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Virginia: GOP votes to switch from convention to primary to nominate 2017 candidates | Richmond Times-Dispatch

By the slimmest of margins, leaders of the Republican Party of Virginia on Saturday voted to select their 2017 statewide candidates in a primary rather than at a convention — a nominating change that could have significant implications for a host of Republicans planning runs for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The 41-40 vote by the GOP’s State Central Committee effectively upended a compromise agreement reached last year by factions within the state party that called for a primary in the 2016 race for president to be followed by a nominating convention for statewide offices in 2017. It was a victory for the party’s more moderate, establishment wing, whose leadership was unseated by conservative grass-roots and tea party activists in 2013.

Full Article: Va. GOP votes to switch from convention to primary to nominate 2017 candidates - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia News.

National: Under pressure from Bernie Sanders, Democrats poised to change how they pick nominees | Los Angeles Times

Democrats reached an agreement on Saturday that could sharply reduce the influence of superdelegates in the next presidential election, resolving an emotionally charged issue that threatened to boil over this week. The deal represents another way Bernie Sanders has left his mark on the Democratic Party despite being defeated by Hillary Clinton in the primary. The party’s policy platform has already been modified to reflect some of the Vermont senator’s goals, including a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage and free tuition for many college students. Superdelegates, who are elected officials and party leaders who can throw their support to a presidential candidate independent of state primary results, have been a fault line this year. They overwhelmingly backed Clinton, sometimes even pledging their support before the first primary vote was cast. Although superdelegates didn’t deliver Clinton her victory — she also won the popular vote and a greater number of pledged delegates — Sanders has argued that they play an undemocratic role in the nominating process. The final deal approved by the rules committee on Saturday will create a commission that will draft changes to the superdelegate system. Only elected officials would be allowed to be superdelegates, reducing their numbers by two-thirds. 

Full Article: Under pressure from Bernie Sanders, Democrats poised to change how they pick nominees - LA Times.

Alaska: Alaska Prompts Convention Hiccup By Requesting A Vote Recount | TPM

The Republican officials trying to keep the drama-filled GOP convention on track just can’t catch a break. After powering through the delegate vote count that made Donald Trump the official GOP nominee with relatively little disruption from the Never Trump crowd, the proceedings of Tuesday evening’s convention programming were briefly interrupted because the Alaska delegation request a recount of its votes. “We were never told that you were going to miscount our votes tonight,” a representative from the delegation said from the stage’s microphone, according to The Atlantic. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chair of the convention, asked the delegate if he was requesting a recount, which the delegate confirmed he was.

Full Article: Alaska Prompts Convention Hiccup By Requesting A Vote Recount.

Virginia: Judge strikes down primary law challenged by anti-Trump convention delegate | Richmond Times-Dispatch

A federal judge struck down an obscure element of Virginia’s presidential primary laws Monday, handing a symbolic victory to a Republican National Convention delegate who has refused to support Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne permanently barred Virginia from enforcing a law that requires a winner-take-all system in which the first-place finisher of the GOP primary would technically be entitled to all 49 of the state’s delegates. The statute conflicts with the Republican Party’s primary rules, which allocate Virginia’s delegates proportionally based on the primary results. Carroll “Beau” Correll, a Winchester attorney who supported Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, argued that the state law violates his constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of association by requiring him and all other delegates to vote for Trump on the convention’s first ballot.

Full Article: Judge strikes down Va. primary law challenged by anti-Trump convention delegate - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia News.

Virginia: Anti-Trump lawsuit may lead judge to strike down law on presidential convention voting | Richmond Times-Dispatch

A little-known Virginia law that dictates how the state’s delegates must vote at presidential nominating conventions could be struck down by a federal judge next week. After roughly six hours of oral argument Thursday, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne seemed poised to issue a narrow opinion in a case brought by a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention seeking legal immunity for his plan to vote against Donald Trump. Payne seemed to accept one element of the argument brought by Carroll “Beau” Correll, a Winchester attorney who supported Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the primary. In a lawsuit filed last month, Correll said the state cannot enforce an election law that could, in theory, lead to criminal prosecutions for delegates who don’t cast their vote for Trump on the first ballot despite their obligations under party rules. 

Full Article: Anti-Trump lawsuit may lead judge to strike down Va. law on presidential convention voting - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia News.

National: GOP delegate fight to stop Trump heats up in federal court | The Washington Post

Last-ditch attempts by a group of Republican delegates seeking to stop Donald Trump from becoming the GOP presidential nominee are quickly fading — and now their fight is facing a federal legal challenge. At issue is whether delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland are bound to vote for the results of state caucuses and primaries. A group that claims the support of hundreds of convention delegates has been pushing to change Republican presidential nomination rules so that delegates can “vote their conscience” — reviving a long-simmering debate led by GOP purists who believe that only convention delegates — not the millions of voters who participated in the primary process — can ultimately pick a presidential nominee.

