This is in reference to the events at the Summer 2015 meeting of the Nevada State Republican Central Committee in Winnemucca on August 29, and the resolutions that were passed to change the bylaws and rules of the Party. These changes are shown in:
Floor Resolution Amendments for R-104/R-105
The relevant sections of the NRS are listed under:
DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal assessment and commentary on these rule changes. My comments are not the official position of the Carson City Republican Party. I have not sought nor received approval by the executive board or by the central committee of the Carson City Republican Party. I offer my analysis and comment in an effort to explain, to those who are interested, what was adopted in the Winnemucca meeting of the Nevada Republican Central Committee.
It might help to have this critique and the corresponding document(s) open side by side on your computer’s screen.
The historical background is that in the 78th (2015) session of the Nevada Legislature there was a proposal (SB421) to eliminate the caucuses, to go with a statewide primary, and to move the primary from June to February to preserve our bragging rights as “first in the West.” This proposal died on the last day of the session.
Instead of reverting to the previous practice of letting county central committees run their own caucuses, the NRP moved to assert control over the county caucuses by means of Resolutions 104 and 105 to amend its Rules (a.k.a. bylaws).
It is my humble opinion that the National Republican Party (GOP), by pressuring the Nevada Republican Party (NRP) to change its rules, is proving the Democrats right about everything bad they say about the GOP. And there is no better proof than the resolutions adopted in the Winnemucca meeting of the Nevada Republican State Central Committee.
The sad fact which only adds to the bad light in which the GOP is cast by this action is that the campaigns of six presidential candidates wrote in support of these Rule changes.
Rules of the NRP
The problem with the Rules begins right at the top, by confusing the hierarchy of applicable precedence.
ARTICLE 3: DUTIES AND HEADQUARTERS
Section 1: The general supervision, regulation and direction of the Nevada Republican Party shall be vested in the NRCC, subject in the following order of priority to:
A. The Rules of the Republican National Committee;
B. These Bylaws;
C. The provisions of the Nevada Revised Statutes not in conflict with the foregoing.
What arrogance… The correct hierarchy should be:
1. The NRS; it is the rules of the NRP that shall not conflict with the NRS, not vice versa.
2. The rules of the national Republican Party.
3. These bylaws of the State Republican Party.
The problems with the Rules continue with the implied assumption that the NRS has nothing to say about county precinct meetings (that is, caucuses; historically the terms are interchangeable) and the county, state and national conventions. In fact the topics ARE mentioned and the (mostly general) requirements ARE laid out in NRS 293. The problems are that the Rules either duplicate the NRS without referencing it, or they are in conflict with the NRS, pretending that Party rules supersede State law. Although in many cases the NRS does defer to the Party rules for specific implementation details, in general it makes no provision for such a sweeping interpretation (see the Appendix, below).
However, the purpose of this Critique is to focus on the Winnemucca changes to the Rules, not to document the conflicts between the NRS and the Rules.
This resolution contains some rather shocking changes.
R-104 Section 1.1 (b) requires that presidential candidates be REGISTERED — for a fee — with the Secretary of the NRP.
First of all, the NRS makes no provision for candidates to register with the Secretary of a Party, nor the payment of a fee to a Party for such registration.
NRS 293.124, 293.177
Secondly, is the NRP now proposing that the Secretary of the NRP will decide who is allowed to be on the ballot and who will be denied? On what basis? The Rules do not specify on what basis the Secretary of the NRP will decide if a candidate shall appear on the ballot. The NRS was NOT changed to allow a party to do this.
R-104 section 2.1 (b) FORBIDS write-ins and “none of the above.”
This is a suppression of voter choice.
Until now “none of the above” used to be something special to Nevada. Write-ins and “none of the above” both are valid expressions of voter discontent with the selections presented on the ballot.
Prohibiting “none of the above” specifically violates the NRS. NRS 293.269
R-104 section 3 ELIMINATES BINDING delegates to the county convention. Applies binding only to Nevada delegates to the national convention.
Binding is not addressed in the NRS. However, past practice was to select delegates to the county convention in proportion to the popular vote in the presidential preference poll, and to bind the delegates to the county and state conventions accordingly.
