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Presidential Nominating Schedule Memo 021111

Presidential Nominating Schedule Memo 021111

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TO:   Members of the Republican National Committee and Interested Parties FROM: RNC Counsel’s Office
DATE:            February 11, 2011
RE: New Timing Rules for 2012 Republican Presidential Nominating Schedule
On August 6, 2010, the Republican National Committee (“RNC”) amended the timing rulespertaining to the 2012 presidential nomination process.  It is crucial that those responsible ineach state for determining the timing and process for selecting, allocating or binding delegatesto the 2012 Republican National Convention are aware of these changes so that they can makesure their state is in compliance. The new requirements, contained in Rule No. 15(b) of 
TheRules of the Republican Party
(the “Rules”), as well as important background and interpretiveinformation, are contained herein.  
Text and Summary of New Timing Rules 
The following Rule No. 15(b) language will govern the 2012 Republican presidentialnomination schedule.  This amended language is followed by a brief summary of therecommended amendments. Rule No. 15: Election, Selection, Allocation, or Binding of Delegates and Alternate Delegates (b) Timing. (1) No primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to thenational convention shall occur prior to the first Tuesday in March in the year inwhich a national convention is held.  Except Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina,and Nevada may begin their processes at any time on or after February 1 in the yearin which a national convention is held and shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph (b)(2) of this rule. (2) Any presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting held for the purposeof selecting delegates to the national convention which occurs prior to the first dayof April in the year in which the national convention is held, shall provide for theallocation of delegates on a proportional basis.
  2 (3) If the Democratic National Committee fails to adhere to a presidential primaryschedule with the dates set forth in Rule 15(b)(1) of these
(February 1 andfirst Tuesday in March), then Rule 15(b) shall revert to the
as adopted by the2008 Republican National Convention. Subsection (1) of the amended language moves the beginning dates of the 2012 presidentialnominating process to later in the year; no earlier than February 1 for the states of NewHampshire and South Carolina; and it provides that Iowa and Nevada are also included inthe list of states allowed to go earlier in the process.  Similarly, Subsection (1) moves thebeginning date for all other states later to no earlier than the first Tuesday in March.Furthermore, it excludes the four states allowed to begin their processes in February fromthe new proportionality provision. The new Subsection (2) requires that any state holding its presidential nominating processprior to April 1 include some form of proportional delegate allocation, as determined by thestate.  Any state holding its process on or after April 1 would still be allowed to allocatedelegates on a winner-take-all basis. The new Subsection (3) provides that if the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) failsto adhere to similar start dates as set forth in the amended Rule No. 15(b), the start datesrevert to the original dates currently found in
The Rules of the Republican Party
.  It isimportant to note that the DNC has adopted those dates, and therefore, the new Rule No.15(b) is and (barring a highly unlikely last-minute change by the DNC) will remain ineffect.
History of the Amendment to Rule No. 15(b)
 The 2008 Republican National Convention created the Temporary Delegate SelectionCommittee (the “Committee”) with the addition of Rule 10(d) in the Rules, with thefollowing mission: “to review the timing of the election, selection, allocation, or binding of delegates and alternate delegates pursuant to Rule No. 15(b) of these rules to the 2012Republican National Convention.”  This Rule explicitly established the composition of theCommittee membership to include members of the RNC as well as Republican non-Members.  In addition, it clearly stated that any recommendations proposed by theCommittee must be presented to the full membership of the RNC at the 2010 RNC SummerMeeting.  The Rule also explicitly provided that the recommendations “shall be voted uponwithout amendment by the Republican National Committee” and “shall require a two-thirds(2/3) vote to be adopted.” This language represents the first time that a Republican National Convention has given theRNC limited flexibility to change the Rules between national conventions.  This newauthority allowed the RNC to work with the Democratic Party for the first time indeveloping a consensus presidential nominating schedule that attempts to avoid a nationalprimary. 
Proportional Allocation Requirement for Nominating Processes Held Before April 1st
 Any state (other than the four states allowed to conduct their processes in February)conducting its process prior to April 1, 2012 must allocate its delegates proportionally, butthe definition of “proportional allocation” is left to each state’s individual discretion,subject to a final determination in accordance with the
.  The determination to leavethe definition to a state’s discretion is in recognition of the Republican Party’s establishedpractice of allowing each state to determine its delegate selection process.  The RNCdesires to avoid encroaching upon each state’s authority as much as possible, while at thesame time balancing the needs of both promoting order within the process and allowingmore states to be involved in the selection of the Republican presidential nominee.  As aresult, the amended Rule No. 15(b) reflects a compromise of requiring “proportionalallocation” in some form for states conducting their process earlier in the schedule, whileleaving the definition to the discretion of each state and giving states that want to awardtheir delegates on a winner-take-all basis the freedom to do so as long as they wait until atleast April 1
. The Committee thoroughly discussed the definition of “proportional allocation” andadopted some language during its May 5, 2010 meeting to help provide guidelinesassociated with the new provision that the Committee determined would allow a state tocomply with the proportionality requirement.  These guidelines were provided to the fullRNC in advance of the RNC’s vote approving the rule change and constitute importantlegislative history that the RNC recommends states take into account in craftingproportional allocation rules: 
“‘Proportional allocation basis’ shall mean that delegates are allocated inproportion to the voting results, in accordance with the following criteria: i. Proportional allocation of total delegates based upon the number of statewidevotes cast in proportion to the number of statewide votes received by eachcandidate shall be the default formula for calculating delegate allocation, if no specific language is otherwise provided by a state. ii. If total delegate allocation is split between delegates at-large and delegatesby congressional district, delegates at-large must be proportionally allocated based upon the total statewide results. iii. If total delegate allocation is split between delegates at-large and delegatesby congressional district, delegates by congressional district may be allocated as designated by the state based upon the total congressional district results. iv.  A state may establish a minimum threshold of the percentage of votes received by a candidate that must be reached below which a candidate may receive nodelegates, provided such threshold is no higher than 20%.

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