Sources say MassGOP General Counsel rules provisional ballots not in rules and won’t be counted

Multiple sources, with direct knowledge of the proceedings of the Massachusetts Republican Party allocation committee, have confirmed that General Counsel Vincent DeVito has ruled that provisional ballots will not be counted when determining caucus results.

The situation arose, according to the sources, when provisional ballots were made available at caucuses without being called for in the rules.  The rules for delegate selection can be viewed here (PDF).  Since there is no call for the provisional ballots in the rules, it is left up to the General Counsel per rule 4.16 to determine if they should be allowed.

4.16 In the event of any ambiguities, inconsistencies, or unforeseen circumstances, this Plan shall be interpreted and construed by the State Committee General Counsel, whose interpretation and construction shall be final and binding when made in accordance with applicable legal rules, laws, and regulations.

He has ruled, according to these sources, that the ballots will not be opened nor counted.  In addition he has ruled that since they cannot be counted, any challenge based upon them are not germane, and will not be heard by the allocation committee at their meeting scheduled for next week.

Letters have been drafted and will be sent to those making challenges based on provisional ballots to that effect.  They should be arriving in mail boxes over the next few days. Widgets

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno


  1. The Mass GOP printed provisional ballots, provisional alternate ballots, provisional ballot envelopes, and provisional alternate ballot envelopes.  They sent out a script to the caucus chairs which explained in great detail how the Mass GOP would count them.  They provided specific instructions on the distribution, collecting, and submission of provisional ballots.

    Now the same organization decides that the use of provisional ballots was improper.

    What a cluster.  No wonder no one takes the party organization seriously.

  2. Section 4.5

    Each Congressional district caucus shall be open to all enrolled Republicans registered as of February 15, 2012, and resident in such district who shall, upon admittance, certify their qualifications to participate in the caucus by signing statements including their names, addresses, and Republican affiliation.

  3. DeVito’s reason for not allowing the ballots.  If I understand Rob’s post, he had the option to allow or not allow the ballots.  Since it’s clearly the party’s desire and obligation to count every vote, and DeVito serves the party, why would he not allow the ballots?  

  4. WHY did the MassGOP General Counsel not give an opinion BEFORE the caucuses that provisional ballots should not be used?

    I always like to choose incompetence over conspiracy, but in either case, rather than look for blame, the solution is simple.  Refute the claims of Incompetence AND Conspiracy and just count the ballots as a Democratic election would expect!

  5. liberty_patriot

    If provisional ballots aren’t in the rules, then by definition all of those votes should be counted by default unless the MassGOP can prove that the person is NOT registered as a republican.  In District 4 we definitely had cases of addresses that were geographically in District 4, but didn’t show up in the voter lists, so those people were given provisional ballots.  For them to be disenfranchised like that because the state has poor record keeping is a real shame.

    BTW, I saw Vinny Devito in District 4, and he purposely tried to make a questionable ballot count for one candidate when it was definitely not clear what the voter intended.  Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and he was overridden by the chairman and one of the other adults on stage.  It’s a shame that Devito is in a position to make any decisions considering his obvious bias.  Definitely not a good showing for the MassGOP – Devito makes us all look bad and is part of the problem that keeps us at 11% registration…

  6. Bait and switch?

    BTW – I told anyone who would listen that if they were a new registration, i.e., less than 6 months – it was incumbent on THEM to bring with them a certified statement from their town clerk that they were properly registered before the deadline.  I told ALL candidates for delegate/alternate to bring such a certification regardless of how long they were registered.

    I was called paranoid.

    Lessons for 2016.

  7. SpringfieldGOPSec

    There was one provisional ballot here in the First Congressional caucus who was from the Indian Orchard section of Springfield. Neither table (for towns listed A-O or P-Z) had the list for Indian Orcard Republicans (and yes, the Elections office does have it as a separate entity within Springfield). He had proof that he was registered to vote (a receipt from city hall) but they gave him a provisional anyways.  

  8. I somehow doubt the Romney camp has even seen the speeches of the delegates they want to purge.

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