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DNC Change Commission Report

Hot of the presses!  Here’s the report of the DNC Change Commission which recommends pushing back early primary and caucus dates and clustering states, making superdelegates pledged to candidates, and improving caucuses.  The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee will consider the recommendations and incorporate them (as appropriate) in the 2012 Democratic National Convention Delegate Selection Plan.   Chairman Kaine’s cover letter is below the fold. 

  DNC Change Commission Report (513.3 KiB, 1,593 hits)

Dear DNC Members,

President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to a presidential nominating process that is as inclusive and accessible as possible.  To that end, last spring I appointed the Democratic Change Commission—a panel created as a result of a resolution unanimously passed during the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver—to reexamine and recommend changes to the Democratic Party’s rules for the 2012 Presidential nominating and delegate selection process.

Per the resolution’s mandate, the Democratic Change Commission was tasked with three important goals: 1) to change the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held; 2) to significantly reduce the number of unpledged delegates; and 3) to improve the caucus system.

The Commission was made up of 34 members and was co-chaired by Senator Claire McCaskill (MO) and Congressman James E. Clyburn (SC). Its members represented a diverse mix of DNC members, elected officials, representatives of State Parties, academics, organized labor, grassroots activists, and other Party leaders. 

After many meetings, months of discussion, and input from the public and Democratic allied groups, the Change Commission this December made its final recommendations to the Rules and Bylaws Committee by unanimous agreement. A summary of the Commission’s recommendations are as follows: 

·    Timing of presidential primaries and caucuses: The Commission recommends pushing back the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held so that the pre-window could not begin until February 1st or thereafter, and the primary window could not begin until the second Tuesday in March or thereafter.  Second, the Commission suggests an incentive system to encourage states to regionally cluster their contests and/or hold their contests later in the nominating calendar so as to avoid frontloading in the calendar. 

·    To significantly reduce the number of unpledged delegates: The Commission recommends: 1) the category of unpledged add-on delegates will no longer be allocated and 2) converting unpledged delegates (DNC members, Democratic Members of the House and Senate, Democratic Governors and Distinguished Former Party Leaders) to a new category of pledged delegates called the National Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official (NPLEO) delegates, which will be allocated to Presidential candidates based on the state-wide primary or caucus results.  These individuals would also have the option of attending the convention as a non-voting delegate.  In either case, they would receive the same floor credentials and housing as others in their state delegation.  The NPLEO designation continues to recognize the important role our party’s leaders play and will ensure that they continue to have a voice and role in the nominating process and at the convention.   

·    To improve the caucus system: The Commission recommends establishing a “Best Practices” program to help states improve and strengthen their caucuses, keeping in mind that different types of caucuses are used within the Party and that state parties often have limited resources with which to work.  The “Best Practices” program would help states adequately plan, organize, and staff caucuses and maximize the opportunity for full participation by all Democratic voters. 

These recommendations reflect the Commission’s mandate to make sure voters’ voices and preferences are paramount in our process of nominating a Presidential candidate.  They also recognize the important role party leaders play at the Convention and throughout the nominating season.  Finally, the recommendations follow through on President Obama’s promise made during the election to reexamine and improve the Democratic primary process and are an important statement about the direction our Party is going and our priorities as we look to 2012 and beyond.

Please take some time to read the enclosed report.  As the process moves to the Rules and Bylaws Committee, we are excited to work with DNC members to ensure our process produces the best and strongest possible nominee and upholds our ideals of openness, fairness, and accessibility—ideals that are central to our values as Democrats.  Thank you for your support as we work through this important process.


Tim Kaine

Chairman, Democratic National Committee

2 thoughts on “DNC Change Commission Report”

  1. The timing section of Mr. Kaine’s cover letter above says the primary window begins the “second Tuesday in March”. However, on page 18 of the attached report, the first point under Recommendations says “first Tuesday in March”.

    Do you know which section is correct? I would assume it is the first Tuesday.

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