Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Jon Ausman Releases Memo on Florida Appeal

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

Former lone Kucinich superdelegate Jon Ausman gives us some info on what's going on behind the scenes.

The staff of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have completed and submitted their review of the two appeals seeking to have 23 superdelegates and 92 pledged delegates award to Florida .

The first appeal notes the DNC Charter states Democratic US Senators, Democratic US House Members, former DNC Chairs and DNC Members “shall” be delegates to the Democratic National Convention. This “bill of rights” given to 23 Floridians cannot be taken away by a subordinate body created by the DNC since that subordinate body does not have the authority to do so.

The second appeal states the penalty for violating the “timing rule” “shall be” a fifty percent (50%) reduction in the pledged delegates and the loss of the three (3) unpledged add-on delegates. This means Florida should have at least 92 pledged delegates.

The remaining 93 pledged delegates and three (3) unpledged add-on delegates I hope to win at a later time if not on this appeal itself.

Review by Co-Chairs, Rules and Presidential Politics

The two Co-Chairs of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) have been reviewing the staff comments and recommendations since 31 March 2008. While the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules provide a strict timeline in many areas when an appeal is made it is silent on how long the Co-Chairs can review the appeals and the staff review.

For those who suggest the Co-Chairs are stalling, or planning to delay hearings until June, I say lets give them a reasonable amount of time to review the documents. If the staff has two weeks to review and write a report then lets give the Co-Chairs the same two week period of time.

This means the Co-Chairs should make a statement on Monday, 14 April 2008, at the latest.

The Co-Chairs can say one or both appeals are meritorious and grant the sought for remedies, they can deny one or both appeals (which will allow me to appeal such a denial within five days to the DNC RBC, or they can call for a DNC RBC Committee to here argument on the appeals.

I believe we are going before the full DNC RBC and I would like to be there no later than Saturday, 10 May 2008.

Unfortunately, these two appeals involve more than the consideration of what the written rules governing the DNC say. Rather than interpret the rules as written consideration is now being given to what the two Presidential campaigns want (what they want, of course, is what benefits them the most).

I believe one campaign is very interested in allowing the DNC RBC decide the matter while the other is stalling in order to preserve their position.

One would think both parties would see the tremendous advantage of resolving this matter early as it would help improve fundraising for both campaigns in Florida (not to mention DNC and FDP fundraising) as well as allow our attention to focus on getting ready to be Senator McCain, but short-term views are prevailing over the long-term benefits of ending this running sore.

With respect, I am,

Jon M. Ausman, Member
Democratic National Committee
Florida

Thanks Mr. Super

19 comments:

Baldwin Park Democrat said...

Personally, as a Florida voter who voted for Obama, I say let the rules stand as agreed to by all. Don't seat either Florida or Michigan delegations. I realize my vote won't mean much but that's not the point. If Hillary had objections she should have voiced them strongly before she agreed to them. She didn't because she believed in her own inevitability. Now that Obama is well ahead, she wants to change the rules. That is not fair and simply can not happen.

Ret LTC said...

Read the memo again, bpd (assuming you read it the first time). Clinton wants the rules followed, meaning half the delegates will be seated, according to the vote that was taken.

It should also mean only half of Iowa, NH and SC are seated, but sadly I don't see anyone trying to apply the rules even-handedly to all states.

And don't give us that, "I'm a Florida voter and I don't care that my vote doesn't count" BS. If you voted for Obama, what you are advocating is that the MAJORITY of FL votes count less than yours. Because Obama won less than 50% of the vote (quite a bit less iirc), not counting the vote will effectively give him 50% credit. If the shoe were on the other foot, if Hillary were ahead and Obama had won Florida, you'd be screaming to high heavens.

There are really only two factors that matter:

1) One of the bedrock principles of the Democratic Party is that every person's vote MUST count. Rules contrived by an unelected DNC should NEVER EVER violate that principle.

2) We cannot win in November without Florida and Michigan electoral votes. Not seating their delegates, or seating them in such a way that they don't really count, will almost guarantee both two states go for McCain.

