Who drew the long straw in the Ames Straw Poll Vote?

By Richard E Walrath and Patricia L Johnson

The Hilton Coliseum parking lot, on the campus of Iowa State University, was the location of the Ames Straw Poll Vote that began at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 13, 2011.

All of the candidates in attendance were allowed to give 15-minute speeches between the hours of noon and 3:30 pm and by 4:00 pm the voting ended with the following results for the nine candidates that were listed on the straw poll ballot, and the one write-in candidate, Rick Perry.

1 Bachman 4,823

2 Paul 4,671

3 Pawlenty 2,293

4 Santorum 1,657

5 Cain 1,456

6 Perry (write-in) 718

7 Romney 567

8 Gingrich 385

9 Huntsman 69

10 McCotter 35

11 Miscellaneous write-ins 218

12 Total Votes Cast …………………………. 16,892

Note: Although the names of Romney, Huntsman and Gingrich appeared on the straw poll ballot, they were not in attendance at the event, which accounts for the low number of votes received.

Candidates purchase space for tents for their speeches where they also provide live music and serve food. Extravagant amounts of money are spent on food, entertainment and transportation for the would-be voters. For example, Ron Paul paid more than $31,000 just for his tent location this year.

The cost for attendance at this event is free, with all food, entertainment and transportation paid for by the candidates, but there is a fee charged for the ticket to vote.

The person voting must present a valid ID, indicating they will be 18 years old on or before November 2012, and a paid ticket to be issued a ballot. The cost of the ballot ticket is $30.00. How do they keep voters from voting more than once? They dip the voters thumbs in ink!

Question – The population of the State of Iowa is approximately 3 million, with 2.3 million of voting age. How many of the votes cast came from people who live in Ames, Iowa?

Question – How many of the voters were under the age of 18 at the time of the vote?

Question – How many people voted for the entertainment rather than for the speeches?

Question – How many people voted for the quality and quantity of food provided at this event rather than on the quality of the speeches?

Question – How many total votes were bought and paid for by the candidates?

Representative Michele Bachmann was the ‘winner’ of the poll, but we can’t imagine why she wouldn’t be. She hosted an air-conditioned tent, provided barbeque, beverages and entertainment by Richie McDonald, Tim Rushlow, Christian artist Charles Billingsley with headline entertainment by renowned country music legend Randy Travis.

The website “Unelected” indicates Representative Michele Bachmann paid out more than $1 million dollars, http://www.unelected.org/how-michele-bachmann-bought-the-ames-straw-poll handed out $180,000 worth of ballot tickets – 6,000 tickets in all while only receiving a little over 4,800 votes which would seem to indicate 1,200 or 25% accepted her gift and then turned around and voted for another candidate. It’s not surprising considering the ‘free’ entertainment wasn’t free after all. It appears Bachmann required prospective voters to register at her tent and vote for her prior to watching the entertainment. http://unelected.org/wp-content/110813_bachmann_rule_465.jpg

17,000 votes out of a potential 2.3 million is less than 0.01 percent [0.007] of the voter base in the State of Iowa and truly meaningless. The fact one candidate bought this election, by purchasing 1/3 of the votes cast, is certainly representative of the type of politicians we have running in this race.

© Richard E Walrath and Patricia L Johnson

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