Media Advisory: Democrats Seeking to Reform Party Rules Will Push Resolutions at Precinct Conventions March 2 to End the “Texas Two-Step”

March 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, News & Commentary, Press Releases

Media Advisory

For immediate release: March 2, 2010

From: ChangetheCaucus.org

Contact: Scott Cobb 512-552-4743

Democrats Seeking to Reform Party Rules Will Push Resolutions at Precinct Conventions March 2 to End the “Texas Two-Step”

Group Supporters to Present Resolutions at Precinct Conventions Proposing an End to the “Texas Two Step” Used by Texas Democrats to Allocate Delegates in Presidential Election Years

A group of Texas Democrats who are seeking an end to the “Texas Two Step” process of allocating delegates among candidates for the Democratic nomination for president will present resolutions at precinct conventions tonight urging the Texas Democratic Party to end the so-called “Texas Two-Step” delegate selection process. Resolutions are submitted at precinct conventions, then on March 20 resolutions passed by precincts are considered at senatorial district or county conventions, and finally the issue will be taken up at the TDP State Convention in Corpus Christi June 25-26.

The group, whose website is ChangeTheCaucus.org, wants the Texas Democratic Party to change its rules, so that in the future all national Texas pledged delegates are awarded to presidential candidates based only on the results of the popular vote in the primary. In 2008, pledged delegates were chosen through a complicated “Texas Two-Step” process that allocated 126 delegates based on the primary vote and 67 through the caucus system.

Scott Cobb, a longtime Texas Democrat, said, “the current system is unfair because it violates the principles of ‘one person, one vote’ and ‘equal opportunity to vote’. All eligible voters have an opportunity to vote in the primary by mail or during the early voting period, but many people are unable to spend hours on election night attending caucuses to fully support their candidate. People who cannot attend precinct conventions to caucus include members of the U.S. armed forces serving in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere around the world; many people over the age of 65; many parents with young children; many people with disabilities; people who are ill on the day of the precinct convention; anyone traveling away from home on election day, and anyone who must be at work or school at the time of the convention, especially if they are employed in low-wage, jobs without the flexibility to reschedule or unable to afford the missed wages. Other people may just be unaware that to fully support their chosen candidate they have to come back for the caucuses”.

At the Texas Democratic Party State Convention in June 2008, the group collected signatures from more than 30 percent of the number of delegates to the convention on a resolution calling for an end to the “Texas Two-Step”. When the resolution was brought to the floor of the convention, it was tabled without discussion on the grounds that TDP Chair Boyd Richie had appointed State Senator Royce West to chair a committee that would be looking into the caucus system and that would hold hearings to take testimony. The committee, according to Richie’s letter to West, “has been charged with studying the current convention/caucus system. Furthermore, based on the testimony taken at these meetings, the committee will then consider this feedback and possibly make recommendations for changes.” Senator West’s Committee held 10 meetings in various cities across Texas in the Fall of 2008, but it has still not issued a report.

Critics of the Texas Two-Step include former Texas Supreme Court Justice Bob Gammage, who wrote a letter to the State Democratic Executive Committee saying he wants the TDP to “abolish the Texas Two-Step process and restore the democratic integrity of our ballot and our delegate selection process”. Gammage’s letter said, “Texas Democrats have taken a giant step back from the fight for ballot equality by adopting the so-called “Texas Two-Step” system, which enables undemocratic caucuses to determine a third of the delegates who attend our presidential nominating conventions, regardless of the democratically expressed will of the voters who participated in the election itself. This system ignores the very purpose of all the preceding ballot expansion and democratization efforts, by giving an unfair weighted numerical advantage to a small percentage of voters who find it convenient to show up on a single night, after the polls have closed, for a limited number of hours to determine fully one-third of the delegates who will move to the next step of the presidential delegate selection process”.

Five days before his death in November 2008 former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox testified at an Austin hearing of the TDP Advisory Committee on the Convention/Caucus. He testified, “Now let me tell you, folks. This system we’ve got is an expensive system. It’s an unintelligible system. It is an acrimonious system across the board. It is subject to misconduct, it is subject to fraud, it is subject to manipulation. It’s unfair, it’s uncertain, it’s inaccurate, and it’s an embarrassment to our party.” Watch video of Mattox testifying.

