Monday, August 18, 2008

So much for the benefit of the doubt - the DNC increases the impression that they intend to rig the nomination election

In the previous two posts on this blog, I wrote under the working assumption that the DNC and the DNCC would actually wake up to the terrible situation they are creating, switch course, and hold a meaningful fair and free nomination election (roll call vote process with both Senator Obama's and Senator Clinton's name equally in nomination, de facto as well as de jure).

In writing those posts I chose to ignore the remarks of non-DNC officials such as Governor Bill Richardson or Mr. Lanny Davis about what they claimed to know about Senator Clinton's plans at the roll call vote. I still have not seen any information from Senator Clinton herself regarding her plans, and until I do I will assume she is not taking a public position on the matter.

But, I have just learned the following, from an email sent to me. This email responds to an inquiry from a third party and is written by somebody who is a member of the DNC.
She [Senator Clinton] is going to have her name placed in nomination, and then release her delegates, and ask that they vote for Obama.
Garry S. Shay
Member, Democratic National Committee (CA) and
Lead Chair Rules Committee, California Democratic Party

Titles for identification purposes only
If you would like to join my list serve, send an email to:
All fired up, and ready to go !!! Vote Democratic '08 !!!
I have no way to know whether Mr. Shay is privy to any private announcement by Senator Clinton regarding the release of her delegates. But I do know that according to the 2008 Call to the Convention that it is not up to Mr. Shay or even to Senator Clinton as to how delegates vote on any roll call held.

Below I will present the relevant portions of the rules specified in the Call to the Convention. But - and this is a danger I have warned of before - as is so often the case with rules, they can be gamed and in this case, as with the case of many governance documents, the rules contain within themselves mechanisms for their suspension or modification by the Chair of the DNC, and the Temporary and Permanent Chairs of the Convention. So ultimately, the entire question of the integrity of the roll call vote at the convention will come down to whether the these officials can be trusted to act according to the spirit of the rules, including by following the letter of them when appropriate, and whether the delegates to the Convention will insist that they will engage in peaceful protest unless the process is carried through in such a manner that they feel free to vote their consciences as guided by the rules themselves.

In the interests of time, I am reprinting below most of Section VIII. PROCEDURAL RULES OF THE 2008 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION, and using bold color to highlight and annotate the provisions centrally relevant to the present turn of events.

The following Procedural Rules shall serve as the Temporary Rules of Procedure for the 2008 Democratic National Convention and are recommended to the Rules Committee and to the Convention as the Permanent Rules of Procedure for the conduct of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. [annotation: it is because of the clause beginning with "recommended" that these Procedural Rules can consistent with themselves be ignored by the Rules Committee and Chairs at the Convention.]

A. Temporary Chair:

1. The National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee shall call the Convention to order and shall preside until the Permanent Chair of the Convention shall be chosen in accordance with these rules. [annotation: Howard Dean presides first.]

2. The National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee shall appoint a
Temporary Secretary and such other temporary officers as may be required to assist in the conduct of the business of the Convention. These officers shall be composed equally of men and women.

B. Temporary Roll: [annotation: this created so that the next two steps, reports from the Credentials Committee and the Rules Committee, respectively, can be submitted and voted upon]

1. The Secretary of the Democratic National Committee shall determine a Temporary Roll of delegates to the Convention which shall consist only of those persons selected and certified as delegates in accordance with the Rules and pursuant to this Call, unless a credentials contest shall have arisen with respect to any such person(s), in which case the Secretary shall include on the Temporary Roll the name of the credentials contestant recommended for inclusion by the Credentials Committee in its report.

2. Persons whose names are included on the Temporary Roll of delegates shall be permitted to vote on all matters before the Convention until after the adoption of the report of the Credentials Committee; provided that no person shall be permitted to vote on his or her credentials contest.

C. Order of Business: The order of business for the Democratic National Convention shall be as provided in these rules and in any special order of business adopted under Section D. of these rules. The Chair of the Convention may, at appropriate times, interrupt the order of business
provided for in these rules for introductions, announcements, addresses, presentations, resolutions of tribute and appreciation, or remarks appropriate to the business of the Convention.

