Policies and Procedures for Selection and Conduct of GPCA Delegates to the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention

Subject: Policies and Procedures for Selection and Conduct of GPCA Delegates to the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention 

Presenter: GPUS Delegation. Contact Sanda Everette, Co-coordinator (sanda@greens.org), Warner Bloomberg (wsb3gpus@aol.com)

Background and Purpose: The GPCA is affiliated with the Green Party of the United States (GPUS). One of the most important elements of that affiliation is that the GPCA sends delegates to the Quadrennial Presidential Nominating Convention (QPNC),  where the GPUS nominees for U.S. President and Vice President are decided. Each state affiliated Green Party (GP) establishes its own procedures for appointing its delegates to that national meeting, although the GPUS has additional rules and deadlines for credentialing state GP delegates to the QPNC (). Both the 2003-2004 rules and 2007 rules adopted by respective GPCA General Assemblies of Delegates expressly had sunset clauses and expired because each was an experiment in the GPCA’s ongoing development. The current GPCA Delegation proposes that the polices and procedures adopted in May 2007 be readopted as standing policies and procedures (i.e, without an expiration date). A copy of the rules and procedures adopted at that time follow this proposal as an addendum that is the full detailed text of the proposal.

Following the 2004 QPNC, various complaints were expressed that delegates assigned to vote for a particular candidate in the first round of voting at the GPUS QPNC -- based on the proportional distribution of the 2004 GPCA Presidential Primary votes – failed to follow that candidate’s instruction or voted for a different candidate in the second round of voting.

The 2007 version of those rules attempted to address those concerns by providing a process each candidate to designate a slate of delegates to be appointed relative to the 2008 Primary election results, with additional delegates to be appointed from a pool provided by County GPs to fill in positions not filled by the candidates lists. This addressed the process criticism that 2004 delegates were simply assigned to candidates randomly from volunteers at the 2004 Spring Plenary. The 2007 rules also was a compromise between two philosophical positions – that convention delegates should be directed by and follow the instructions of the candidate to whom they were pledged rather that delegates at the QPNC should be considered GPCA representatives and act as such. The 2007 rules bridged the tension between those two viewpoints by providing that, after the first round of voting for the nominee, in subsequent ballots the GPCA delegates would caucus to determine if there was consensus on how to cast the GPCA votes, and, if consensus could not be reached on any ballot, the delegates were released to vote individually as each considered in the best interests of the GPCA. These provisions eliminated any claim on the part of a candidate to control a delegate’s actions after the first round of voting, while at the same time understanding that any delegate appointed from the slate of a particular candidate likely would be strongly inclined to follow the recommendations of that candidate (e.g., a candidate ineligible for the ballot after the first round).

The 2007 rules repeated the Plenary decisions from 2003 and 2007 that first round ballots should be cast in proportion to the GPCA Presidential Primary results. It also provided provisions for establishing a Delegate Selection Committee to receive candidate slates before that election, and to serve as the California credentialing body to the GPUS convention Credentials Committee. Other miscellaneous provisions are evident in the following text.

Proposal: The General Assembly of Delegates adopts the text of the policies and procedures for the selection and conduct of California GPUS QPNC delegates, previously adopted in May 2007, amended to remove references to the 2008 GPUS QPNC, and renumbered as follows, as permanent policies and procedures until such time as any future amendments may likewise be adopted by a GPCA General Assembly of Delegates. Upon adoption those policies and procedures will be published as Article II of the GPUS Rules and Procedures.

Committee Process: General discussion of the subject of this proposal was held by the GPCA Delegates during its December 2011 and March 2011 teleconferences, and discussion of this specific proposal was discussed on its email list and at its teleconference in June 2011 and was approved by a 15-0-0 vote of the Delegation between August 29 and September 3rd August 2011 using its standard on-line voting procedure.

Timeline: Adoption at the December 2011 General Assembly of Delegates, December 3rd and 4th in Los Angeles. Promptly communicate the policies and procedures to GPUS presidential candidates and the GPUS Presidential Candidates Support Committee (assign these tasks to the GPCA Delegation and/or CCWG Co-Coordinators). Also immediately constitute a Delegates Selection Committee (DSC).

