Saturday, May 26, 2007

Should Delegates be required to affirm their pledges?

Update: re-written to correct typo.

BVBL claims that a majority of his readers voted to support Jeff Dion in the general election if Faisal won. I don't suppose he restricted voting to 51st district people, but for his poll to have any meaning, it would have to include 51st district people, and likely delegates to the convention.

So it seems clear that there is a good chance some delegates to the convention are on record that they will NOT vote for Faisal Gill. It is with that in mind that I write this post.

Each delegate to the 51st convention was required to sign an oath, based on the following COMPLETE text, verifiable through a link :

Qualifications for participation: All legal and qualified voters of the 51st District under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required, their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election, may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions, or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.

In addition to the foregoing, to be in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, a person otherwise qualified hereunder shall not have participated in Virginia in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party after March 1, 2004. A single exception shall be approved for a voter that renounces affiliation with any other party in writing, and who expresses in writing that he/she is in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and intends, at the time of the writing, to support the nominees of the Republican Party in the future. Any voter that utilizes the foregoing exception, and thereafter participates in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party, shall not have the benefit of the exception thereafter.

A person who has made application for registration and meets all other qualification requirements, but whose name does not appear on the local registration books solely because of the books having been closed in connection with a local election, will nonetheless be deemed a legal and qualified voter.

I have read the Qualifications for Participation and affirm that I am in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, and state my intention to support the nominees of the Republican Party in the ensuing election. If I have participated in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party since March 1, 2004, I hereby renounce any affiliation with that party.


Several things are clear.

First, the last paragraph is the "signature" paragraph. The first three are the "qualification" paragraphs.

Second, the signature paragraph specifies the claims made by the delegate when signing the form. There are three things the delegate attests to:

  1. They have READ the qualifications. Note that at the time they sign, they neither have to MEET the qualifications, nor do they attest that they meet the qualifications.
  2. They are in accord with the principles of the republican party.
  3. They will support the nominees of the Republican party in the ensuing election.

Third, it is clear the qualifications are to be met as of the day of the convention, NOT the date of submission of the delegate form. It's obvious, but I offer these four facts as proof:

  1. The person must meet the qualifications on the day of the convention. If a delegate moved from the district after submission but before the election, they would be ineligible.
  2. The rule specifies "may participate as members" "in mass meetings", etc. There is no other times specified other than the time of participation, so the rule must apply to that date, not some arbitrary earlier date, be that the date of submission, of acceptance, or the submittal cut-off date.
  3. If the rules intended to specify a different date, they could have easily been written to do so. They don't, therefore the presumption is there was no intent to do so.
  4. I refer you to the case of Tom DeLay, where a judge ruled that rules regarding the qualification of candidates are only enforced on the date of the election, and therefore the fact that Tom DeLay was not a registered voter or even a resident of his district on a date before the election did NOT make him ineligible as a candidate for the election.

Fourth, the 3rd paragraph clearly states that delegates who have filed papers to register to vote shall still be considered a "qualified and legal voter", if the books "have been closed in connection with a local election". The registrar's books ARE currently closed due to the local primary election. They closed on May 13th, and will be closed until June 12th.

Given this rule, and that the rules of eligibility apply on the day of the convention, it is clear that for the 51st convention, ANY delegate who has proof of filing an application for registration before the convention, by rule must be considered a "qualified and legal voter". Whatever your opinion of this rule, the rule is clear, and there can be no argument of fact or law on this point. (I believe the committee can adopt rigid standards to ensure that these voters will pass registration).

Fifth, what is crystal clear from the delegate form is this: When the delegate SIGNED the form, they were pledging to support all Republican nominees in the next election. That includes the winner of the 51st delegate convention. So any person who signed their delegate form, but does NOT plan to vote for the winner of the convention, is ineligible to be a delegate to the convention. There can be no argument of fact about THAT either.

Sixth, the first paragraph specifies that, in order to be a qualified delegate ON THE DAY OF THE CONVENTION, you must be willing to attest ORALLY, or in WRITING, that you STILL intend to vote for the nominee of the convention. So, lest someone wishes to argue that they intended "at the time of signature" to vote, but have only now changed their mind, the rules clearly indicate your pledge applies on the day of the convention.

Conclusion: Because several potential delegates have voted in a BVBL poll that they intend to vote for the Democrat instead of Faisal Gill, it is imperative that those known to have so stated be required stand up publicly at the convention, and orally attest to their intent to support Faisal Gill should he win the nomination. If they will not do so, they must by rule be disqualified as a delegate.

(Actually, I probably would not push for that, I'm just making a point. It's not Gill whose campaign is trying to take away delegate's right to vote.)

Maybe they could have the entire body stand, and take the pledge en-mass, to remind people of their solemn duty and their pledge for which they affixed their name.

People have a right to not support Faisal Gill. But those who make that choice are not qualified to be delegates to the convention, and should be prohibited from voting. Republican conventions are for those who pledge to support the winner, not for those who will only support their candidate.

Finally, it could well be that ANY single person can rise and require the pledge. Paragraph one states "and who, if requested, express in open meeting". There is no qualifier on that "request". If the rules had intended that the request require adoption by the convention, it would say "if requested by the convention", or "requested by majority vote", but the rule does not say that.


Anonymous said...


You are an idiot. Greg L. Doesn't live in the 51st. He lives in the 50th. He doesn't have to vote for or support Gill, and he never signed a pledge to do so.

Charles said...

Anonymous (11:15am Sunday):

I fixed that error on Saturday. So while I appreciate all input, your comment was unnecessary.

For the record, I know BVBL doesn't live in the 51st. I believe he did sign a delegate form for the Clerk convention, if so he is still bound by that signature (which said he would support ALL republicans), but my post says nothing about a specific person's pledge.

I removed a previous comment I made on this in favor of this more complete comment.