This provision completely eliminates all incentive for voters to turn out for the caucuses or primaries.
What’s the point of voting if some other mechanism will ASSIGN delegates to candidates? (See R-105 section 4.1)
YOU MIGHT AS WELL NOT VOTE; stay home; this game is rigged.
R-104 section 4.1 (a) RESTRICTS ABSENTEE BALLOTS ballots to military personnel and their dependents.
This is another example of vote suppression.
The military are not the only ones with a good reason to vote by absentee ballot.
This is also a violation of the NRS, which also specifies other categories of voters who may vote by absentee ballot.
NRS 293.309, NRS 293.313, NRS 293.316
R-104 section 6.1 moves the precint meetings to TUESDAY and limits the time to between 5 and 9 PM.
This is another example of vote suppression.
Specifying this day and time severely limits participation by the people who are old, ill, hospitalized, working or committed to other duties and responsibilities. For that reason, counties used to run their caucuses and presidential preference polls all day on a Saturday.
There is no reason for this provision other than deliberate (and admitted) intention to restrict participation in the caucuses.
R-104 section 6.2 allows early voting — but only on the day of the caucus.
This is a distinction without a difference. a best, and yet another example of deliberate vote suppression at worst.
You might as well let the caucus — and voting — run all day, like we used to.
This is also a violation of the NRS, as it specifically allows early voting on or before the day of election or precinct meeting.
NRS 293.343, 293.345, 293.356
R-104 section 9, voting machines, duplicates provisions in the NRS and the functions of the county department of elections.
And as such, it is not needed. We already have the mechanisms in place. The Rules could simply include them by reference.
Resolution R-105, Delegate Binding Rules
R-105 section 1 requires that only delegates to the national convention be allocated according to the results of the Nevada presidential preference poll or presidential primary election.
Since effectively we have neither, what does this section even mean?
(1) R-104 section 3 renders any expression of presidential preference in the February caucuses totally meaningless. So does R-105 section 4.
(2) There is no presidential primary in Nevada. The June primaries are for all the lesser offices.
R-105 section 2 (a) and (b) mention the existence of SPECIAL TYPES OF DELEGATES: automatic, at-large, and congressional district (super-delegate) without reference to the enabling sections of the Rules or the NRS.
R-105 section 2 (c) specifies that all nominees to be at-large and congressional district delegates must be delegates to the State Convention.
This is very confusing.
Presumably each county is allocated a number of delegates that it can send to the State convention — and these delegates are elected without regard to their preference of presidential candidate, or their desire to be some kind of super-delegate?
Sections 2.1 a, b, c are in conflict with relevant sections in the NRS.
NRS 293.133, 293.145
R-105 section 2.6 specifies that a delegate is disqualified if he fails to uphold his obligation to support a specific candidate.
This is also confusing.
The Resolution from the Floor (below) specifically does not bind delegates to candidates.
How can a delegate fail his duty if he is not bound to a candidate?
The only time a delegate could do that is at the national convention; so if there is a need for a Rule change to address this problem,it belongs in the Rules of the National Republican Party, not here.
R-105 section 2.7 allows a nominee for super-delegate to indicate his preference of a presidential candidate.
But what’s the point, in light of R-105 section 4?
The only reason for allowing this is to impress and intimidate other delegates (the less than super delegates) who have chosen not to be bound to a candidate or are prevented by the Rules from being so bound.
R-105 section 3.3 does not specify how many at-large delegates there are, nor does it cite the section in the Rules that sets this number.
Is this a mechanism to stack the state delegation to the national convention in favor of a particular presidential candidate? (No….)
R-105 section 4.1 specifies that the Secretary of the NRP shall ASSIGN to each delegate and alternate to the national convention the obligation to vote for a specific presidential candidate.
The PEOPLE participating in the county caucuses and conventions are not allowed to bind the delegates to their preference of presidential candidate, but the Secretary of the NRP is???
Is this the mechanism where the secretary of the NRP brazenly, openly assigns the super-delegates to his preferred presidential candidate?
And throws the remaining delegates, like crumbs, to the other candidates?