“We believe ALL voters should count equally”, said Scott Cobb, one of the organizers of ChangeTheCaucus.org, who attended the hearings held by the Advisory Committee in Harlingen, El Paso, Arlington, Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Nacogdoches.

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Democrats Who Oppose the “Texas Two Step” to Attend Hearing on Primary/Caucus System in San Antonio Dec 20

December 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Press Releases

Media Advisory

For immediate release: December 20, 2008

Contact: Scott Cobb 512-xxx-xxxx, www.changethecaucus.org

Democrats Who Oppose the “Texas Two Step” to Attend Hearing on Primary/Caucus System at San Antonio Area Progressive Action Coalition in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday December 20

Group Members to Testify to Texas Democratic Party Advisory Committee for an End to the Texas Two Step Used by Texas Democrats to Allocate National Delegates

A group of Democrats who are seeking an end to the “Texas Two-Step” process of allocating delegates among the candidates for president will attend a hearing sponsored by the Texas Democratic Party in San Antonio on Saturday, December 20. Members of the group will be available for media interviews starting at 10:00am on December 20 before the hearing starts as well as while the hearing is in progress.

The hearing is being held by the Advisory Committee on the Texas Democratic Party Convention/Caucus System. The Committee is conducting a series of meetings open to the public to allow for Democrats from all across the state to share their Primary/caucus experience. This is the 9th and final meeting for public testimony before the committee begins deliberation on any changes they decide to recommend based on input from the public.

The meeting of the Advisory committee will be at the San Antonio Area Progressive Action Coalition in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 10:30am. The SAAPAC is located at 7122 San Pedro, Ste 114 (rear of the building next to Ocean Dental).

The “End the Texas Two Step” group wants the Texas Democratic Party to change its rules for future elections, so that all national delegates are awarded to presidential candidates based only on the results of the popular vote in the primary. In 2008, delegates were chosen through a complicated “Texas Two-Step” process that allocated 126 delegates based on the primary and 67 through the caucus system.

At the Texas Democratic State Convention in June, the group collected signatures from more than 30 percent of the number of delegates to the convention on a resolution calling for an end to the “Texas Two-Step”. When the resolution was brought to the floor of the convention, it was tabled without discussion on a motion by Senator Royce West on the grounds that his committee will be looking into the caucus system.

“The current system is unfair because it dilutes the voting strength of people who vote in the primary but do not return for the caucuses. Many people can not attend caucuses because of reasons beyond their control, such as their age or their health, or they may have young children, or they may work or attend school in the evenings, or they may be in the military and stationed overseas. Others may just be unaware that to fully support their chosen candidate they have to “vote twice”. Less than one-third of the 2.8 million people who voted in the Democratic primary on March 4 returned for the caucuses. Around 2,000,000 people voted in the primary but did not return for the caucuses”, said Scott Cobb.

“We believe ALL voters should count equally”, said Amy Esdorn, who voted for Barack Obama in the primary, but was unable to attend the caucus because she is a graduate student who had class the evening of March 4.

Five days before his death on November 19, former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox testified at an Austin hearing of the TDP Advisory Committee on the Convention/Caucus. He testified, “Now let me tell you, folks. This system we’ve got is an expensive system. It’s an unintelligible system. It is an acrimonious system across the board. It is subject to misconduct, it is subject to fraud, it is subject to manipulation. It’s unfair, it’s uncertain, it’s inaccurate, and it’s an embarrassment to our party.”

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Democrats Who Oppose the “Texas Two Step” to Hold Press Conference Friday, November 14, at 9:15 AM in Austin

November 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Press Releases

Media Advisory
For immediate release: November 14, 2008

From: ChangetheCaucus.org

Contact: Sue Berkel 512-689-8733

Democrats Who Oppose the “Texas Two Step” to Hold Press Conference Friday, November 14 at 9:15 AM in Austin

Group Members to Testify to Texas Democratic Party Advisory Committee for an End to the Texas Two Step Used by Texas Democrats to Allocate Delegates

A group of Democrats who are seeking an end to the “Texas Two Step” process of allocating delegates among the candidates for president will hold a press conference in Austin Friday, November 14, at 9:15 AM in front of the AFL-CIO building at 1106 Lavaca Street.

