Below is my report from the meeting with the Credentials Committee members and others earlier today [editor’s note: meeting was on March 28th]. I would say the Credentials Committee meeting but the official Credentials Committee meeting was never called to order and no official business was conducted. Instead, we got to hear State Chairman Dave Weston explain how the convention will be organized and openly discussed how registration, check-in, rules, and how credentials will be handled at the convention.
We also heard about how the committee chair, Holly Isch, and others have worked very hard to validate each of the submitted delegates and how diligently she has been working with the County Chairs to ensure that everyone who wishes to attend gets registered in order to speed up check-in.
We then got a summary of the delegate numbers:
2191 total delegate nominations from the Counties
1921 delegates who were emailed some of which bounced or the recipient had previously unsubscribed and were being followed up on via phone and mail
320 delegates who have registered to date
224 problematic delegate nominations – meaning their voter registration cannot be easily verified
25 delegate nominations verified to be registered Democrats
20-25 delegate nominations verified to be registered Independents
Next, we started to go through the proposed convention Rules Report from the Rules Committee section by section to understand how the proposed rules would impact Credentials. The first section of the proposed rules addresses the order of business for the convention, a copy of which was included on the agenda for the Credentials Committee meeting. I pointed out that the Order of Business showed the election of the Convention Chairman occurring before the Credentials and Rules Report which is not in accordance with State Party rules and I was reassured that it would be corrected.
The second section addresses the Registration and Permanent Roll (roll of delegates). Delegates can check-in starting at 7:00a on Saturday, April 11th. It was re-iterated that only a Photo ID would be required to check-in if already pre-registered and delegates who had not pre-registered could register the morning of the convention with their Photo ID.
The contention that came up was surrounding Chairman Weston’s suggestion that pre-registered delegates be automatically included in the Permanent Roll of the convention whether they were present or not as long as the Credentials Committee was okay with that. Several committee members including myself were not comfortable with that since several calculations are subsequently made from the Permanent Roll including the quorum and the delegate vote weighting.
Regarding the calculation of a quorum, I pointed out that the convention rules refer to the State Party rules where it is stated that “A majority of the roll of delegates at any duly convened Republican Convention shall constitute a a quorum.” and asked whether he thought a quorum could be easily reached if the Permanent Roll included registered but not present delegates. Chairman Weston argued that it wouldn’t be a problem since “how often does someone register for something and then not attend.” But my point was that I believe that the State Party rules support my view that only delegates present at the convention should constitute the permanent roll or be counted when calculating the quorum which by the way, according to Robert Rules means the minimum number of voting members who must be present at a properly called meeting in order to conduct business. That sort of ended his push for that except he did make a comment that the Rules Committee could meet again and reconsider that section seemingly not understanding that the language comes from the State Party rules that cannot be modified or overridden by convention rules.
Chairman Weston went on to explain that the intent was to be as inclusive as possible and not prevent late-comers (for whatever reason: flat-tire, difficulty locating the convention venue or parking, etc.) from participating since they had already pre-registered. It was suggested from the committee members that the credentials report be updated before each election in order to include any pre-registered delegates who had recently arrived after the Permanent Roll was certified by the body. Of course any subsequent amendments to the Permanent Roll would have to be adopted by the body.
At that point, Gary Jones offered to make a motion that the foregoing be adopted by the committee. I made a point of order asking whether we were conducting official business or not since up to this point the Credentials Committee was just hearing from Chairman Weston and the meeting had not been called to order by anyone. Chairman Weston agreed.
Section three of the proposed Rules Report addresses Voting at the convention which seems to me to be detailed, reasonable and transparent. I will say that it is important that a delegation’s required vote tellers be at the convention by 9:15a for a walk-through. For Wagoner County who has about 60 delegates, that would be 6 tellers since the rules call for 3 tellers per approximately 30 delegates.
Section four details the election of party officials and there was some discussion regarding speech limitations at which point one of the committee members pointedly asked what all this had to do with credentials and that she took off work to do the work of the Credentials Committee, not the Rules Committee. Chairman Weston replied that he just wanted to go through the proposed rules for the Credentials Committee and address the material changes from years past.
Discussion was had concerning new restrictions on the distribution of literature. The church has asked that material not be distributed in the sanctuary so the proposed Rules Report restricts the distribution of literature to areas outside the sanctuary/convention floor.
Further discussion was had regarding guests. It was explained that guests will not be allowed on the floor of the convention but rather restricted to balcony seating. It was asked by one of the committee members whether guests would be verified to be registered republicans and it was declared that they would not be checked since we welcome all visitors and guests.
I asked whether there was a firm timeline that the convention had to adjourn and vacate the venue by and was told that the church just has to be cleaned up for Sunday service and that there was not a firm time set for Saturday evening but since the venue had to be cleaned up afterwards, we couldn’t be there until midnight or anything.
I then asked to clarify who was chairing the Credentials Committee meeting and what the point of the meeting today was since all we had heard so far was the summary delegate numbers and a description of the convention rules and plan when, it is my understanding, that the purpose of the Credentials Committee is to review the lists of delegate nominations submitted by each County, resolve any disputes, and recommend those eligible to be delegates to the convention. Chairman Weston advised that the Credentials Committee chair is Holly Isch and deferred to her for further explanation. Holly advised that the committee would meet again on Friday, April 10th to go over the lists of delegates and start to prepare the report for adoption by the convention.
Jake Peters is a Credentials Committee Member from Wagoner County. This meeting took place on March 28, 2015. Jake has served on various statewide committees in years past.
Porter Davis also attended the meeting as an observer and reported on what occurred here for additional information and perspective on the matter.
I live in Bartlesville Oklahoma now, but I grew up in Texas. I was a cofounder of the Associated Conservatives of Texas in the 90's, serve on the Traveling Liberty Bell board, was a co-founder of R3publicans in 2008, Constitutional Liberty Coalition (a multistate effort) and OKGrassroots in 2009. We are working together to restore the republic and proclaim liberty throughout the land! Finding Gems & Sharing Them - my personal blog * R3publicans * OKGrassroots * Constitutional Liberty Coalition