GPUS Presidential Convention Rules (2-7.1 Deadline for Submission of Delegate Plans) state that "At least 120 days prior to the convening of each Presidential Nominating Convention, each state's Green Party shall submit to the Credentials Committee, a Delegate Plan for selecting and instructing its delegation. Since the California presidential primary is on June 5th, and since the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention is likely to be held sometime from late June to mid July, this deadline will be impossible to meet. Therefore the DSC and/or GPUS Delegation should petition the convention Credentials Committee for an extension of time to identify GPCA convention delegates and alternates because of that circumstance.

Resources: Time and energies by DSC members to facilitate the QPNC candidates slates delegates appointments and overseeing their timely convention registration in order to likewise appoint replacements from County GP pool backup delegates if the former category fails to timely register for the QPNC. Possible travel and lodging subsidy of GPCA National Committee members who are expected to personally attend the GPUS Annual National Meeting held concurrently with the QPNC who also may be QPNC delegates or alternates, but unless past practices are changed in the GPCA Budget for FY 2012-2013 no funding otherwise of QPNC delegates or alternates. The GPUS Delegation may submit a supplemental budget request for DSC expenses (telephone and copying and travel for in-person committee meetings, if necessary). Time and energies to electronically post the policies, if adopted. Time and energies by the current bylaws compiler(s) to add the proposal as an addenda to the GPCA Bylaws.

Addendum: Text of Proposal

ARTICLE II Policies and Procedures for Selection and Conduct of GPCA Delegates to the GPUS Presidential Nominating Convention

Section 2-1 Delegate Selection Committee

2-1.1 Appointment of Delegate Selection Committee

A special group called the Delegate Selection Committee shall be formed for the duration of each Presidential election cycle, not later than 180 days prior to the California Presidential primary election. It shall consist of eight members: two members appointed by the Electoral Reform Working Group (ERWG), two appointed by the California GPUS delegation, two appointed by the Campaigns and Candidates Working Group (CCWG), one appointed by the GPCA Bylaws Committee, and one appointed by the GPCA Coordinating Committee. No presidential or vice-presidential candidates or current campaign staff for these candidates are eligible to serve to the Delegate Selection Committee.

2-1.2 Responsibilities of Delegate Selection Committee

The Delegate Selection Committee shall be an ad hoc committee of the General Assembly empowered to select and credential the California delegation to the national Presidential nominating convention in accordance with the methods described in the following Sections.

Section 2-2 Delegate Allotments

2-2.1 GPCA Delegation The applicable Green Party of the United States (GPUS) rules and committee(s) shall determine the maximum number of delegates allotted to the GPCA for the national Presidential nominating convention. The maximum number of alternates shall be the same as the number of allotted delegates.

2-2.2 Candidate Allotments The number of delegates allotted to each candidate shall be determined according to the percentage of votes each receives in the California Green Party Presidential primary election. Candidate slate delegates are only bound to vote for the candidate for the first round convention vote; candidates do not control or have any right to bind the delegates of their allotted votes after the first ballot. A candidate shall be entitled to at least one GPCA first round delegate vote only if the candidate receives a number of votes in the Primary Election at least equal to the number of total votes cast for President in the primary divided by the total number of GPCA delegates determined in Paragraph 2.1. Candidates who do not receive this minimum number of votes do not qualify for first round GPCA delegate votes at the national convention. The Delegate Selection Committee shall determine which candidates are entitled to at least one first-round vote, and then use the Method of Equal Proportions, referenced in the appendix to the GPCA Bylaws, to allocate the number of delegates to candidates.

2-2.3 Write-In Candidates Except as otherwise provided, write-in votes, to the extent that write-in votes can be tabulated, shall be included in calculating the delegate allotment to candidates. As used in these rules, write-in votes include write-in votes both for candidates certified as write-in candidates pursuant to the Elections Code of the State of California and for candidates who receive determinable votes even in the absence of such certification. The Delegate Selection Committee shall make every effort to collect available information on write-in votes prior to the delegate selection process.

