Sunday, February 21, 2010

LP bylaws amendment proposal (delegate allocation)


Article 11, Sections 4 and 5 of the Libertarian Party's bylaws reads as follows:

4. Affiliate Party Delegate Entitlements:

Each affiliate party shall be entitled to send delegates to each Regular Convention on the following basis:

a. One delegate for each 0.14 percent, or fraction thereof, of the total Party sustaining membership in that affiliate; provided that at least one such delegate must be a resident of that State or District.

b. One delegate for each 0.35 percent, or fraction thereof, of the votes cast nationwide for the Libertarian Party candidate in the most recent presidential election, cast in that affiliate's state.

5. Delegate Allocation:

In order to be counted for delegate allocation, sustaining membership applications must be sent to the National Headquarters by either the individual member or the affiliate party and received or postmarked no later than the last day of the seventh month prior to the Regular Convention. The Secretary shall make a count of the sustaining members qualified under the requirements set forth here and shall compute the delegate allocations for the affiliate parties. Notification of the sustaining membership totals and allocation totals shall be sent by the Secretary to the Chair of each affiliate party no later than the last day of the sixth month prior to a Regular Convention. A list of the names and addresses of all delegates and alternates chosen by each affiliate party shall be sent to the Credentials Committee no later than one month prior to start of the first general session of the Regular Convention. Amendments to such lists may be made by the affiliate parties and submitted to the Credentials Committee until the close of the Credentials Committee meeting preceding the Convention. The number of alternates' names submitted shall not exceed the greater of 50 or the number of delegates allocated. Failure to submit a listing of delegate/alternate names and addresses, as prescribed within these Bylaws, shall cause no delegation to be registered from that affiliate party. By seven-eighths vote, the Convention may approve additional delegates and alternates whose names and addresses are submitted to the Credentials Committee during the Convention.

I'd like to see it moved (in the bylaws committee's report, or from the floor) that the following replacement sections be adopted:


4. Affiliate Party Delegate Entitlements:

Each affiliate party shall be entitled to send delegates to each Regular Convention on the following basis:

a. Two delegates for each state.

b. One additional delegate for each US House District in each state.

5. Delegate Allocation: The Secretary shall make a count of the US House Districts in each state and shall compute the delegate allocations for the affiliate parties. Notification of the allocation totals shall be sent by the Secretary to the Chair of each affiliate party no later than the last day of the sixth month prior to a Regular Convention. A list of the names and addresses of all delegates and alternates chosen by each affiliate party shall be sent to the Credentials Committee no later than one month prior to start of the first general session of the Regular Convention. Amendments to such lists may be made by the affiliate parties and submitted to the Credentials Committee until the close of the Credentials Committee meeting preceding the Convention. The number of alternates' names submitted shall not exceed the number of delegates allocated. Failure to submit a listing of delegate/alternate names and addresses, as prescribed within these Bylaws, shall cause no delegation to be registered from that affiliate party. By seven-eighths vote, the Convention may approve additional delegates and alternates whose names and addresses are submitted to the Credentials Committee during the Convention.

Some effects of this change:

- The LP's national convention delegate representation would mirror the Electoral College, which in turn mirrors America with only slight distortion (due to the "base" delegate number).

- The maximum number of possible delegates would remain stable and known in advance for a decade at a time (congressional districts are re-allocated pursuant to the US Census). If this amendment were in place at this time, the maximum number of delegates to the LP's 2010 convention would be 538.

- The maximum number of delegates would be smaller than at present (1000+). As it happens, the lower number correlates more closely to the number of delegates who actually show up (for example, 600-odd delegates were present on the floor in 2008 for the presidential nomination vote). This would allow convention planners to procure smaller, cheaper meeting facilities instead of renting a bunch of empty extra room for delegates who could theoretically show up, but who in practice never do.

- Three other sections of the bylaws (Article 8, Section 2c; Article 11, Sections 7b and 7c), which refer to sustaining membership statistics, would also need to be modified to get rid of "as determined for (Convention) delegate allocation(s)" language.

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