Elledge, Evans Call For Multiple Polling Locations

Brent Finnegan -- April 6th, 2010

Earlier this week I wrote about the Republican firehouse primary scheduled to be held at Lacey Spring Elementary on April 20. The selection process and date were chosen following Del. Matt Lohr’s recent promotion, and announcement that he will be vacating his 26th district seat in the House of Delegates.

This afternoon, Republican John Elledge announced that having a singular polling location for both city and county is in violation of the Republican Party of Virginia’s Plan of Organization.

A little background: Last week David Lee, representing the Rockingham County Republican Party, made the decision that the Republican nominee would be chosen at that time, in that manner, at that location. Lee was granted this decision-making power because there are more 26th district voters in the county than in the city (roughly 64 to 36 percent, respectively).

But today, Elledge and Harrisonburg City Republican Committee Chairman Tracy Evans (who is also Elledge’s law firm partner) declared the decision “null and void,” and called for multiple polling locations. Evans recommends one in Broadway, one in Harrisonburg, and one in Dayton. They say this would satisfy the rules by having one polling location per “unit.”

The Rockingham County designee to the legislative district committee arrived at the March 31 meeting with the terms of the proposed nominating process in writing, and based on the strength of the county vote, unilaterally adopted the call, depriving the City of Harrisonburg a polling place, and setting the lone polling place around the corner from one candidate’s home. The county representative at the legislative district committee meeting spoke openly at the meeting of his goals to limit participation.

Elledge commented that, “people are getting sick and tired of political parties because party insiders engage in backroom politics and manipulation of the political process. I hope that by calling this violation to the attention of the public, we can work to bring sunlight and integrity to the process and engage the many people of the 26th District who adhere to the principles of the Republican Party, but who are not tied to the machine to participate in the selection of the party’s nominee.”

The meeting called by Evans to redetermine the nominating method with be Wednesday, April 14, at 7:00 PM in the Harrisonburg City Council Chambers.

Evans further recommends that the canvass (i.e. election) be held on May 15 instead of April 20.

Previously: The Rush to the Firehouse Primary

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10 Responses to “Elledge, Evans Call For Multiple Polling Locations”

  1. Deb SF says:

    They’ll have to change the location- the city planning commission meets in council chambers on Wednesday 4/14 @ 7PM. Methinks the repub’s meeting will be much more entertaining that the PC ;-)

  2. JGFitzgerald says:

    I’m something of a slipboard lawyer myself for the Dems (“slipboard lawyer” is a union term, so Pubs probably call it something else) and I’ve learned that you have to know the rules twice as well if there’s a contested race. I wish my GOP brethren luck in working this out.

  3. It’s my understanding that Joel Hensley, 26th District Committee Chairman, has called a meeting for the 13th. I’ll try to confirm this with him tomorrow if I can.

  4. The ironic thing is that no independent can circulate a petition to enter the race until such time as McDonnell sets a definitive election date, surely well after the local colleges let out for the summer.

  5. Elledge just sent out a press release in response to the report in today’s DNR that “[David] Lee said that the only change the county supports is adding the city polling place.” In other words, the date is unlikely change.

    Elledge responded by objecting to the date remaining unchanged:

    “. . . Over a week ago Republican Voters in the City of Harrisonburg were told that they would have to drive to Lacey Spring to vote. Now a handful of Big Boy insiders propose changing the rules with only a weekʼs notice to correct the wrong information provided by the Wilt campaign in a preprinted flyer Friday morning. Even today the other campaigns for the nomination cannot inform city voters where and when they can cast their vote on April 20, because they are not privy to the backroom calculations of the County party insiders.” He added, “These Big Boys are scrambling to control the process to fill Matt Lohrʼs seat. But theyʼre very mistaken, itʼs not Mr. Lohrʼs seat, itʼs the peopleʼs seat . . .”

    Elledge also sent a letter to Sen. Mark Obenshain, imploring him to get involved in the process. He calls on the senator to “to take a stand for his constituents in the City of Harrisonburg.” He also adds;

    “The issue becomes of even greater importance when we consider the stark demographic differences between the city and the county. Those differences, in light of David Lee’s stated intent . . . to discourage participation from the City could very well implicate the Voting Rights Act . . .”

  6. Gene Hart says:

    At what point do The Powers That Be send The Sheriff out to get John Elledge back in line? Keep up the fight, John. It’s not my party, but when the big shots come with the stated goal of limiting participation in democracy, then it is everyone’s fight.

  7. Renee says:

    It seems the goal of a primary should be to get as many party voters involved as possible to generate ‘buzz’. You’d think they would give plenty of time, notice, and polling places to make it as convenient for as many people as possible.

    But, if Republicans want to upset their primary voters and make it less likely they’ll vote in the election, that’s fine by me….

  8. cook says:

    Will those of us who live in Dayton in the 26th be allowed to vote in Harrisonburg or will we be required as county voters to travel to Lacey Spring to cast our vote?

  9. John Elledge says:

    I haven’t received a response from Senator Obenshain yet, but here’s the quote broadcast on the 11:00 news last night:

    “I am perplexed by John’s letter and its personal tone. I would think our guys would be looking forward to fighting the Democratic nominee and not picking new fights with other Republicans.

    “I am confident that the nomination process is going to be nothing but fair and honorable.”

  10. A psychologist would have a field day with Senator Obenshain. His party apparatchiks make a mockery of participatory democracy, rig the primary to pick favorites…wage low-grade war on fellow Republicans and he shuffles out to decry “picking fights with other Republicans”. Astonishing!

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