Where is the safeguard against loading the State delegation to the national convention with delegates secretly committed to one presidential candidate, pretending to fulfill their assigned obligations on the first ballot, then (nod, nod, wink, wink) miraculously have a conversion of faith in favor of that particular candidate?
Who’s fooling who here?
Why not let the delegates be bound at the county conventions based on the popular vote in a presidential preference poll at the caucuses?
NRS 293.137 clearly implies some kind of proportionality between delegate count and the popular vote in a presidential preference poll.
R-105 section 5 formally requires delegates to be bound on the first ballot in the national convention.
But this rule is meaningless, in light of R-105 section 4.1.
R-105 section 6.2 introduces yet another category of delegate: “UNBOUND NATIONAL DELEGATE.”
Where do they come from, who elected them?
Which presidential candidate will they support at the national convention?
There is no mention of such delegates in the NRS.
R-105 section 7.1 provides that vacancies in the delegation to the national convention shall be filled by appointment, by the executive board of the NRP.
Yes, this seems practical, except that once again the people don’t have a say.
Who is on the NRP executive board and what are their relevant biases?
Will they appoint pro- or anti-establishment delegates?
BY THE WAY, the NRS has several sections specifically addressing the filling of vacancies, and none of them call for the executive board to fill them.
NRS 293.165, 293.166
Resolution From The Floor to Amend R-104
The amendment from the floor proposes further rather shocking changes to the changes proposed in R-104.
R-104 section 1.1 (c) is changed to DELETE the provision to count absentee ballots in full view of the participating electors.
This opens the door to the possibility of uncorrected “mistakes” in counting those ballots.
This provision also violates sections in the NRS relevant to ballot counting.
R-104 section 1.3 is changed to PREVENT FROM VOTING anyone who is more than 30 minutes late to the caucus.
This definitely is vote suppression.
Surely some people will have a good idea for whom they want to vote, without being harangued at the caucus.
Surely there would be “engaged, educated” voters who can’t get to the caucus on a weekday evening (see section 6.1).
This provision definitely violates NRS sections relevant to voting.
R-104 section 6.1 is changed to set the day and time of the caucus as TUESDAY, open beginning at 5 to 7PM and ending no later than 9PM.
More vote suppression.
Tuesday evening only does not leave much time for people to come out, especially in a culture that hurries home before dark or has some other obligation to work or family.
Why not let people come vote ALL DAY SATURDAY like we used to?
R-104 section 6.2 is changed to DELETE provisions for early voting.
More vote suppression.
Especially egregious because of the inconvenient day and time set in section 6.1.
This provision is also in specific conflict with sections of the NRS that address early voting.
NRS 293.343, 293.345, 293.356
R-104 section 12 is added to set the terms of a RECOUNT: (1) petition the Secretary of the NRP, (2) pay a $10,000 fee, and (3) allowed only if the initial results are close enough to affect the distribution of NATIONAL delegates.
First of all, NRS specifically directs the Secretary of STATE to ensure the integrity of a vote, and the Secretary of STATE or the county clerk to be in charge of a recount, not the secretary of the PARTY. The NRS was NOT changed to allow this.
NRS 293.124, NRS 293.400 – 293.435
Secondly, the Secretary of the NRP is NOT present in every county caucus at the same time, so there is an issue with the practicality of appealing in a timely manner.
Thirdly, if error or fraud in vote count is reasonably suspected (which should be decided by the electors present, not by the Secretary of the NRP), recount should be granted without having to post a punitive fee.
The only reason to make these changes is to ensure that the “establishment” — whoever, whatever they are or we think they are — gain and maintain iron grip control over both the proceedings at the county, state and national conventions and the ultimate selection of the Party’s presidential candidate. These rules are NOT designed to let the people have their choice.
