Hundreds Of Dead People Vote In South Carolina GOP Primary

Benjamin Gottlieb | January 22, 2012 | 8:59 p.m. PST

Newt Gingrich’s convincing victory in South Carolina may now be marred by allegations of voter fraud.

South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson notified the U.S. Dept. of Justice Sunday evening that 953 ballots were cast by “people listed as dead,” according to the Associated Press.

According to the AP, 71 percent of the ballots used names of South Carolinians who died anywhere between two months and 76 months prior to Saturday’s primary.

Wilson has recommended South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the allegations.

Follow Benjamin Gottlieb on Twitter @benjamin_max.

via Hundreds Of Dead People Vote In South Carolina GOP Primary | Neon Tommy.

Iowa vote fraud official

JANUARY 21, 2012
Jeffrey Phelps
Denver Conspiracy Examiner

It’s official, or is it? Once again the establishment is showing it’s cards in an obvious attempt to defraud Ron Paul of the nomination, as Iowa GOP ‘officials’ purposely disrupt and permanently invalidate the 2012 Iowa Caucus.

The official Caucus website, in conjunction with the Des Moines Register, had to come forward Thursday to claim the official results can “never be certified” after, at least, 8 different precincts turn up invalid results due to “missing votes” and changing stories.

For the first time in history, the Iowa GOP decided to change the final vote count to a “Secret location” for what was claimed to be “security concerns.” The unprecedented change in venue came as a shock to most Iowans who are used to seeing the final results tallied at State Party Headquarters in Des Moines, in full view of the public.

This time, however, instead of business as usual, all of the final results were to be counted at an undisclosed location, completely hidden from public scrutiny, the seemingly ‘new’ business as usual.

What played out as a result was a mockery of democracy asIowa election officials permanently skewed the results of the caucus, illegally miscounting and completely dismissing votes for Ron Paul, many of which were ironically from precincts that Romney lost in ’08.

Other missing or “uncounted” votes were expected to be heavy Ron Paul supporting, major populated areas and college town precincts, now leaving the true winner forever in question.

Originally, the results had Romney winning by 8 votes over Santorum with 30,015 votes. Now the establishment’s media claims new ‘official’ results show Santorum winning by 34 votes over Romney with 29,839 votes, but oddly 168 votes fewer than the ‘official’ total he was previously given, 30,007.

Additionally, Iowa’s establishment politicians now say 121,503 people voted overall, strangely down from the 122,255 it had originally reported. This could be due to new official results not including the 8 precincts that showed skewed results in the new final totals, but the truth may never be fully understood.

As if that’s not odd enough, hidden within all the commotion, even though many votes were missing, uncounted, and changed, including the official result totals for both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, no mention at all has been given to the new total Ron Paul should now have and if his votes were also miscounted or left out like the two ‘front-runners” votes were reported to have been. Especially considering how close Ron Paul came to winning, one would think his totals would be just as important to review as well.

The Ron Paul camp, as usual, has downplayed the situation for fear of being an easy target and giving the establishment an excuse to label him and his supporters conspiracy “theorists,” a very common tactic used by the establishment and it’s media throughout Paul’s career. Instead, he’s tried to remain humble and look at the bright side in saying, “a strong third is still pretty good and still sends a message to the establishment and the American people.”

However, as was pointed out on CNN Thursday, even if the new results are legitimate, “It’s hard to take back that initial surge given to Romney. It’s hard to overcome the amount of hype and exposure he received as the evening progressed.” It was treated as a monumental moment as he was declared the winner, while his party and constituents celebrated in great joy…All while questionable results trickled in.

If the actual winner was to have been Ron Paul, should the votes have been counted fairly, the results would have likely been unprecedented momentum for the Ron Paul campaign, which would have likely been impossible for the other candidates to overcome, especially considering Ron Paul’s overall success, despite the constant barrage of negative and totally unfair coverage, if and when he gets coverage at all.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the circumstances, when it’s all said and done, is the repeating pattern of open censorship and total demonization toward Ron Paul’s campaign by the media. He’s always referred to as “unelectable, racist, or dangerous,” or any number of attacks, while generally making a mockery of his ideals and supporters, even though his anti-war, pro-civil liberty, limited-constitutional government, and sound economic policies are all very popular in general with the American people.