1. Report of the Committee on Credentials: The Report of the Credentials Committee shall be acted upon before the consideration of other business.

a. The Temporary Chair shall recognize the Chair of the Credentials Committee for up to thirty (30) minutes to present the committee’s report unless a longer period of time shall be provided in a special order of business agreed upon by the Convention. The Chair of the committee may present committee amendments, yield part of his or her time to others and may yield for the presentation and disposition of minority reports without losing the right to the floor.

b. The Temporary Chair shall arrange for the orderly presentation of amendments and of minority reports offered at the direction of the committee. Twenty (20) minutes shall be allowed for the presentation of each committee amendment or minority report unless a longer period for any committee amendment or minority report is provided in special orders of business agreed to by the Convention. Time shall be allotted equally to proponents and opponents of each committee amendment or minority report. The questions shall be put on each committee amendment or minority report immediately following its presentation without intervening motion.

c. Upon conclusion of the consideration and disposition of committee amendments and minority reports, the Temporary Chair shall put the question on the adoption of the report of the Credentials Committee with amendments previously adopted, if any, without intervening motion. A favorable majority vote of the Convention delegates eligible to vote shall constitute adoption of the report.

d. In the event that the committee’s report shall not be adopted when the question is put, the committee shall immediately reconvene to reconsider its report and shall present a new report to the Convention as soon as possible.

2. Report of Rules Committee: The Temporary Chair may then recognize the Chair of the Rules Committee to present the committee’s report for the Rules of the Convention and minority reports, if any, in the same manner as that provided for the presentation of theReport of the Credentials Committee. However, the Temporary Chair may, in the interest
of conducting an orderly proceeding, opt to place before the Convention the election of the Permanent Chair, the Co-Chairs and the Secretary, prior to the presentation of the Rules Committee report.

3. Convention Chair: The Convention shall proceed to elect the Permanent Convention Chair in the following manner:

a. In accordance with the requirements of the 1984 Democratic National Convention Resolution which calls for alternating the Convention Chair by gender, the Permanent Chair of the 2008 Democratic National Convention shall be a female. [annotation: the DNC and DNCC have announced that it is settled that the only person who will nominated is Nancy Pelosi but the rules permit other names to be entered as possible permananent chairs, so long as the permanent chair is a woman]
b. The Chair of the Rules Committee shall be recognized to offer a nomination for Convention Chair as recommended by the Committee on Rules. Nominations from the floor shall then be received.
c. When there are no further nominations or upon adoption of a motion to close nominations, the Temporary Chair of the Convention shall conduct a vote for Permanent Convention Chair.
d. A majority vote of the delegates present and voting shall be required to elect the Convention Chair. [annotation: again, the power ultimately lies with the delegates: if given a choice, they may elect Speaker Pelosi as a chair but they could refuse to elect her chair, either by abstaining so that no majority is achieved or by voting for another nominee for the position of Permant Chair of the Convention] Balloting shall continue until a Chair is elected. The Permanent Chair shall then take the gavel.

4. Convention Co-Chairs: The Convention shall proceed to elect Co-Chairs and a Secretary in the same manner in which it elected the Chair. The Co-Chairs shall be divided equally between men and women.

5. Committee on Platform: The Permanent Chair shall recognize the Chair of the Platform Committee to present the committee’s report and minority reports, if any, in the same manner as that provided for the presentations of the reports of the Credentials and Rules Committees.

6. Nomination of the Democratic Candidate for President: The Permanent Chair shall receive nominations from the floor for the Democratic candidate for the Office of
President of the United States in the following manner:
a. Requests to nominate a presidential candidate shall be in writing and shall have affixed thereto the written approval of the proposed nominee and the name of the individuals who shall be recognized to make the nominating and seconding speeches on behalf of a presidential candidate and shall be delivered to the Convention Secretary at a location as specified by the Secretary no later than 6:00 p.m. of the day preceding the day designated for the commencement of presidential nominations.
b. Each such request must be accompanied by a petition indicating support for the proposed nominee signed by delegates representing not less than 300 or more than 600 delegate votes, not more than 50 of which may come from one (1) delegation. A delegate may not sign more than one (1) nominating petition for president and for vice president.
c. The order for nominating presidential candidates shall be determined by the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, the Permanent Chair of the Convention and each presidential candidate, or his or her authorized representative, who qualifies to be nominated pursuant to this section.
d. Each presidential candidate shall be allowed a total of twenty (20) minutes for the presentation of his or her name in nomination by nominating and
seconding speeches, the time to run without interruption from the recognition of the nominator.
e. Delegates and alternates shall maintain order during and following nominations for the Office of President and demonstrations shall not be permitted.

