are calling the BOE out of the blue. Heck, most Rhode Islanders don't even know the BOE exists, nevermind it's phone number. It's also possible that people might not remember something they signed at a grocery store out of courtesy for being asked, as belonging to a specific organization.

Posted by: Will at August 17, 2009 12:23 AM

TomW -

Unfounded/unfair shot at unions. I signed Ken's petition, as I am sure he can confirm since he is the one personally asked me to do so. I disagree with parts of his platform, but support the right of his party to exist.


Posted by: Bob Walsh at August 17, 2009 3:52 PM

>Unfounded/unfair shot at unions.

Bob I didn't impute that there was an organized effort by unions, only that some individuals may have had second thoughts because of a fear of blowback by political party (Democrat) and/or union officials. (Nobody fears the RIGOP.)

Like it or not, there is a widespread "concern" (shall we say) amongst people in RI about crossing the powers that be, which is why many remain silent. One can debate whether or not that fear / concern is well-placed or misplaced, but I don't believe that one can deny that it exists.

BTW, I should be departing RI before the end of the month, so you'll have one more reason to break out the champagne on Labor Day.

Assuming that you're staying in RI, good luck. You'll need it. As you well know this state's future is bleak - at Saturday's RIRA picnic I was semi-joking with some people that we should start a "dead pool" for which will be the first RI municipality to go Chapter 9. So many possibilities! West Warwick. East Providence. Woonsocket. Newport ...

Posted by: Tom W at August 17, 2009 8:30 PM