Georgia Libertarians Convene, Nominate Candidates

Press release from Georgia LP emailed to contact.ipr@gmail.com:

On Saturday, April, 24, 2010, members of the Libertarian Party of Georgia chose their nominees for Statewide Candidates in 2010. Representatives from the local area affiliate included Tim Nelson, Vice Chair of LP-SWGA, and Jeff Sexton, District 1 representative to the LP Georgia Executive Committee.

This slate of candidates was selected at a meeting paid for 100 percent by the members of the organization. This is different from the two major parties that will hold their conventions in July with the assistance of tax dollars.
For Governor, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is John Monds.
For Lt Governor, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is Rhonda Martini, a dentist currently volunteering in Haiti.
For US Senate, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is Chuck Donovan, a former US Marine Corps pilot.
For Attorney General, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is Don Smart, a former US Marine Corps Reserve Lt Colonel.
For Secretary of State, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is David Chastain.
For State School Superintendent, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is Kira Willis.
For Insurance Commissioner, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is Shane Bruce.
For Agriculture Commissioner, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is Kevin Cherry.
For Labor Commissioner, the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is William Costa.
For PSC District 2 (elected statewide, even though the position is district-based), the Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate is Jim Sendelbach.

The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for smaller government with greater fiscal responsibility. You can find more information at our website: www.swga.lpgeorgia.com, or www.ga.lp.org.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, Doug Craig 770-861-588

Also from the Georgia LP:

Brad Ploeger Nominated by the Libertarian Party of Georgia for State House District 59

ATLANTA — Brad Ploeger was nominated to be the 2010 Libertarian Party of Georgia’s candidate for State House District 59 at the State Party’s convention held Saturday, April 24, 2010.

Ploeger and the Libertarian Party believe Georgians are ready for something new and different. “Rather than trying to find ways to mitigate the horrific problem of unemployment, the General Assembly debates meaningless resolutions and proposes acts which do not address the malaise in our state.” said Ploeger.

“This state needs leadership and a clear purpose of vision. We the people have only been given bread, circuses and scandals. Today there is crime on our streets, corruption in our capitol, pessimism among our youth and anxiety among our elders. While facing these difficult problems the leaders of our great state refuse to provide meaningful solutions.”

Brad Ploeger, 27, attended Vanderbilt University for a degree in Human and Organizational Development and currently serves as a board member of R.L.C. Corporation a non-profit whose mission is to provide safe, secure and affordable housing for low to moderate income seniors in Midtown Atlanta.

He resides in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood with his partner, Joey.

The 59th State House District is entirely within the City of Atlanta and includes portions of the Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Sweet Auburn, Summerhill, Grant Park, Peoplestown, Lakewood and Polar Rock neighborhoods.

Press Contacts

Brad Ploeger

404-939-0367

brad.ploeger@gmail.com

Brett Bittner

404.888.9468

brett.bittner@lpgeorgia.org

33 thoughts on “Georgia Libertarians Convene, Nominate Candidates

  1. paulie Post author

    LPGa email says that the straw poll was unofficial. I don’t think I ever said it was official?


    This is not an accurate representation of what took place at the convention on Saturday. This was a demonstration of electronic voting machines by Alicia Mattson with a limited sample of convention participants. It was called a “straw poll” out of convenience, but it was not sanctioned by the Libertarian Party of Georgia.

    Best regards,

    Jason Pye
    Legislative Director
    Libertarian Party of Georgia
    http://www.lpgeorgia.com

  2. Bruce Cohen

    This ‘straw poll’ concept is flawed. There was no straw poll taken of the attendees. It was “a demonstration of electronic voting machines by Alicia Mattson with a limited sample of convention participants” according to Jason Pye, the Legislative Director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia.

    Mister Pye also said, and I quote, “It was called a “straw poll” out of convenience, but it was not sanctioned by the Libertarian Party of Georgia.”

    Article needs to be pulled/corrected/edited/changed.

    Mister Pye’s email for verification is: jason.pye@lpgeorgia.com
    The LP of Georgia’s Website is: http://www.lpgeorgia.com

  3. paulie Post author

    Article needs to be pulled/corrected/edited/changed.

