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2017 NRA Board Election Results

As requested by readers, here’s a complete list of the NRA Board of Directors results:

Tom Selleck – 110,812
Peter J Printz – 91,410
R Lee Ermey – 89,540
William H Allen – 87,059
Ted W Carter – 87,025
Leroy Sisco – 84,136
Howard J Walter – 83,785
Patricia A Clark – 83,256
Melanie Pepper – 82,817
Thomas P Arvas – 82,500
Linda Walker – 81,874
Charles L Cotton – 80,779
Curtis S Jenkins – 80,529
Carl Rowan, Jr. – 79,104
Allan D Cors – 79,021
Todd J Rathner – 78,516
Lance Olson – 75,978
J Kenneth Blackwell – 74750
Steven C Schreiner – 73,406
Sean Maloney – 72,924
Heidi E Washington – 72,600
Clel Baudler – 72,576
Dan Boren – 69,829
Graham Hill – 68,672
Robert E Mansell – 68,492
Willes K Lee – 68,299
Kim Rhode Harryman – 67,906

Those who didn’t win a seat:

James S Gilmore III – 67,760
N Stephanie Spika – 67,097
David Carruth – 67,066
John L Cushman – 66,949
Richard L Kussman – 63,251
Robert A Unkovic – 62,946
Adam Kraut – 62,400
Stephen D Stamboulieh – 57,897
Eric Wright – 48,454

They also reported that since Roy Innis passed away after ballots were printed, he did earn 77,340 votes. However, everyone below him moved up one. The last two winners are fulfilling unexpired terms of previously sitting board members.

I know there were concerns over bylaws changes impacting one’s ability to run as a petition candidate for the board, so those numbers are as follows. There were 135,118 ballots cast in the board election. However, 4,558 were invalid. So that leaves 130,560 valid ballots cast in the board election. With the members overwhelmingly supporting the bylaws changes (92%-8%), that means 653 signatures will be needed for new petition candidates to make the ballot. Honestly, it’s not hard in the age of the internet to connect with other NRA members, and with anyone who has made any connections through NRA’s many volunteer opportunities that mostly draw NRA members – competitions, elections, and/or Friends dinners.

UPDATE: I forgot to link earlier a stat earlier that showed of 5 new members of the Board, 3 are women. That makes 13 female members of the NRA Board of the Directors, which is about the same percentage as Congress.

NRA Member Engagement with the Ballot

However many paid activists Shannon Watts flew in doesn’t even begin to compare to the number of NRA members who engage with their association by voting in our group elections.

It’s a reminder that we’re a real, authentic grassroots movement of gun owners who can hold our leaders accountable. “Members” of Bloomberg’s various groups can just unsubscribe from their emails at best.

I’ve already added this year’s numbers to my magic spreadsheet of voting data that goes back to 2006.

It’s not the lowest voting participation rate that I’ve ever documented, but it’s definitely close. However, it’s probably not a complete surprise since the number of ballots mailed in elections has increased 42% in that time. (And that even takes into account the year I think they cleaned up the mailing list since the number dropped to an oddly perfectly even number.)

That said, I do think it would be nice to get more members voting. However, if that comes at the expense of experienced activists who work with NRA members on the ground to more celebrity candidates, then I’d be more hesitant to endorse that idea. Even today, I saw people advocating on social media for people to go vote for 76th director hours after polls closed for the entire session, so clearly voter education is an issue.

The rate of errors that resulted in invalid ballots went up this year (3.4%) compared to last (2.8%), but it’s far below 2013’s error rate (8.7%). This year’s top mistake is the same as last year – too many votes. Count, people. After that, the biggest mistake that kept nearly 1,000 ballots from being counted is the lack of a signature on the envelope’s authentication portion. Were you one of those people? If so, pay attention to your envelope. And somehow 24 people managed to find a ballot from a previous year and vote. Who are you people?? It’s not just that you kept them, but you actually found them and managed to cast them during the right time period. That’s special effort right there.

