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Official LPD releases will be denoted as such.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Update on LPD Contact with LP Presidential Candidates.

Hi everyone! LPD Secretary Dayl Thomas here. Below is an update of who we have reached out to, heard from or not, and what they have sent or promised to send. More updates to follow, so stay tuned!

  • Max Abramson - Received links to YouTube channel.
  • Sorinne Ardeleanu - Awaiting video.
  • Ken Armstrong - Awaiting video.
  • Dan Behrman - Awaiting a video, swag, and "other cool stuff".
  • Lincoln Chafee - Awaiting video. Teleconference with candidates.
  • Brian Ellison - Awaiting video.
  • Jedi Hill - Video, photo, and bio; Zoom conference with delegates.
  • Jacob Hornberger - No response after first attempt. Reached out again via e-mail on 2/25/20.
  • Jo Jorgensen - No response after two attempts.
  • Adam Kokesh - Awaiting video.
  • John Monds - Awaiting confirmation of a personal appearance.
  • James Ogle - Reached out on 2/18/20. Still waiting for a response.
  • Sam Robb - Awaiting video. Bio and photo received.
  • Vermin Supreme - Awaiting video. Waiting for video.
  • Arvin Vohra - Video and swag, both of which have been received.
  • Mark Whitney - Video, possibly someone in person. Awaiting delivery/confirmation respectively.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Presidential Nomination Process

The Libertarian Party is one of only four parties nationally with consistent ballot access in enough states to possibly win 270 electoral votes and choose a president, along with the Green Party and the two major parties. Like the Democrats and Republicans, we nominate our candidates at national conventions every four years, but the process at those conventions is very different from the stage managed performance from those parties.

Primaries & Caucuses

The primary (pun intended) difference is that the Libertarian Party does not bind its delegates to the national convention based on the result of a state primary or caucus. In many states, including Delaware, the local Libertarian Party does not even have a primary or caucus in the sense that you may be accustomed to from watching news coverage of the Democratic and Republican selection processes. Many local affiliates choose to hold straw polls and other informal processes for inferring the preferences of local Libertarians, but these are in no way indicative of how the delegates who ultimately represent the state at the national convention must vote on the first or any subsequent ballots to nominate a presidential candidate.

Delegates

Each state is apportioned a slate of delegates to represent them at the national convention. The size of the delegation is determined by the national party bylaws and is based on the number of national party members residing in the state as well as the number of votes in the last presidential election for the Libertarian candidate (LP Bylaws: Article 10.3). In 2020, Delaware has been allocated four delegate slots, as well as four alternates, to have voting privileges and represent the state in Austin, TX during the convention in May. Methods for selecting delegates vary by state, but ours are chosen at the state convention immediately prior to the national convention by each attendee at the state convention choosing a slate of delegates, and the candidates with the most votes are selected (LPD AoA: Article VIII).

Nomination Process

(LP Convention Special Rules of Order: Rule 7)

At a national convention during a presidential election year, time is set aside on the agenda for the nomination of the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate. Potential candidates for the nomination may not be nominated for consideration officially unless they receive 30 "signature tokens" issued by the convention's Credentials Committee. No candidates may be selected without receiving a majority of the votes cast. If no candidate secures a majority on the first or any subsequent ballot, the candidate with the fewest votes and any candidates receiving less than 5% of the votes will be dropped from the ballot and the process repeated until a candidate wins a majority. The same process is repeated for VP, and it has often been the case that the varied interests within the national party have been balanced by the presidential candidate not being permitted to choose their own vice presidential candidate.

"None of the Above"

The exception to the rules about signature tokens and removing choices gaining insufficient votes on prior ballots is "None of the Above". None of the Above, or NOTA, is offered in all Libertarian Party elections including the elections for nominating the president and vice president. While the option is always available on every ballot, NOTA is not eligible to give a nominating speech as the other candidates are, except that any delegate may speak for up to five minutes on behalf of NOTA if they collect enough signature tokens to nominate a candidate for that specific purpose.

Chaos!

By the time the national conventions for the two old parties begin, who will become the nominees for president and vice president are usually a foregone conclusion. There is no suspense and no surprises and television coverage becomes a prolonged infomercial for the pre-selected nominee and the tightly controlled, top-down governance of the two parties.

Libertarian nominating conventions are...different.

While state conventions, polls, and unofficial primaries may give a strong indication of the frontrunners, nothing is certain until the assembled national delegates have had their say. With the relatively low ballot access threshold of 30 signature tokens representing the support of 30 delegates out of nearly 1,000, plenty of lesser known candidates hoping to convince the delegates with a strong nominating speech, candidates hoping to outlast better known candidates who cannot secure a majority on the first ballot, and candidates just looking to gain notoriety by having some fun with the process keep the proceedings interesting. Google "James Weeks Libertarian" if you're feeling adventurous.

