DNC Continues Work on Rules for 2016 Delegate Selection Process ...1 of 2 >
Aug. 1, 2014 - Meeting at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) largely completed its work on drafting the party's 2016 delegate selection rules. A significant portion of the morning was devoted to a presentation by Iowa Democratic Party chairman Scott Brennan on proposals the IDP is considering to expand partipation in the caucuses and a discussion of those proposals.  Work on the delegate selection rules went quickly as much had already been accomplished at the RBC's May 2 meeting, and the changes being made were mostly minor and technical.  (For example, members engaged in an interesting discussion on the number of signatures required to place presidential candidates on primary ballots, which is set out by the state laws, but is also the subject of delegate selection rule 14, which says the number "shall not exceed 5,000."  RBC member Harold Ickes said that number is "unduly burdensome."  Members of the Committee decided to take up the question of reducing the number to 2,500 at the next meeting).  The Committee will be meeting again on August 22 in conjunction with the DNC summer meeting in Atlanta, and it is expected that full DNC will approve the delegate selection rules on August 23.
Committee co-chairs James Roosevelt, Jr. (MA) and Lorraine Miller (TX). 

After a working lunch, members of the RBC went through a draft of the "Call to the 2016 Democratic National Convention," which sets out details of how the convention is to be conducted.  Here again the discussion went smoothly. 

- Committee members tentatively set the base number of delegates for 2016 at 3,200, down from 3,700 in 2012.  (The total number of delegates when unpledged and bonus delegates are added is significantly higher.  In 2012 there were 5,556 total delegates, in 2008 4,440 and in 2004 4,353; these numbers do not include alternates.  Patrice Taylor, DNC director of party affairs and delegate selection, noted that the large number of delegates has deterred some cities from bidding to host the convention.  Taylor said that from five to seven of the 32 cities the DNC sent letters to earlier this year in its site selection process noted that size was a concern). 

- The addition of a delegation from the Northern Mariana Islands will increase the number of delegations from 56 to 57. 

- There were various minor tweaks; for example "pencil press, radio, internet, and television" was changed to "print press, radio, online, and television." 

- An interesting change concerned management of the Convention.  Recent conventions have been managed by a Democratic National Convention Committee.  Counsel explained that the DNCC was primarily a mechanism to accept federal funds.  Earlier this year Congress passed and President Obama signed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, ending federal funding for the national party conventions.  The Call allows the establishment of a DNCC or not as the DNC sees fit.

- RBC member Harold Ickes questioned language stating that, "The Chair(s) of each standing committee shall call and preside over each committee meeting..."  Ickes suggested that a significant minority of members of a Convention standing committee should also be allowed to call a meeting.  The RBC deferred action on this question, which member Elaine Kamarck noted "potentially could be a very significant change."

- Ickes raised another question about the language on roll call votes and whether it violated the DNC's unit rule prohibition.  After checking the Charter & Bylaws members decided to give themselves three weeks to think about it (at their next meeting).

- Finally, members considered a proposed new section in the Appendix, outlining a challenge procedure to remove infiltrators (a delegate who "affirmatively demonstrates that he or she is not faithful to the interests, welfare, and success of the Democratic Party of the United States, and/or will not participate in the Convention in good faith and/or whose participation in the Convention will be disruptive to Convention proceedings.")  RBC members expressed reservations about the section.  Ickes recalled then DNC chair Ron Brown had viewed Jerry Brown as disruptive in 1992.  Someone else brought up the example of Fannie Lou Hamer challenging Mississippi's all white delegation at the 1964 convention.  "Do we really need this?" Kamarck asked.  Members voted against making the change.
Although the DNC had also reserved the room for Saturday morning, the RBC was able to complete their work shortly before 4 p.m., and concluded the day with a reception. 
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