The issue is MUCH bigger than the canidates and what they may or may not have agreed to. That really doesn't matter at all.

Mr Super said...

Yeah, ret ltc is missing some major points. The early window was to protect the status of IA, NV, NH and SC so those states were not breaking the rules. And in fact, that's the plan that Michigan proposed and that all states voted in favor of.

As far as the DNC - it is not unelected, all members of the DNC are elected by state Democratic parties and voters.

The Democratic Party should count every vote, and the votes here are not in question - it's the seating of delegates. And they will be seated, the question is how. Florida and Michigan cheated because they knowingly broke rules - so the hurdle is figuring out a way to seat said delegates that is fair to the other 48 states.

Amot said...

Friends, I suggest before arguing here all of you read not only the memo but the full DNC delegates selection rules:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/apache.3cdn.net/de68e7b6dfa0743217_hwm6bhyc4.pdf

In my opinion this is a partisan memo and there are some unpleasant insinuations in it!
50% is part of the penalty that is always required when timing is broken - rule 20 C 1A. Check the rules to find out only 4 states are allowed to vote before Feb 5th. Under the rules additional penalties can be applied and those were applied - rule 20 C 5. Those additional penalties are contested now! However the 50% penalty is the minimal. Both MI and FL can ask that minimal reduction of delegates is applied and I think for the good of the party that can and will happen. In case part of a delegation is seated special committee must propose composition of that delegation, reflecting the state division of presidential preferences and uncommitted status. According to the rules campaigns don't have to agree with that composition - it is another gesture of good will coming from DNC. The 50% reduction is applied to pledged delegates only; all unpledged delegates lose their seats! And according to the rules that is an automatic action at the moment any state breaks the rules!

Summary: If the rules are followed MI and FL delegation will be composed in the best case of 50% or less of their pledged delegates in a proportion chosen by a special committee!

Extra point: Rule 20 C 7! If the sanctions are result of a state law, DNC RBC can after investigation and hearings proving State Party and Dems PLEOs took all provable positive steps and acted in good faith to achieve legislative changes to bring the state law in compliance with DNC rules or prevent legislative changes that will result in state law failing to comply with DNC rules; in such case DNC RBC can reduce the sanctions! That means that if FL PLEOs somehow can prove they did their best to change the state law, all FL delegation can be seated. That doesn't mean they will be seated as is!!!

For MI I can believe someone can prove they tried to comply with the rules! That is why most probably MI delegation will only include 25% to 50% of their pledged delegates in a proportion chosen by special committee!
I believe FL can somehow convince DNC they did some actions to oppose the state law and most probably all FL delegation will be seated at 50% as is (including supers).

Yamaka said...

If the Democratic Party breaks its very basic fundamental principle of counting ALL votes (seating ALL delegates) then it does NOT deserve to be the National Party of Power at the WH and Congress.

All Party Rules must be geared towards protecting this superior principle in politics.

Here the real party is not the candidates; it is the peoples of MI and FL, who obeyed their State laws and went to polls. Therefore, their votes must be counted, and their delegates MUST/WILL be seated, period, whether or not the candidates like it.

If you use the Electoral College methodology, which is the most relevant thing in the General Election, Sen Clinton has 263 delegates and with PA she will cross the 270 winning mark. Sen Obama is way behind.

The SDs must ask who is electable in the Fall? Clearly, Sen Clinton will get their votes and clinch the Nomination.

Sen Obama has won many small Caucuses, which historically vote for Republicans in the Fall. They will NOT vote for him in the General Election. Sen Clinton has won all the must win large States for Democrats. She is quite electable. She does NOT have the scandals of Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko etc.

If the Democratic Party nominates Sen Obama with all the Scandals stuck around his neck, we will lose both the White House and the Senate! We will be in Opposition for another 8 years!!

Yamaka said...

"The early window was to protect the status of IA, NV, NH and SC"

Which God gave these States the right to have the early window for themselves? What's wrong with Jan 29th for MI and FL?

