Libertarian National Convention: Attention delegates – useful info

Via email and LP blog:

Dear Libertarian,

I hope you will attend our National Convention in St. Louis. If you haven’t decided whether to attend yet, it’s still not too late — you can even show up unannounced. However, there are some risks you need to be aware of if you show up to the convention without registering in advance, and without confirming your delegate status.

I want to point out the distinction between these two important preparations for attending the convention.

1. Registering for the Convention

This is where you select a package and pay for any meals and speaker events that are included in the package. IMPORTANT: Just because you registered and/or paid for a package does not mean your state party recognizes you as a delegate.

2. Becoming a Delegate

Only delegates get to vote on business at the convention. State parties decide who their delegates are. Even if you registered for the convention and bought a package, that does not mean your state party has decided to make you a delegate. If you are uncertain whether or not you are a delegate, please contact your state party and double-check. Sometimes people show up at the convention assuming they are delegates, only to find out their state party never approved of having them as a delegate. Don’t let that happen to you — if you want to be a delegate, make sure you have contacted your state party.

You can find information on contacting your state party on this sheet
or via the websites listed here.

Backup Plan (join another state delegation)

Even if your state party does not name you as a delegate, there is a backup option that people sometimes use. It’s quite common for some states that haven’t filled their alloted delegations to accept delegates from other states. Some states, especially large states, probably won’t bring as many delegates to the convention as they are allowed to. So, if you do not end up getting named as a delegate from your own state, another state might be willing to name
you as a delegate for the convention. (But there are no guarantees.)

Schedule. More detail was added to the posted schedule recently. Please be aware that the schedule can change due to decisions that the delegates make at the convention. We can’t tell you for certain what time things like the platform debate or officer elections will be held or will be finished. That’s because the delegates who attend have some control over the agenda and can vote to rearrange things during the convention.

Delegation Chairs Manual. For those interested in a lot of detail about how the convention works, Secretary Bob Sullentrup has prepared and posted this 33-page “Information for Delegation Chairs and Delegates.” The LP will not provide printed copies of this in St. Louis, so you might want to print this out and bring a copy.

Committee reports. You can preview the Platform Committee report and the Bylaws and Rules Committee report.

Note to first-time attendees. Attending the convention is usually quite fun for everyone. The first national convention I attended was in 2004 in Atlanta. Although I was not personally interested in all of the formal convention business, it was always nice to chat with the other Libertarians about what volunteers and activists are doing in other parts of the country.

What to wear. Dress varies from business to casual. My rough estimate for past conventions is that for much of the business session, 30% of the attendees wore business attire, 40% wore business casual, and 30% wore casual or other attire. Some people think we make a more positive impression if more of us are in suits, but there’s no mandatory dress code. Most of those attending the Sunday night banquet will be dressed in business or formal attire.

Ground Transportation from the airport to the convention hotel. There’s a MetroLink subway option. It is only about a 40-minute trip from the Lambert Airport Main Station to the Convention Center Station, and it costs only $2.25 each way. From Convention Center Station, the National Convention Hotel is about a six-minute walk. I’m told that due to traffic, it takes almost as long by cab or car.

Our LP Headquarters staff will attempt to answer any questions you have, but as you might imagine we are extremely busy preparing for the convention on top of keeping day-to-day operations running. Also, please note that LP Headquarters staff (including me) are required to be impartial on matters that will be voted on at the convention. So please don’t ask us how to vote or whom to vote for. We need to be impartial, and we won’t be voting delegates at the convention. Feel free to contact Libertarians in your area or elsewhere for additional insights and other advice.

Registrations continue to roll in, so it looks like we will have a well-attended convention.

Yours in liberty,

Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

P.S. If you have not yet become a member of the Libertarian Party and
wish to do so, please click here and join the only political party dedicated to free markets and civil liberties. If you need to renew,
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15 thoughts on “Libertarian National Convention: Attention delegates – useful info

  1. AroundtheblockAFT

    Why is delegation-packing legal? If a state with 10 delegates can only get three there, why should they be allowed to fill seven seats with out-of-staters who just happened to agree with their choice for Chair, and whose campaign may have bussed/flown them in just for that purpose?

