As first reported at Ballot Access News, at the much publicized Zoom meeting today, the Libertarian National Committee (LNC) voted nine to seven to cancel the in-person National Convention scheduled for Austin later this month. This comes in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in the death of over 60,000 Americans and led to the cancellation of most public gatherings. The LNC will reconvene on Zoom next week to make alternative plans for the national convention. The resolution requires the convention take place before July 15.
Some critics of a change in venue, such as vice presidential candidate Tom Knapp, have claimed the LNC lacks the authority to reschedule the convention, saying it requires a meeting of delegates to do so. Andy Craig of the Maryland Libertarian Party disagrees.
“In some cases, it’s just a (totally mistaken, but at least sincere) idea that the rules and ballot access laws leave no other option, in spite of the LNC’s own lawyer, Richard Winger, and the authors of Robert’s Rules all saying otherwise.” Craig argues. “And for others it’s just sheer denial at the reality that their big in-person social gathering isn’t going to happen like usual.”
Craig explains he does not wish to risk the health of participants just to hold an in-person convention.
“I have never been queasier or more uneasy about the personal ethics of the LP than the prospect of being told I’m supposed to try to whip votes and encourage turnout at an in-person-only convention in the middle of a pandemic that has killed more Americans in the past month than the Vietnam War did in a decade,” writes Craig. “If the party puts me in such a position, I will not perpetuate the abuse onto others.”
In a statement yesterday ahead of the vote, outgoing LNC chairman Nick Sarwark declared, “Protecting the rights of all of our delegates to meaningfully participate and determine the leadership of the party and the standard bearers for the election are my paramount considerations.”