At this point, there are sixteen motions being proposed as floor motions for the 2018 Annual Convention. I may have posted most of my motions a while ago, but there are a bunch now showing up. I’m planning on reviewing and posting on as many of these motions as I can before the convention. All of these blog posts will be tagged LPF2018, so if you want to look at my thoughts on those motions, just click on the LPF2018 tag on the right side of the page or the bottom of this post.
Ryan Ramsey is a member of the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Florida, sitting in the Region 4 Representative position, representing Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Columbia, Union, Bradford, and Alachua counties. He has proposed several changes to the Governing Documents of the Libertarian Party of Florida. His first motion was a change to the grounds for removal of members. This motion is a change to the Constitution, eliminating the Selection Committee. It is also the second floor motion to address candidate selection.
Title: Delete Article 3, Section 5, to eliminate the Selection Committee, and make certification based on compliance with Division Of Election rules.
Article: ARTICLE III Officers, Executive Committee & Standing Committees
Section & Subsection (if applicable): Section 5
Text: I move to strike the entire text of Article 3, Section 5 which currently reads:
Section 5. Selection Committee
A. The Selection Committee shall consist of five (5) members, elected at the Annual Business Meeting from diverse regions of the state. Vacancies on this committee occurring after the Annual Business Meeting may be filled by the Chair with the approval of the Executive Committee.
B. The Selection Committee shall be responsible for establishing guidelines the committee will follow when contacted by, or presented with, information in regards to any Florida candidate who seeks certification by the LPF.
1. The Selection Committee shall establish minimum criteria which a prospective candidate must meet before obtaining approval from the Selection Committee and shall specify this criteria in the Standing Rules.
2. The Selection Committee shall recommend candidates to the Executive Committee for certification who have been approved for recommendation by majority vote.
3. The Selection Committee shall make regular reports to the LPF Executive Committee.
(c) The Selection Committee shall perform its duties according to Article IV, Section 5C of the Bylaws.
I move to add:
LPF Constitution Article IX
Selection and Endorsement of Candidates
Section 1 Candidates shall be considered official LPF Candidates if they are registered to vote as members of the LPF and register as candidates with the Florida Division of Elections and meet all requirements of local, state, or federal office to which they seek election.
Section 2 In accordance with Florida Law, a letter shall be sent to the Florida Division of Elections on or before the date of qualifying for the election listing all the candidates who have met the qualifications set forth by Florida law, which appearance on the Florida Division of Elections website shall be considered proof of meeting these qualifications.
First, a minor complaint. In Ryan’s first motion, the title did not really explain what the motion did. In this motion, he may have set the record for the longest title on the agenda. Brevity is a wonderful thing. (A lesson I should probably learn.)
Now for the actual meat of the motion. The major question is whether our current Governing Documents are in accordance with Florida Statutes. I’m not a lawyer, so take anything I say about legal compliance with a bucket of salt. However, while the Division of Elections may have been limiting the role of the party in determining its candidates, Florida Statutes (103.121(4)) states:
The central committee or other equivalent governing body of each state executive committee shall adopt a rule which governs the time and manner in which the respective county executive committees of such party may endorse, certify, screen, or otherwise recommend one or more candidates for such party’s nomination for election. Upon adoption, such rule shall provide the exclusive method by which a county committee may so endorse, certify, screen, or otherwise recommend. No later than the date on which qualifying for public office begins pursuant to s. 99.061, the chair of each county executive committee shall notify in writing the supervisor of elections of his or her county whether the county executive committee has endorsed or intends to endorse, certify, screen, or otherwise recommend candidates for nomination pursuant to party rule. A copy of such notification shall be provided to the Secretary of State and to the chair of the appropriate state executive committee.
This seems to me to allow the Libertarian Party of Florida to set a rule allowing the county affiliates to pick and choose their candidates. I’d rather allow the county affiliates to determine who the libertarian candidate is than have an open free for all when anyone can state that they’re a libertarian because they’re unhappy with being a Democrat or Republican. I would hope that an avowed Socialist or Theocrat would be rejected by the county committees. Under the proposed change, an avowed Socialist or Theocrat could (and probably would) run as a Libertarian, which would negate any messaging the party could do.
If, on the other hand, the Division of Elections has completely stripped away the role of the parties in determining who their candidates are, then the Selection Committee, as currently defined, is illegal (or, at a minimum, ineffective). But does that mean that there is no role for the Selection Committee?
Earlier, in my post about Greg’s motion on the Candidates Committee, I discussed the three phases of candidate selection. First, recruitment of potential candidates. Second, allocation of resources to candidates. Third, training of candidates and staff. That’s three completely different functions, and should be handled by three different groups of people. The Selection Committee really addresses the second phase. Even if they don’t get to recommend who gets the L after their name, the question of resource allocation is still an important one. The party cannot support every candidate that runs as a Libertarian. Some mechanism must exist to determine who gets how much support. Even if the L is out of our control, the money isn’t. And that role, while different from the current role, is still important.
Moving on to Section 2 of the proposed Article IX, I’d rather not go into that much detail as to how we’re following Florida Statutes. The State Legislature meets on a yearly basis, and potentially changes the law on a yearly basis. I’d rather not detail how we’re following a law that could change from year to year. A simple statement that the party will follow procedures laid out by the Division of Elections would seem to be sufficient.
While I can’t support this motion as written, the role and legality of the Selection Committee needs to be addressed by the Libertarian Party of Florida. At least this motion addresses the problem. I’d be happy to see an amendment proposed to this motion with a solution.