    Why?

    I never said it was an official poll conducted by the state party, just a straw poll that was conducted at the state party convention.

    Straw polls usually have limited, self-selected participation. That’s why they’re called “straw” polls.

  4. Bruce Cohen

    No, straw polls usually are an indication of what way the wind is blowing.

    They are usually taken from the entire group at an event or from some other kind of fixed pool.

    To call this a straw poll is to mislead the readers of IPR into thinking that there is some kind of sentiment or lean to the group attending the Convention.

    This would be untrue.

  5. paulie Post author

    No, straw polls usually are an indication of what way the wind is blowing.

    They are usually taken from the entire group at an event or from some other kind of fixed pool.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_poll


    A straw poll or straw vote is a vote with nonbinding results. Straw polls provide important interactive dialogue among movements within large groups, reflecting trends like organization and motivation.[1][2] In meetings subject to rules of order, impromptu straw polls often are taken to see if there is enough support for an idea to devote more meeting time to it, and (when not a secret ballot) for the attendees to see who is on which side of a question. However, Robert’s Rules of Order prohibits straw polls, calling them “meaningless and dilatory.”[3] Among political bodies, straw polls often are scheduled for events at which many people interested in the polling question can be expected to vote. Sometimes polls conducted without ordinary voting controls in place (i.e., on an honor system, such as in online polls) are also called “straw polls”.

    ….

    Straw polls are contrasted with opinion polls, usually conducted by telephone and based on samples of the voting public. Straw polls can also be contrasted with honor-system polls (such as online polls), in which ordinary voting controls are absent. In an ordinary event-based straw poll, controls common to elections are enforced: voting twice is prohibited; polls are not open for inordinately long periods of time; interim results are not publicized before polls close; etc. Honor-system polls may be conducted wholly online, conducted at one location over a period of months, conducted with interim results publicized, or even conducted with explicit permission to vote multiple times.

    The meaning of results from the varying poll types is disputed. Opinion polls are generally conducted with statistical selection controls in place and are thus called “scientific”, while straw polls and honor-system polls are conducted among self-selected populations and are called “unscientific”. However, as predictors of poll results among larger populations (i.e., elections), each method has known flaws.

  6. Bruce Cohen

    In order to keep IPR’s integrity in tact, this really needs to be removed from your site. The “straw poll” in question was just a handful of attendees playing around with Alicia’s electronic voting system. As Jason stated, there was no official straw poll. Only those interested, a very small fraction of attendees, in a demonstration participated. I have no personal favorite currently for LNC Chair. My concern is two fold, that my state affiliate is being used for someone’s personal agenda and for the integrity of IPR.

    Sincerely,

    -Daniel

    ps. If needed and forced to, I can have all officers of the state party vouch for what I’ve stated above.

    Daniel N. Adams
    Chairman
    Libertarian Party of Georgia

  7. Bruce Cohen

    According to a source who should know and is known to be reliable:

    * There were about 50 people at the GA convention.

    * Only 10 took part in the e-voting demo.

    * Only 9 cast a vote in the LNC Chair question of the demo.

    I know the source personally and they may choose to make a public statement, but I am posting the information as I receive it until I get a privacy release.

    To pretend this test drive of some software has any relevance is misleading and biased.

  8. Trent Hill

    The information about the strawpoll has been removed, but Paulie is more than welcome to post the results here. The GALP has insisted the vote was not an officially sanctioned event, so I see no reason why it should make news.

  9. Root Came in Last

    I don’t see why a poll needs to be “officially sanctioned” to be informative.

    Bruce Cohen is upset because Root came in last in the straw poll.

    I don’t think Cohen would call the headline “misleading” if Root had come in first.

    Root lapdog, Bruce Cohen, is working overtime to see that the blogosphere spins to Root’s benefit.

  10. Trent Hill

    Had Bruce been the one complaining, the info would’ve stayed up. I recieved emails from various officers in the Georgia LP, activists there, and delegates who were at the convention. All swore the “straw poll” was nothing of the sort.