2-2.4 None of the Above Until “None of the Above” (NOTA) can be included as a voting alternative in the GPCA Presidential primary election, NOTA votes shall be calculated from those candidates ( who have not sought the nomination in another political party in the current election cycle) who did not receive enough votes to qualify for at least one delegate as described in the preceding sections. If a candidate does not wish to be represented by a NOTA vote in the event of receiving insufficient votes to qualify for a first round delegate, the candidate may choose to have the number of his/her voters omitted from the calculation by notifying the Delegate Selection Committee prior to the Presidential primary. The Delegate Selection Committee shall total the votes for those candidates who did not qualify for at least one delegate, including ascertainable write-in votes for certified write-in candidates, and excluding those candidates who chose to be excluded and those who have sought the nomination of another political party in the current election cycle. If the cumulative total of votes for NOTA exceeds the qualifying threshold established in Section 2.2, then the number of delegates resulting from the calculation shall be pledged to vote NOTA in the first round of voting at the national nominating convention.

2-2.5 Protecting party integrity Notwithstanding any other provision of these rules, unless the GPCA General Assembly approves an exception, any candidate who has sought the nomination for President or Vice President by another political party in the current election cycle shall not be entitled to receive any GPCA delegate votes, and write-in votes for such a candidate shall be disregarded in calculating first round ballot NOTA votes. “Seeking the nomination” of another political party is defined as announcing candidacy in that party, accepting delegates or votes in the national convention or nominating process of that party, or achieving the national nomination of that party. The delegation may decide, by consensus or 80% vote, to waive this restriction, with the exception that no votes may be cast for a candidate who has sought the nomination of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party in the current election cycle.

2-2.6 County and Diversity Allotments Each active county and diversity caucus recognized as such by the GPCA shall be entitled to at least one delegate and one alternate on the delegation. The committee shall calculate the total number of delegates assigned to each active county, using the Method of Equal Proportions referenced in the appendix to the GPCA bylaws. Under-represented diversity groups are defined as racial or other diversity groups that are under-represented in the Green Party by a factor of two or more relative to their proportion of the California population (e.g., African American, Hispanic). The Delegate Selection Committee shall define these groups and their recommended allotments to the best of their ability, using estimates where exact figures are unavailable, for the sole purpose of delegate selection for the national convention of the current electoral cycle. The committee shall use its judgment to determine a recommended allotment that best compensates for under-representation of diversity groups without leaving seats on the delegation empty.

Section 2-3 Delegate Slates

2-3.1 Delegate slate method As described in the following Paragraphs, delegate slates shall be submitted to the Delegate Selection Committee by ballot-qualified Presidential candidates and certified write-in Presidential candidates as well as by each recognized active GPCA county organization (Paragraphs 3-2 and 5-4.2 of the GPCA bylaws) and recognized diversity caucuses, in accordance with the following criteria.

2-3.2 Membership requirement All potential delegates and alternates submitted on delegate slates must be members of the GPCA (Paragraph 3-1.3 of the GPCA bylaws) at the time the slate is submitted and must remain members of the GPCA through the time of the convention in order to ultimately serve on the delegation. Candidates, active counties and recognized diversity caucuses shall verify the valid GPCA membership of each person listed on their delegate slate prior to submission of the slate.

2-3.3 Candidate representation through elected slatesVoters for each candidate will be represented by a delegate slate submitted by their candidate of choice. The Delegate Selection Committee shall appoint a GPCA member to recruit a delegate slate for those who voted for “None of the Above” (NOTA) and non-qualifying candidates. The person appointed to recruit the NOTA slate shall be a person considered by the committee to hold a similar political viewpoint to NOTA voters.

2-3.4 Diversity of candidate slates When drafting their slates of approved delegates, candidates must strive for racial diversity, gender balance and balanced geographical representation in addition to representation of their political views, to the extent possible for their slate size. Candidates are expected to make every effort to compensate for the under-representation of under-represented diversity groups with active recruitment of potential delegates for their slate from those constituencies.

2-3.5 County and recognized diversity caucus delegate slates Recognized active county organizations and any diversity caucus recognized as such by the GPCA shall provide a pool of potential delegates and alternates from which the Delegate Selection Committee shall fill those delegation seats not filled by candidate slates.

2-3.6 Diversity of county slates When drafting slates of approved delegates, county parties shall strive for racial diversity and gender balance to the extent possible for their slate size. County parties are expected to compensate for the under-representation of under-represented diversity groups with active recruitment of potential delegates for their slate from those constituencies.

2-3.7 Submission of delegate slates Candidates, active counties, and diversity caucuses shall submit their list of names of potential delegates and alternates, along with contact information for each person listed, to the Delegate Selection Committee no later than 60 days prior to the California Presidential primary election.