What people are most impressed with, when it comes to Ron Paul, when people are actually given the chance to find who he really is and what he really stands for, are things like realizing he’s held those exact same ideals and shows a perfectly aligned voting record to go along with those ideals since he started in government over 40 years ago. Something the other candidates couldn’t even fathom with all the criminal activity and flip-flopping on the issues, many of them have done routinely, throughout their careers.

The troops feel Ron Paul is the best candidate for America, as well. For the second White House bid in a row, active military personnel give double the amount of organic campaign contributions to Ron Paul than all the other candidates combined, including Obama’s totals.

This renders the war-mongering establishment’s multi-party line, that Ron Paul’s foreign policy ideals are “dangerous,” when even the military overwhelmingly agrees with Paul, as more examples of pro-establishment rhetoric aimed at fooling the people into thinking anti-war sentiments are irrational. The totally bias media is constantly using suggestive terms like,“he can’t win,” or, “he won’t win,” as if they are the ones who decide what the people are supposed to think about the candidates.

Frighteningly, it’s commonplace to witness the open attempt to sway public opinion in favor of the candidates with pro-war and pro-establishment views, despite the fact that Ron Paul has scored very high or first in almost every independent political poll since his second White House bid in 2007, while establishment funded polls always strangely show Paul in second, third, or even more oddly, yet just as commonly, not being included in the poll at all.

This, despite that fact that he’s always the landslide victor in almost every internet poll he’s been in, including post-debate analysis for every debate since the 2012 GOP nomination race began, both on TV and on almost all internet polling analysis.

As another perfect example, the censorship and the overall attempt to limit Ron Paul’s ability to get his message out to the American people became so bad during the SC GOP Debate Thursday night, the crowd actually began to take notice, and at one point all started demanding that he be allowed to participate, and forced CNN’s debate host to allow Ron Paul to answer the same question the other three candidates were allowed to answer. Excluding and ignoring Paul was, and has been a common theme throughout both the ’08 and the ’12 GOP nomination races, during every single debate since the very beginning.

One of the reasons for a general establishment disdain for the strict Libertarian is because he’s has always been a real thorn in the establishment’s side, going back as far as his first run for President in ’88 when he exposed CIA drug running on local Texas TV. Now he’s doing it on the national stage, and although he’s wisely being a lot more politically correct in front of a national audience, the establishment still doesn’t like him now, seemingly more than ever.

More examples of his continual fight against a totally over-reaching, big-government establishment, Paul was the only one of the remaining candidates to take a detour from the campaign trail this week to introduce legislation in the Congress to strip unconstitutional provisions from the tyrannical NDAA bill that has garnered so much attention as of late. The same bill that, pro-establishment candidate, Mitt Romney supported during a recent national debate, admitting he would have voted for it as well.

Ron Paul’s son, Tea Party favorite, US Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul has also been instrumental in fighting for liberty against pro-establishment, pro-status quo politicians, recently vowing to block un-American additions to the internet-freedom-killing SOPA and PIPA bills that were addressed in the final SC GOP debate on Thursday evening. Freedom-killing legislation that pro-establishment candidate,Rick Santorum had trouble denouncing with the others on the same debate stage.

Coming into the Iowa Caucuses, however, most establishment pundits were so nervous over the thought of a Paul win they were rendering the Iowa caucus discredited before they even happened, some suggesting simply ignoring the results all-together. That is, until Romney or Santorum “won,” and then the Iowa caucuses magically became so legitimate the establishment pundits were practically handing the nomination to Romney, even though we still had 49 states left to primary.

Bringing us to the evening of the Iowa Caucus itself, where early exit polls had Paul in first place, which included an Anderson Cooper jolting Paul win in the first couple official precincts reported.

As the evening progressed, the leaders went back and forth like a jumbo-tron race during halftime, with the first two hours of results seeing no clear leader, and a double digit amount of lead changes, despite Paul’s #1 live exit poll rankings, shown on every network.

All night long national news coverage analyzed the incoming numbers, showing Paul having a real shot, either leading or in a dead heat for much of the first part of the evening, with promising young voters and college student heavy precincts yet to be counted, something the pundits were claiming “looked very good for Paul” and had the other candidates, “very nervous,” according to live election coverage analysts.

