Study their behaviors. Observe their territorial boundaries. Leave their habitat as you found it. Report any signs of intelligence.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Suspicious of the California Elections Code

One of the questions we will consider at tomorrow's LPCA Executive Committee meeting in Burbank is whether to authorize California to hold County Central Committee elections for the Libertarian Party. Since every dues-paying Pledge-taking member already counts as a CentCom member, there is not a lot at stake here. I wrote to the rest of ExCom tonight:

1) How does the certification/pledge requirement get enforced on elected central committee members? How does the state decide how many electable spots are available in each district?

2) What motive might one have for seeking election to a county central committee? It appears to be primarily a way to avoid paying dues.

3) The Bylaws talk about election to the "state central committee" via "Libertarian voters in a primary election pursuant to the relevant parts of the election code", but the election code talks only about "county central committees". Why doesn't this mismatch mean simply that there is currently no extant referent for "the relevant parts of the election code"?

4) Do all of the Peace & Freedom election code provisions apply to us? Sections 7800 and 7802 sound like a recipe for a takeover attempt:
7800.  At the convention meeting of the state central committee, the
state central committee shall consist initially of only those
members of central committees elected at the most recent direct
primary election.
7802.  At its convention and subsequent meetings the state central
committee, in its sole discretion, may appoint any additional members
to the state central committee as it may desire.
5) Does our decision affect whether or not 7805 applies to the LPCA? I don't want it to apply.
7805.  This committee may remove any elected or appointed member
who, during the term of membership, affiliates with or registers as a
member of another political party, publicly advocates that the
voters should not vote for the nominee of the party for any office,
publicly gives support to or avows a preference for a candidate of
another party or candidate who is opposed to a candidate nominated by
this party, or has violated the bylaws or constitution of the state
central committee.
I don't agree that the Bylaws mandate County Central Committee elections, even if the ambiguity in (3) above were resolved. Since the Bylaws reference the election code, and the election code says the elections are optional, then the Bylaws references to elected county central committee members could easily have been intended to cover the contingency of the elections having been held, rather than assuming that the elections must be held.

I don't like the idea of the LPCA voluntarily choosing to further entangle our private associations with the state election code -- especially a code written for another party, and with such suspicious provisions. I didn't even mention these other provisions of the P&F election code that I found:
7803.  The state central committee may require a balance of elected
and appointed members so that 50 percent of the state central
committee members from each county are women and 50 percent are men.

7851. A county central committee may require a balance of elected
and appointed committee members to create a total membership division
of 50 percent women and 50 percent men.

There might be more garbage like this, as I haven't read the whole thing. I think we should distance ourselves from it as much as possible, rather than ask that it apply to us (or ask that it apply to us more thoroughly). Unless somebody can answer these questions, I plan to vote against allowing central committee elections.

2007-12-01 Update: The answer to question 1B above is: at least 5, and typically 7 to 15, according to the formula in section 7752.

Note also section 7755, which says that any candidate nominated for partisan office is automatically elected as an additional member of the central committee. Given how few elected CentCom members we have combined with rule 7800 above, this suggests that the latest set of candidates for partisan office could try to hijack the LPCA at any convention.


Christopher said...

So are we holding central committee elections?

I've forgotten why the LPC now has the option of not holding them. Does that (code?) say anything about the number of central committee seats there are?

If not, I think the LPC ought to have a way to determine the small number of officially recognized central committee members.

Brian Holtz said...

The number of seats is discussed in the update above: at least 5, and typically 7 to 15, according to the formula in section 7752. Allen Rice reported a while back that the LPCA lobbied at some point for the option not to hold them. The nearly-unanimous decision Saturday not to hold them in 2008 is discussed in Sunday's blog posting.

AllenRice said...


I did not report, but rather insinuated, that the change occurred by request of the EC, Mark Hinkle representing. My contention is here:

I never did get proof. In recent correspondence with the Southern Vice Chair of P&F, it was claimed by him that the change was part of a scheme by the State Organization of ROVs (not the actual name, but there is such an organization) to gradually reduce the ability of third parties to hold this kind of election. He believes the change wsa instigated by Bill Jones, former CA Secretary of State, and heard that it was supported by "libertarians". P&F was not given the courtesy of a chance to speak or write against it.