After all kinds of hands-on political education in the last few weeks, we took another step forward by participating in our parties’ County Conventions.
This is a process that is a mystery for most folks, even those who vote, and we walked into it not knowing the exact process. To be a participant, you have to vote in your party’s primary. Three of us participated in the Republican Primary. One of our fellow POLS majors, Heather Robbins, voted in the Democratic primary, and she served as a delegate to the Democratic County Convention.
Whatever the party, the process is similar. Local parties (county parties) establish a date for the precinct and the county convention. The precinct conventions consist of whoever shows up, as long as they voted in their party’s primary from that precinct.
At the precinct convention, which can consist of anywhere between 1 and 40 or so people, the delegates submit resolutions (e.g., “We support a living wage for all working Americans”) and elect a slate of delegates to the county convention. The number of delegates that each convention can elect is determined by the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election from each precinct.
Once a slate of delegates is elected, those people are welcome to attend the county convention, which is where we–Republicans and Democrats–spent our Saturday on March 19 (Democrats at the Walker Education Center; Republicans at the HEARTS Veterans Museum).
The county conventions are a bit more intense.
They are divided into the following committees (which some of us served on for the Republican Convention and Heather served on the Nominations Committee in the Democratic Convention), and which conduct the business of the conventions:
- Permanent Committee–sets permanent committee officers
- Credentials–ensures that only duly elected delegates are given voting privileges for each convention
- Rules–determines whether convention should deviate from default rules for speaking
- Nominations–reviews nominations for delegates and alternates to State Convention
- Platform–synthesizes the resolutions into clear and discrete resolutions to be voted on by the entire convention
It was a great learning experience for all of us! We arrived a couple of hours early for committee work and setup…
…and once we began, the entire process took about 3.5 hours, which we were told was quicker than usual.
The nominations committee elected 25 delegates and 2 alternates to the State Convention. The permanent committee elected Judge Sorensen as Permanent Chair, Stephanie Fors as Secretary, and Earl Carter as Parliamentarian.
The platform committee came up with 23 different resolutions which were voted on, most of which passed.
In the end Alex Galvan, Megan Chapa, and Kaitlyn Tyra were elected to the Republican Convention which is held May 12-14 in Dallas, TX.
On the Democratic side, POLS major Heather Robbins was elected to the State Convention, which is held in San Antonio, TX, June 16-18.