Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Travis Executive Committee decisions on 2012 (Apr. 21st) Convention Cycle

March 27th, as expected, turned out to be the largest and most contested Travis GOP Executive meeting of the last two years.  On the bright side, the quorum that attended allowed us to appoint 9 new precinct chairs who had been recommended by the vacancy committee.  It appears that Travis County does now have the new voter registration in the new precincts available on-line.  However, note that for purposes of the SD Conventions, old precinct numbers (from 2010) will still be used; if you are in a precinct with changed numbering, it would help if you had your old voter registration card as well as your new number.  We also note that some new precinct chair vacancies have opened due to splitting of large precincts and certain renumbering that has happened.

The Travis GOP had two important recorded votes at the March 27th (2012) meeting.  First, a vote on hearing a Resolution regarding Precinct Caucusing was narrowly defeated 35-37.  The point of that resolution (included below) was to have the Travis CEC recommend Precinct Caucusing to the Temporary Rules Committees.  Second, an intense debate on holding Precinct Conventions prior to the SD Convention finally ended in a defeat of the motion to hold precinct conventions by a vote of 29 - 43.   I argued and voted in favor of both of the defeated motions.

What this means is the Temporary Convention Committees that meet on April 16th and April 17th will be extremely important as to how the SD Convention conducts business - including the critical issue of how State Delegates and Alternates are selected.

Moreover, according to a strict interpretation of the rules, it is possible for the outcome of the temporary rules committee (which determines, among other things, how State GOP Delegates are chosen) to not be known until the morning of April 21st.  This would mean that a rule giving all authority to at-large nominating committees - which would take away Precinct Caucusing to select delegates, would have to be challenged and modified in a floor contest; and such a floor contest certainly plays into the strength of the temporary Convention leaders and those who have decades of experience working these political conventions.


"Be it resolved that the Travis CEC recommends county SD Temporary Rules Committees to allow a Precinct Caucus, at the SD Conventions April 21st (2012), for the purpose of selecting State Delegates and alternates, consistent with the same Rules in effect from 2006 through 2010."

Don Zimmerman, SD-14 SREC
Many precinct chairs and convention goers are unaware that SD Convention Precinct Caucusing, for the purpose of electing state delegates and alternates, is a relatively new rule which must be established by the SD Temporary Rules Committee.  If Precinct Caucuses are not established in temporary rules, the default will be that ALL state delegates will effectively be chosen by the temporary chairman’s appointed at-large Temporary Nominations Committee.  Starting in 2006, Travis County began utilizing this rule (which was already in place in other metro counties like Bexar and Harris) and it has proven popular; in fact, choosing State Delegates is listed by many as their most meaningful vote of the entire SD Convention. 
Precinct Caucusing is a more representative way of doing Convention business, and in years past has been a faster way to pick delegates; I served on the SD-14 at-large nominations committee in 2008 – the Precinct Caucuses chose delegates in 15 minutes, while the at-large committee took hours.  Precinct Caucuses permit the larger GOP precincts (that have 300 or more Rick Perry votes) to choose their own State Delegates, while the nominations committee still has delegate slots to fill at-large at their own discretion.
Please note that authority and responsibility for setting the Precinct Caucus rules should (and does) reside with the SD Temporary Rules Committee – there are different considerations for each SD and they must set their own rules.
This Resolution merely highlights this very important rule and, if approved, would express the desire of the entire TCRP group to have Precinct Caucuses on April 21st.

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