Motion: Amend LPF Constitution Article 2, Section one

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.  His second motion eliminated the Selection Committee.  This, his third and final motion is a another change to the Constitution, redefining membership in the Libertarian Party of Florida.

Type: Constitution
Title: Amend LPF Constitution Article 2, Section one
Article: ARTICLE II Membership
Section & Subsection (if applicable): Section 1
Text: I move to amend the current language of Article 2, Section 1 and replace it with the following:

Current language:

Section 1.
LPF membership is open to whoever signs the pledge: “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals,” and asks to be a member of the LPF.34

Replacement language:

Section 1

LPF membership is conferred on all registered LPF voters, to be verified by a valid voter registration for the purposes of seeking to exercise rights of membership such as candidacy for Executive Committee positions, standing and special committee memberships, delegate status, or other positions open only to members.

A couple minor complaints:  First, just as in Ryan’s first motion, the title did not really explain what the motion did.  Second, the numbers at the end of the current text are not part of the current text.  They are footnote references to information about when that was added to the Constitution.  As such, they’re not part of the text.

Now for the actual meat of the motion.  Under the current Constitution, there is no requirement that a member of the Libertarian Party of Florida be a registered voter, much less a registered voter in Florida, much less be a Florida registered voter who’s official party affiliation (as recorded by the Supervisor of Elections) is libertarian.

This means that the Green Party could ask all of their members to join the Libertarian Party of Florida by going to the party web site, and then throw monkey wrenches into all of our actions.  They wouldn’t even need to change party affiliation.  It means that unless a member formally resigns, if they change their party affiliation to the National Socialist Party of Florida, they are still members of the Libertarian Party of Florida.

This is insane.  At a minimum, the requirement to be a registered Florida libertarian voter should be a requirement to joining the party.

The other question is whether that should be the sole requirement.  I’m not against the notion of that being the sole requirement for party membership.  It would increase the ranks of the party immediately, which isn’t a bad thing.  More importantly, it removes a hoop that currently must be jumped in order to become a rank and file member.

There is a question of the interaction between this motion and Ryan’s motion on removal of members.  In that motion, he lays out a procedure by which rank and file members can be removed from the Party.  If membership is acquired solely through voter registration rolls, then I don’t see how the party can remove membership from an individual.  On the other hand, I oppose that other motion, so if I have my way, there won’t be an issue reconciling these two changes.

But I don’t embrace this motion wholeheartedly.  My issue isn’t with the general membership requirement, but extending that requirement to the officers, committee chairs, and delegates to the national convention.  I would retain the current oath requirement for those acting in an official capacity for the party.  While state law would determine if a person is a member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, our own governing documents would limit those who have some sort of official status.

As such, I’m going to offer the following amendment to this motion:

LPF membership is conferred on all registered LPF voters, to be verified by a valid voter registration for the purposes of seeking to exercise rights of membership such as attending and voting at the Annual Convention and committee membershipCcandidacy for Executive Committee positions, standing and special party committee membershipschairs, and Florida delegates to the Libertarian National Convention must sign the pledge: “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals”status, or other positions open only to members.

Basically, those members acting on the behest of the Party are being held to a higher standard.

I suppose that there could be an argument made that all committee members should sign the oath.  While there’s some merit to that argument, the pragmatic counter argument is that, first and foremost, we need hard workers on those committees.  Committee membership does not convey any authority, so there’s no reason to create impediments for committee membership.

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