Nicholas Sarwark: Letter to Libertarian Party State Delegation Chairs on the Unit Rule

13087922_1065521160186260_7949003444527833983_nThis was posted on Facebook in the Unofficial 2016 LP Delegates group:

First, thank you for serving as Chair of your state’s delegation. I know that some of you may be serving in this role for the first time or may not have read the national party bylaws lately, so I wanted to explain about the unit rule.

Our bylaws state in Article 11, Section 7(a), “Use of the unit rule or unit voting is prohibited at national conventions.”

The unit rule is where an entire delegation is required according to the will of the majority. An example of voting under the unit rule is where in an R or D convention, the delegates for a state are all
required to vote on the first ballot for the candidate who won the primary or caucus in that state. The unit rule is enforced at those parties convention by not counting votes that a delegate cast for say, Ron Paul, if the delegate’s state’s primary selected Mitt Romney.

By prohibiting the unit rule, the Libertarian Party prohibits binding a state’s delegates to vote for a particular candidate. Delegates are free to promise their vote to a particular candidate (and often do), but no delegation Chair can require a delegate to vote in any particular way. If a particular state is requiring their delegates to all vote in a particular way, that state must release those delegates from that requirement. If a state delegation is found to be binding their delegates in violation of the prohibition on the unit rule, that state’s votes would not be counted.

I hope that clears up any confusion anyone may have had and look forward to seeing you all in Orlando next weekend.

Yours in liberty,
Nicholas Sarwark
Chair, Libertarian National Committee

cc: Emily Salvette, Chair, Credentials Committee;
Alicia Mattson, Secretary, Libertarian National Committee

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About Caryn Ann Harlos

Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

2 thoughts on “Nicholas Sarwark: Letter to Libertarian Party State Delegation Chairs on the Unit Rule

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    Thanks for writing this, Nick, and thanks for posting it, Caryn.

    I guess it shows what a Jacobin I am that my instant thought on unit rule attempts was that delegations with an announced unit rule intent should not be seated, rather than that attempts to impose unit rule should be contested at point of vote.

  2. Jim Polichak from Long Island

    How about more coverage of the two minor parties that will probably be on the ballot in all fifty states?
    The two major parties are about to nominate the two most disliked candidates in polling history. Many people will go to the polls in November trying to chose between the lesser of two evils.
    A Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld {two former GOP governors} has more executive experience than Trump and Clinton has together and Jill Stein of the Green Party speaks to the most important issue of this century. What good is a tax cut if your home is underwater {Literally, not figuratively}.
    The American vote has a right to know more about how their presidential options extend beyond the two major parties.
    The presidential debate commission run by the two parties since the League of Woman Voters gave up trying to run fair debates have set an almost impossible standard for minor party candidates to achieve for a podium at the debates – 15% in five different national polls to be chosen by the debate commission.
    Most news organizations have gone along with this standard as an excuse not to give a reasonable amount of coverage to minor party candidate thereby assuring that it is all but impossible to achieve that polling number.
    Two former governors challenging a reality TV star for the presidency is certainly a story that should be covered by the media on at least a weekly basis.
    And a champion of the environment and foe of global warming has to be at least as newsworthy as the obstructionist and naysayers who declare that the jury is still out on global warming.

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