  11. Stewart Flood

    Obviously a straw poll isn’t “official” and it is certainly understandable that the LPGA would want to make that point clear. But that said, Paulie never tried to represent it as any kind of official poll. Straw polls, by definition, cannot be an official poll. The only official poll is when people vote at the convention.

    The results of a straw poll can also differ from the convention outcome, since the people voting in the poll may not be delegates to the national convention, or if they are they may vote differently from what they did in the straw poll. Or they may vote exactly the way they did in the straw poll. There is no way to tell what will happen.

    The comment about this being a “test drive” of software is misleading and inaccurate. This was a demonstration of a functional system. Ms. Mattson’s system worked flawlessly. I’ve seen it from the technical side in the past, but this was the first time that I actually had a chance to see it used in a live environment. It was easy to manage and it operated without the slightest glitch.

    Some of you may have a bad impression of this system from reports after the LSLA in Austin about problems getting it to work. While there was a delay in getting things going in Austin, the delay was related to a windows 2003 server bug and not the voting software. A solution was found, but there were dozens of detractors standing around like vultures waiting for the kill so it never had a chance.

    The delegates at the convention in Atlanta were much more open and receptive to new ideas. Ms. Mattson gave a presentation and addressed questions that several delegates had. Windows 2003 server was not used in Atlanta, so even though the bug had been eliminated there was no chance of it causing problems.

    It is correct that only ten of the fifty-some delegates elected to try the system. There was a lot of business to deal with at the convention and not enough time to do it in.

    The vice chair election was quite exciting and went several rounds — which consumed a lot of time. Add in the large number of candidates seeking office and it is a wonder that they got it all done.

    The officers and staff of the LPGA did a great job of keeping things going and they finished just in time to get kicked out of the room so the hotel could set it up for another event that evening.

  12. paulie Post author

    Hi folks,

    I’m giving in to my internet addiction, couldn’t stay off the net. My cold turkey period is now set to begin tomorrow and last a week. We’ll see. Anyway, my addiction problems are my problem, not yours. Since I’m here, I’ll address some of the points you all have made.

    Coming right up…

  13. Trent Hill

    Paulie,

    I hope you won’t stay off for an entire week! You are by far the most active poster–though I’ll certainly try to pick up my posting while you’re off.

  14. paulie Post author

    Regarding the comment from Mr. Adams reproduced by Bruce at #8:

    DA: In order to keep IPR’s integrity in tact, this really needs to be removed from your site. The “straw poll” in question was just a handful of attendees playing around with Alicia’s electronic voting system. As Jason stated, there was no official straw poll.

    P: I never claimed otherwise. Nothing in my posting said the poll was “official”. Straw polls are generally measures of how deep support is, not just how wide. In many straw polls, such as those held as fundraisers by major parties before their primaries and caucuses, attendees are allowed and encouraged to buy multiple “votes.” As the wikipedia entry I posted above makes clear, straw polls are based on self-selecting samples, which distinguishes them from scientific polls. That being said, I was told in a phone call this morning, by someone who was there, that it was announced from the dais — making it in at least one way more “official” than the poll we conducted in Austin.

    DA: Only those interested, a very small fraction of attendees, in a demonstration participated.

    P: I never claimed otherwise. Indeed, it is in no way uncommon for straw polls at events to include only a small portion of those who could participate if they chose to do so.

    DA: I have no personal favorite currently for LNC Chair.

    P: Fair enough, although I never claimed you or any other specific person does.

    DA: My concern is two fold, that my state affiliate is being used for someone’s personal agenda and for the integrity of IPR.

    P: That’s not the case at all. My reporting had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Hinkle, whom I have endorsed, came in first, or that Mr. Root came in last. I had no hesitation in pointing out, repeatedly, that Mr. Hinkle came in last in Austin. I pointed out that Mr. Hinkle was the only candidate physically present; if I had been trying to make more of his win, I would have simply left that fact out.

    P: My information is that Mr. Root’s video was not well received. If true, let me point out that I have “been there.” As a representative of Mr. Kubby to a number of conventions he was not able to attend in 2007-2008, I too ran into several cases where his videos were not well received. It happens, and not just to Mr. Root.