The press conference is being held immediately before the final meeting of a committee set up by the Texas Democratic Party and chaired by Senator Royce West that, according to TDP Chair Boyd Richie, “has been charged with studying the current convention/caucus system. Furthermore, based on the testimony taken at these meetings, the committee will then consider this feedback and possibly make recommendations for changes.”

The group, whose website is ChangeTheCaucus.org, wants the Texas Democratic Party to change its rules, so that all national Texas pledged delegates are awarded to presidential candidates based only on the results of the popular vote in the Primary. In 2008, pledged delegates were chosen through a complicated “Texas Two-Step” process that allocated 126 delegates based on the primary vote and 67 through the caucus system.

At the Texas Democratic State Convention in June, the group collected signatures from more than 30 percent of the number of delegates to the convention on a resolution calling for an end to the “Texas Two-Step”. When the resolution was brought to the floor of the convention, it was tabled without discussion on a motion by State Senator Royce West on the grounds that his committee will be looking into the caucus system.

Critics of the Texas Two-Step include former Texas Supreme Court Justice Bob Gammage, who wrote a letter saying he wants the TDP to “abolish the Texas Two-Step process and restore the democratic integrity of our ballot and our delegate selection process”.

Gammage’s letter says, “Texas Democrats have taken a giant step back from the fight for ballot equality by adopting the so-called “Texas Two-Step” system, which enables undemocratic caucuses to determine a third of the delegates who attend our presidential nominating conventions, regardless of the democratically expressed will of the voters who participated in the election itself. This system ignores the very purpose of all the preceding ballot expansion and democratization efforts, by giving an unfair weighted numerical advantage to a small percentage of voters who find it convenient to show up on a single night, after the polls have closed, for a limited number of hours to determine fully one-third of the delegates who will move to the next step of the presidential delegate selection process”.

“We believe ALL voters should count equally”, said Scott Cobb, one of the organizers of ChangeTheCaucus.org, who has attended hearings held by the Advisory Committee in Harlingen, El Paso, Arlington and Nacogdoches.

The meeting of the TDP advisory committee will begin shortly after the press conference at the AFL-CIO Building in Austin on November 14, 2008 at 10:00am. The address is 1106 Lavaca Street, Austin, Texas 78701.

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Democrats Who Oppose the “Texas Two Step” to Attend Hearing on Primary/Caucus System at Harlingen Public Library Saturday, September 6

September 5, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Press Releases

Media Advisory

For immediate release: Sept 5, 2008

Contact: Scott Cobb 512-689-1544, scottcobb99@gmail.com, www.changethecaucus.org

Democrats Who Oppose the “Texas Two Step” to Attend Hearing on Primary/Caucus System at Harlingen Public Library Saturday, September 6

“End the Texas Two Step” Group Seeks Change in Caucus Process Used by Texas Democrats to Allocate Delegates

A group of Democrats who are seeking an end to the “Texas Two Step” process of allocating delegates among the candidates for president will attend a hearing sponsored by the Texas Democratic Party in Harlingen on Sept 6. Members of the group will be available for media interviews starting at 8:30am on Sept 6 before the hearing starts.

The hearing is being held by the Advisory Committee on the Texas Democratic Party Convention/Caucus System. The Committee is conducting a series of meetings open to the public to allow for Democrats from all across the state to share their Primary/caucus experience.

The meeting of the Advisory committee will be at the Harlingen Public Library, Harlingen, Texas on Saturday, Sept 6, 2008 at 9:00am.  The library is located at 410 76 Drive, Harlingen, Texas 78550.

The “End the Texas Two Step” group wants the Texas Democratic Party to change its rules for future elections, so that all national delegates are awarded to presidential candidates based only on the results of the popular vote in the primary. In 2008, delegates were chosen through a complicated “Texas Two-Step” process that allocated 126 delegates based on the primary and 67 through the caucus system.

