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Convention floor erupts when no roll call taken to change rules to unbind delegates

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., listens to a voice vote on the adoption of the rules during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Convention floor erupts when no roll call taken to change rules to unbind delegates

Over angry and prolonged objections from anti-Donald Trump forces, Republican Party leaders approved rules for their national convention on Monday and rejected a demand for a state-by-state roll call vote, a discordant start to a gathering designed to project unity.

Despite demands from social conservatives and other Trump foes for a roll call, hundreds of socially conservative delegates opposed to nominating Trump protested noisily after the convention’s presiding officer, Arkansas GOP Rep. Steve Womack, abruptly put the rules to a vote and declared them approved by voice.

“Call the roll, call the roll,” opponents shouted. Practically drowning them out were chants of “USA, USA” by Trump supporters and party loyalists.

Minutes later, Womack had the convention vote by voice again, with both sides shouting their votes lustily.

The voice votes occurred even though earlier in the afternoon, dissident delegates submitted petitions from a majority of delegates from what they said were at least nine states — seemingly sufficient to force a roll call vote under party rules.

GOP leaders have wanted to avoid that vote, which was likely to lose but they feared would be embarrassing and highlight party divisions.

Womack said some delegates had withdrawn their signatures and that petitions from three of those states no longer qualified. That left the insurgents short of the seven states needed by GOP rule to force a roll call. (AP)

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