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DNC RBC finalizes 2024 Call and Rules – Except Early Primaries

The Democratic National Committee Rules & Bylaws Committee met in Washington DC on August 6, 2022 to finalize the draft 2024 Democratic National Convention Call, Delegate Selection Rules, and proposed Charter and Bylaws amendments – these will be considered by the DNC at its September 8-10 meeting.  The RBC, however, had postponed its discussion of the pre-window primary calendar until after the mid-term elections.  The RBC will likely convene in early December to make a decision as to which states are granted waivers, subject to a ratification vote of the full DNC.  You can see the RBC meeting on the DNC YouTube channel here:

For the first time since the 2008 cycle, the RBC took a hard look at the states whose contests are recognized to occur prior to the March 5 – June 11, 2024 window.  Since 2008, those states have been Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.  A total of 20 states submitted submitted applications, of which 17 are still being considered.  One key issue in allowing states to go early is “feasibility” – i.e. will the state legislature/governor enact legislation necessary to establish an early primary date?  The answers should be clearer after the November 2022 elections.

After the extensive revisions to the Delegate Selection Rules enacted in response to the Unity Reform Commission recommendations in the 2020 cycle, the RBC adopted only limited changes to the Rules.  The most important change may be to the Rule 21 provisions enforcing the calendar/timing decisions.  If a state is not granted a waiver but insists on holding its contest in the pre-window period, the new rules provide that candidates campaigning in that state “shall” (rather than “may”) not receive delegates from that state, the DNC chair may enforce other sanctions (debate exclusion was an issue discussed), and “campaigning” is defined expressly to include placing or not withdrawing a candidate’s name on the primary ballot.

The RBC also adopted my amendments to  Rule 2 Participation (voter protection), inter alia, to require State Parties to report on their efforts to fight election subversion.  It also changed Rule 12.B to allow states to require presidential candidates to pre-file prior to the presidential election year and deleted the Rule 15.D requirement that presidential candidate filing requirements be limited to those in place in 1994 – both provisions had been the subject of numerous waiver requests.

The RBC rejected a Rule14.B amendment which would have expressly authorized ranked choice voting and imposed requirements on states using this process.  (You can see here my opposition to this amendment, and use of RCV in the DNC’s proportional representation delegate selection process, on the You Tube at about 1:36 to 1:42).  We will likely discuss this issue again.

During the adoption of the Call, there was some discussion of reducing the total size of the Convention (4,500 delegates in 2020), and/or reducing the number of or eliminating the bonus delegates for late primaries and primary clusters, but no changes were recommended this cycle.  The Democratic Convention has twice as many delegates as the Republican Convention and its size limits the cities/venues it can use as well as making it unwieldy.  The RBC did increase the number of convention pages (but not convention page seats) from 157 to 20, and made other minor changes to the Call.

The RBC adopted the recommendations of an ad-hoc working group established to review the DNC Charter and Bylaws.  Most of the changes were relatively minor, although we did adopt new provisions expressly allowing for Virtual Meetings for the DNC and its committees – State Parties should adopt similar provisions going forward.  (We also adopted my proposal to add Voting Rights to the “Democratic Party Credo.”)