7. Roll Call for Presidential Candidate:
a. After nominations for presidential candidates have closed, the Convention shall proceed to a roll call vote by states on the selection of the presidential candidate. The roll call voting shall follow the alphabetical order of the states with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and the territories treated as states for the purpose of the alphabetical roll call.
b. A majority vote of the Convention’s delegates shall be required to nominate the presidential candidate.
c. Delegates may vote for the candidate of their choice whether or not the name of such candidate was placed in nomination. Any vote cast other than a vote for a presidential candidate meeting the requirements of Article VI of this Call and Rule 12.K. of the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules shall be considered a vote for “Present.”
[annotation: assuming that Senator Clinton's and Senator Obama's names are both in nomination and no other candidate's name is, the only votes that shall register for a particular candidate, rather than as "Present" will be votes cast for either Senator Clinton or for Senator Obama.]
d. Balloting will continue until a nominee is selected. [annotation: Ballotting continues regardless of whether Senator Clinton or Senator Obama releases their respective delegates] The nominee shall become the candidate of the Democratic Party of the United States for the Office of President upon the conclusion of his or her acceptance speech.
8. Acceptance Speech by Presidential Candidate: Immediately after the selection of the Democratic nominee for President, the Permanent Chair shall invite the nominee to deliver an acceptance speech to the Convention. [annotation: the immediacy requirement has apparently already been disregarded because of the rental of a football stadium as opposed to use of the Pepsi Center for an acceptance speech, although it is unclear whether the football stadium can or will be used if the ultimate nominee is not Senator Obama]
9. Nomination for the Democratic Candidate for Vice President: The selection of a nominee for the Office of Vice President of the United States shall be conducted in the same manner as that heretofore provided for the selection of the nominee for President of the United States except that a request to nominate must be delivered to the Convention
Secretary at a location as specified by the Secretary not later than 9:00 a.m. of the day designated for the commencement of Vice Presidential nominations.
D. Special Orders of Business: It shall be in order at any time for the Rules Committee at the request of the Chair of the Convention, or pursuant to its rules, to report a resolution providing a special order of business for debate of any resolution, motion, committee report or minority report or for the consideration of any matter.
E. Powers and Duties of the Chair:


F. Voting:
1. Secret Ballot: No secret ballots shall be permitted at any stage of the Convention or its committee proceedings.
2. Proxy Voting: Neither delegate nor alternate delegate votes may be cast by proxy.
3. Roll Call Votes:
a. Voting shall be by voice vote or, when prescribed by these rules, by roll call vote. [annotation: as of this writing the Party has committed itself to a roll call vote; if the Party changes its position a roll call vote can be demanded by delegates via subsections 3a(1) and 3a(2) below]
The roll call voting shall follow the order as specified in Article VIII.C.7.a. A roll call vote shall also be had if the Chair is in doubt or upon demand of any delegate supported by twenty percent (20%) of the Convention’s delegates as evidenced by one of the following methods:
(1) A petition submitted to the Chair indicating support of the demand by delegations which comprise not less than twenty percent (20%) of the Convention’s delegates. In the case of the
petition in support of a demand for a roll call vote, a delegation shall be taken to support the demand if a majority of its delegates have signed a petition to do so.
(2) By the rising in support of the demand by not less than twenty percent (20%) of the delegates present.
b. When a roll call vote is ordered, the roll call shall be called by states, and the Chair of each delegation or his or her designee shall report the vote of his or her delegation and shall send to the Convention Secretary a tally showing the vote of each member of his or her delegation indicating whether such vote was cast in person or by an alternate. Such roll call votes may be conducted by having the Chair for each delegation report by telephone, or electronic voting mechanism, the vote of his or her delegation to the rostrum, provided that the telephone poll shall not be used in the balloting for the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. Business shall be permitted to proceed during the telephone roll call and votes may be conducted by electronic mechanism. After each official vote, the Delegation Chair shall record and tally votes of the delegation on official roll call tally sheets provided by the Convention Secretary. All official roll call tally sheets shall be turned in to the Convention Secretary at a specified location not more than thirty (30) minutes after the close of each voting period.
c. All delegates to the National Convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them. [annotation: traditionally, this has meant as pledged delegates were elected; this year, Senator Obama with the assistance of the DNC has been urging pledged delegates to vote for Senator Obama regardless of this tradition; if tradition is ignored than Senator Obama's delegates may well decide that their good consciences call for them, in some cases, to vote for Senator Clinton]
d. In the case where a pledged delegate is not on the floor of the Convention Hall at the time a vote is taken, an alternate may be designated according to the rules tocast the vote. In no case may an alternate cast a vote for a delegate allocated under I.F., I.G., I.H. or I.I. of this Call.
e. On a roll call vote by states, the vote cast on behalf of a delegation may be challenged by communication to the Convention Secretary by telephone or other means by any voting member of that state’s delegation within ten (10) minutes after the Convention Secretary’s announcement of the state’s vote. The votes of that delegation shall then be recorded as polled without regard to any state law, party rule, resolution or instruction binding the delegation or any member thereof to vote for or against any candidate or proposition. The Convention Chair may send a parliamentarian to the delegation to conduct the poll. At the discretion of the Convention Chair, the roll call may continue instead of waiting for the result of the polling.
f. On a roll call vote conducted by telephone or other electronic voting mechanism, the vote of a delegation as shown on the video projection system may be challenged by communication to the Convention Secretary by telephone or other means by any voting member of the delegation within ten (10) minutes after the delegation’s vote is shown on the screen.
g. A demand to poll a delegation may be withdrawn at any time before the actual polling has begun.
4. Interruption of Vote: When the question has been put, the vote thereon may not be interrupted for any purpose other than a demand for a roll call vote or a point of order directed to the conduct of the vote.
5. Determination of Question: Except as otherwise provided in these rules, all questions, including the question of nominations of candidates for President and Vice President of the United States, shall be determined by a majority vote of the delegates to the Convention.
G. Filling a Vacancy on the National Ticket: In the event of death, resignation or disability of a nominee of the Party for President or Vice President after the adjournment of the National Convention, the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee shall confer with
the Democratic leadership of the United States Congress and the Democratic Governors Association and shall report to the Democratic National Committee, which is authorized to fill the vacancy or vacancies.


