Wednesday, February 20, 2008

DNC Primary Rules/Disenfranchisement of FL & MI Voters




by Andre Walker

Here's some background on DNC rules, and this research covers those rules pertinent to early primaries. Of course, the devilish details are not reported in the big newspapers or covered by major television news programs. Doesn't anybody in the media check the facts anymore? The DNC has a Convention Credentials Committee and anyone concerned about Election Integrity should be contacting them as well as the Rules Committee. (We're talking over 1.7 million Dem voters in Florida -- an all-time record-breaking turnout -- who have been disenfranchised by its own Party).

Note to the DNC: Apply the rules equally & fairly.

As a prelude to this diary, I am serving notice to anyone who may feel the need to opine about how the Florida & Michigan delegations should not have their voting rights restored at the Democratic National Convention; and how it is breaking the rules by seeking to have those two states' delegations votes count in Denver; notice is hereby given that before you hit that "submit" button to post your comments, you better make damn sure that what you're saying is consistent with the Charter & Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States, the Call to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention, and the Regulations of the Rules & Bylaws Committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Ladies & Gentlemen, this whole mess surrounding the state delegations from Florida and Michigan is a result of the Rules & Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee not strictly adhering to the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention by applying the rules equally and fairly to all states.

Rule 11.A. of the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention states the following:

11. TIMING OF THE DELEGATE SELECTION PROCESS

A. No meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states, and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) may be held prior to the first Tuesday in February or after the second Tuesday in June in the calendar year of the national convention. Provided, however, that the Iowa precinct caucuses may be held no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the Nevada first-tier caucuses may be held no earlier than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the New Hampshire primary may be held no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February; and that the South Carolina primary may be held no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February. In no instance may a state which scheduled delegate selection procedures on or between the first Tuesday in February and the second Tuesday in June 1984 move out of compliance with the provisions of this rule.

We already know that Florida and Michigan violated Rule 11.A. by moving their primaries to a date before the first Tuesday in February. There is no argument there, but what about Iowa, New Hampshire, and yes, South Carolina too.

Rule 11.A specifically set the date for the primaries & caucuses for those three states as "no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February" (Iowa), "no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February" (New Hampshire), and "no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February" (South Carolina).

Iowa held their caucuses on January 3rd. That's more than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February. New Hampshire held their primary on January 8th. That's more than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February. And South Carolina held their primary on January 26th. That's more than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February.

Under Rule 11.A., five states were in violation of the Democratic National Committee's Delegate Selection Rules, and as such, all five states should have been punished under Rule 20.C.1.a.

Violation of timing: In the event the Delegate Selection Plan of a state party provides or permits a meeting, caucus, convention or primary which constitutes the first determining stage in the presidential nominating process to be held prior to or after the dates for the state as provided in Rule 11 of these rules, or in the event a state holds such a meeting, caucus, convention or primary prior to or after such dates, the number of pledged delegates elected in each category allocated to the state pursuant to the Call for the National Convention shall be reduced by fifty (50%) percent, and the number of alternates shall also be reduced by fifty (50%) percent.

In addition, none of the members of the Democratic National Committee and no other unpledged delegate allocated pursuant to Rule 8.A. from that state shall be permitted to vote as members of the state's delegation. In determining the actual number of delegates or alternates by which the state's delegation is to be reduced, any fraction below .5 shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number, and any fraction of .5 or greater shall be rounded up to the next nearest whole number.

Yes, you read that right; under Rule 20.C.1.a., Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and South Carolina would have all lost their super delegates and had their pledged delegates reduced by half since they all violated Rule 11.A.

However, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina weren't punished fairly. In fact, they weren't punished at all. And what about Florida & Michigan? Well, we all know what happened to them.

Instead of strictly adhering to Rule 20.C.1.a. and reducing their pledged delegates by 50%, the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee decided to take it a step further. The DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee exercised the authority granted to them by Rules 20.C.5. and 20.C.6. which allowed them to "impose sanctions the Committee deems appropriate." And what were those sanctions the Committee deemed appropriate? Stripping two of the largest states in the union of all their votes at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Ladies & Gentlemen, this is what happens when the rules aren't applied equally and fairly. And as I said before, this mess is a result of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee not applying the rules equally and fairly.
So, the next time someone starts talking about the rules, might I suggest two courses of action:

1.) Read the damn rules first!

