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DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee – July 10, 2010 – # 1 Frontloading

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The Committee reviewed the draft Call – Articles 1-5, to be completed (Articles 6-8) at August 18 meeting.

But first – clarified that unpledged delegates must declare their presidential preference, but “uncommitted” is a presidential preference.

Call Article 1 – Distribution of Delegate Votes– allocation among states, assignment of alternates, and discussion of “bonus delegates,” e.g., to reward states for moving back in the process.   Changes – increase number from 3000 to 3700 delegates, bonus delegates, eliminate add-on unpledged delegates, change alternate allocation to 1 alternate per 12 delegates: if a candidate meets a threshold in a state, but no alternates are available, DNC may award additional alternates.

As recognized by the Change Commission, the goal is to reduce “frontoading” (early caucuses and primaries) and encourage clustering, e.g., the 2008 Potomac Primary (VA, MD, DC).  In 2008, bonus were  used to reward backloading, NC did so, but few other states did.  In 2008, states didn’t really benefit from going first.  Rules will encourage states voluntarily to move back, cluster (but not at the beginning of the process).  Proposal – award a 5% bonus if primary is held between April 15-May 15, 10% if held between May 15- June 15, and an additional 15% if cluster.   DNC/RBC to work with states, encourage communication among states.  Looking for “mini-regions,”e.g. 3-4 contiguous states, not 15-20 states.

  • Calendar bonus applies to states that have primary during the calender period – not just a reward for states’ moving.
  • If we increase to the 3700 delegates, are we limiting our choices re convention hall?  We are evaluating it.
  • Constantly floating calendar increases uncertainty, and can reduce participation; so want to get it set.
  • RNC in the past tried bonus system – with bigger bonuses – but didn’t work.  Last year, DNC  gave 15% and 30% bonus to move back, didn’t work for us.  Regional system offers greater benefits to the states – enhances existing benefits.
  • RNC still has its penalty for going before the window.  They have for the first time  proporational representation in early primaries.  In 2008, RNC did cut the delegations 50% for pre-window violators, but then restored the votes.
  • RNC will finalize recommendation at end of June.  The full RNC will meet the first or second weekend in August.  Their recommendations re calender window are contingent on DNC adopting the same rules.  If we don’t go along, they revert to starting first tuesday in February.
  • Question as to whether this bonus system helps small states enough,  suggest providing weighting to benefit small states.
  • Based on the change in the window opening (from Feb to Mar), 30+ states will have to move anyway – but this incentive might make them move to later in the process.
  • DNC should make sure that this information gets out to all state central committee members who may push it, not just the chairs [doing my part]
  • The decisions are made by the state legislatures – they may not care about the convention, but care about state attention – clustering part of the equation may be most important.
  • As a practical matter – Presidential candidates move the calendar.  The big fight in 2012 will be on the GOP side and that will likely drive the bus.  It would be helpful to get information at next meeting re GOP state party plans. 

RBC voted to endorse the concept of the bonus structure –  they will have discussion in telephone conference or at August meeting re details.

UPDATE:  See comments for more on bonus delegates

2 thoughts on “DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee – July 10, 2010 – # 1 Frontloading”

  1. Mr. Leone,

    In your DNC RBL frontloading notes of 7/10/10

    1. You wrote:
    “RNC still has its penalty for going before the window. They have for the first time proportional representation in early primaries. In 2008, RNC did cut the delegations 50% for pre-window violators, but then restored the votes.”

    The RNC did not restore the votes to their non-compliant states. On 8 November 2007 the Republican National Committee voted 121 to 9 to sanction 5 states for beginning their Presidential Nominating Process prior to 5 February 2008 in violation of Party Rule 16. Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina, and Wyoming will each lose half of their delegates to the National Convention.

    A number of states (including Iowa) held events prior to February 5, 2008 but as long as the event did not select National Convention delegates, the states were not penalized. For example, Iowa held non-binding precinct caucuses on 3 January 2008. Note that this GOP “start date” rule is significantly different than the Democratic “First Determining Step”.

    Yes, the GOP penalized New Hampshire– the state was cut from 24 to 12 delegates. New Hampshire protested their penalty during the roll call.
    Reference Note 2: After the Chair announced 12 votes for New Hampshire, the delegation announced that they cast 24 votes for McCain. At this point, the Chair announced 12 votes for McCain.

    Here are the details of the math used by the GOP to compute there delegate counts.
    Simplified version without all the math.

    2. You wrote
    “RNC in the past tried bonus system – with bigger bonuses – but didn’t work. Last year, DNC gave 15% and 30% bonus to move back, didn’t work for us. Regional system offers greater benefits to the states – enhances existing benefits.”

    While what you wrote is true, the reality is the big print giveth and the small print taketh way. The bonus was applied to the district and at-large delegate votes– instead of the entire delegation. The way the math worked, Guam’s 30% bonus turned out to be only a 12.5% increase in delegate votes for a total of 1 additional delegate vote. Not much of an incentive.

    2008 Bonus Delegate Allocation Jurisdiction
    Bonus as Awarded Actual / Percent Increase in Delegate Votes /Number Of Additional Delegate Votes

    Guam 30% 12.50% 1
    Indiana 10% 7.59% 6
    Kentucky 10% 7.14% 4
    Montana 10% 4.17% 1
    North Carolina 30% 21.82% 24
    Oregon 10% 6.56% 4
    Pennsylvania 5% 3.89% 7
    Puerto Rico 10% 6.78% 4
    South Dakota 10% 4.55% 1
    West Virginia 10% 5.41% 2
    Totals 54

    In 2000, the GOP had a similar system where the bonuses were significantly less than “big print” advertizements. This type of “bonus” never much caught on.

    I reverse engineered the math used by the Democrats in 2008 to compute the bonuses.

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