UPDATE: The MDP now says you must return your slates by 4:00pm tomorrow (7 May 2020).
Yesterday I reported that the MDP was not prepared to run elections for national delegates according to the rules. Specifically, they were not prepared to run a proportional voting election with slate voting, the only method of proportional voting allowed under MDP rules. Today I’m happy to report they are now implementing the rules for slate voting. Later this afternoon they will send out an email with the names and contact details of the candidates for each position, to each candidate, so they can call or zoom with each other to organize themselves into slates. They are allowing only one day for candidates to organize because they have scheduled the voting to start tomorrow and don’t want to push it back. If you’re a candidate please check your email this afternoon, and contact those people you want to organize with as quickly as possible. You must have your slate organized and submitted by 4:00pm tomorrow, 7 May 2020. I would have preferred them to move the start of voting back a day or two, so candidates have more time to organize slates. Here’s my explanation of slate voting.
This incident starkly illustrates one of the key points I’ve been trying to making on this blog. The people running the MDP don’t know the rules. I’ve been saying this since February 2017 when the chair of CD12 had no clue what proportional voting was or how to implement it (or he knew and was deliberately breaking the rules, I don’t know which). Yesterday when I called to discuss the problem, they insisted they were already following the rules because they were using weighted voting, as I noted in yesterday’s post. This morning they sent me an email, again making the case that weighted voting is the same as proportional voting. This is what our Rules for Voting and Elections say about the two processes:
3.5 There are two separate concepts fundamental to elections in the Michigan Democratic Party which must not be confused:MDP Rules for Voting and Elections, emphasis added.
3.5.1 How do we make sure that the voting strength of delegates from each county (at a district caucus or the state convention) reflects the relative number of Democratic voters from that county at the last General Election? This is weighted voting, as defined above, using the State Allocation of Delegate Vote (SADV) process.
3.5.2 How do we make sure that a substantial minority within the assembly has the opportunity to elect their choice for a proportionate share of the positions being elected? This is proportional representation, as defined above, using an approved voting method for electing multiple-position offices (such as for State Central delegates and alternates, county or Congressional District Executive Committee members, Democratic National Committee members, or delegates and alternates to the Democratic National Convention).
When I pointed this out and explained the problem on the phone, they said they were just following the Delegate Selection Plan (DSP), which has sections requiring weighted voting. I had to explain that weighted voting and proportional voting are often used together in the same election and that the DSP is in addition to MDP rules, not a substitute for them. This is made explicit in the DSP itself:
Section I Paragraph A.2MDP Delegate Selection Plan, emphasis added.
The delegate selection process is governed by the Charter and Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States, the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2020 Democratic National Convention (“Rules”), the Call for the 2020 Democratic National Convention (“Call”), the Regulations of the Rules and Bylaws Committee for the 2020 Democratic National Convention (“Regs.”), the Rules of the Michigan Democratic Party, the Michigan Democratic Party’s Rules for Voting & Elections, and this Delegate Selection Plan.
The DNC Rules and Regs, the MDP Rules, and the RVE all require proportional voting.
This isn’t a new or isolated problem. Proportional voting has been in the rules since at least 1974 (2.A.8), and has always been an entirely different process separate from weighted voting. People in authority not knowing the rules they’re required to follow is common across the MDP. I’ve documented a lot of that on this blog. When there were problems with the DSP I offered to help. When the coronavirus hit, I again offered my help with organizing appropriate methods of remote voting. No one called back. They were so confident they knew the rules, they didn’t even read them. It’s not credible to imagine anyone read RVE 3.5 and still believed weighted voting = proportional voting. The people at the MDP have been in the MDP for a long time. They don’t know what the rules say, or how to implement them. They know “how it’s always been done.” How it’s always been done is wrong. They need to unlearn what they “know” and re-learn what our rules are, what they mean, how they work, and how to implement them well in the real world.
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