Full Article: GOP delegate fight to stop Trump heats up in federal court - The Washington Post.

Virginia: Judge Sets Hearing on Delegate Lawsuit Aimed at Derailing Trump’s Nomination | NBC

A federal judge has ordered a hearing for July 7 in a lawsuit brought by a Virginia Republican who says a state law requiring him to vote for Donald Trump is unconstitutional. It’s the latest legal front in efforts to stop Trump at the Republican Convention. Federal District Court Judge Robert Payne of Richmond is moving quickly, ordering lawyers on both sides to respond to questions he raised Tuesday. While the pace is driven partly by the July 18 opening of the Republican National Convention, it also suggests that the judge is receptive to the claim. The lawsuit was filed by Carroll Correll, a northern Virginia Republican chosen as a delegate to the national convention, on behalf of himself and the state’s other Republican delegates. He believes that “Donald Trump is unfit to serve as President of the United States” and that voting for Trump would violate his conscience, according to court filings.

Full Article: Judge Sets Hearing on Delegate Lawsuit Aimed at Derailing Trump's Nomination - NBC News.

Virginia: GOP delegate sues for right not to vote for Trump at convention | The Daily Progress

Carroll Correll Jr., a Winchester attorney and Republican delegate to the party’s national convention next month, has filed a federal lawsuit asking for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction allowing him to avoid casting a vote for Donald Trump. “Correll believes that Donald Trump is unfit to serve as president of the United States and that voting for Donald Trump would therefore violate Correll’s conscience,” according to the lawsuit filed Friday. “Accordingly, Correll will not vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot, or any other ballot, at the national convention. He will cast his vote on the first ballot, and on any additional ballots, for a candidate whom he believes is fit to serve as president.”

Full Article: Va. GOP delegate sues for right not to vote for Trump at convention - The Daily Progress: Politics.

National: Will Dominant Images of Conventions Be of Unity or Protest? | The New York Times

Republicans arriving in Cleveland next month to nominate Donald J. Trump will be greeted by as many as 6,000 protesters on the first day, a noisy coalition of dozens of groups, including Black Lives Matter and the Workers World Party. The demonstrators intend to ignore restrictions keeping them far from the delegates, raising fears the violence that accompanied some of Mr. Trump’s rallies will be magnified on a mass scale. Two marches along routes the city has not authorized are planned for the convention’s opening day, July 18. Organizers say they want to avoid violence. But they are also gearing up for confrontation with the police, including training in civil disobedience. “If there are people willing to put themselves on the line to be arrested, so be it,” said Deb Kline, a leader of Cleveland Jobs With Justice, one of the groups that will march. A week later, as Democrats pour into Philadelphia, so will an army of Bernie Sanders supporters planning Occupy Wall Street-style protests against what they call the “fraudulent” nomination of Hillary Clinton. One group, Occupy DNC Convention, is circulating information about protecting oneself from tear gas by wearing a vinegar-soaked bandanna and swim goggles.

Full Article: Will Dominant Images of Conventions Be of Unity or Protest? - The New York Times.

Nevada: Here’s what happened at Saturday’s dramatic Nevada Democratic convention | The Washington Post

Saturday’s raucous state Democratic convention in Nevada encapsulated a lot of the themes of the party’s 2016 election in a relatively short period: complex delegate math, inscrutable processes, allegations of deceit, fury — and a result that doesn’t do much of anything to shift the race’s eventual outcome. Nevada’s process for sending delegates to the national convention in Philadelphia is among the most complex. When the state caucused in late February, the fourth state on the calendar for the Democratic Party, the results of that process favored Hillary Clinton. Twenty-three of the 35 total bound delegates were given out proportionally in the state’s four congressional districts, giving Clinton a delegate lead of 13 to 10. The results of the caucus suggested that after the state convention — which bound the state’s seven at-large delegates and five delegates who are elected officials or party leaders — Clinton would end up with a 20-to-15 lead over Bernie Sanders, with Clinton winning one more delegate from the at-large pool (4-to-3) and one more from the party-leader pool (3-to-2) than Sanders. The people who attend the Democratic convention this weekend were chosen during voting in early April. At that point, Sanders out-organized Clinton, getting 2,124 people elected to the state convention (according to the tabulation at the always-essential delegate-tracking site the Green Papers) to Clinton’s 1,722. That suggested that voting at the state convention would flip: Sanders would win those 4-to-3 and 3-to-2 contests, giving him a 7-to-5 victory at the convention and making the state total 18-to-17 for Clinton instead of 20-to-15. But that’s not what happened, as best as we can piece together.

Full Article: Here’s what happened at Saturday’s dramatic Nevada Democratic convention - The Washington Post.