As the night wore on, however, none of that seemed to matter. All pre-caucus polls showing Paul in first, or the live Iowa Caucus exit polls showing Paul winning, or the edge he was said to have because of the missing precincts that strangely never ended up being counted, all somehow ended up not having any effect or simply disappeared completely into a black hole.

After all this, what’s extremely frightening about the situation is that fact that neither the establishment and it’s media, nor is anyone in any policing agency doing anything about it, as if it’s no big deal that the official election results in the Iowa caucus were tampered with, rendering the results of the election forever compromised, potentially putting the future of the caucus and elections processes, this nation, and Ron Paul’s call for liberty, freedom, and the rule of law in serious jeopardy.

Just as concerning to Ron Paul supporters and supporters of freedom and fairness in general, which may or may not be a majority of the country, although we obviously can’t be sure with the current national media that’s in place, is the fact that precincts around the country that aren’t still using paper ballots, are now using electronic voting machines, also said to be even easier to manipulate, admitted under oath in court by an electronic voting machine software developer. In addition to a very shady Diebold upper management history, potentially rendering the entire election system a total hoax, which exists, as Judge Napolitano recently stated, “to merely perpetuate the fake, corporate controlled, ‘two-party’ system of political slavery.”

Under the circumstances, if no one does anything about it, and the people remain largely oblivious to the actaul magnitude of the circumstances, the only way Ron Paul and his supporters have any shot at getting the nomination, and thus swinging the preverbal political pendulum back toward the direction of freedom and liberty, is via total landslide victories in many of the remaining primaries. To the point that not even pro-establishment vote counters and jimmy-rigged Diebold voting machines, and their unfairly manipulated software, can overcome the sheer magnitude of votes, forcing the establishment’s media to take notice, forcing it into public discussion.

Sources:

Official Iowa Caucus Site showing “permanently unverifiable” results:
http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2012/01/19/register-exclusive-2012-gop-caucus-count-unresolved/

Recount: Washington Times
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/19/recount-gives-santorum-edge-iowa-caucuses/

Newser: Secret Vote Count Location:
http://www.newser.com/story/136343/iowa-gop-to-count-caucus-votes-at-secret-location.html

Alex Jones: Secret Vote Count Location:
http://www.infowars.com/tonights-iowa-vote-count-to-take-place-at-secret-location/

CNN Admits moving count site:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/28/iowa-republicans-to-move-counting-due-to-security-concerns/

Alex Jones: Media Cover-up: Ron Paul’s Standing Not Discussed in Iowa Vote Reshuffle:
http://www.infowars.com/media-cover-up-ron-pauls-standing-not-discussed-in-iowa-vote-reshuffle/

KC Star: Officials got votes wrong, won’t declare a winner:
http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/19/3378878/republicans-set-to-release-official.html

7 of 8 missing precincts were Romney ’08 Losers:
http://www.impeachobamacampaign.com/7-of-the-8-missing-iowa-precincts-voted-against-romney-in-2008/

Ron Paul’s 30 years of successful predictions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ujNI1UZ0Ww&feature=related

Ron Paul receives more campaign contributions from the military than all other candidates combined:
http://www.examiner.com/conspiracy-in-denver/support-the-troops-by-supporting-ron-paul

Elections, straw polls, and reports proving Ron Paul is the most popular candidate in America:

CNN: Ron Paul Is Far And Away The Most Popular Candidate of ALL On Twitter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDu31AdNPKE&feature=related

Ron Paul WINS GOOGLE Search POLL! (1.5million) AMAZING!!!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJGr-Dz7q-Q

CNBC QUICKLY DELETES POLL SHOWING RON PAUL WINNING LAST NIGHT’S DEBATE:http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=221248

Ron Paul Wins Saddle Up Texas Straw Poll:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxs6bqw2kn4

Ron Paul Wins Values Voter Summit Straw Poll!! (Media Coverage): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIyss2K40Yc

Ron Paul Wins Illinois Straw Poll!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0_GlYj-zvk

Ron Paul Wins Ohio Straw Poll With 53% Of The Vote!:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTHWqsH17yA

Ohio Swing State Straw Poll Results – RON PAUL WINS WITH 53.5%!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKEDNUd0A5s

Ron Paul Wins NFRA Straw Poll With A Landslide 82%!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAKC6jkmIxY

