Sorry, Edward True. You aren't here to count, you're here to keep quiet and show some support for the ordained.
True said at his 53-person caucus at the Garrett Memorial Library, Romney received two votes. According to the Iowa Republican Party's website, True's precinct cast 22 votes for Romney.
However, that doesn't change the fact that Romney won. After all, the Iowa Republican Party didn't ask True to do any counting. They'll do their own counting:
A spokeswoman with the Iowa Republican Party said True is not a precinct captain and he's not a county chairperson so he has no business talking about election results. She also said the party would not be giving interviews about possible discrepancies until the caucus vote is certified.
True said local party leaders verified his count, but the media was unable to reach them.
Reached a short time later, True said he is absolutely certain his numbers are correct and he stands by his statement. True said he confirmed his numbers with his precinct captain and his county party chairman. KCCI left a message for the Appanoose Republican party chairman on Thursday afternoon. The call has yet to be returned.
My first observation is that this issue illustrates the problem inherent to starting the presidential race with a caucus. In a caucus, political parties count the votes, not the state. Local party officials could manipulate the results to give Rick Santorum a victory at the end of the night, while state party officials could change the results over to Mitt Romney by the end of the week. Actual ballots need serve no greater purpose than honorary box fillers in the meantime.
Republicans didn't even hold a straw poll in the Iowa caucuses until 1980, at which time George H.W. Bush defeated Ronald Reagan. It was their inaugural straw poll, and Iowa Republicans seriously dropped the ball. Republicans might have been better off starting that year in, say, North Carolina, or one of the Western states. Maybe they would still be better off.
My second observation, coming back to the present, is that by the time the media reaches the Appanoose County Republican chairman, he will probably be on the same page as his party's state officials. He is unlikely to be so busy at the present time that he is unavailable to talk to the national media; he is more likely to be in hiding while figuring out what to say.
The incident goes to show you don't get to be chief bean counter by counting the wrong beans.