National: Arcane RNC Rule Could Be Last Resort for #NeverTrumpers | Rolling Stone

It’s been one week since Donald Trump assumed the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee. Over the last seven days, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has called for unity in the party, and has even convinced a number of prominent Republicans who’d voiced reservations about Trump to fall in line behind the party’s nominee. Still, there are some Trump supporters who fear shadowy party bosses are plotting to steal the nomination out from under him at the convention in July. On Tuesday, Trump operative Roger Stone warned the stealth effort is already underway. “A motion to unbind all delegates, along with many other underhanded strategies, is being discussed by the elite of the Republican legal establishment, with the permission (if under not the instruction) of Speaker Paul Ryan,” Stone wrote. And while there may be an appetite among the surviving #NeverTrump-ers on Twitter and in other corners of the Internet to block Trump’s nomination, there isn’t much evidence of the kind of vast conspiracy to which Stone refers. There’s really only one prominent member of the RNC publicly advocating for a change to the party’s rules: a pool-supply salesman from North Dakota named Curly Haugland.

Full Article: Arcane RNC Rule Could Be Last Resort for #NeverTrumpers | Rolling Stone.

New Hampshire: Republican party halts controversial vote meant to limit Trump’s delegate support | The Guardian

An attempt by the New Hampshire Republican party to limit Donald Trump’s influence in a potential contested convention was halted Monday, when the state chair canceled a controversial online vote for positions on crucial committees just minutes after the voting deadline. In an email obtained by the Guardian, party chair Jennifer Horn said that although all 23 of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention participated in the vote, she was canceling it “in the interest of full transparency”. Instead, she summoned a delegates-only meeting in Concord on Friday, in which those unable to attend could participate via conference call. Initially, in an email sent out Saturday night, the state party’s executive director proposed a slate for the eight slots on convention committees reserved for New Hampshire delegates at the Republican gathering in Cleveland in July. The proposed slate included two supporters apiece of John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz and one supporter of Marco Rubio. The eighth slot was left vacant.

Full Article: New Hampshire halts controversial vote meant to limit Trump's delegate support | US news | The Guardian.

National: Republican says delegate vote-buying and gifts are part of ‘the free market of politics’ | ABC

“Cash is on the table,” veteran Republican Marti Halverson says. “I don’t know why you’re so shocked.” This is not the response I was expecting — my mouth gaping. I had just finished asking Wyoming National committeewoman Mrs Halverson about the “wooing” of delegates to switch their vote in this very-likely-to-be-contested upcoming Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Ms Halverson is also opposed to any rule that would stop delegates accepting gifts. “This is a great country,” she said. “We give presents to our friends. No, I would not vote for a rule that said candidates cannot ‘woo’ delegates. I wouldn’t do that. It’s not the American way.” But what is the difference between wooing someone and buying their vote without cash? “Cash is on the table,” she replied. “Absolutely. It is going around that delegates are going to be offered free trips to Cleveland. Not Wyoming delegates, we haven’t heard that. But it is on the table. It is not illegal.”

Full Article: US election: Republican says delegate vote-buying and gifts are part of 'the free market of politics' - US election 2016 - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

National: Republicans Reject Effort to Alter Rules on Allowing New Candidate at Convention | The New York Times

A Republican National Committee panel on Thursday overwhelmingly rejected an effort to make preliminary changes to the rules governing the party’s convention this summer, batting away a move to make it more difficult for party leaders to draft a “white knight” candidate into the race. On a voice vote, the R.N.C.’s rules committee turned back a bid to switch the rules of the convention from those used by the House of Representatives to Robert’s Rules of Order. The committee member who proposed the change, Solomon Yue of Oregon, said in the days leading up to the party’s spring meeting here that he wanted to alter the rules to prevent the establishment-aligned Republicans running the convention from being able to place in nomination the name of a candidate not already in the race. The House Rules can be interpreted as allowing the chairman of the convention, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, to reopen presidential nominations, while Robert’s Rule would require a majority vote of the conservative-leaning delegates to do so.

Full Article: Republicans Reject Effort to Alter Rules on Allowing New Candidate at Convention - First Draft. Political News, Now. - The New York Times.

National: Is Electronic Voting Coming to the GOP Convention? | Roll Call

Recognizing the possibility of a contested convention in Cleveland this summer, Republicans are considering an electronic system to capture votes on what could be a contentious set of procedural motions leading up to nominating a presidential candidate. The Republican National Committee agreed Thursday not to change the rules of the convention at this point, but is exploring changes to the way that delegate votes are recorded.  The idea of electronic voting is gaining steam now because in a disputed floor fight, voice votes may not cut it. “With advancements in technology, we are taking steps to see if electronic voting can be successfully implemented for procedural votes at the convention,” a spokeswoman, Kirsten Kukowski, said in a statement provided to CQ Roll Call on Thursday. “If we can answer several questions ranging from the technology itself to security and be sure application will be successful, we will consider using electronic voting for procedural votes.”

