Ed Randazzo failed to beat a dead man in the District 32 House primary. Last night, he failed to beat the dead man’s wife.
District 32 Republicans gathered in Rapid City yesterday evening to select a replacement for deceased Rep. Sean McPherson on the November ballot. McPherson died in April. His name remained on the primary ballot. Voters selected him and Scyller Borglum over Randazzo, who asked party officials to place his name on the ballot. Clock/gold/pawn dealer Chris Johnson also sought the replacement job. McPherson’s widow endorsed Johnson:
“I feel very content that he has Sean’s heart for politics, that he has a love for people of the state and of District 32,” McPherson said of Johnson [Seth Tupper, “Chris Johnson Selected to Replace McPherson on Ballot,” Rapid City Journal, 2018.06.18].
District 32 GOP officials tilted toward Mrs. McPherson’s endorsement, just barely. They voted 8–7 for Johnson. The vote would have been less close if they has accepted Rep. Kris Conzet’s argument that she and two other special Republicans shouldn’t gotten to vote twice:
After the speeches, there was a lengthy argument among the meeting attendees about whether certain officials should be allowed to cast two votes. State Rep. Kristin Conzet, for example, argued that she should be granted two votes by virtue of her dual qualifications as an elected official and a central committee member. Two other people present at the meeting also had dual qualifications.
Ultimately, the argument was settled by allowing the 15 eligible voters to cast one regular ballot apiece, and by allowing the three double-qualified voters to each cast a second, provisional ballot.
The vote of the regular ballots was 8-7 for Johnson, and the vote with the provisional ballots was 11-7 for Johnson. Because the result was the same either way, Johnson was declared the winner [Tupper, 2018.06.18].
I know of no statutory or party-bylaw justification for Conzet’s claim of two-vote privilege. Robert’s Rules, which SDGOP bylaws follow, says that the chair of a meeting cannot vote twice, once as a member and again in her capacity as chair. The 11th Edition of Robert’s Rules recognizes that “one person, one vote” is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law. As participants in one parly-pro forum observe, “Positions do not have votes. People do” and “You count heads, not hats.”