Ron Paul Wins California Straw Poll! CNN Puts its Typical Spin on it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mfmWG9d8cE

Ron Paul WINS Miami Straw Poll (complete ownage):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F2fNWfuwcw

RON PAUL wins The Ohio Swing State Straw Poll – THE EVENT:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWuwOEy8wZg

Ron Paul Wins R.L.C. Straw Poll Overwhelmingly:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPZf2r4GFhw

Ron Paul Wins Republican Party of Los Angeles County Straw Poll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8NbMffuz4E

FOX NEWS COVER UP: Ron Paul Wins FOX News Poll:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRozwnDeaTA

Ron Paul Won Straw Poll: Bachmann Bought More Than 6,000 votes!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cuVY43rv-o

Ron Paul Wins Charleston and San Diego GOP Straw Polls:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oml9BNo5tfQ

Ron Paul Wins Person of the Year 2011 Poll – Time Magazine Makes Up Their Own Results: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djzk1wyNU-Q

Ron Paul Wins Idaho straw poll – Matt Shea speech:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y8gCQpY-gI

Ron Paul wins Polls Across America despite what the media say:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiyapKeZPVQ&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL8AABEA82823C1072

Ron Paul winning CBSNews.com After-Debate Poll – 11/14/11 – 8 Minute Time Lapse of Results:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hst8_K49r-I

CNN Makes Excuses For Ron Paul Winning CPAC Straw Poll:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8qpZmddhME&feature=autoplay&list=PL8AABEA82823C1072&lf=results_main&playnext=1

Who Cares That RON PAUL Wins Straw Polls? LOL:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jQgGUZxADY

Ron Paul and others expose the mainstream media:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVaHFgjXjsA&feature=related

RON PAUL WINS CBS POST DEBATE POLL!!:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0k1QBwWiJE

RON PAUL is EXPLODING (REMASTERED) – Jon Stewart Trust Today 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0mnATGwCkY&feature=related

Clint Eastwood likes Ron Paul’s message:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUFbvUWbA_0&feature=related

John Stewart Shows How Ron Paul Is Feared By media:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb5aGgQXhXo&feature=related

Negative/Unfair Ron Paul Coverage/Comments:

Media Scared Ron Paul is Winning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoZbVqZGHKE

RON PAUL 2012 AND BRAINLESS CNN & FOX MEDIA (Jon Stewart) – YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSbkFpAA4CA&feature=related

Atlantic Wire: Anti-Ron Paul media bias confirmed in PEW Research study:
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2011/10/ron-paul-media-blackout-confirmed/43747/

VIDEO: FOX News caught completely excluding Ron paul from post debate analysis, viewers force station to re-air coverage, this time, including Ron Paul: http://12160.info/group/ronpaulforpresident2012/forum/topics/fox-news-ron-paul-debate

Ron Paul 2012 Exposed Media Censorship of Ron Paul and His Supporters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyNsAp93R_A&feature=related

CBS Omits Ron Paul From Latest New Hampshire Poll:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0qPKrwIwPs&feature=related

Why the Media Ignores Ron Paul:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JViVLY_BRz4&feature=related

Letterman On Ron Paul And His 89 Seconds At The GOP Debate:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSrF6qPFVbs&feature=related

FOX News: “If Ron Paul wins tomorrow it will be a black eye for Iowa” says Donald Trump.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k83bizOq5s&feature=related

UnfairCoverage.com: Ron Paul vs. the Machine:
http://www.unfaircoverage.com/archive-content.html

Huckabee claims Ron Paul “can’t win”:http://newscastmedia.com/blog/2011/12/28/mike-huckabee-ron-paul-cant-win-his-supporters-are-too-fanatic/

RON PAUL Polls First ::: WINNING IOWA:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu_-ByajyT8

Foxnews Cuts Off Ron Paul’s Iowa Straw Poll Speech While He’s Talking Patriot Act & Foreign Polic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajoO1lfyuVY&feature=related

CNN’s Dana Bash receives an earful for unfair coverage of Ron Paul: http://www.infowars.com/cnns-dana-bash-gets-earful-for-unfair-coverage-of-ron-paul/

Pew Study confirms: mainstream media ignores Ron Paul:
http://ivn.us/news/2011/10/18/pew-study-confirms-mainstream-media-ignores-ron-paul/