  2. Brian Holtz

    In the absence of mind-reading technology, how would you propose to write/enforce a rule against this hypothetical phenomenon you call “delegation packing”? If Libertarians want to help other Libertarians attend conventions, how do you propose to audit their intentions?

  3. paulie Post author

    I think ATBAFT’s reference is to this:

    “Backup Plan (join another state delegation)

    Even if your state party does not name you as a delegate, there is a backup option that people sometimes use. It’s quite common for some states that haven’t filled their alloted delegations to accept delegates from other states. Some states, especially large states, probably won’t bring as many delegates to the convention as they are allowed to. So, if you do not end up getting named as a delegate from your own state, another state might be willing to name you as a delegate for the convention. (But there are no guarantees.)”

    I’ve actually done this before, in 2000. I was on the road, didn’t have a state of my own, so I shopped around for a delegation. Michigan sold me a spot in return for joining their state party for a year.

  4. JT

    Brian: “In the absence of mind-reading technology, how would you propose to write/enforce a rule against this hypothetical phenomenon you call “delegation packing”? If Libertarians want to help other Libertarians attend conventions, how do you propose to audit their intentions?”

    Ask state chairs to sign something certifying that all of their delegates have actual addresses in their particular state? I guess state chairs could lie about that, but I doubt many would.

    I’m not sure if I’m against delegate packing anyway though.

  5. AroundtheblockAFT

    In closely contested elections for officers, or for resoutions, platform planks, etc. it is possible that a few votes could sway the outcome.
    If you aren’t a dues paying member of a particular state organization (and I mean you’ve paid your dues at least 60 days prior to the convention) then you shouldn’t be a delegate from that state. How to keep them honest?
    I’m sure that if it matters, there will be other delegates from the state who back different candidates, who will blow the whistle on the situation and the credentials can be challenged from the floor. Past experience with the YRs demonstrated that such delegation-packing was a favorite trick to keep ensuring the establishment won the elections.
    Maybe this is sort of tactic is immaterial to outcomes in the LP, but it shouldn’t be allowed in principle.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    AroundtheblockAFT,

    You write:

    “If you aren’t a dues paying member of a particular state organization (and I mean you’ve paid your dues at least 60 days prior to the convention) then you shouldn’t be a delegate from that state.”

    That may be true — but the bylaws say different.

    Per the bylaws, to be a delegate from state X you must be EITHER a member of that state affiliate OR a national member … but you don’t have to be both.

    Now, here’s a riddle:

    How do you get 2/3 of a convention with many delegates representing states they’re not from to vote in favor of a bylaws amendment to make what they’re doing against the rules?

  7. Chuck Moulton

    Tom Knapp wrote:

    Per the bylaws, to be a delegate from state X you must be EITHER a member of that state affiliate OR a national member … but you don’t have to be both.

    That’s not quite true. A delegate can be a member of any affiliate — not necessarily the affiliate whose delegation they are in.

    Article 11, Section 3, Clause a of the LP Bylaws:

    Delegates shall be required to be members of either the Party or an affiliate party.

  8. Shawn Levasseur

    If you’re worried about people “packing” the convention with people you disagree with, then try “packing” it with people you do agree with.

    It’s called “Get Out the Vote”.

    I’m less concerened that delegations will be filled out with members from other states, than I am that there is so little competition for seats that the convention ill represents the interests of members who are unable to attend the convention.

    How many delegates had to make a case for their being a delegate? I suspect not many. The convention is a self selected body.

    With more competition for delegate seats, the membership will actually have choices to make about who will represent them.

    Two ways to make matters better:

    1. Grow the party, more membership would likely mean more people seeking delegate seats.

    2. Reduce the number of seats available. There’s a rule change that will be in the Rules Committee report that will do just that.

    I’d prefer the party growing, but if we get to it at the convention, I’ll vote in favor of a reduction in seats.

  9. paulie Post author

    Debra Dedmon (LG) is looking for some help to get there if someone wants to shoot her a few bucks

  10. Michael Seebeck

    Chuck is technically right, but affiliate parties may have their own additional requirements as well.

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