The DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee met in Washington today to review and give conditional or final approval to approximately 25 state 2012 Democratic National Convention Delegate selection plans.  Some states, e.g. Florida, have yet to come before the RBC.  It will consider remaining (and resubmitted plans) at its September 9-10, 2011 meeting, held in connection with the Fall DNC Meeting in Chicago.   Some highlights:

  • The 2012 rules provide for bonus delegates for states that stay or move later in the process and/or form regional clusters.  At the last meeting, the RBC has approved plans of 13 states that provide for a total of 88 bonus delegates; other plans considered today that had bonus delegates included Michigan (27) and Puerto Rico (9).  Some states that have had their plans approved may subsequently join join clusters and will receive  bonus delegates.
  • If an approved state receives additional delegates, it will apply its affirmative action goal percentages to the new total.
  • In response to the RBC’s request, the staff provided a summary of waivers granted and DNC Secretary’s Office prepared a report on state delegation compliance with affirmative action goals in 2008.
  • As was the case at the last meeting, there was extensive discussion of affirmative action goals.  Concerns were raised about over-representation as well as under-representation of groups.   Next time around, the RBC is likely to provide additional guidance regarding, e.g., data to use to develop goals.
  • Some members claimed that the some states’ 15-20% inclusion goals for people with disabilities was too high.  In fact, the 2000 Census identified 1 in 5 as people with disabilities.  (Although more recent sources put the number at 10%  or 12%, but I think with different definitions).  Years ago, Ed Turner provided a very interesting and moving presentation to the State Central Committee about how to involve people with disabilities.  The RBC might benefit from some education on this important issue.
  • The RBC granted some minor date waivers (e.g. candidate filing deadlines, as in Va.).  I do not believe that the Committee has yet reviewed any state plans whose primary/caucus dates are not within the March-June window.
  • Maine asked for a waiver to avoid use of the 15% threshold rule.  The Committee said no.
  • A number of states have obtained waivers allowing all alternates to be elected at large, because the reduction (by 700) of the total number of alternates means that not every Cong. Dist. gets an alternate.  (Some flexibility makes sense, but it will interesting to see how many positions are being moved away from the more grassroots CD level.)
  • A couple of states requested waiver from the fixed caucus date/time rule, instead offering a window of several days or different hours for local caucuses.  The RBC did not approve those waivers – uniformity is necessary to provide for fairness and openness.
  • Illinois has a higher requirement for signatures for delegate candidates than the rules provide, but the statute provides that national party rules apply in the case of conflict.  We should take a shot at this approach in trying to reduce the 10,000 signature requirement for presidential candidates in 2016.  (DNC has a 5,000 signature requirement.)
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