    DA: Sincerely,

    -Daniel

    ps. If needed and forced to, I can have all officers of the state party vouch for what I’ve stated above.

    Daniel N. Adams
    Chairman
    Libertarian Party of Georgia

    P: Mr Adams’ sincerity was never in question, nor were any of the facts he presented. Nor is there any reason to further confirm what he says, although Jason Pye already has.

    However, I would question the insinuation that “my state affiliate is being used for someone’s personal agenda,” if so, whose?

    Not mine, as I simply served as a conduit for information. And, lest anyone suspects my agenda is “anti-Root,” let me also point out that, when Brian Holtz’s latest investigative post into statements by Mr. Hancock was deemed by some to be too editorial, I posted it here for him. Let me also point out that I have also posted numerous articles and videos sent to IPR by Mr. Root himself.

    Nor do I think there was any agenda by my two sources (one primary, one secondary). I don’t know that I’m at liberty to say who they are, but I hope I’m not being too specific in saying they come from entirely different factions of the party, supported different candidates for the presidential nomination, and currently support different candidates for chair.

  15. paulie Post author

    I hope you won’t stay off for an entire week!

    There’s that whole “making enough money to live on” and “fulfilling responsibilities to my client” part of self-employment.

    Being in charge of my own schedule means I can slack off some and spend hours and days posting here instead of working. But, at some point I need to get my lazy ass back to work so that I can keep eating at fine restaurants, sleeping in a crappy dump of a motel, paying my phone bill, getting to the next gig, and actually fulfilling my obligations to my client.

  16. paulie Post author

    The facts Bruce presents in #9 are not in question.

    I disagree with his conclusion, however.

    Numerous other polls which consisted of self-selecting samples, making up far less than the total number of people present/eligible, have been publicized before.

  17. paulie Post author

    Had Bruce been the one complaining, the info would’ve stayed up. I recieved emails from various officers in the Georgia LP, activists there, and delegates who were at the convention. All swore the “straw poll” was nothing of the sort.

    Trent’s decision to edit the post is understandable. Although, as noted, I don’t think the post was wrong. I believe that Bruce and the good folks from Georgia, with all due respect, are not defining “straw poll” correctly.

    For example,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ames_Straw_Poll

    “As a straw poll, the Ames Straw Poll’s results are non-binding and have no official effect on the presidential primaries. However, the straw poll is frequently seen as a first test of organizational strength in Iowa by the news media and party insiders.”

    “The Ames Straw Poll was formerly criticized for having many voters who were not residents of Iowa. Candidates would bus in supporters from other states. However, beginning with the 1999 Ames Straw Poll, all voters were required to show proof of legal residence in Iowa.[3] Before the 1999 Ames Straw Poll, voter fraud was widespread: many individuals managed to vote repeatedly by visiting the bathroom and washing off the stamp on the back of their hand which indicated they had voted. ”

    Or, try:

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-straw-poll.htm

    A straw poll is an informal opinion survey. The term “straw poll” is thought to have come from an 1800s American farmland practice of tossing “straws in the wind” to test wind direction. By the 1820s, some American newspapers included a straw poll that informally surveyed public opinion as a way of testing the direction of the political ‘winds.’

    “Today, in the age of the Internet, virtual straw polls are common. Online versions of television news stations and newspapers often have daily non-scientific straw polls. Organizations sometimes put a straw poll on their website to give them some idea of the number of members interested in an event. For example, a straw poll asking how many members would be interested in getting together for a meeting at a certain place, would help the organization decide whether the numbers would warrant holding the meeting there. ”

    Anyone need more like these?

  18. How Many Pols Does it Take to Screw in a Lightbulb

    Straw polls are not scientific. I would argue that no polls are deterministic, some well controlled polls can help find indicators, but do not communicate fact.

    Straw polls are curiosities useful for sparking thought and conversation.

    “Scientific” polls are useful for hedging bets.

    Neither will deliver you truth.

    BTW A 20% sample may seem statistically relevant, but a population pool of 50 is not.