Blogger Sharon said...

My priority issue, at this time, is that the Democratic Party be democratic and allow for the voters to vote for who they choose, or chose, in this election. I chose Hillary Clinton and so did the majority of the Democratic voters. Why is that not being given the weight that it deserves?

I re-registered this year, after decades of being a Democrat. I could not stay in a party who ignored the majority of it's voters and a party who believes 'our' nominee should only be hand selected by 'the elite' party 'big shots'. That is not the basic foundation of a party I want to be a part of, so I had no choice but to leave.

I voted for Hillary Clinton. I want her to stand on that podium and let everyone know that the majority of us voted for her. I want the delegates who are 'supposed to be' representing the majority voters in their district to cast their votes according to their constituents votes.

If the Democrats do any less than this, then they are no longer representing the Democrats of America. Is this a monarchy or a Democracy???

Take Care, Sharon

August 18, 2008 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Heidi, in rule 3.a. you talk about Nancy Pelosi being the undisputed convention chair. Would it be helpful the the process remaining fair if another woman was put into nomination and possibly elected as the chair? Is there time to get a petition going if this is true?

August 18, 2008 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger CognitiveDissonance said...

I'm also intrigued that the convention chair has to be nominated and get a majority of votes. Wouldn't it be a delicious wrench in the gears if someone decided to put up Geraldine Ferrarro into nomination?

August 18, 2008 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger Admin said...

Sent by karavala007:

There are 1328 words in the Declaration of Independence and 4400 words in the Constitution. Those two documents established our country and we adhere to their substance and meaning. They are also the two documents that we live by as citizens of this great country. There are 2,693 words in the Procedural Rules of the Democratic National party that have little substance and no one even bothers to adhere to them. They give rights to the select few. It speaks to an attempt by the DNC to overthrow the principles of the Constitution. That is why this fight to have a truly open convention is about our country’s democratic principles. Why should we allow a small few to subvert who and what we are?

As citizens, we need to be aware that this anti-democratic tendency of the DNC is shown in their responses to the lawsuits filed against them. In responses to these lawsuits the DNC seem to argue for the constitutionally protected rights of the DNC and political parties as opposed to the constitutional rights of citizens. ( See DeMaio and Geller lawsuits at

As citizens, we must enjoin this fight to protect our democracy or we will lose it. We cannot let stand, without protest, the contempt towards 18 million citizens, towards delegates and superdelegates, as well as the purchasing of votes by donating to delegates campaigns, and the control of the press. These are the tactics used by dictators as we have seen in Zimbabwe and other nations. We must block this attempt by the DNC and Democrats to change our democracy into a totalitarian state

August 18, 2008 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger navyvet48 said...

Excellent presentation Heidi. I fully understand the whole convention scheme now. The e-mail you cited from Shay is the same one I saw. The one I saw was in response to an e-mail written by one of the Native Americans.

Here is an article Governor Rendell says he will vote for Hillary in Roll Call!

I won't comment because I have no idea what this means if anything!

August 19, 2008 at 6:41 AM  
Blogger Nancy in Cali said...


Your post says they vote for VP too. If that is the case, isn't it possible that if BO choses someone else (say Kaine), the delegates could FORCE Hillary to be the VP?

So much is said about President, but I think a unity ticket is vital to bring the party together. If Obama doesn't do this - can the delegates MAKE him do it?

August 19, 2008 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger The Musical Patriot said...

Thank you, Heidi Li, for this wonderful research. My question is whether anyone who is running this convention is listening to reason. We appear so far to have apparatchiks attached to a demagogue planning this convention. We must admit the fact that the party conventions have become events run for television. And, of course, we may go back in history and see that the primary process is also run for the media. When the media is corporate-owned what kind of a process does this create? Does it not create a result which benefits the aforementioned corporate media? And how democratic can that be -- truly? Energy now is a precious commodity,as always, and should be used in ways and in a direction which are the most useful. I absolutely do think people should go to the Democratic convention and fight for a fair process, if this seems realistically possible. But if it is not realistically possible, where would that leave the prudent person?

August 20, 2008 at 1:47 PM  

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