And they very seriously brings into question, most relevant at election time, just what does it mean to be a “Republican”? These rules confirm the very worst of everything that the Democrats say to smear Republicans. THEY are the fascists (political correctness, 0bamacare, Common Core), THEY are the racists (“black” lives matter, open borders), THEY are the sexists (“women’s right to choose” so they can do commerce in baby parts), but things like this take the focus off them and put us in a very bad light — we suppress the vote…
It is immaterial whether the motivation for these changes is the desire to have orderly conventions and therefore preclude the ‘fiasco” caused by the “Ron Paul people” in the past, or the ‘fiasco” that the establishment fears will be caused by the “Rand Paul people” or “anti-establishment” candidates in this election cycle. The inevitable and only possible result will be that whoever is still determined enough (fool enough?) to participate in Party affairs will be discouraged from showing up unless they tow the party line. Only those who toe the line will be deemed to be the “engaged, educated”people entitled to express their preference among the presidential candidates. That is not democracy; that is a totalitarian dictatorship trying to claim legitimacy by pretending to be a democracy.
OK, let’s be charitable, let’s just say that today’s generals are always ready to re-fight yesterday’s wars. And so these rules are a response to the “problems” caused by the “Ron Paul people” in the recent past. Oh the horror; people are actually eager to participate… Oh the horror, they are libertarians… you know, the kind of fools who think the Constitution still matters… What the hell does a Republican stand for, if not the Constitution???????
Nevertheless, or either way, at this point the only way to combat this, and to send a clear and unmistakable message to the instigators and the “useful idiots” (Lenin’s term, not mine) who are desperate to find ways to justify such things, is to tell everybody, DON’T PARTICIPATE. What do you think the message will be, all across the nation, if NOBODY shows up for the Nevada caucuses and the primaries? Do you think then the “establishment” will be embarrassed and shamed into throwing out these rules? LET FREEDOM RING…
Here is a digest of the NRS sections that are relevant to the Rules and the Winnemucca changes.
The NRS does not mention “caucuses.” It does however mention “precinct meetings,” “conventions” and “delegates.” See NRS 293.137 below. And note that a “precinct meeting” that also expresses “preferences for candidates for the party’s nomination for President” is a CAUCUS…
The NRS also does not mention binding of delegates to a presidential candidate in a county, state or national convention.
NRS 293.130 County conventions: Place; notice.
NRS 293.133 Number of delegates from voting precincts to county convention.
NRS 293.134 Use of room or space occupied by State or local government by state or county central committee.
NRS 293.135 Precinct meetings of registered voters before county convention: Time and place; notice.
NRS 293.137 Election of delegates to county convention; procedure if precinct fails to elect delegates; certificates given to elected delegates; state central committee to adopt written procedural rules.
1. ….The meeting must be conducted openly and publicly and in such a manner that it is freely accessible to any registered voter of the party calling the meeting who resides in the precinct and is desirous of attending the meeting, until the meeting is adjourned. At the meeting, the delegates to which the members of the party residing in the precinct are entitled in the party’s county convention must be elected pursuant to the rules of the state central committee of that party. In presidential election years, the election of delegates may be a part of expressing preferences for candidates for the party’s nomination for President of the United States if the rules of the party permit such conduct. ….
NRS 293.140 County conventions: Manner of organization; authorized action of delegates.
NRS 293.143 County central committee: Number; change in membership.
NRS 293.145 Number of delegates to state convention.
NRS 293.150 State conventions: Place and actions; additional conventions.
NRS 293.153 Number of members of state central committee.
NRS 293.155 Rules of county and state conventions; delegate must be qualified elector; unit rule of voting prohibited.
NRS 293.157 State and county central committees: Terms of office; termination of membership; vacancies.
NRS 293.157 State and county central committees: Terms of office; termination of membership; vacancies.
NRS 293.160 State and county central committees: Election of officers and executive committee; other powers.
NRS 293.161 Right of participation as delegate to county or state convention or member of county or state central committee.
NRS 293.163 Selection of delegates and alternates to national party convention and members of national committee by state convention in presidential election year.
2. Delegates to such conventions shall be selected in the same manner as prescribed in NRS 293.130 to 293.160, inclusive, and each convention shall have and exercise all of the power granted it under NRS 293.130 to 293.160, inclusive. In addition to such powers granted it, the state convention shall select the necessary delegates and alternates to the national convention of the party and, if consistent with the rules and regulations of the party, shall select the national committeeman and committeewoman of the party from the State of Nevada.
(Added to NRS by 1960, 242; A 1995, 2623; 2007, 3162)