  19. Bruce Cohen

    A straw poll is taken from some defined subset of people and is intended to give some kind of indication of sentiment, or ‘what way the wind is blowing’. In this case, it was a random assortment of 10 folks who were standing by Ms. Mattson’s Demo Table.

    This all would be different if the Chair or MC had announced to the group about it.

    To claim this is a straw poll would be like Diebold doing an e-voter software/hardware demo at a lunch, and have a dozen people who were on that side of the room test it out.

    And then report the results have meaning.

    Let’s be realistic.

  20. paulie Post author

    A straw poll is taken from some defined subset of people

    The definitions I quoted above say it is a self-selecting sample. Do I need to go further into what a self-selecting sample is?

    This all would be different if the Chair or MC had announced to the group about it.

    The call I received this morning, from a normally reliable source, is that they did. If anyone wants to dispute that, have at it. I wasn’t there.

  21. Brian Holtz

    I don’t question Paulie’s motives for even a second. I don’t see what the problem is here. If a semi-random set of 10 delegates to a state LP convention were systematically polled about their Chair preferences, I’d like to hear the results — along with any other available information about the circumstances.

  22. Richard Winger

    All these comments on internal party leadership polls, and virtually no comments on the candidates for public office???

    John Monds will be a stunning gubernatorial candidate for the Georgia LP, and I hope he is not closed to the idea of running for president in 2012. In 2008 he got more than one-third of the vote in a 2-party statewide partisan race, and carried Georgia’s most populous county (Fulton) and about 5 other nearby counties.

  23. Stewart Flood

    I agree with you regarding Mr Monds. He has impressed me from the first time I met him at a Georgia convention a few years ago.

    And don’t forget that he is just one of the growing group of very effective candidates that the Georgia party has.

  24. Thomas L. Knapp

    Stewart,

    You write:

    “The comment about this being a ‘test drive’ of software is misleading and inaccurate. This was a demonstration of a functional system. Ms. Mattson’s system worked flawlessly.”

    Cool. Is the overall system, including the source code, publicly posted anywhere for examination yet?

  25. Aaron Starr

    I’m not a programmer. If the source code were printed out, I wouldn’t be able to determine whether it was proper or not.

    However, even if one posts the source code, unless someone watches the programmer compile it and install that exact file on each machine, you have no way to be certain that what was loaded is identical to what you saw publicly posted.

    What Alicia Mattson’s system does is print out a dual-receipt for each ballot cast (one for the voter, one for the ballot box), so one can always ignore the computer generated results and do a manual recount if you don’t believe the output.

    No one has to know source code to perform a manual recount.

  26. Aaron Starr

    Because our current system has real-world problems.

    The system we use now for these votes is manual, lacks accountability, provides no way for a delegate to verify that his/her vote was recorded correctly, allows limited opportunity to catch anomalies, allows ample opportunity for fraud, provides no confidence in the accuracy of the results, and provides no way to do a real recount.

    Currently each state affiliate’s delegation chair collects the votes from that state’s delegates, manually reviews and tallies them, and gives a hand-written total sheet to the party secretary. The party secretary usually enters the state totals onto a spreadsheet and uses formulas to tabulate grand totals.

    The current convention methods have numerous problems or potential problems which could be solved with this electronic voting system, including:

    1) We spend a lot of our limited convention floor time waiting for these votes to be manually recorded and tallied, and we also must wait for multiple rounds of balloting for some offices. The proposed electronic voting system would allow election voting to happen outside of the business sessions, perhaps during the day concurrent with the business session, perhaps in the evenings after the business session has adjourned. Removing the wait time from the business session could mean that we could have shorter conventions (reducing expenses for delegates and the party), or that we could spend longer on other important party business. An electronic system would allow the option of Ranked Choice voting to remove the need for multiple rounds of balloting, and results would be available instantaneously at the end of the voting period.

    2) The current methods require that a delegate be in the convention hall during a short period of time (perhaps a 5-10 minute window while each delegation chair collects the votes in that state), but it is not precisely predictable when that window of time will occur. Delegates sometimes miss votes in which they really wanted to participate. An electronic voting system would give a larger window of time (several hours) during which a delegate could vote at his/her convenience, allowing a larger percentage of delegates to participate in the election.

