Below is an excerpt from the Report of the Special Bylaws Committee of the Libertarian Party of Michigan. Members of the party will be voting on these recommended bylaws changes at a Special Convention on February 4th in Lansing.
The full report can be found here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6tKSZismDd7ZnJ6OXhRaVpiZHM
and the supplemental report here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6tKSZismDd7VjV3MUhvUXV1SEE
The Special Bylaws Committee recommends 17 changes to the bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Michigan. These changes are a result of our new so called “major party status” due to Gary Johnson’s vote total as prescribed under MCL 168.532. The recommended changes are limited only to those related to our change in ballot status and affect 5 of the 14 sections of the current bylaws. The following topics are addressed; local party organization, conventions; officers; national convention delegates, and legal authority.
At the June 12, 2016 meeting of the Libertarian Executive Committee, Chairman Bill Gelineau appointed me to chair a “special bylaws committee” to investigate and recommend changes to our bylaws in the event Gary Johnson earned enough votes to achieve “major party status” as called for in the bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Michigan.
CONVENTIONS VI.3. All members of the Party who attend and register at a convention shall be delegates, unless the Party shall receive major party status. In the latter event, new bylaws shall be enacted by a special convention to convene within 90 days of such time as an LPM statewide candidate receives sufficient votes to gain major party status.
This bylaw was approved at the 1994 LPM State Convention due to the strength of the Jon Coon for Senate campaign. This marked the first time that the LPM had to take the possibility of becoming a “major party” seriously. At the time this bylaw was adopted, the state had no formal definition of “major” or “minor” party. Parties either nominated candidates by convention or caucus (so called minor parties) or parties nominated most candidates by primary (so called major parties). The law that divided parties into these categories is MCL 16.532, informally referred to as the “top of the ticket” rule.
168.532 Nomination by caucus or convention where principal candidate receives less than 5% of vote cast for candidates for secretary of state.
Sec. 532. A political party whose principal candidate received less than 5% of the total vote cast for all candidates for the office of secretary of state in the last preceding state election, either in the state or in any political subdivision affected, shall not make its nominations by the direct primary method. The nomination of all candidates of such parties shall be made by means of caucuses or conventions which shall be held and the names of the party’s nominations filed at the time and manner provided in section 686a of this act. The term “principal candidate” of any party shall be construed to mean the candidate whose name shall appear nearest the top of the party column.
Under this law, the 172,136 votes Gary Johnson received is greater than 5% of all votes cast for Secretary of State in 2014 (154,040 votes) thus triggering the change in ballot status for the LPM.
Note that in 1995, the year Ross Perot created the Reform Party, the Michigan Legislature defined “major political party” as “each of the 2 political parties whose candidate for the office of secretary of state received the highest and second highest number of votes at the immediately preceding general election in which a secretary of state was elected.” (MCL 168.16) This definition has nothing to do with party ballot status or candidate nominations. It is only relevant to election administration and describes parties having members on the state and county board of canvassers and as election inspectors. The LPM bylaws were never updated to reflect this semantic change and there is currently no term to properly define our ballot status under state law apart from the descriptor “a party qualified to nominate candidates by direct primary method.” Despite the semantic issue, the LPM is still required to hold a special within 90 days of the election as this was the “original intent” of the bylaw and the simple fact that MCL 168.532 is the law that the Secretary of State uses to determine political party ballot status, not MCL 168.16.
Our change in ballot status is not just limited to how our candidates are nominated. The following changes are required under Michigan Election Law as a result of MCL 168.532.
- There will be a Libertarian primary in August 2018. All candidates besides several statewide candidates (Secretary of State, Attorney General, the four public education boards, Justice of the Supreme Court and Lieutenant Governor if necessary) are to be nominated at the August Primary (534). The filing deadline to appear on the primary for the following offices will be April 24, 2018. Governor and US Senator (15,000 signatures, 100 from at least half of all CDs), US Congress (1,000 signatures), State Senate (500 signatures or $100 filing fee), State House (200 signatures or $100 filing fee), and County and Township (signatures or fee).
- Libertarian precinct delegates will be elected at the August 2018 primary and are to serve as delegates to the various county conventions (562). The filing deadline for precinct delegates will be May 8, 2018. No signatures or fee is required, only a notarized affidavit of identity.
- State law dictates the timing of our conventions and that state convention delegates are selected at preceding county / congressional district conventions.
- Timing of even-numbered year state convention (591) and odd-numbered year state conventions (168.593, 168.597).
- Timing of even-numbered year county / congressional district conventions (592), odd-numbered year conventions (168.594), and conventions to select officers (168.599, 168.600).
- Apportionment and selection of delegates to the state convention are done at county / congressional district conventions (595).