At the Texas Democratic State Convention in June, the group collected signatures from more than 30 percent of the number of delegates to the convention on a resolution calling for an end to the “Texas Two-Step”. When the resolution was brought to the floor of the convention, it was tabled without discussion on a motion by Senator Royce West on the grounds that his committee will be looking into the caucus system.

“The current system is unfair because it dilutes the voting strength of people who vote in the primary but do not return for the caucuses. Many people can not attend caucuses because of reasons beyond their control, such as their age or their health, or they may have young children, or they may work or attend school in the evenings, or they may be in the military and stationed overseas. Others may just be unaware that to fully support their chosen candidate they have to “vote twice”. Less than one-third of the 2.8 million people who voted in the Democratic primary on March 4 returned for the caucuses. Around 2,000,000 people voted in the primary but did not return for the caucuses”, said Scott Cobb.

“We believe ALL voters should count equally”, said Amy Esdorn, who voted for Barack Obama in the primary, but was unable to attend the caucus because she is a graduate student who had class the evening of March 4.

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Democrats Who Oppose the “Texas Two Step” to Hold Press Conference Monday, July 7

July 5, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Press Releases

Media Advisory
For immediate release: July 3, 2008

Contact: Scott Cobb 512-xxx-xxxx (Use Contact Form on Website)
Sue Berkel 512-xxx-xxxx

Democrats Who Oppose the “Texas Two Step” to Hold Press Conference Monday, July 7

Group Seeks Change in Caucus Process Used by Texas Democrats to Allocate Delegates

A group of Democrats who are seeking an end to the “Texas Two Step” process of allocating delegates among the candidates for president will hold a press conference Monday, July 7, at 9:15 AM outside on the grounds of the ACC Eastview Campus (near the parking lot), 3401 Webberville Road in Austin.

The press conference is being held immediately before the first meeting of a committee set up by the Texas Democratic Party and chaired by Senator Royce West that, according to TDP Chair Boyd Richie, “has been charged with studying the current convention/caucus system. Furthermore, based on the testimony taken at these meetings, the committee will then consider this feedback and possibly make recommendations for changes.”

The group wants the Texas Democratic Party to change its rules for future elections, so that all national Texas pledged delegates are awarded to presidential candidates based only on the results of the popular vote in the Primary. In 2008, pledged delegates were chosen through a complicated “Texas Two-Step” process that allocated 126 delegates based on the primary vote and 67 through the caucus system.

At the Texas Democratic State Convention in June, the group collected signatures from more than 30 percent of the number of delegates to the convention on a resolution calling for an end to the “Texas Two-Step”. When the resolution was brought to the floor of the convention, it was tabled without discussion on a motion by State Senator Royce West on the grounds that his committee will be looking into the caucus system.

Speakers at the press conference will include both voters who supported Hillary Clinton and voters who supported Barack Obama in the primary, but who all agree that the current system of allocating any pledged national delegates based on caucus results should be scrapped.

“The current system is unfair because it dilutes the votes of people who vote in the primary but do not return for the caucuses. Caucuses create too many barriers for voters. Many people are unable to spend 2-3 hours on election night casting another vote at the caucus to fully support their candidate. Many voters work evenings, have young children to care for, are elderly and do not get out at night or are frail, have health issues, or are in the military and stationed abroad. Others may just be unaware that to fully support their chosen candidate they have to “vote twice”. Only about one-third of the people who voted in the Democratic Primary on March 4 returned for the caucuses. 2,874,986 people voted in the primary, so about 1.9 million people had their votes diluted by an unfair process. That is a lot of people. A system that allocates all pledged delegates based on the results of the primary would be more fair, democratic and inclusive than the party’s current system”, said Scott Cobb, a long-time Texas Democrat.

“We believe ALL voters should count equally”, said Amy Esdorn, who voted for Obama in the primary, but was unable to attend the caucus because she is a graduate student who had class the evening of March 4.

The meeting of West’s committee will be at the Austin Community College Health Science Building 9000 in the Multi Purpose Hall room 8500 in Austin, Texas on July 7, 2008 at 10:00am. The campus is located at 3401 Webberville Rd, Austin, Texas 78702.

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