-and-

2.) Let them know that the rules were bent to allow for Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to keep their preferred first-in-the-nation status.

6 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

This post is like from a disenchanted Democrat, not an anarchist revolutionary. Why give the Dems advice?

blackstone said...

Even though i posted the article, i am not the author. Even though i think bourgeois elections are disenfranchising in nature, i think this debate is a good one and opens up potential in FL and MI for grassroots struggle.

The more people question, debate and believe that they have a right to vote and to influence decisions in proportion to which they are affected, the better.

At the same time, i have alot of African readership, especially those who believe that America offers true democracy and i want to highlight how it is not so.

I'm not trying to legitimize bourgeois elections, i'm want people to accept certain anarchistic principles and values, one which i mentioned, to build the new in the shell of the old.

Doug said...

What Mr. Walker fails to point out in his article is that the Democratic National Committee reviewed and endorsed the date changes by the other states as they kept the relative order in tact.

Florida and Michigan decision makers grandstanded, flouting the rules they agreed to and held their votes early, even though prior to those votes being held the DNC made it quite clear their delegates would not be seated. Yes, this is indeed different than the rules state.. that's why they had to vote on it happening instead of the head of the DNC announcing what the rules indicated the punishment would be.

Do you think that the people of Michigan or Florida's voices have truly been heard in a vote held under those circumstances?

I'm sorry I do not see this as the DNC disenfranchising these voters, at least not by their current actions. The decision makers of Florida and Michigan did that with full warning ahead of time that they were doing so.

blackstone said...

Thanks for the reply doug. I'm not all too familiar with the technicalities. But whethere it was the DNC or the Michigan and Florida decision makers, do you agree that because of their decisions, the residents have been disenfranchised?

Doug said...

I most definitely do agree. I am completely surprised that none of those voters have taken a serious effort at starting a recall petition to pull those decision makers out of office.

When it comes to representative government, silencing your constituents voices sure as heck ought to be an impeachable offense.

I've been reading about this and discussing it a bit in my livejournal and i have to agree with a number of Michigan residents who are feeling like some of the media spotlight on this issue is actually blaming the citizens and not the decision makers.

The citizens of Michigan and Florida have a right to be heard, so I'm all in favor of a re-vote occurring. There just is not a lot of time to organize that, so I suspect that the decision makers who moved up the primary date will hem and haw and delay till it is too late.

With every day they do delay, the citizens of Michigan and Florida ought to be collecting signatures to make sure those decision makers aren't making decisions for the citizens ever again.

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating and, for once, someone did some digging to explain this DNC action or inaction based on pedantic thinking; that which allowed a few people on the rules and bylaws committee (Alexis Herman - yes, she did come up through the Clinton administration, as the first appointed female black labor secretary [thanks again Bill you also gave us Bill Richardson, super delegate for Obama), James Roosevelt, and Phil McNamara, to make the brilliant decision to dismiss those politicians in those two states (among the most populous and, I should add, two of the most distressed); certainly Michigan needs to be silenced - too many poor unfortunates there, who have already been through the recession or dare I say depression the rest of the country is now entering into. I wonder what words were used when this discussion was finalized between the group. I can imagine something like, "yeah, just strip 'em - will show those women govs who's in charge...after all, we are the DNC and we have the power!" Fools that we are, us multi million voters have no right to opine. We are the apathetic masses, after all! Wait, voters of the US, shouldn't you all be as outraged as I? As a child, my teacher told me that it was my constitutional right to vote, but alas, I'm so naive! I should have understood that the Democratic National Committee rules (Senator Dean once had a promising campaign in 2000, who'd a thunk it) and has the wisdom and authority to make fit decisions that should eliminate my vote; any right to vote should then be waived. Certainly, it makes sense; I should realize how damaging it was for the state government conspirators to think they could do something so damaging to our national interest! What gives them the right to want more prominence in the sceme of things when so much hinges on what they do in Iowa and New Hampshire! They always were the most important states! The rest be damed! Thank you for this article, truly, because I'm even more incredulous that I was before. I grew up watching the democrats make huge blunders and my heart would bleed. Now they don't even care if I vote for them! We are all under the umbrella-ella of the SUPER DUPER delegates; perhaps under our new-age democracy, they will prove to be as wise as the bylaws committee chair persons! I must tell myself, NO, NO how could I possibly envision, in the corner of my mind, McCain as our new...NO! PLEASE DNC and let us go back; back to the way we were...