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

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  • July 10, 2010July 22, 2010

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