NEW: GOP Names Smiley Chair After Chaotic Vote, Harrop Unaware

Sunday, March 24, 2013


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In one of the most bizarre series of events in RI political history, the Rhode Island GOP have named Mark Smiley chair of the party. This declaration issued by outgoing chair Mark Zaccaria was declared in a press release just three days after a chaotic meeting last Thursday that ended in no decision. According to GOP sources, Thursday night's vote was declared invalid when more votes were cast than there were eligible voters.

Now, just 72 hours later, the RI GOP has named Smiley the chair without meeting again.

GoLocalProv reached Dr. Dan Harrrop and informed him of the press release issued by the RIGOP, "I have no idea. I have heard nothing about this."

Harrop added, there were numerous errors with the ballots not just one issue.

The GOP Release issued Sunday afternoon states:

Mark Zaccaria, outgoing Chair of the Rhode Island Republican Party, today announced the results of detailed investigations into the voting questions that caused last Thursday’s election for his successor to be called into question. “The problem was that our source documents from the double check-in for voting showed one less ballot issued than we had in the stack we counted.” He said.

Subsequent review of those same documents and corroborating statements from all concerned have positively identified the one eligible voter who was correctly issued a ballot but whose name did not receive the second check mark to correctly indicate that he had been issued a ballot, Zaccaria asserted. “This decision hinged on a one-vote margin.” Zaccaria reminded everyone. “So when faced with a one-vote discrepancy there was a concern about validating the tally.”

Thursday night’s RI GOP State Convention was Continued, not Adjourned. That distinction in the party rules permits it to be re-convened to take further action. Today the Outgoing Chair acknowledged that a certification of the exact match between the voters authorized and the ballots received permits him to reverse his decision and declare Mark Smiley, of Warren, the winner of last Thursday's vote.

“Both candidates for State Chair had strong support and either would have done a fine job.” Zaccaria said. “I now look forward to working closely with Dr. Dan Harrop, the other candidate in last week’s race, under Chairman Smiley’s leadership.”

The meeting which was continued last week will be resumed on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013, at Shriners’ Hall, in Cranston, at 7:00pm. At that time these findings will be formally reported to the membership of the State Central Committee of the RI GOP. Chairman Smiley will take the gavel to conclude that meeting and to begin his official tenure.


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