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Texas GOP Withholds Complete Results of Legislative Priorities and Platform Voting

Balloting Process Beset by Chaos and Rule Violations

UPDATE: Several days after this article was initially published, the Republican Party of Texas released partial results of the voting that occurred on the Party’s platform and legislative priorities. The results released by the Party do not include complete raw data of the results, including the number of delegates that cast ballots for or against each platform item or legislative priority. The published results also failed to break down the votes by County and Senatorial District, which is needed to verify that the weighted vote totals published by the Party are accurate.

The Republican Party of Texas has withheld the full results of voting on the Party’s platform and legislative priorities at its recent state convention, despite a convention rule requiring these results to be made available publicly.

On June 7, nearly two weeks after the conclusion of the Party’s State Convention, the Party released what it claimed was the final platform and legislative priorities adopted by convention delegates. However, the Party’s announcement about adopting the platform and legislative priorities did not include the full voting results at the state convention. The only reference to any voting result was a claim that the platform planks and resolutions “passed with an average vote of 95%.”

Shortly after the Party released its announcement, inquiries were made to the Party via e-mail and Twitter requesting the full results of the voting for the Party’s platform and legislative priorities. These inquiries were ignored. 

According to convention supplemental rule 12(d), which was adopted by convention delegates on the first day of the State Convention, “Platform planks shall be considered finally adopted if a majority voted in favor. The platform preamble, and the platform principles shall be considered finally adopted if at least 60% voted in favor. Legislative Priorities shall be adopted in accordance with General Rule 34(c). The full provisional results including the voting strength weighted percentage in favor or opposed to each item shall be announced publicly when available and shall be certified by the SREC at their first regular quarterly meeting following the convention. The ballots shall be retained at RPT Headquarters for the remainder of the voting year, during which time the SREC by majority vote may order a manual or electronic recount of the ballots.”

It is unclear how many delegates cast ballots for the Party’s platform and legislative priorities. Due to the chaos surrounding the balloting, it is unlikely that the purported results released by the Party were tabulated based on weighted voting strength in accordance with the rules. 

Delegate Nicole Tarpley of Nacogdoches County raised concerns on the convention floor about alternates who had not been seated as convention delegates being able to cast ballots.  

Tarpley told The Texas Voice, “Rules are important. After all, we are the Party of law and order. When I went to the microphone to ask about alternates being allowed to vote on the platform, I had hoped that the Chairman would change directions to follow Robert’s Rule of Order. He admitted that alternates are not allowed to vote according to the rules but proceeded anyway. I was very disappointed. I don’t believe that the elected officials will take our platform seriously because of this blunder.” 

Delegates also expressed concerns about the lack of security in distributing ballots. Summer Wise, a delegate from Travis County and former member of the State Republican Executive Committee, took pictures of stacks of unsecured ballots and posted them on Twitter

Photo of unsecured ballots taken by delegate Summer Wise

“I’ve served as an election judge in my county for over a decade. Ballot custody is key to election integrity. There seemed to be no regard for ensuring ballots were handled properly at this convention. Attendees favoring special interests could have swayed the weighted vote by voting in and flooding low turnout [Senate Districts] with votes targeting specific issues. They could have voted multiple times. They could have voted even if they were not a seated delegate. Did that happen? We’ll never know. But, more importantly, could it have happened? Absolutely, yes. This was an egregious breach of trust in the process. In my opinion, this has rendered the platform vote meaningless. Anyone who suggests that a plank has a certain amount of support from convention delegates cannot back that claim up, because the platform vote was irretrievably compromised,” said Wise.

Other delegates remarked on social media that ballots were being handed out “like candy,” with other delegates saying they were offered ballots multiple times

Among the legislative priorities purportedly adopted by convention delegates was one entitled “Secure Texas Elections.”

Elected officials deemed to have taken three or more actions in opposition to the Party’s legislative priorities are subject to censure under Republican Party of Texas Rule 44. A new amendment to Rule 44, adopted by convention delegates, purports to authorize the Party to deny ballot access to a censured officeholder who seeks re-election in the Republican Primary. Many legal experts believe that the amendment to deny censured officeholders ballot access will not survive a court challenge

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