Local Unit Mass Meetings and Conventions: SHOW UP AND VOTE!

So … with the New Year off to the races … as frenzied as a *POTUS election year always is, and given the unusual 97th House of Delegates district nomination last year, I thought it might be a benefit to the inquisitive folks of the Elephant Clan, and Independent voters as well, to explain a few things.

In better times that I will never give up on, this post would not be needed. Until then….

I will humbly request your consideration of one point before I dive into the remainder of this post because I think it is really important: If you wait until November of any year to vote, you have allowed other people (many of whom are one issue or special interest individuals) to determine who your choice will be.

The real choices between various candidates are made at the local unit, district, and state party level through the nominating contests. By November, on a party level for a single office, your choices have been narrowed by others to one. Let that sink in. Hopefully, you’ll see the significance.

With that in mind, there have been more than a few questions about who has the right to participate in Unit mass meetings, and District and State Conventions in 2020. The RPV State Party Plan (SPP) and multiple General Counsel rulings have addressed nearly all possible scenarios.

As explained (in a 2015 opinion) by Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) General Counsel Chris Marston:

“… you ask who decides whether an otherwise qualified individual should be excluded from serving as a delegate to the 2016 Shenandoah County Republican Convention under paragraph

2. If precinct mass meetings are held, the decision rests with the meeting. If the mass meetings are canceled as they were in 2015, the convention itself makes the decision by acting on the report of the credentials committee. The credentials committee should not include in its report anyone who it believes does not meet the qualifications for participation, but the convention can amend the report to include someone omitted, or to exclude someone who was included if it disagrees with the recommendation of the committee.” [emphasis added]

So let’s start with the basics and go from there.

When your local unit (county or city) calls its mass meeting, if you are a registered voter of that county or city, you have a right to participate. Once constituted, the mass meeting governs itself.

Just like the example quoted from Mr. Marston above, the people at the mass meeting vote on the business of the mass meeting. Decisions by mass meetings have the same right of appeal as anything else, per SPP Article X. It’s all about numbers, so gather your peeps and make a plan!

Put another way … do you want to have a say in who will be on the ballot in November? If so, SHOW UP AND VOTE.

So, get everyone you know, their friends, family, and their friends and family, and make a transportation plan to attend your local mass meeting. Find someone you know and trust in your county or city RPV unit, call them and make a plan.

The RPV State Convention is May 1-2, 2020. The State Convention, District conventions, and all local Mass Meeting calls are required to be posted on the RPV Official Call Calendar. Some calls are already posted.

The authority for all of this comes from the RPV State Party Plan. The SPP, Article I (bold emphasis mine):

SECTION A. Qualifications

1. All legal and qualified voters under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, regardless of race, religion, national origin or sex, who are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, and who, if requested, express in open meeting either orally or in writing as may be required their intent to support all of its nominees for public office in the ensuing election may participate as members of the Republican Party of Virginia in its mass meetings, party canvasses, conventions, or primaries encompassing their respective election districts.”

Let’s first break this down using the units in the 97th Legislative District as a guide, and get the sticky wicket out of the way.

Unfortunately, there was more than enough drama over the 2019 97th HOD contest and I am not going to rehash it here. However, to the extent overzealous unit chairmen have attempted to kick folks out of the party, they should know they still have rights under the SPP. So make a plan to attend your local mass meeting, and SHOW UP AND VOTE!

Why would I say that? Well, it is very simple. Former Republican Delegate Peace is still a member of the Hanover unit. Once he bowed out of the contest and endorsed Scott Wyatt, he was NOT A CANDIDATE for any office, as he clearly stated in his letter to then-chairman Nick Collette.

The SPP states:

“2. A voter who, subsequent to making a statement of intent, publicly supports a candidate in opposition to a Republican nominee shall not be qualified for participation in party actions as defined in Article I for a period of four (4) years.”

So, in reference to the 97th LDC nominating contest in 2019 and because there was no Republican candidate in opposition to the Republican nominee Scott Wyatt, those who wanted to send former Republican Delegate Peace back to Richmond have broken no oath nor faith with the SPP. Make a plan to attend your local mass meeting and SHOW UP AND VOTE!

In New Kent and Hanover, some members received letters informing them they were no longer members. In most of those cases, those letters are … bullshit.

Do not be discouraged by a letter that was most likely nothing more than a bad-faith effort by a few individuals to maintain control. So, when your unit mass meeting is called, make a plan and SHOW UP AND VOTE!

If you were one of the 1,700 delegates or alternates to the 97th LDC on May 1, but did not participate, depending on the circumstance, make a plan to attend your mass meeting, and SHOW UP AND VOTE!

If you are one of the 2,448 people who participated in the 97th LDC “canvass” on June 1, make a plan to attend your mass meeting, and SHOW UP AND VOTE!

If you’re a current member of your local unit, SHOW UP AND VOTE!

If you were one of the 486 delegates to the 97th LDC “convention” and you participated on May 1, SHOW UP AND VOTE!

And for the rest of Virginia….

If you are NOT a member of ANY PARTY … but you do not appreciate the direction the VA Donkey Clan is going … make a plan to attend your mass meeting and they will WELCOME you!

If you USED TO BE a member of RPV … they’ll happily welcome you back (with a notable exception) so make a plan to attend your mass meeting, and SHOW UP AND VOTE!

What you should know:

If you have voted in a nomination contest of a party other than RPV within the past 5 years, the SPP has a one-time exception for you to use, with a condition:

4. In addition to the foregoing, to be in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, unless otherwise stipulated by the appropriate Official Committee, a person otherwise qualified hereunder shall not have participated in Virginia in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party with in the last five years.

5. A single exception to Paragraph 4 shall be approved for a voter that renounces affiliation with any other party in writing, and who expresses in writing that he/she is in accord with the principles of the Republican Party and intends, at the time of the writing, to support the nominees of the Republican Party in the future. Any voter that utilizes the foregoing exception, and thereafter participates in the nomination process of a party other than the Republican Party, shall not have the benefit of the exception identified in this paragraph thereafter…”

So there you have it. If you’re a right or center-right or even a center-center voter who wants to participate, check the RPV call calendar often until your mass meeting is called … make a plan and attend your local mass meeting. IF someone wants to keep you from participating, let them try. The burden of proof as to why any individual should not be included is on them. The language of the SPP and the general counsel opinions are most likely on your side. You build a party by including people, not by trying to exclude people who support your party.

The days of rigged conventions … delegate counts being shorted to control the convention and calls issued without sufficient notice to allow for maximum participation … need to end.

The Elephant Clan has a choice: either practice what you preach, or continue to lose elections. What’s it gonna be?

*President of the United States

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