The "Timing Rule" has no logical basis, and it was NOT implemented right. DNC should have obtained a binding contract from the Gov of each State. "The Party Representative" has no teeth in implementing this Rule. This is the flaw of the DNC Officials.

State Legislature passes the bill and the Governor signs it into law governing the primary date, period. People of MI and FL obeyed the Law and went to polls. They should never ever be punished.

If the czarist arrogance of the Rules and Credential Committees punishes the people, then people WILL punish the Party in November.

Folks, the Primary is just an exercise to Nominate an "Electable Candidate". If your Rules somehow yield a non-electable scandal swamped candidate, what is the purpose of the whole exercise?

All in vain!

Vote for Hillary, a well known well tested candidate. She will beat McCain in the Fall.

Otherwise, stay in Opposition for another 8 years.

DNC Officials MUST rejoice in keeping the Party in Opposition for eternity!!!!!!!!!

Amot said...

Same old song!
"Here the real party is not the candidates; it is the peoples of MI and FL, who obeyed their State laws and went to polls. Therefore, their votes must be counted, and their delegates MUST/WILL be seated, period, whether or not the candidates like it."
Have you ever checked the turnout in MI? Check my post at MI&FL thread and if you still think they "went to polls", let me know!
Try to be objective for God's sake!
Next week I will probably hear about use a new method to count delegates and that only 127 counties all over the country matter! And she will probably win 90% of "the vote" by that measure!
Basic Dems principle you say - let's count every vote. What about the millions in MI that didn't vote - how you count them?
If you want to be reasonable try to convince me that in FL the vote was almost fair and maybe I can buy it! You can sell a mediocre product together with a good one, but you can't sell bad product together with a mediocre product, actually you most probably won't sell even the mediocre one! I see that you guys know just 5 arguments and spit them all the time, but, please, start using your brains - I am open for debate if you are ready to be objective and listen to the other side!
For a start - never say MI and FL have the same situation!

Mike in Maryland said...

Yamaka and everyone else using "the Electoral College methodology", get off it.

You show that you are not willing to follow the rules; able to present a cogent argument; and are schillary puppets.

When the primaries began, I was an Edwards supporter. When he dropped out of the race, I moved my support to Obama.

At that time, if Clintion were to become the nominee, I would have been able to support her with few reservations.

However, since then all I've seen is her, from her and her supporters, have a temper tantrum that the nomination is being stolen from her. It was NEVER hers to begin with, so it cannot be stolen from her. Just as it was never Obama's to begin with. Nor Edwards', Bidens's, or any other Democratic candidate who announced.

As it stands now, I will vote for the Democratic nominee in November, but I will NOT contribute to a Clinton general election campaign. I will NOT campaign for her. I will NOT talk to friends and family about supporting her.

The "you stole it from me" temper tantrums have turned me cold to her. And discussing the primaries with many others, it has made a lot of others, including some Republicans who would have voted for any Democratic nominee, have the same thoughts.

Mike

Jon M. Ausman, Member, DNC, Florida said...

Greetings,

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) Rules and Bylaws (RBC) Co-Chairs, Alexis Herman and James Roosevelt, have indicated they will finish their review of the two appeals and the staff analysis/recommendations on Monday, 14 April 2008. Next week they will either outline the process to handle the appeals or comment directly on them.

With respect, I am,

Jon M. Ausman, Member
Democratic National Committee

cbsmith42 said...

"She does NOT have the scandals of Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko etc."

Yamaka, you make me laugh. You are correct that she does not have the Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko scandals, but I must disagree vehemently with the "etc" part. Are you old enough to remember the 90's? Are you paying attention to what just happened with Mark Penn? You sound like a tape recorder of all of HRC's arguments, so I'm guessing you are probably not.

Sorry, all others, for the diversion from the topic at hand.

"All Party Rules must be geared towards protecting this superior principle in politics."

Without regard to what the rules "must be," the rules are what they are. Your argument cannot be about this nomination cycle but perhaps should be geared toward the next cycle. That is, if you still feel so adamantly about it in 4 years.

