King County GOP Convention
Posted by Warren Peterson on April 14, 2008
The King County Republican Party’s convention last Saturday approved the party platform without any amendments or a single word of debate. How did they pull off this miracle? Simple, it is called an absence of a quorum. You see the rules of the convention provide that if a quorum is not present, the platform as proposed by the Platform Committee, including adopted amendments up to the loss of quorum, will be considered approved. Of course, if no one challenges the presence of a quorum, the convention could have theoretically continued as long as a single delegate remained. Someone did though and the convention adjourned just after lunch leaving time to enjoy the globally warm, Western Washington day.
There were several incensed delegates, especially among the die-hard Ron Paul supporters, who lost the opportunity to offer amendments and resolutions. It is not unusual in long lasting conventions to have someone move to adopt the balance of the platform “so we can just go home.” The convention quorum rule merely makes it easier sooner.
Quorum would not be an issue if those elected at the precinct caucuses would take their office of delegate seriously. The party by-laws define a quorum as twenty percent of elected delegates. There were over 4,200 of them in King County of which less than a 1,000 bothered to show up. Over a hundred left early and the attendance fell below the 855 delegate threshold.
The end result was not all bad. Republicans got a platform developed by representatives of each legislative district in King County that is reasonably concise, inclusive and reflective of the Republican Party base. Still, some method needs to be found to allow a final voice from the elected convention delegates. The party should consider a system requiring the platform to published earlier and only allowing amendments submitted in writing prior to the convention. This has its drawbacks also but at least it would offer more opportunity to the grass roots. A delegate presented an even better solution when he excoriated those delegates who left early and the over 3000 that did not attend. Essentially he said show up and do your duty! Amen to that.