CNN is “WORRIED” about Ron Paul’s success:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zQKtslBonM&feature=related

CNN cuts off soldier then Ron Paul brings him on stage to let him finish talking!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alioRM1mAuY&feature=related

Hillary Clinton is reminded by colleague not to encourage Ron Paul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrAexgCHz9A&feature=related

Eye Witness Testimony / Vote Fraud Analysis

Ron Paul Robbed-Cesspool of Fraud Iowa Caucus: http://youtu.be/M7Cp6OYC9b8

Illinois eye witness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vGqMeqPV74&feature=related

Local Iowa TV News covers eye witness:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIQcbWJpcOk&feature=related

Ron Paul’s brother, Wayne Paul talks about Iowa vote fraud: http://www.prisonplanet.com/wayne-paul-talks-about-voting-fraud-in-iowa.html

Major Voting Fraud at Iowa Caucus Robs Ron Paul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3Cx_rnZ4Rs&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLFE56909DF579A281

Total Blatant Criminal Voter Fraud at Iowa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur4ieO8M2RI

Iowa vote was a fraud Ron Paul Won that one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB7_QLF9Py0&feature=related

Ron Paul “IOWA VOTING FRAUD” “IOWA CAUCUS”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN45r2n3d3c

Karl Rove Iowa Voter Fraud 1/05/12: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKO3IeRsSbM&feature=related

Karl Rove: Mitt Romney has won Iowa by 14 votes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD09uVFQs9M&feature=related

Iowa Vote Count Observer Claims Fraud Helped Romney Win http://www.wnytruthers.com/archives/8394

Activist Post: There’s Something very odd about the pre-polling and vote: http://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/theres-something-very-odd-about-gop.html

Witnesses Document Potential Vote Fraud in S.C. Primaries: http://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/witnesses-document-potential-vote-fraud.html

Reasons why the establishment/elite hates Ron Paul:

Ron Paul The American Power Elite He Called our Future 13 yrs ago! part 1 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=floYIiTW9MY&feature=related

Ron Paul The American Power Elite He Called our Future 13 yrs ago! part 2 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MautB6JmB_E&feature=related

Ron Paul The American Power Elite He Called our Future 13 yrs ago! part 3 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68LI8Rorp7Y&feature=related

Ron Paul The American Power Elite He Called our Future 13 yrs ago! part 4 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib5j70upRqo&feature=related

Ron Paul The American Power Elite He Called our Future 13 yrs ago! part 5 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIg32L_cDV8&feature=related

Pre-Election Analysis and Successful Predictions

How did they know the election would be stolen?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxkkItpNGRE&feature=related

Alex Jones: How were gonna try stop fraud in Iowa? 3.jan.2012: http://youtu.be/T7Tx-_wgPJY

Mike Rivero predicts election fraud on Iowa Caucus morning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW4jQm_ySLM&feature=related

Diebold Electronic Voting Machine Whistle Blowers:

Vote Fraud – Diebold Whistleblower Speaks Out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_rMpQKqZhM&feature=related

Vote Fraud Smoking Gun Banned From CNN, FOX & NBC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdzlnwWsAAU&feature=related

FOX: Diebold Electronic Vote Fraud Confirmed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4FPuLNjvAc&feature=related

Whistleblower Charged with Three Felonies for Exposing Diebold’s Crimes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-soby-jr/whistleblower-charged-wit_b_16411.html

Diebold’s shady past:

Who is counting your vote? Diebold & Bush vs. the public interest: http://www.peoplesworld.org/who-is-counting-your-vote-diebold-and-bush-vs-the-public-interest/

Exec at NH’s Diebold Vote Counting Firm Convicted of Narcotics Trafficking: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5537

2 felons’ roles in county elections questioned: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2001855390_felons11m0.html

Diebold Gets Free Passes In Both California And North Carolina?: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20051201/1548203.shtml

Ohio Diebold lobbyist biz partners w. organized crime convicts: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=203×370287

WIRED: Con Job at Diebold Subsidiary: http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2003/12/61640

Diebold: How deep does the voting machine scandal go?: http://www.helium.com/items/311435-diebold-how-deep-does-the-voting-machine-scandal-go

via Iowa vote fraud official – Denver Conspiracy | Examiner.com.