2-3.8 Publication of candidate delegate slates To provide transparency to voters, the Delegate Selection Committee shall publish all submitted candidate delegate slates at least six weeks prior to the Presidential primary election on the GPCA cagreens.org Website. The IT group shall provide a link to these slates from the GPCA home page, at least until the national nominating convention. The URLs of the candidate delegate slates shall be published in any issues of Green Focus that are published between Web-publication of the lists and the Presidential primary election.

Section 2-4 Delegate Selection

2-4.1 Selecting delegates from slates The Delegate Selection Committee shall choose delegates to the national nominating convention from submitted slates according to the process detailed in the following Paragraphs.

2-4.2 Method of selection from delegate slates The Delegate Selection Committee shall select the first available delegate from each unrepresented allotment, in order of size of total allocation (determined by the Method of Equal Proportions). Delegates from candidate slates shall count toward the county allotments of their respective counties and toward diversity allotments of any diversity group to which they belong. Preference shall be given to candidate slates to fill county and diversity allotments until either the candidate allotments are filled or the candidate runs out of delegates to meet the county or diversity allotment. Diversity criteria described in Paragraph 4.4 may slightly alter the order of selection. This process shall be continued until each allotment either runs out of proposed delegates or is fully represented. After delegate selections are complete, alternate selections shall proceed in the same manner, with an alternate for a specific delegate being chosen from the same candidate, county or diversity allotment wherever possible, and in that order of precedence. Delegates and alternates who can not attend are replaced by those lower on the respective slate, in order. Since potential delegates may be listed on more than one candidate’s, county’s or caucus’s slate, the Delegate Selection Committee must track when a delegate has been assigned to a candidate, and if so, to which candidate, to prevent a delegate from being assigned twice.

2-4.3 Unfilled delegate allotments If a candidate has not submitted a slate by the deadline or if a candidate’s list runs out before their allotted delegation has been filled, the Delegate Selection Committee shall appoint the remaining number of delegates from county and diversity caucus slates without input from the candidate. If all delegate slates run out before all allotments are filled, the committee shall attempt to recruit GPCA members for the delegation, making every effort to fill the various allotments.

2-4.4 Diversity of selection Wherever possible, the Delegate Selection Committee shall adhere to the Method of Equal Proportions order for the rotation between slates and the order of delegates on the slates for the actual selection of delegates and alternates. The committee shall also endeavor to select a delegation that includes at least one delegate and one alternate from each recognized active county organization, includes at least 45% each of male and female delegates, and meets the diversity allotments defined by the committee pursuant to 2.6 of these Procedures. The committee shall use its judgments to weigh the various criteria and determine if an alteration of the selection order is necessary to best meet the criteria. If such an alteration is deemed necessary, the committee may alter selection order within the following restrictions. If necessary to achieve a diversity allotment, the committee may choose the next person of an under-represented group, even if this person is not the very next person on the list. This must be the next person of the under-represented group on the slate. The committee must resume the order of the slate where it left off after this selection. The committee may also alter the order of rotation between slates when necessary to meet diversity allotments, and must resume the order of rotation between the slates after this selection.

2-4.5 Delegate registration Once selected, each delegate and alternate shall promptly register with the Delegate Selection Committee as a delegate or alternate to the national nominating convention. The GPCA Liaison to the Secretary of State shall use the voter registration database to verify that each registered delegate is a member of the GPCA. Those delegates who are ineligible to vote but have been extended GPCA membership by their county parties must provide a letter of verification of membership from their county council with their registration. Delegates who fail to register by at least 45 days before the date of the national nominating convention may be replaced by the Delegate Selection Committee according to the criteria in the following Paragraph.

2-4.6 Replacement of unregistered delegates The Delegate Selection Committee, is authorized to appoint GPCA members to replace those persons disqualified by their failure to timely confirm their registration. In the case of replacing a delegate from a candidate’s allotted delegation, preference shall be given to any person remaining on the candidate slate or, if none remain, people who support that candidate. In the case of replacing a delegate filling a county or diversity caucus allotment, preference shall be given to the applicable county or caucus.

2-5 Delegation Voting Rules

2-5.1 Voter representationGPCA delegates and alternates to the national nominating convention are pledged to support the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees selected by voters in the GPCA Presidential primary election.

