I was not a precinct delegate elected in 2010, and precinct delegates at the county conventions are given priority to be delegates at the state convention. However, if there are delegate spots still available after all the precinct delegates who want to have stepped up, then non-precinct delegates can volunteer to fill them. That is how I got a delegate spot to the state convention in Michigan. My spouse and I have filed to run as precinct delegates this year, as have several others we know.
So anyway, at the state convention we held congressional district caucuses to elect the delegates to Tampa. Each district in Michigan was to elect 2 voting delegates, 2 alternates, and one non-voting delegate and alternate. (The non-voting delegate/alternate is because Michigan was penalized for the date of its primary. The non-voting delegates will attend the Tampa convention just in case the RNC decides to remove the penalty and let all of the delegates from Michigan vote--not very likely, now that we have earned at least 20 delegate/alternate spots.)
At my district caucus, the Ron Paul supporters were basically steamrolled and shut out. The vote for the permanent chair was pretty fair, and the other guy won fair and square, but that is where fair ended. Throughout the rest of the meeting, any time one of our people stood to make a motion or a point of order, we were ignored or ruled out of order. Motions were made and seconded but never discussed or voted on. There was NO discussion before voting on the rules, and NO discussion before voting on (rubber-stamping) the establishment slate. Even non RP delegates have to be alarmed that such basic tenets of Robert's Rules of Order were being ignored. The chair ruled us out of order on everything that did not fit into his pre-determined agenda, including our motion to take nominations from the floor, and a call for division on the vote for the slate. He used the sergeants-at-arms to bully the RP supporter who was most vocal--who, by the way, was not "disruptive," but only asking for fairness.
After the district caucuses Friday night, the RP supporters all met up to celebrate and compare notes. I was so thrilled to hear from people in the other districts that many RP supporters were elected as national delegates!
I will be writing a letter to my district committee and submitting it to all the local papers regarding the unabashed abuse of power by the chair in our district. Robert's Rules of Order are designed to protect the rights of the group to keep the meeting on track, and ALSO to protect the rights of the minority and individual, so that all voices can be heard. It is not the privilege of the chair to simply rule out of order or ignore anything he personally disagrees with.
Yeah for Michigan!!! Give this a bump please!
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