2012 GOP caucus count unresolved

JENNIFER JACOBS 4:00 AM, Jan 19, 2012
© 2012, Des Moines Register and Tribune Co.

THE RESULTS: Santorum finished ahead by 34 votes
MISSING DATA: 8 precincts’ numbers will never be certified
PARTY VERDICT: GOP official says, ‘It’s a split decision’

Rick Santorum – Final total: 29,839 Change: -168
Mitt Romney – Final total: 29,805 Change: -210

It’s a tie for the ages.

There are too many holes in the certified totals from the Iowa caucuses to know for certain who won, but Rick Santorum wound up with a 34-vote advantage.

Results from eight precincts are missing — any of which could hold an advantage for Mitt Romney — and will never be recovered and certified, Republican Party of Iowa officials told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday.

GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts, although not all the changes affected the two leaders. Changes in one precinct alone shifted the vote by 50 — a margin greater than the certified tally.

The certified numbers: 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney. The turnout: 121,503.

It’s not a surprise that the ultra-thin gap of eight votes on caucus night didn’t hold up, but it’s tough to swallow the fact that there will always be a question mark hanging over this race, politics insiders said.

The news comes at a pivotal point — two days before the South Carolina primary, the third state to vote in the nominating process, and just before another big debate tonight. Romney is under attack from all sides, and the other GOP hopefuls are struggling to convince voters that they are viable alternatives to the former Massachusetts governor.

Expect the Santorum campaign to try to leverage today’s news into extra momentum, strategists said.

“It will be a story and Santorum will seize upon it, but it won’t change the current political narrative,” said John Stineman, an Iowa Republican operative.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, is still battling Newt Gingrich, and to a lesser degree Rick Perry, for the conservative base, Stineman said.

Even if Santorum had been the big headline on Jan. 4 as the Iowa winner, “it certainly wouldn’t have changed how New Hampshire came out, nor (Romney’s) status as the national front-runner,” Stineman said.

Romney has already soaked up the benefits of his declared win. With the Iowa caucuses, the prize is the immediate media attention and the credibility bestowed on the winner. But history now has an asterisk: It’s not clear whether Romney is the first Republican since 1976 to win in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Over the last two weeks, the vote total seesawed wildly — just as it did on caucus night.

“When I called Governor (Terry) Branstad to update him (Tuesday) night before I went to bed, I told him I could not tell him who was going to come out on top of the certified results,” GOP Chairman Matt Strawn told the Register Wednesday morning.

“Despite what had been in the media, it really was, even the night before the deadline, it really was too close to call,” he said.

Who led depended on the luck of the draw of which precincts rolled in next, said Chad Olsen, the party’s executive director.

Romney was ahead by 51 votes the weekend after the caucuses, Olsen said. On Tuesday night, Romney was up 24 votes. Then at noon Wednesday, Santorum was up by only three votes. The six precincts that happened to come in next boosted Santorum to a 34-vote lead.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday — the deadline for volunteers to get their official “Form E” paperwork with caucus results to Republican Party of Iowa headquarters in Des Moines — the back-and-forth ended with 1,766 precincts certified out of 1,774.

So who won the Iowa caucuses?

“I can’t speculate without documentation from the missing eight,” Strawn said. “The comments I made at 1:30 a.m. Jan. 4 congratulating both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum still apply. I don’t think the certified vote totals take anything away from either Governor Romney or Senator Santorum.”

All 99 counties turned in their documented results — Howard County was the last and arrived by fax Wednesday — but party officials had to hunt down dozens of missing precincts.

As far as party leaders could tell, no Form Es ever existed for the eight missing precincts, Olsen said. There’s no chance those eight will certified, he said.

“It’s a split decision,” Olsen said.

Party officials saw no significant shifts until Friday, when Fayette County figures rolled in, Strawn said.

In the tabulation room on caucus night, campaign representatives agreed they were comfortable with the numbers showing an eight-vote win for Romney. Everyone promised that as changes flowed in during certification, they would not disclose those vote counts or talk about them with reporters, agreeing that the back-and-forth would be misleading, Olsen said.

Party officials confidentially told the Santorum campaign that Fayette County had lifted him by 99 votes.

On the campaign trail in South Carolina on Friday, Santorum crowed that he might have won Iowa.