    3) With our current methods, the larger a state is, the easier it is for someone to slip in an extra set of votes without the delegation noticing it. An electronic voting system with credentials check at the kiosk would mean that a delegate cannot cast extra votes.

    During the 2008 LNC elections on Monday morning, you may recall that we had a quorum call, where we barely met the 218 needed for a quorum in the room. Immediately after the quorum call, we had the election for Chair. There were 369 people who cast votes in that race. During the At Large elections at least 321 people voted (assuming everyone cast five votes each – more if some voted for fewer). Those figures suggest that some state delegations were submitting votes on behalf of people who were not there. It is possible that some state chairs simply didn’t realize that delegates had to actually be there to vote. It’s also possible that some knew this and didn’t care.

    4) With our current methods, each delegate must depend on a middle man (the delegation chair) to accurately transfer the votes to a totals sheet and manually tally them. In the electronic voting system, no human besides the delegate touches that delegate’s vote to cast it.

    5) Frequently math errors are made in the manual tallies required by our current methods, and state delegations sometimes turn in more votes than they have delegates from their state. The entire convention has to wait while these problems are remedied. In the proposed electronic voting system the votes are tallied by two different pieces of software, and it does not allow more votes to be recorded than there are delegates in an affiliate.

    6) With our current methods, state delegations sometimes turn in illegible or confusing tally sheets, and the entire convention must wait while the delegation chair is located and can clarify the intent. Nothing is hand-written in the electronic voting system.

    7) With our current methods, though the maximum number of delegates allocated to each state is known, the party secretary cannot track how many delegates for each affiliate are present in the convention hall at the time of the vote. So if a state turns in more votes than they have delegates present, as long as it is less than their maximum delegate allocation, such an anomaly is likely to go undetected. The proposed electronic system would prevent many anomalies, detect and allow correction of others, and ease pressure on the busy party secretary who cannot be expected to count the votes and catch anomalies on the fly, especially when we were running multiple ballots simultaneously.

    For example, during the 2008 convention LP Texas submitted more votes than they had delegates registered. They were told to resubmit a corrected tally.

    8) With our current methods, once your vote leaves your hand, there is no mechanism for you to verify that your vote was recorded and tallied correctly or if someone slipped extra votes into the count. There is no way to conduct a recount. If a recount were needed, we would simply have to re-vote, and some of the delegates might have left in the meantime, missing the re-vote. With the proposed electronic voting system, the paper receipts, Excel receipt listing, and voter listing collectively would solve these verification shortcomings.

    9) With our current methods, there is no consistency of procedure for how votes are handled in each state delegation. But everyone votes the same way with an electronic voting system.

    Due to all the above factors, when compared with the manual system we now use in our conventions, an electronic voting system would give us more confidence that votes were recorded correctly and that the totals actually reflect the will of the delegates.

  27. Thomas L. Knapp

    Aaron,

    You write:

    “No one has to know source code to perform a manual recount.”

    That may be correct.

    It’s also irrelevant.

    If the source code is not available for public inspection, there are a number of people who will work against, and as applicable vote against, adoption of the system, and who will consider any results generated by the system untrustworthy and void.

    I’m one of those people.

  28. Thomas L. Knapp

    “During the 2008 LNC elections on Monday morning, you may recall that we had a quorum call, where we barely met the 218 needed for a quorum in the room. Immediately after the quorum call, we had the election for Chair. There were 369 people who cast votes in that race. During the At Large elections at least 321 people voted (assuming everyone cast five votes each – more if some voted for fewer). Those figures suggest that some state delegations were submitting votes on behalf of people who were not there.”

    Um, no. What it suggests is that a number of delegates left the hall during the quorum call in order to attempt to force a sine die adjournment of the convention, and that they just missed accomplishing exactly that.

    In 2000, they didn’t miss. There was a quorum call, there was a rush for the doors by delegates who wanted the convention to end without electing a new Judicial Committee, and that’s exactly what happened.

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