Full Article: Is Electronic Voting Coming to the GOP Convention?.

New York: Republican ‘rotten boroughs’ could clinch nomination due to delegate quirk | The Guardian

Like British parliamentary elections in the 18th century, the Republican presidential primary in 2016 may be decided in rotten boroughs. While the rotten boroughs in Georgian England were the long since abandoned sites of medieval towns where aristocratic landowners could handpick members of parliament, the Republican rotten boroughs are vibrant, heavily populated urban areas in places like New York and Los Angeles. They just don’t have very many registered Republicans. The result of gerrymandered redistricting processes and the deep alienation of minority communities from the Republican party is that there are many congressional districts where registered Republicans are almost as rare as unicorns. Republican delegate apportionment rules in many states, however, mean that every congressional district receives three delegates to the convention, regardless of how many GOP voters live there. In contrast, the Democratic party’s formula for delegates is influenced by the number of votes cast for their presidential nominee in the past few elections in each district. Instead of seeking to represent every voter equally, this gives more weight to committed Democratic voters. And it means the ratio of voters to delegates is less unbalanced than it might be otherwise.

Full Article: Republican 'rotten boroughs' could clinch nomination due to delegate quirk | US news | The Guardian.

Editorials: Is Trump right about ‘rigged’ nomination? | Richard Hasen/ CNN

Each year on April Fools’ Day I intersperse some false but plausible news stories among the real ones on my Election Law Blog. Last year, I got a number of prominent election-law attorneys and activists to believe a false report that a federal court, relying on the Supreme Court’s controversial campaign finance decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, held that the First Amendment protects the right to literally bribe candidates. This year, among false posts, was one in which I had Donald Trump declaring that he would not abide by the results of the Electoral College vote if he was the popular vote winner. The made-up story had him plotting with his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to seize power in the event of a popular vote/electoral vote conflict. Many people believed the post, and it even made aWashington Post list of debunked April Fools’ stories that people fell for. It’s not a surprise. Trump railed against what he perceived as the unfairness of the Electoral College when President Obama won re-election in 2012. And he has consistently whined about what he perceives as unfairness in the electoral process. Combine that with his inflammatory rhetoric, and the idea of a Trump coup is not so crazy.

Full Article: Is Trump right about 'rigged' nomination? -

Editorials: GOP nomination process 101: Candidates’ remedial edition | Derek T. Muller/Reuters

Donald Trump has complained that the Republican primary process is a “rigged, disgusting, dirty system” that deprives people of the chance to vote for their preferred presidential candidate. He accuses the Republican Party of stealing delegates from him. If he thinks this system is complex, Trump should look to the GOP’s past primary elections. Now, those were complicated! As recently as 2012, for example, some states used a three-step voting process that often yielded two opposing outcomes. But the Republican National Committee worked with state parties to streamline and standardize the 2016 election to minimize confusing results. Some complexity remains because each of the 50 states can set its own rules. As the founding fathers devised, U.S. presidential elections are not national races. Rather, they occur state by state, which inevitably creates some complexity. But there are clear and now simpler rules. Candidates just need to read them.

Full Article: GOP nomination process 101: Candidates’ remedial edition.

Utah: GOP tells court it won’t comply with controversial election law | Deseret News

The Utah Republican Party doesn’t intend to comply with the state’s controversial election law, even after the Utah Supreme Court rejected its arguments that political parties and not candidates decide how to access the primary election ballot. The Utah GOP argues that the court’s ruling forces it to accept candidates who seek a nomination for office solely through the signature gathering process, which violates its bylaws, according to a new federal court filing Wednesday. “The party is concerned that a candidate will be certified and imposed on the party who does not satisfy the requirements and follow the rules,” attorneys Marcus Mumford and Christ Troupis wrote.

Full Article: Utah GOP tells court it won't comply with controversial election law | Deseret News.

Colorado: What the heck happened this weekend in Colorado? And why was it so bad for Donald Trump? | The Washington Post

The Colorado GOP convention was an odd one. Most states use primaries or caucuses to decide how their delegations to national party conventions will vote. But not Colorado. The state Republican Party decided last August to do away with the traditional statewide vote on March 1 (Democrats kept their caucuses; Bernie Sanders won with about 59 percent of the vote). Why? Because state GOP leaders were tired of their pledged delegates not having any influence at the Republican National Convention (the past two Colorado winners, Rick Santorum in 2012 and Mitt Romney in 2008, failed to go on to win the nomination).

Full Article: What the heck happened this weekend in Colorado? And why was it so bad for Donald Trump? - The Washington Post.