Meanwhile in Iowa, the counting grew more complicated.

More than 100 of the Form Es didn’t comply with the party’s instructions.

The precinct chair and precinct secretary were both to sign the results verified by witnesses on caucus night. But results for some precincts came in on pieces of paper other than the official forms. Many more had only one signature, or the wrong signature (say, from a county chair). Another 18 documents had no signatures at all.

All were accepted, party officials said.

“Some are technically perfect in every way, and some are in a gray area, but we erred on the side of inclusion,” Strawn said. “If the campaigns want to make it an issue, they can, but I want to best reflect how Iowans voted on the night of Jan. 3.”

In Fayette County, four of the Form Es were signed by the same two people — Irene Iben, a precinct secretary who backed Gingrich, and Janet Wissler, a precinct secretary who caucused for Perry.

Wissler told the Register on Wednesday that the four precincts — Oelwein 1, 2, 3 and 4 — voted as a group. The Fayette County GOP chairwoman “probably handed them to me and told me to sign them,” Wissler said. “It was the next day.”

All Form Es were supposed to be signed on caucus night, Olsen said.

The muddled results make it impossible to declare a winner, Strawn said.

“The numbers are what they are, and everybody will have an opportunity to inspect the forms from start to finish. This has been as open an electoral process as you’ll find,” he said.

Politics watchers said an accurate caucus count is important to the credibility of the event, but it would be unfair for anyone to spin the new outcome as embarrassing for Iowa.

“It’s not Iowa’s fault that the race was so close,” said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst from Virginia.

The ambiguous certified numbers do seem to take some of the luster off the event, but even if the Hawkeye State gets a brief black eye from inconclusive results, the press and the candidates will be back next time for the caucuses in 2016, Kondik said.

Stineman said: “Even with some changes in the numbers, the Republican Party of Iowa ran a better reporting process than a lot of states do for their official elections.”

Bush-Gore 2000 in Florida was similarly tight, although the importance of that contest was on an entirely different level, Stineman said. That race was so close that election officials, even with the benefit of voting machines and trained auditors, couldn’t decide who won. It took the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve it.

The caucuses, in contrast, are a loose process in which colored slips of paper are gathered in cardboard boxes and plastic buckets and counted by hand as witnesses gather around — about as precise as choosing a class president.

One Democratic political operative, Jerry Crawford of Des Moines, said no party, Democrat or Republican, can protect against a race this close.

“If New Hampshire had been an eight-vote margin, they would be arguing about that for weeks, too. Matt Strawn did a fine job presiding over this process, and then the gods dealt him a bad final hand.”

Strawn explained why the certification took longer than he’d hoped: Not every county filed complete information. “Our staff played the role of Columbo, going around the state trying to track down wayward precinct results — and with few exceptions very successfully,” he said.

TOTALS
Rick Santorum: 29,839
Mitt Romney: 29,805
Ron Paul: 26,036
Newt Gingrich: 16,163
Rick Perry: 12,557
Michele Bachmann: 6,046
Jon Huntsman: 739
Others: No preference, 147; Herman Cain, 45; Sarah Palin, 23; Buddy Roemer, 17; Fred Karger, 10; Gary Johnson, 8; Donald Trump, 5; Paul Ryan, 3; Condoleeza Rice, 2; Roy Moore, 2; Ben Lange, 2; Mike Huckabee, 2; Rudy Giuliani, 2; Tim Pawlenty, 2; Scott Walker, 1; John McCain, 1; Ralph Nader, 1; Pat Buchanan, 1; Robert D. Ray, 1; Jared Blankenship, 1.

THE EIGHT MISSING PRECINCTS
* Cerro Gordo County’s Mason City Ward 2, Precinct 3
* Emmet County’s Estherville Ward 2
* Franklin County’s Geneva-Reeve
* Lee County’s Fort Madison 4A
* Lee County’s Fort Madison 4B
* Lee County’s Franklin-Cedar-Marion
* Lee County’s Washington-Green Bay-Denmark
* Pocahontas County’s Center-South Roosevelt-North Lincoln

EXAMPLES OF COUNTIES WITH VOTE COUNT CHANGES
Here are examples of three counties where the vote totals changed between caucus night and the certified totals.

