Because of recent rumors, I decided to attend the Credentials Committee meeting to ascertain the truth for myself. If the GOP is to maintain faith with the people, it is essential that the rules are followed transparently and efficiently.
In the case of credentials, votes on all elections for rules, officers, platform and resolutions depend upon getting an accurate count of qualified delegates.
In previous conventions, problems and confusion in registration and credentialing have left a feeling of suspicion and distrust in many. If we are to unify the GOP, in addition to diligently and fearlessly pursing our principles, we need to restore faith in the process itself. What I observed today indicates that Chairman Weston and others in positions of leadership and responsibility want to do just that.
The stated goal, echoed by many, was to have a more efficiently run, more transparent convention. No one who has attended recent conventions would want it any other way. Many of us have invited new people to conventions, only to have them mark that off their list of things to do forever. We obviously can’t grow the party and get people involved if something as important as a convention is a mess.
So what about that April 7 registration deadline?
That is the date the staff wants to get as many registrations in as possible so that the convention can start on time and run efficiently, and not be unduly delayed by a traffic jam at registration. That’s a reasonable request, that I would certainly suggest you register on line by the deadline. I will.
If you don’t pre-register, you can still show up by 9 am at the convention April 11 and register. If your name is on the list submitted by your county chairman, you fill out the forms, pay your fee, and get your delegate badge. If your name is not on the list, get your county chairman and take it to the Credentials Committee. Bring your photo ID or equivalent to prove you are the person registered. Sounds sensible to me.
One other reason to pre-register is in case you are late arriving. Provision has been made for updating the credentials report at least once, adding anyone who registers on site that was not preregistered. That’s if you have a flat tire, etc., getting there. Theoretically, if I understand the process, a person could show up and check in, or even register, just prior to a credentials update before a vote. Although this provision is in the spirit of accomodating those who come late, it could raise some questions at the event.
What about counting and recording those votes?
The procedure for voting seems reasonable and transparent. It involves mulitple checks and reports. While no system is foolproof, this one looks like it should work well. If someone was determined to cheat the system, it would most likly be at the County Chair level. Only personal integrity will prevent someone from voting the ballots of someone who has left the convention and passed then on, in violation of the rules.
On a reassuring note, it appears that ex-State Chair and current State Auditor, Gary Jones, will be nominated as Convention Chair. As an elected, statewide official, and auditor at that, his reputation can be helped or hurt by how he conducts the convention. I expect him to perform that role such that all agree he did an excellent job that is beyond reproach.
A minor rules change is needed.
Though not part of the official credentials business, many of the relevant rules were reviewed and discussed. There was consensus that the Rules Committee should re-visit Rule IV on Election of Party Officials, Section C concerning runoffs. As currently written, in the case of a run-off election, there is no provision for additional time for the remaining candidates to address the convention, unless they are tied.
Since we have three strong candidates running for State Chair, it is highly likely that we will have a runoff. It would only make sense to allow the remaining two to address the convention for at least 90 seconds more to make their case to those who voted for the eliminated candidate. Hopefully the Rules Committee, when it reconvenes, will agree with the consensus of those at today’s meeting and amend this part of the rules.
[I’ve always found it odd that we have time to listen to run on political speeches at conventions, only to rush the time available to hear more from our candidates about their plans if elected.]
I urge everyone who was elected a delegate to the State Convention to attend. This is a crtitical time for our nation and our state. We need to elect officers who will do what needs to be done at this time — to build the grassroots into a strong enough political force to elect, and hold accountable, representatives at the state and local levels who will consistently apply our foundational principles to public policy.
Remember: 50 % + 1 vote wins any election. Make a difference at this important time. Register early. Study the candidate’s platforms and plans. Show up. And vote. I will.