Email from Libertarian Party national headquarters:
When is the best time for the Libertarian Party to hold its 2012 Presidential nominating convention? Below are arguments for three alternatives: before, during and after Memorial Day weekend. Following those arguments is a link to a survey, which has three boxes you can check to indicate which date or dates you prefer. If you strongly prefer ONE of the choices, check only that box. If you strongly OPPOSE one particular option, check the OTHER TWO boxes. If all three options are acceptable to you, check all three boxes.
Why we should have our convention before Memorial Day
by Kevin Knedler
I support having the national conventions before Memorial Day, specifically in the late-March thru early-May time period. I base this on three areas: financial, family and candidate conflicts, and weather.
We must consider bad weather’s impact on travel, no matter where the location of the national convention, especially in the months of December thru early-March. The 3rd and 4th weeks of March tie into Spring Break for many families, while some schools take a week off. April is far better weather, but the holiday of Easter should be avoided. Other than the 1st weekend in May, it is a month that includes Mothers Day, proms, graduations, and the big Memorial Day holiday. Speaking of Memorial Day, many people treat this as a family holiday and candidates are in parades.
While coordinating the Ohio state convention, plus real-job work, I have observed that many locations raise their rates after Memorial Day, and this is the reason that Ohio has their conventions in the April or early-May time period. Also, a Summer national convention takes away precious campaigning time for our Presidential candidate, not to mention conflicts with additional family events. The LNC should book and announce it’s national conventions at least 18 months in advance, so states have an opportunity to work around any conflicts.
Why we should have our convention on Memorial Day Weekend
by Bill Redpath
Even though I love visiting old friends in Indianapolis and going to the 500 on Memorial Day weekend, I think there are several good reasons to have our Presidential nominating conventions on that weekend. First, it is a three day weekend, which allows our employed members to conserve vacation days. Usually Memorial Day weekends are conducive to C-Span’s coverage of our Presidential nominations.
Additionally, if the convention is moved to an earlier date, there is a risk that the LP will end up implicitly asking prospective Presidential nominees to dedicate more than one year of their life to the entire process. While I hope they do do that, I am concerned that potentially good candidates, with successful lives outside of politics, will decline involvement in our process if they think it will take too big a chunk of their time. And, while I may be wrong, I am skeptical of the asserted benefits of an earlier convention. I think more of the public will see our convention on a holiday weekend, when there is less other news competing for their attention. I recommend continuing with Memorial Day weekend conventions in Presidential nominating years, but trying to have midterm conventions at some time other than Memorial Day weekend.
Why we should hold our convention after Memorial Day Weekend
by Norm Olsen
I support a date as late as possible (last weekend in June), a shortened convention (12 hours of business max), and avoiding a holiday weekend. There are several reasons for this.
For some reason (I hope it’s not in the by-laws) we were required to submit our list of national delegates 65 days prior to the national convention. If the national convention is moved to early April, the local affiliate convention will need to move to January. Difficult to get people excited about politics in January, a full 8 months before the primary, 10 months before the election. When the national convention was on July 4th weekend, we had 80 candidates on the ballot; this year we will have 19 after the primary; last general election year we had 12.
Holiday weekends are weekends for family, friends, and local campaign events. I seriously doubt there are many people who go to the expense of bringing family to a convention where dad or mom is going to be politicking for two and half straight days. This idea is nonsense.
We convene on holiday weekends only because the convention is tooooo loooong. There is no reason why we need to have more than 12 hours of business in a national convention. Actually, we should have 8 hours of national business and another 6 or 8 hours of training on various aspects of running political campaigns, fundraising, and organization building.
UPDATED: The survey can be seen here, but you can’t use this link to vote. It is possible that it may have a unique identifier for my email address to prevent ballot stuffing.