The biggest shift happened in Fayette County. In two cases there, Rick Santorum gained more votes than the entire gap in the statewide certified total.

FAYETTE
Caucus night tally: Mitt Romney 241, Rick Santorum 174
Problem: Typos in two precincts. A reported 54 votes in Illyria township should have been 5, and 54 votes in Oelwein’s third precinct should have been 4. Another wrinkle: Four precincts’ Form Es were signed by the same two people when party instructions call for individual precinct leaders to sign each form.
Certified result: Santorum 172, Romney 136

APPANOOSE
Caucus night tally: Santorum 174, Romney 87
Problem: Three typos. The Union precinct was listed as 32 for Santorum when it was actually 3. In Washington-Wells, 23 votes for Romney should’ve been 2. And in the Walnut precinct, a reported 6 votes for Santorum should have been 7.
Certified result: Santorum 146, Romney 67. (The changes didn’t alter the winner in this county, which got press coverage when a voter noticed a discrepancy in the reported results. Santorum still had the advantage, but it shrank.)

BUENA VISTA
Caucus night tally: Santorum 154, Romney 124
Problem: Two typos. The Albert City-Fairfield-Coon precinct went from 22 to 35 for Santorum, and from 2 to 8 for Romney. The Sioux Rapids-Lee precinct took away one vote for Santorum, from 6 down to 5.
Certified result: Santorum 166, Romney 130

Nailing down caucus results has proved troublesome
Iowa’s caucuses have a history of incomplete, imperfect results.

After years of criticism, Republican Party officials turned over the counting to media organizations in 1988. Newspapers and television networks declined to continue that arrangement after 2004, and the GOP has been on its own for two cycles now.

A review of results reporting over the years show a process that is getting better, but still is not flawless.

Here’s a history of some of the snafus for both parties:

1976:Iowa Democratic officials ignored a rule in calculating delegates, resulting in exaggerated projections of delegates for front-runner Jimmy Carter. The Des Moines Register discovered the problem days later.

1980: The problems with the 1980 counts are legendary.

It appeared on caucus night that George H.W. Bush scored an upset victory, beating Ronald Reagan by as much as 6 percentage points.

But computer problems kept 165 mostly rural precincts in which Reagan figured to do especially well from being included in the tally. Two days later, the party’s re-examination showed a 2 percentage-point margin for Bush. CBS News had it even closer, with Reagan leading by less than 1 percent.

The final numbers represented 94.4 percent of the precincts — 142 precincts never reported their results or didn’t hold caucuses, according to Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford, co-author of “The Iowa Precinct Caucuses: The Making of a Media Event.”

1984: The News Election Service, funded by a consortium of national TV networks and the Associated Press, was created to gather raw vote totals rather than the delegate equivalents that party officials had provided since 1972. But Democratic Party officials refused to cooperate, and the news service managed to tally only 74 percent of precincts.

The party’s own counts proved unreliable: Party leaders were sure Walter Mondale had come in first, but they weren’t certain where other candidates had finished. Many votes were never turned in.

1988: Democrats were still at odds with the news media. Questions were again raised about the validity of the News Election Service results, which were based on just 70 percent of Democratic precincts, Goldford wrote.

Republicans, however, continued to work with the News Election Service to ensure accuracy and legitimacy, and Bob Dole’s nearly 13 percentage-point lead was based on 98 percent of the GOP precincts counted.

1992: Again, Democrats refused to share caucus vote totals, only delegates won by each candidate. The GOP didn’t hold a vote to save its sitting president, George H.W. Bush, any embarrassment from challenger Pat Buchanan.

1996: Republicans decided to do no official party count. Instead, the tabulating was handled by the Voter News Service, which replaced the News Election Service. Still, some GOP candidates thought the VNS results showing Dole first and Buchanan second were flawed.

2008: Republicans handled their own count and experienced some data entry problems. Mike Huckabee won, with Mitt Romney in second. Democrats reported a win for Barack Obama, with John Edwards and Hillary Clinton nearly tied for second.

2012: Iowa Republican officials moved their tabulating center from party headquarters to an undisclosed location to ward against hackers and protesters. County officials reported the precinct votes by phone with live call-takers or logged in to a security-code-protected website.

via 2012 GOP caucus count unresolved | Iowa Caucuses.

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