Perhaps the most interesting stat of the 2017 election year is the fact that I’ve never recorded such a close vote tally between the “last winner” and “first loser” – just 146 votes between the two. That’s less than half the votes of the previous closest amount, 356 in 2012.

It’s no surprise that Tom Selleck is the top vote getter this year. About 85% of voters included him on their ballot. He was nearly 20,000 votes higher than the next one in line, Peter Printz who even beat out R. Lee Ermey. The “last winner” is my favorite Olympian, Kim Rhode Harryman. She’ll actually be on the ballot next year because she was elected to finish an unexpired term.

I am a bit PO’d that they ran out of “I Voted” buttons this year. I was trying to start a collection, NRA! Now you Atlanta conference planners have ruined my plans to express my grassroots-iness. Excuse me while I go drown my sorrows over my ruined conference in a glass of wine.

2017 Gun Law Seminar

Have you planned out your days for the NRA annual meeting yet? I’m just sitting down to do it now, and it’s worth reminding people about one of the best hidden gems of the massive convention. The NRA Foundation’s law seminar is an experience that shouldn’t be missed if you have any interest in gun laws at all. Even if you’re not an attorney, you’ll get something out of it – besides a good time with good and interesting company.

This year’s line-up is, as always, an interesting cross section of areas of gun law that will likely give me something new to chew on. You don’t have to be an attorney to get something out of the seminar. Massad Ayoob will present on avoiding unjust verdicts in self-defense shootings. If you’re a member of a gun club at all, there will be a topic on 501(c) issues related to your activities. Looking at legal issues impacting the industry, one topic will be on defending manufacturers and retailers when they are sued for caused by the criminal misuse of firearms by others. You’ve got broader Second Amendment updates from Stephen Halbrook and Nelson Lund to look forward to as well.

Last year’s topic by Chris Zealand (a Senior Research Attorney at NRA) on the Social Security gun grab was incredibly useful for me as a political activist. The details he gave for the process and what types of issues Social Security lists as mental disability codes were eye-opening and gave great fodder for me to make an informed argument to those who were just reading newspaper headlines about the topic. If, like me (and Sebastian), you’re not an attorney, but want to be informed and serious activists, you should consider attending the legal seminar.

If you are an attorney, then there’s no question you should absolutely attend. If you’re a law student, there’s a discount.

You get breakfast, lunch, and a cocktail reception along with your day of legal education. Not to mention, it’s usually very interesting to talk with others at lunch and during breaks about the issues they are facing at home or the type of work they are seeing come up.

Though neither one of us has ever visited Atlanta, Sebastian’s family has been there before years ago. I’ve made Sebastian promise not to behave like the last time they visited the lovely city. However, if any readers have any suggestions for places we must eat or visit while we’re there, please do share. Local eats are a huge factor in having a solid convention experience.

Women’s Marchers Debase Women’s Monument

A monument dedicated to women on the site of the largest complex of buildings owned exclusively by women seems like it would be a great place to stop and pay some respect during the Women’s March, doesn’t it?

It was, if you define paying respect by climbing up the monuments to slap on signs, clothing, and hanging crap off of the outstretched hands. If respecting the property means stomping over flower beds, kicking the greenery up, pushing through the bushes, leaving trash strewn about, and apparently also smearing paint on statues, then sure, lots of respect was paid to the monument and buildings owned by women. (The paint apparently isn’t visible in the videos below because they were shot after signs were placed on top, but I’ve seen it mentioned by several who visited the site later.)

The buildings owned exclusively by women since the empty city block across from the White House lawn was purchased more than 100 years ago – before women could even vote in this country – and are home to the Daughters of the American Revolution. DAR is non-partisan and apolitical. I know women in the group who are far more conservative than I’ll ever be and far more liberal than I’ve ever been. And yet we have a few things in common – a sense of respect for American history and values, and we’re always volunteering for something in our communities.

