Below is a message I sent today to the couple-hundred-sized iCaucus group for the Kansas Third District, and to the couple-hundred-sized separate group for all of Kansas.
Here’s a quick summary of how iCaucus worked (and then didn’t work) for the Kansas Third District:
- Every candidate could participate, if they wanted. They were required to answer a candidate survey with several dozen questions.
- Any voter — anybody — who lives within the Kansas Third Congressional District could join iCaucus’ Web site, which is similar to Facebook. It’s free to join, and it only takes a few minutes. Kansas’ iCaucus leaders pre-approved each name, to ensure that people did, in fact, live within the correct geographic boundaries.
- The main requirement was that voters had to sign up by April 19, 2010.
- At some point after April 19, a “ballot” was Emailed to each voter. It was designed through free, popular online software called “Survey Monkey.”
- For a candidate to be endorsed, he or she needed to receive 60% or more of the vote on the first ballot.
- On the first try, Patricia Lightner received 63% of the vote; the second place recipient received 16%.
- On May 4, iCaucus endorsed Lightner.
- This morning — Monday, May 10 — Kansas’ iCaucus state-wide director called Lightner to tell her that they were likely going to withdraw their endorsement. Why? Because a few people had complained to them that Lightner didn’t follow the rules. So far, there’s no evidence that this is true. And as my Email below states, I’m willing to go to bat for Patricia Lightner that, in fact, no improper activity took place.
- Some of the complaints are these:
- That Lightner campaign manager Mike Pirner voted. Rules prohibit campaign members from voting; Pirner knows this. But Pirner didn’t vote. He did open up an Email from iCaucus, that contained the Third District ballot. Importantly: he didn’t request a ballot. iCaucus leaders shouldn’t have Emailed Pirner, to begin with. Perhaps somebody in iCaucus was able to digitally “track” who opened up the Email, and who didn’t. Again, though, Pirner didn’t vote — in hindsight, a question to iCaucus is, Why didn’t you use software that could track who actually voted?
- That the Lightner campaign encouraged supporters to join iCaucus, and then vote. The horror! Of course they did this. iCaucus explicitly encourages campaigns to do it.
- That some of Lightner’s votes came from people who signed up “late” — but in this case, “late” means “too close to April 19, though still prior to April 19.” This is irrelevant, as the deadline was April 19. It simply does not matter whether or not somebody signed up on April 5, or April 10, or April 16.
- That some of Lightner’s supporters made up their minds, regarding for whom they would vote, before the April 19 deadline, and/or without viewing the candidate videos, and/or without reading the other candidates’ responses to questionnaires. Who cares? The rules didn’t require this; if the rules had required this, they would been unenforceable (not to mention plain dumb) rules. To be clear: call me “guilty,” in this matter, as I didn’t read a single candidate questionnaire nor watch a single candidate video, prior to my vote for Patricia Lightner through iCaucus.
All of this is quite unreasonable, it appears. Below was my message today to iCaucus members.