PROPOSED TEMPORARY AND EMERGENCY CHANGES TO RPT RULES
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The various orders of the federal three-judge panel in Perez v. Perry have postponed the 2012 general primary election to a date which makes it impossible for the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) to conduct the convention procedure set forth in the Texas Election Code and the Rules of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT Rules). RPT Rule 1 allows the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) to make temporary and emergency changes to the RPT Rules in the event judicial action makes the “conduct, operation, or implementation of [the] Rules … frustrated or impracticable, or contrary to their intent and purpose.” RULES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS, Rule 1(c). These changes, if approved by the SREC, will be valid until such time they are ratified by the State Convention, or until the adjournment of the State Convention, whichever comes first. Id. However, pursuant to Section 163.006, Texas Election Code, any further amendments made to these Rules made by the State Convention which govern or affect the Republican Party of Texas’ general or runoff primary elections, conventions or nominees, would not be effective until January 1, 2013.
SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS
SECTION 1. Amends RPT Rule 13 to eliminate the quorum requirement to convene a County or Senatorial District Convention. Allows the maintenance of a quorum so long as the persons in attendance comprise more than fifty percent (50%) of the total voting strength of the Convention and a majority of the seated precincts are present.
SECTION 2. Strikes RPT Rule 19 and inserts a new RPT Rule 19A allowing for a Local Option Precinct Convention. A county executive committee (CEC), by two-thirds (2/3) vote may elect to hold precinct conventions in their county under the RPT Rules in effect on October 2, 2011, provided that that vote occur not later than fourteen (14) days prior to the date scheduled for county and senatorial district conventions, and further provided that the CEC publicize the local option precinct convention among all Republican voters in the county by, at a minimum, posting the date, time, and location(s) of such convention(s) on the county party’s website and email list, and providing a copy to the State Chairman for posting on the RPT website no later than seven (7) days prior to the date proposed for the local option precinct convention. If the county party has neither a website nor an email list, the CEC must publish an advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the county by the same deadline. Failure to comply with the notice provision precludes the county from holding a local option precinct convention. In the event a local option precinct convention is held in the county, the RPT Rules in effect on October 2, 2011 that govern precinct conventions and the selection of delegates to county and senatorial district conventions shall be used in that county instead of those Rules as amended in this amendment.
SECTION 3. Strikes RPT Rules governing the conduct of precinct conventions.
SECTION 4. Amends RPT Rule 23 to remove language relating to precinct conventions.
SECTION 5. Amends RPT Rule 23A to clarify that the 2010 General Election precincts will be used in conducting County or Senatorial District Conventions. In the event a senate district splits a 2010 precinct, the State Chairman shall provide maps and delegate allocation totals to County Chairmen for use in the convention process. Provides that if no valid districts exist for senate districts one week prior to the date for senatorial district conventions (as determined by closure of the reopened filing period) all counties shall only have county conventions and delegates/alternates from those counties to the State Convention shall be chosen in a manner that ensures geographic distribution of those delegates/alternates is roughly proportional to the geographic distribution of the votes cast for the Republican nominee in the last gubernatorial election. In this event assignment to senate and congressional districts will be made at the State Convention. Sets out a voting strength of 1 vote for every 25 votes cast for the Republican nominee in the last gubernatorial election for each precinct at the County or Senatorial District Convention regardless of the number of persons present from that precinct. Eliminates the cap on State Convention delegates and alternates, and option for CECs and Senatorial District Executive Committees (SDEC) to modify delegate allotments. Provides that delegates and alternates will be assigned to congressional districts at the State Convention
SECTION 6. Amends RPT Rule 24 to remove language relating to precinct conventions.
SECTION 7. Amends RPT Rule 25 to establish that participants in a convention must be a registered voter who has affiliated with the Republican Party. Affiliation may be accomplished by voting in the Republican General Primary or by oath. Specifies oath prescribed by Texas Election Code, and provides that the oath may be executed orally or in writing, provided however that a written record, including a person’s signature, full name, permanent address, and voter unique identification number (VUID) must be maintained of all persons executing the oath and included in the minutes of a convention. The written record shall be certified by the Permanent Chairman and Permanent Secretary of the convention and three copies prepared and delivered to the County Chairman, State Chairman and chief elections officer of the county. Additionally an electronic list of all VUIDs of participants must be sent to the State Chairman. Provides that the oath must be accompanied by a notice of criminal penalty for participating in another party’s convention or primary in the same voting year. Disqualifies a person who participates in another party’s primary or convention from serving as a delegate, alternate, party officer, or nominee of the Republican Party at any level for the remainder of the voting year. Removes language relating to precinct conventions. Requires each CEC to publicize the County or Senatorial District Convention among all Republican voters in the county by, at a minimum, posting the date, time, and location(s) of such convention(s) on the county party’s website and email list, and providing a copy to the State Chairman for posting on the RPT website no later than seven (7) days prior to the date set for the convention. If the county party has neither a website nor an email list, the CEC must publish an advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the county by the same deadline.
SECTION 8. Amends RPT Rule 26 to remove language relating to precinct conventions.
SECTION 9. Amends RPT Rule 27 to remove language relating to credential challenges of precinct delegates. Provides that credential challenges of county/senatorial district delegates must be made within seven (7) days of the county or senatorial district convention.
SECTION 10. Amends RPT Rule 28 to provide for county conventions in all counties in the event senatorial districts are not set, as evidenced by the close of filing for the general primary, one week prior to the date set for county or senatorial district conventions.
SECTION 11. Amends RPT Rule 29 to remove language relating to precinct conventions and delegates.
SECTION 12. Amends RPT Rule 30 to require administration of the Oath of Affiliation as the first item of business at the County or Senatorial District Convention. Requires a roll call of precincts represented. Requires the announcement of the separate and combined voting strength of each precinct. Removes the Report of the Credentials Committee as an agenda item.
SECTION 13. Amends RPT Rule 32 to require that state delegate and alternate lists include a VUID for each delegate and alternate and be submitted in electronic form to RPT.
SECTION 14. Amends RPT Rule 33 to allow electronic mailing of convention call to delegates and alternates. Requires SREC members to recommend temporary committee members and caucus chairs within 10 days of the County and Senatorial District Conventions.
SECTION 15. Amends RPT Rule 38 to provide that withdrawn or deceased presidential candidates votes be deemed votes for uncommitted delegates and alternates; deletes language relating to replacement of delegates of withdrawn or deceased presidential candidates. Deletes language relating to assignment of uncommitted and committed delegates and alternates at State Convention. Requires the State Chairman, upon the SREC’s canvass of the presidential primary, to assign delegates in proportion to the statewide presidential vote. Clarifies that RNC members are uncommitted delegates. Provides for announcement of vote at national convention on a directly proportional basis related to the statewide presidential vote, with no poll taken of members for announcement of the vote. Allows for replacement of vacant delegate and alternate positions by the Chairman of the National Nominations Committee of the State Convention. Requires that delegates and alternates affiliate with the Republican Party by oath or voting in the Republican Primary.