In fact, the monument that was “decorated” by the marchers is dedicated to the founders who spelled out that DAR was supposed to be a community service organization. Our current goal for recorded service in our community is 19 million hours collectively doing meaningful service – not writing checks or showing up to a gala for a cause – in 3 years. The 19 number comes from the fact that our final year of recording hours will be the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.

I’ve seen marchers defend the mess they left on sidewalks by saying that the City wanted to handle clean up so they wouldn’t have as many trashcans that could be a security risk. Assuming that’s accurate, this mess is not on a sidewalk. In fact, much of it is not even on concrete. It’s in bushes and dropped over gardens. It’s on private property that women have to pay to clean. So all those complaints about the gender wage gap? A man is on video calling for people to leave their trash that women who make less will have to pay to have cleaned. That flower he laughs about kicking out of the ground, sure it’s just one bloom. But those gardens are paid for by women. So much for respect.

Inside those halls, if the people in the video had any interest in history, they would find a museum that primarily runs exhibits relating to women’s connections to history and craft. They would find collections put together by volunteers and staff (paid by women) dedicated to documenting the rich history that covers this country’s recent immigrants to the Revolution’s minority patriots. They would find out about how a group of women raised money to plant entire forests in every state – many of which are still preserved public green spaces today. Instead of actually showing even a reasonable level of respect for those efforts, they spread paint on our monuments and leave their trash behind as a “shrine” for women to clean up. (At least a past national officer reported that the paint seems to have been water based and was removed without further damaging the statue.)

But I have to say that it’s not just the marchers who left their trash behind in an effort to force non-partisan groups into partisan political debates, it’s also the reaction afterwards. Needless to say, the images of this vandalism have been shared widely in various DAR groups online. Some of the liberal members of the group are trying to put a positive spin on the intention, but also recognize that this is a man who is organizing some level of vandalism on our statues and that it will require women’s funds to clean up. I have seen some who have asked their fellow marchers to contribute to those expenses by donating to the DAR’s building maintenance fund in recognition of the fact that it wasn’t appropriate to leave everything behind for a private, non-political group that wasn’t involved to clean up.

Then there are those members who participated who I’ve seen demanding women who share information about the clean up efforts be banned from the organization. Their argument being that DAR is non-political, so a post about cleaning up the trash and paint left on our property by a political march is considered political because it makes their cause look less than perfect. Newsflash ladies, every movement has a**holes. If you’ve been involved in real grassroots action before, you know this. Call them out on their bad behavior and do what you can to correct that image. Instead, they want to silence those who are expressing disappointment in bad behavior. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to believe that a shared American value should include that even when you’re passionate about an issue, trespass and vandalism of private property is inappropriate.

So Long, Kirk

The Senate is one of those situations where there is no easy answer for the gun voter. There are atrocious Republicans who deserve the boot, but we have to remember the Supreme Court factor on the Second Amendment issue. It gets complicated.

There has been debate here over the role Toomey plays in that calculation. While I held my nose and voted Toomey this year, I did withhold other support for him.

However, one seat that I’m really not sorry to see flip is Illinois – Mark Kirk. It’s not just because he was anti-gun to begin with. He decided to go piss on my other pet group with a blatantly racist attack. This wasn’t an SJW-defined racism that is really just a case of “you disagree with me!” type racism accusation. What Kirk did was make a judgement specifically attacking a woman because of how she looks based on half of her heritage.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), seeking to unseat Sen. Mark Kirk (R) in Illinois, invoked her family’s military service while answering a debate question.

“My family has served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution,” Duckworth said. …

Kirk was offered a chance to rebut. “I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington,” he said.

Duckworth’s mother, Lamai, is Thai, but her late father, Franklin, was a Marine veteran whose family roots in this country trace to before the American Revolution.

From basic opposition research, he would have known she was a) a veteran who lost her legs serving her country, and b) from a family of veterans. That’s simply the basics you’re going to know since you’ll know she’s going to hit you on military issues. He didn’t have to know that she’s actually a member of DAR, but that’s not what he judged her on. He judged her based on just one half of her family history that’s visible in her skin tones and used it as an attack. That is racist. It’s also sloppy opposition research. He should have known she’s a member of DAR since she has spoken to the group and the Illinois state society did actually use her as a model for a statue honoring women who have served the country in our military. There is simply no defense for his statement at all.

