CLEVELAND — As the Republican National Convention gets underway Monday in Cleveland, there are still questions about the process that are puzzling Arizona voters.
At the top of the curiosity pile is a simple question with a complex answer: Are the state’s delegates forced to vote for presumed candidate Donald Trump?
Yes. And no.
Under Republican Party rules, Arizona delegates are bound by state law to vote for the primary winner during the first ballot. All delegates attending the convention and their alternates are required to pledge to follow the rules.
However, a post listing the state’s delegates encourages them to “remember that you have offered to serve the Republican voters from your party, and please keep in mind the wishes of your constituents who selected you as their delegate to National Convention,” implying an element of freedom.
Earlier this month, Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham told delegate Lori Hack that she would not be making the trip to the Cleveland convention after she said she would not vote for Trump.
A group called Delegates Unbound posted a short article that said Hack would be allowed to retain her seat at the convention. However, she was denied her credential by the party after arriving in Cleveland.
But what would have happened if Hack carried through with her promise to vote against Trump, despite the New York billionaire winning the state’s March 22 primary which awards all 58 delegates to the victorious Republican candidate?
Should a delegate or delegates go against the rules, their vote does not count.
“If any delegate bound by these rules, state party rule or state law to vote for a presidential candidate at the national convention demonstrates support under Rule 40 for any person other than the candidate to whom he or she is bound, such support shall not be recognized,” the party’s rules state.
But there is no set punishment for delegates who refuses to carry through with their vote.
Several delegates failed to vote for Arizona primary winner Mitt Romney in 2012, instead voting for Ron Paul. Though they broke the rules, they were not punished, Tim Sifert, spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party, told USA Today.
KTAR’s Jim Sharpe and Carter Nacke are in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention all week. Stay with us for ongoing coverage, both on-air and online.
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