- State law also describes the internal makeup and length of terms for state Party officials (597), and county/congressional district officials (168.599, 168.600).
The text of each of these statutes is included on pages 78-80 of the supplemental portion of this report and are hyperlinked above and in the 17 recommended proposals when cited.
After the appointment of the committee chair, six members of the party were selected to be on the committee from a list of volunteers and recommendations. Following the election, members of the committee began drafting and discussing various proposals over email before meeting on December 18 in Lansing for formal discussion and voting. A conference call was held on December 28 to fine tune the language of certain proposals and to address additional issues that arose after the first meeting.
The members of the Special Bylaws Committee include: Greg Stempfle-chair (Oakland), Jim Fulner (Oakland), William Hall (West Michigan), Lawrence Johnson (Washtenaw), Jamie Lewis (West Michigan), Emily Salvette (Washtenaw), and Jeff Wood (Livingston).
We received 29 proposals for consideration; 8 from William Hall (WH), 7 from Greg Stempfle (GS), 7 from Keith Butkovich (KB), 2 from Kim McCurry (KM), 2 from Emily Salvette (ES), 2 Tom Bagwell (TB), and 1 from Jim Fulner (JF). Proposals were grouped into those related to our change in ballot status (19) and those unrelated (10). Only those relating to our change in ballot status were considered by the committee. There will be a regular bylaws committee formed in advance of the 2017 regular convention at which time proposals unrelated to our change in ballot status can be more properly addressed.
The 17 recommended proposals are presented below. The order they are being listed in is a combination of how much support they received and how logically they can be grouped together. In the interest of brevity and neutrality, the initial statements of support for each proposal and the discussion of each proposal as described in the meeting minutes are not being included in the main body (part 1) but are being included in the supplemental portion of this report (part 2). However, each member of the committee was offered space in the main body of the report to provide commentary.
These recommended proposals will be voted on by delegates to the special convention held on February 4, 2017.
Notes about this report: There are two parts to this report. Part 1 is the main body which includes this background information, the recommended proposals, and the full draft bylaws incorporating them for full context. Part 1 would be a reasonable document to have available at the special convention. Part 2 is supplemental material and includes all of the original proposals and statements of support presented to the committee, the full text of the cited election laws, and the agenda a minutes of the meeting. There is a lot of redundant text in this part so I would advise against printing these pages. They are presented for a full record of the committee proceedings for party members who are interested.
I would like to thank the members of the Capital Area Libertarian Party for the use of their office for our meeting and the members of the committee for their time and dedication in tackling such a detail intensive project.
Greg Stempfle – Chair, Special Bylaws Committee
Name vote Descriptor
XI PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY 1 proposal
GS03 7-0 Affirm Constitutional Rights under Michigan Election Law
Total 7-0 (100%)
VII NOMINATION OF CANDIDATES 2 proposals
WH06 7-0 Rejection of state law regarding delegates to National Conventions*
JF01 4-0 Clarification of candidate nomination processes
Total 11-0 (100%)
IV LOCAL PARTY ORGANIZATION 1 proposal
WH04 5-1-1 Incorporate precinct delegates and county conventions into bylaws
Total 5-1-1 (83%)
VI CONVENTIONS 11 proposals in 3 categories
GS01a 5-2 Change timing of even year convention in accordance with state law
GS01b/WH02 5-1-1 Define odd year state conventions as regular conventions
Delegates to State Conventions
WH05 5-1-1 Apportionment of delegates to state convention by SoS votes and
Affirm party membership requirement.
KM01 (pt1) 4-0-3 Define number of delegates at state convention
KM01 (pt2) 4-3 All party members are delegates to regular 2017 convention
WH09 6-1 Issuing of call to convention
ES01 5-2 Timeframe for state conv. delegate credentials
ES02 6-1 7/8 approval for additional convention delegates
National Delegate Selection Convention
WH07 5-2 National Delegate Selection Convention (*incl. change to VII.2.)
GS06a 5-2 Delegates to NDSC selected by apportionment
WH08 4-3 Candidate endorsements at NDSC
Total 54-18-5 (75%)
III Officers 2 proposals
WH03 5-1-1 Make Political Director second vice-chair and replace at-large members (5) with representatives from each congressional district (14).
GS04 4-3 Add nondiscrimination plank
Total 9-4-1 (69%)
Not recommended proposals (2)
GS05 3-4 Apportionment of delegates to 2017 regular convention by SoS votes
(by a 4-3 vote, this proposal will be presented if KM01 (pt2) fails)
GS06b 3-4 Delegates to NDSC include all party members
Any proposals made to XV Provisos Related to Transition are included in the section which the proviso is referencing.
For the text of the proposals and the full draft bylaws, please refer to the reports linked to at the start of the article. The rest of this report loses all if it’s formatting when pasted into this blog post. -GS