Sunday, July 24, 2011

Housekeeping: Minnesota Democratic Caucuses on March 6

A while back FHQ wondered aloud about the fate of the Minnesota Democratic Farm-Labor Party's efforts to hold a February 7 caucus vote to allocate Democratic convention delegates, but to release the results on March 6. That delegate selection plan faced an uncertain future before the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee as we attempted to point out then. Obviously, any vote from a non-exempt state prior to March 6 is a violation of the 2012 Democratic delegate selection rules and would thus make any state in violation vulnerable to sanction from the national party.

FHQ brings this up now because Minnesota was among the states that gained delegate selection plan approval from the Rules and Bylaws Committee yesterday. We were, then, understandably curious to find out if the earlier plan had passed muster with the committee or if changes had been made in the interim in order to win committee approval. The answer from the Minnesota DFL appears to be the latter. A revised plan noting the incorrect nature of the February 7 caucuses has subsequently been posted on the DFL website.1 The original post on the site has also been tagged "corrected version".

Now, there is no record of the original plan,2 3 and there's no real way of knowing the sequence of this change. The revised plan is dated April 16, just a couple of days following the closing of the public comment period. Again, there is no real way of knowing whether someone brought this to the attention of the DFL and they made the change under the guise of a "corrected version" or if there were at least two plans under consideration -- one of which was the vote-now-release-results-later plan -- and the wrong one was posted at the opening of the public comment period.

In the end, it does not particularly matter. What does matter is that the Minnesota DFL will hold caucus meetings on March 6 and not the February 7 date on which their Republican counterparts will initiate their delegate selection process. That, in turn, creates a change in the 2012 presidential primary calendar.

...and map:

[Click to Enlarge]

1 Here is that note from the Minnesota DFL:
The draft with a February 7, 2012 Caucus date that was posed on March 17th was an incorrect version of the MN Natonal Delegate Selection Plan. The correct version is now available by clicking the below link. This version contains a March 6th, 2012 Precinct Caucus date to comply with National Democratic Committee Delegate Selection Rules.
2 I'm kicking myself in retrospect for not stripping out that language from Section III.A in the mistaken delegate selection plan and posting it verbatim in my earlier comments.

3 Fabulous person that he is, Tony Roza at The Green Papers read this post and sent FHQ a copy of the originally-posted Minnesota DFL delegate selection play. Here is the language from Section 1.B.1 & 2 :

1. Minnesota will use a proportional representation system based on the results of the presidential preference ballots cast at the precinct caucuses for apportioning delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. These ballot results will be announced on March 6, 2012.

2. The “first determining step” of Minnesota‟s delegate election process will occur on February 7, 2012, with precinct caucuses.

Major hat tip to Tony.

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