Needless to say, that kind of attack reflects poorly on the whole party. Given that he was bad on guns anyway, I just can’t say that I’m sorry to see him go. Because Kirk clearly burned the bridge to his re-election, I made the decision on Toomey to help try and keep the Senate. To see someone booted who would sink as low as Kirk did in order to try and oust an opponent, I think I’m okay with my decision.

Voting Today…

Let’s just say that it was interesting. We live in what’s considered a bellwether county in a swing state. Our voting location is rather unique because two precincts are divided into two rooms that are next to one another. One line is full of mostly apartment dwellers and the other mostly those who live in single family homes.

Because of the division, there end up being some observable demographic differences. In 2008, the line for the apartment folks was down the hall, down another hall, down a third hall and rounded back, and then out the door of the building. It is typically a very minority-heavy line. The line for the single family home neighborhoods is more white, and it really didn’t exist in 2008. In 2012, the apartment line was much shorter, though still long and largely minority. There was a line for the other precinct was one of the longer lines we’d ever seen there and mostly people with other family members.

How did these trends reflect in results? In 2008, well, Pennsylvania was never really in play and that showed. In 2012, our county went more red, the state was less solidly blue, and everything was a bit closer.

Today, the precinct for the apartments was still very long. However, unlike previous elections, there were a substantial number of white voters. I almost wasn’t sure which line we would be in because of the change in demographics. Regardless, we ventured down the hallway toward the precinct line that is practically non-existent just to make sure.

Then, shocking, we had a line. We had a line that went out into the hallway, turned a corner and snaked around, and then came back toward an entrance. It was still shorter than the other line, but wow. We had to wait half an hour. The guy behind us isn’t a regular voter, so he waited in the wrong line for an hour before he found out and still went waited in our line with a great attitude. I have no idea who he was voting for, but if demographics in polling mean anything this year – and I’m not sure how much they do in this area if I’m honest – then our line was pretty old, largely men and older couples voting together, and fairly pale skinned. The woman standing out with Democratic Congressional materials who we suspect came from New Jersey was looking very, very unhappy at the people coming in.

If there’s one rule that Sebastian and I share in this election is that we’re not making predictions. There have been too many surprises both nationally and locally. This definitely has to go down as one of the strangest election seasons I’ve ever lived through. I’ll be glad when it’s over.

Misleading Pennsylvania’s Voters

Pennsylvania voters will be casting votes for a ballot initiative they have already defeated once this year. Why?

Because lawmakers realized what the outcome would likely be and decided at the last minute to invalidate the question wording to put something more misleading on the ballot instead. Based on a test run by a polling firm, they are going to get what they want by playing dirty.

What’s the issue? Judicial retirement ages.

In April, we were asked directly whether or not to increase the age at which judges could retire from 70 to 75. The question before voters was clear:

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges and justices of the peace (known as magisterial district judges) be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years, instead of the current requirement that they be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70?

It explained who it would apply to, the proposed change, and the old rule. Perfectly reasonable ballot question! Except that when you look at the history of these types of votes in other states, they almost always go down in defeat. So the lawmakers decided to change the wording at the last minute. Except absentee ballots were already printed and voting machines programmed. Instead, we were told that our votes wouldn’t count, so we shouldn’t bother voting on it. But 2.4 million people voted anyway, and they said no to the increase – exactly what lawmakers feared would happen.

When the new language was announced, a couple of former Supreme Court Chief Justices sued on the basis that it’s deliberately deceitful. You be the judge:

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges and magisterial district judges be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?

