Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How many delegates will your state send?

For many states, sending a full contingent to the Annual National Meeting is cost-prohibitive. Personally, I'd like us to find a city with a helpful Convention Bureau, low air fares, union hotels and a decent environment and hold all our national meetings there. Loads of groups do this. My only caveat would be, not in Nevada please. We compulsive gamblers can't even think of going there. Hell, and city with big time gambling would be bad for me.

Anyway, the GNC passed Proposal 158, which authorizes states to use proxys. Here, thanks to Marc Sanson of IL, is the language:
The following language was inserted into Article II, section 2 of the bylaws:“A delegate to the National Committee may cast an additional vote at a National Conference in place of an absent delegate, as long as the total number of votes cast for that state does not exceed its total allowed votes on the National Committee, or twice the number of voting delegates in attendance."

Now, here's the thing. There is discussion of charging states to use these proxy votes as an effort to fund the party's diversity goals. That is, if SC has three delegates, we can send one person and get two votes, but must pay for the second vote, send two delegates, with one having an extra vote, and having to pay for the extra vote and get three votes, or send three, pay more in convention fees and still get only three votes.

But if a state sends proxys, and pays for them, that leaves cash to send to states with delegates who can't self-finance. This I think is a great idea. I also think it's a great idea to exempt those few states, like FL, who have returned money to the national party recently to help in the cash crunch.

Of course, votes is certainly not the only thing a state gets by attending the national meeting. Opportunities to meet and network with folks from other states may well be more important to your state than a position taken on a resolution of one sort or another. I know, for example, if South Carolina sent three well organized people splitting responsibilities for meeting every state co-chair, swapping cards and giving them a list of things we need to know, like how to raise funds or recruit party membership, we would have a better shot at a good outcome over the next year than if we send three who go, listen, debate, make points and "win" on this or that platform issue.

It's about what is important, and frankly, no one really gives a damn what the USGP thinks should be done about abortion in Mexico, crime in Beijing or the crisis in Sudan. That doesn't mean we don't have proper responses to those issues, but that we must focus on what we can do.

And that is typically local with global impacts. It's a long drive. It's a hard road. But all the other roads seem to be leading to planetary destruction.
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