Amot said...

Dear Mr. Ausman, with all due respect I think you didn't formulate your appeals in the best possible way.
Several reasons:
1. In my opinion it is true PLEOs have to be delegates at the convention, but being part of FL delegation is not the same as being delegate. And being delegate itself doesn't mean you can vote on all issues! Unless you want to spend a holiday in Denver your first appeal seem meaningless to me! Even if you get seated you may still lack voting rights!
2. Second appeal has very good point, but what you have to ask is that FL goes with the minimal sanctions! Violation of timing has two level of sanctions and the first level is automatic reduction of 50% pledged and 100% unpledged delegates! In my opinion your appeal should be that FL doesn't deserve additional sanctions. Instead you appeal that sanction must be exactly 50% and that is not true because DNC BRC has the power to enforce additional sanctions at any time as they did!

You better file two new appeals:
1. FL doesn't deserve additional sanctions according to rule 20 C(5) because you didn't violate timing on purpose.
2. FL can get the sanction of rule 20 C(1a) reduced according to rule 20 C(7), ask for hearings and provide some proof there was a real effort of FL PLEOs to make the state law compliant with DNC rules!

If you have a good team you can get reduction as small as 50% pledged (half vote) and 25% unpledged delegates!

Best luck with your appeals!

Amot said...

Guys, 'rules' and 'principles' are dangerous ground! DNC can make a big joke with FL supers seating them at the convention as elected officials, but not as part of any state delegation and without rights to vote for the nominee. That can be real fun :))

Yamaka said...

"Basic Dems principle you say - let's count every vote. What about the millions in MI that didn't vote - how you count them?"-amot.

Very Funny.

There are about 220 million eligible voters in the country. In 2004 Fall only about 120 million went to polls, about 100 million did NOT want to participate. Likewise, in this Primary season only about a minority of 26% participated. Those who do NOT want to participate lose their rights voluntarily!

MI and FL conducted their Primaries as per the State Law. About 3 million people went to the polls. Their votes MUST be counted, and their delegates MUST be seated.

That's fair and logical.

No moribund Rule can break the fundamental principle of "Count All Votes".

"Are you old enough to remember the 90's? Are you paying attention to what just happened with Mark Penn?"-cbsmith42.

Yes, I remember the Golden Era of American Presidency in post-War America, when Budget Surplus was created.

Mark Penn is a issue of Penn, and not Hillary!

Amot said...

Don't mix FL and MI! And don't make me say it once more!!!
In MI 5% went to the primary, not 26% or 50%, that is the lowest turnout in all the country, even caucus states had larger share of their population participating! If those were 3 000 voters would you still insist they must be count? What is the lowest level of participation to consider no real primary happened?

About the Golden Era - that is issue of Bill, and not Hillary!!!

Yamaka said...

"What is the lowest level of participation to consider no real primary happened?"

Whatever level of participation - whoever came to the polls obeying the State Law: it may be 1%, 3%, 10%, 26% or whatever %. Count ALL votes, period.

Those who do NOT vote voluntarily forfeit their rights, period. Sen Obama voluntarily removed his name in the ballot - he did NOT want MI to vote for him. But in FL he ran cable campaign Ads violating the "Rule" and the "Pledge" for which he must forfeit FL. How could the "Rule Makers" become "Rule Breakers"?

There is no distinction between MI and FL, in my view of the world.

"About the Golden Era - that is issue of Bill, and not Hillary!!!"

Yes. But, according to Bill Clinton, the only Democrat who won the Presidency twice since FDR, Sen Clinton is the most qualified among the three remaining candidates.

He is the most matured visionary political personality among us. I will take his words over some crackpots like Richardson, Kerry, Kennedy, Jackson or Jeremiah Wright.

Remember, since the failed presidency of Carter, no FAR LEFT liberal has been elected to the Presidency in the past 30 years.

Because vast majority of the American Electorate (60%) is in the middle spread between Center Left (Clintons) and Center Right (McCain). There is no room for Sen Obama who is a bona-fide FAR LEFT.