Funny how now it sounds like you’re adding a judicial retirement age to the constitution instead of extending the terms of those in office! Even funnier that the current Chief Justice turns 70 this winter, and the next in line for the seat turns 70 next year. What an odd and completely unexpected coincidence! What an even stranger coincidence that the Supreme Court decided to leave the question alone with one Justice recusing, half saying it’s perfectly clear and the other half saying it’s confusing. Average age of the justices voting that it’s clear as day? 62. Average age of those voting that it’s clear as mud? 55. If you count the Chief Justice’s recusal as putting him in the camp of those wanting the new, confusing language, that average age goes up to 64.

While I did vote no on the initial non-binding vote, I could have been convinced that it’s worthwhile to increase the retirement age. But now, no way. This is a deliberate deception, and one columnist mentions that a local polling firm has found it’s likely going to work exactly how lawmakers and the courts wanted it to work.

Berwood Yost, chief methodologist for the Franklin & Marshall Poll, … found in a split-ballot experiment that voters presented with the current wording tended to vote “yes.” When asked if justices should be able to retire at 75 instead of 70, however, most say no.

If you’re a Pennsylvania voter, I would strongly encourage you to vote “NO” on the ballot question this November. More importantly, tell your friends and family who vote about what’s going so they know not to support this kind of deceit. In April, it was a legitimate vote on the retirement age. Next month, it’s a more of a vote on legal ethics. Don’t let them play these games and get away with it.

Guns Kill Sign Appears Locally

Sebastian reports that someone has posted a “Guns Kill” sign on the PA Turnpike overpass for Bustleton Pike in Feasterville-Trevose, Pennsylvania. It just happens to be about a block away from a popular gun shop in the area.

It’s not clear if it’s a coordinated campaign yet, and Sebastian couldn’t get a picture of it since he passed it too quickly.

However, he did say that if some enterprising individual in the area happened to have a rainy Friday off, that a “Control” sign on the end of Gun could easily be added to make the statement far more factual. After all, we support truth in advertising.

Phyllis Schlafly’s College Job

Phyllis Schlafly died today at age 92. I have to say that I was perhaps most amused by the description in this obituary of Schlafly’s job to pay her college tuition:

Mrs. Schlafly paid her way through Washington University working at what was described as the world’s largest ammunition plant, the old Small Arms Plant at Goodfellow and Natural Bridge.

She tested .30 and .50 caliber ammunition and worked nights photographing tracer bullets in flight and inspecting misfires.

She was the fifth generation of her family to attend Washington University and earned her political science degree in 1944 with honors, in just three years.

That’s definitely a highlight to any college career!

Like most people in the conservative movement, there were times when I disagreed with her and other times when I was in absolute agreement. I’m definitely going to have to dig through the DAR archives to pull anything she may have submitted to the national magazine when she was a national committee chairman. I admit that I’m also curious to look up some of her mainstream media columns to see if she ever mentioned my dad’s first divorce case in her writings against the ERA. It did make national headlines because of the bias of a state law against men. (The state law was passed unanimously in advance of presumed passage of the ERA.)

Pat Toomey Reaps the Rewards

Back in March, Sebastian called it when he noted that while Pat Toomey was touting support from CeasefirePA leadership, these are not people who would ever actually cast a vote for him. Granted, we thought that was more of a “won’t vote for you in the privacy of the voting booth” type of prediction, not a “will actively campaign against you despite doing what they wanted” kind of way.

But, it seems that’s how loyalty to gun controllers is rewarded. Toomey’s opponent has been endorsed by the very same group whose leaders were kissing his rear back in March, likely knowing all along that they would throw him under the bus come the run up to November’s general election.

Good call there, Pat.

You know what I was doing 6 years ago in November? Casting a ballot for you, Pat, when polls opened and spending the rest of the day standing outside of a senior citizen’s center asking voters to support your candidacy. You know what I won’t be doing this November? Telling anyone about your campaign – other than the fine readers of this blog about how you screwed us and fell for every pathetic lie from the gun control groups. You can rely on your new best buddies at Ceasefire to help out instead, Pat.

Oh, wait, no, you can’t.

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