2-5.2 Collective voting The delegation shall cast its votes collectively, as a delegation. For the first round of voting, the delegation is bound to cast its votes proportionally to match the results of the California Presidential primary election according to the definitions in Paragraph 2.2 through 2.4. The delegation may not cast any votes for any candidate who has sought the nomination for President or Vice President by another political party in the current election cycle, except as described in Paragraph 2.5.

2-5.3 Caucusing In the event a Green Party candidate for President or Vice President is not chosen during the first ballot at the national nominating convention, GPCA delegates shall caucus at the convention for each subsequent vote to arrive at their collective sense of the will of the GPCA primary voters in that situation. Until such time as ranked ballot voting results are used in GPCA primary elections, the delegation shall use the Presidential primary results, paired with available statewide ranked voting results (described in Section 6), as a guide to the preferences of GPCA primary voters. Based on these guides and existing formulas for the distribution of delegates, the delegation shall determine the distribution of GPCA delegate votes to best represent the will of the voters.

2-5.4 Activation of alternates When a delegate is not present during convention proceedings, their designated alternate shall act in her or his place - except, in the event that alternate also is absent, then the GPCA delegates present may select an alternate to temporarily replace the missing delegate with a GPCA alternate who is present. Alternates are bound by the same instructions and rules for voting as apply to delegates. Activated alternates may participate fully in straw polls and internal votes of the delegation; inactive alternates may participate in discussion, but not in straw polls or votes.

2-5.5 Decision-making process The delegation shall deliberate for a period to see if a consensus distribution of votes naturally emerges. If consensus is not achieved this way, the delegation shall take a straw poll of hands to see how much support there is for each proposed valid distribution of votes. A valid distribution of votes is defined as a proportional distribution of the votes, including all candidates who have not yet been eliminated and still have support on the delegation. The distribution of votes with the most support shall be taken through a short consensus process, with emphasis on negotiation between opposing viewpoints. If consensus is achieved, the delegation is bound to casting its votes according to the consensus distribution. If the delegation fails to achieve consensus, delegates are unbound and free to vote according to their conscience for that round, reporting their individual votes to be accurately relayed by the delegation spokesperson.

2-5.7 Transparency of deliberations The delegation shall record the results of any internal votes in a final report to the GPCA to be published on the cagreens.org Website for the duration of the Presidential election cycle. Any distribution arrived at by less than consensus must include the option of recording unresolved concerns or a minority report in the report to the GPCA.

2-5.8 Casting collective votesPrior to commencement of the convention votes, the delegation shall elect a spokesperson. The spokesperson shall report the entire distribution of GPCA votes to the national convention after each delegation decision.

2-5.9 Accountability of spokespersonIf a GPCA delegation spokesperson reports a delegation decision inaccurately, any GPCA delegate may call a point of process and report the mistake or misrepresentation, requesting a recall of the vote while the delegation resumes its caucus. If a majority of the delegation agree that the result was mis-reported, the delegation shall choose a new spokesperson to report the vote accurately.

Section 2-6 Ascertaining Ranked Preferences

2-6.1 Ranked primary election data In the event ranked ballot voting becomes available for use in GPCA Primary Elections, ranked voting choices shall be tabulated to create a statewide ranking of candidate preferences (including NOTA).

2-6.2 Membership polling Until GPCA primary elections provide ranked voting data, one or more of the following polling methods (listed in order of priority for delegates’ consideration) may be used to assist the GPCA delegates in making their collective decisions on second and additional ballots at the national nominating convention:

2-6.2(a) Prior to, and ending not later than the close of polls for the GPCA primary election, the GPCA may conduct a telephone poll of a randomly selected scientific sample of GPCA registered voters to obtain a survey of ranked preference results.

2-6.2(b) Prior to, and requiring return delivery not later than the day of the GPCA primary election, the GPCA may conduct a mailed poll of a randomly selected scientific sample of GPCA registered voters to obtain a survey of ranked preference results.

2-6.2(c) Prior to, and requiring return delivery not later than the day of the GPCA primary election, the GPCA may conduct a county poll, using the delegate apportionment for the General Assembly to obtain the ranked preferences of GPCA registered voters participating in that poll.

2-6.3 Using poll results The results of any of the above-described ranked ballot survey methods, separately or cumulatively, shall be considered advisory only and shall not be binding upon the GPCA delegates attending a national nominating convention. However, delegates are expected to honor the intent of this approved process unless contravening circumstances require other actions.