Since pledged delegate counts cannot reach 2208, SDs are the ones saddled with the responsibility of Nominating the most Electable Candidate.

SDs are now using the Electoral College Math to decipher the Electability of Sen Clinton and Sen Obama in the Fall. That's very logical methodology. Good for them.

At the end of the day - after all the "Rules" are written and implemented - the Democratic Party must Nominate the most experienced and the most electable candidate to win the White House.

All others are exercise in vain.

Vote for Hillary for REAL POSITIVE Change.

Not for some Fuzzy Talk and a moribund bogus Rule!!

Amot said...

Period.

s.b. said...

The real loser here is the Democratic Party.

So the DNC is punishing itself, as Florida won't be Dem for a long time if they aren't seated as is, probably Michigan as well.

There is absolutely no reason why Dean should have imposed such a ludicrous penalty and black out both states for Democrats, while Republicans got free reign and a reasonable penalty.

Howard Dean is possibly the most incompetent DNC chair ever and is cutting off his nose despite his face.

The Democratic Party is punished. The Democratic Party won't win the white house.

Real Democrat said...

There is a very important aspect being missed. Regardless of who broke what rules, the unacceptable FACT remains that there are 2.2M votes that are being ignored. First of all, the DNC rules state the following:

Rule 20.C.(1).(a) “In the event the Delegate Selection Plan of a state party provides or permits a meeting, caucus, convention or primary which constitutes the first determining stage in the presidential nominating process to be held prior to or after the dates for the state as provided in Rule 11 of these rules…the number of pledged delegates elected in each category allocated to the state pursuant to the Call for the National Convention shall be reduced by fifty (50) percent, and the number of alternates shall also be reduced by fifty (50) percent."

The DNC discounted 100% of the FL and MI delegates BY CHOICE, not because they were forced by their own rules. And as far as the suppressed voter turnout issue is concerned, it was a proportional reduction. The average of polls indicate that both states' final results were consistent with the polling data: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/fl/florida_democratic_primary-261.html
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/mi/michigan_democratic_primary-238.html
If anything, the actual results gave Obama ~ 5% more than the polls predicted in both states, assuming we give the uncommitted category in MI to Obama.
If the DNC does not proportionately seat these delegates, the Democratic Party deserves to implode. As it stands now, in Hillary's worst case scenario, she is leading Obama by some 12,500 votes:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/democratic_vote_count.html

Let's not forget that while the DNC can choose to not seat delegates, it cannot make 2.2M votes disappear. Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote no matter how you slice it.

Real Democrat said...

There is a very important aspect being missed. Regardless of who broke what rules, the unacceptable FACT remains that there are 2.2M votes that are being ignored. First of all, the DNC rules state the following:

Rule 20.C.(1).(a) “In the event the Delegate Selection Plan of a state party provides or permits a meeting, caucus, convention or primary which constitutes the first determining stage in the presidential nominating process to be held prior to or after the dates for the state as provided in Rule 11 of these rules…the number of pledged delegates elected in each category allocated to the state pursuant to the Call for the National Convention shall be reduced by fifty (50) percent, and the number of alternates shall also be reduced by fifty (50) percent."

The DNC discounted 100% of the FL and MI delegates BY CHOICE, not because they were forced by their own rules. And as far as the suppressed voter turnout issue is concerned, it was a proportional reduction. The average of polls indicate that both states' final results were consistent with the polling data: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/fl/florida_democratic_primary-261.html
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/mi/michigan_democratic_primary-238.html
If anything, the actual results gave Obama ~ 5% more than the polls predicted in both states, assuming we give the uncommitted category in MI to Obama.
If the DNC does not proportionately seat these delegates, the Democratic Party deserves to implode. As it stands now, in Hillary's worst case scenario, she is leading Obama by some 12,500 votes:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/democratic_vote_count.html

Let's not forget that while the DNC can choose to not seat delegates, it cannot make 2.2M votes disappear. Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote no matter how you slice it.