Candidates

With all of that being said, it is impossible to know who the nominee will be until the votes have been counted and a majority has been reached. It is not even possible to know who all the candidates might be until the voting begins on the first ballot. There are very few if any metrics that can truly be relied on to determine who is a "serious" candidate and who thinks being notorious within the party would be good for a laugh and a story.

The Libertarian Party of Delaware has nevertheless undertaken a special effort this year to solicit any and all known possible candidates to invite them to the State Convention on March 14th or to send a surrogate or video along with campaign swag to make an impression on potential delegates to Austin. These efforts have been primarily driven by the tireless diligence of our State Secretary, Dayl Thomas.

This list includes all of the candidates who have been contacted by Dayl and details of any responses he has received:

  • John Monds - Awaiting confirmation of a personal appearance.
  • Dan Behrman - Expecting a video, swag, and "other cool stuff".
  • Arvin Vohra - Video and swag, both of which have been received.
  • Jedi Hill - Video, possible a Zoom conference. Has sent a photo and bio, working out technical details of Zoom conference.
  • Mark Whitney - Video, possibly someone in person. Awaiting delivery/confirmation respectively.
  • Max Abramson - Video. Received links to YouTube channel.
  • Sam Robb - Video expected. Bio and photo received.
  • Sorinne Ardeleanu - Video expected.
  • Vermin Supreme - Awaiting video.
  • Adam Kokesh - Awaiting video.
  • Ken Armstrong - Awaiting video.
  • Jo Jorgensen - No response.
  • Lincoln Chafee - No response.
  • Jacob Hornberger - Awaiting response.
  • James Ogle - Awaiting response.
  • Brian Ellison - Awaiting response.

The Libertarian Party of Delaware has not endorsed any of these candidates and has not intentionally snubbed any we may have missed. If you are a candidate who has not been listed above or who is listed but would like to update your response status, please comment on this post, reach out to our Facebook Page, or email Dayl.

State Convention

Delaware is a small state with a small slate of delegates, but if you would like to become a delegate to the national convention in Austin, the only way to do it is to attend the State Convention on March 14th and be among the top four candidates receiving votes for that purpose. Even if you cannot be a delegate or just don't want to, attending the convention should be a great way to get to know many of the candidates seeking the nomination for president and to share your thoughts with the delegates who are chosen.

LPPA Debate

In addition to the LPD's State Convention, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania is holding their state convention the week prior to ours. Among the events is a presidential debate and Q&A forum co-hosted by the LPD. This will take place at the Renaissance Philadelphia Airport Hotel. Both the forum and the debate will take place on March 7th, with the forum scheduled from 3:00p - 5:30p and the debate for 8:00p - 10:00p. Tickets for both events are available through the LPPA website for $10 and $20 respectively.

Why Vote LP?

The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the US. That sounds pretty good on its face, except we are a distant third to the two major parties and when you're already small, it doesn't take a huge increase in membership to credibly claim to be the fastest growing. We consistently retain ballot access in all 50 states and have the theoretical capability of winning enough electors to reach the 270 needed to choose a president, but the reality is that winning a presidential election in the current political climate is unlikely. That does NOT mean that voting for a Libertarian candidate, even at the presidential level, is a "wasted vote".

The most tangible goal that could be achieved by voting for a Libertarian presidential candidate is to help us make a case for gaining access to presidential debates. A great deal could change very quickly if a refreshing Libertarian presidential candidate clarified just how stale and out of touch the major party candidates are in a nationally televised debate. At 5% of votes cast, a Libertarian presidential candidate would also qualify for public campaign funding. There is extensive debate within the party as to whether or not a principled Libertarian candidate would even accept such funding, but having that choice would be a strong indicator of growing support for the Libertarian Party at the national level.

A common excuse for not choosing the Libertarian candidate in any election is that a vote for a Libertarian deprives one or the other major party candidates of that vote. Since you only get one vote, at some basic level this might be true if you would otherwise hold your nose and vote for the "lesser evil", but at a deeper level the Democratic and Republican parties do not own your vote and they are not entitled to it. If they have not earned it then giving it to them anyway doesn't teach them anything and will do nothing to improve the state of politics in the US. If you're worried about your vote for a Libertarian presidential candidate or the presidential candidate for any third party costing some other candidate the election, you can rest easy if you live in Delaware. Delaware is a solidly blue state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of over 3:2. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in Delaware by over 50,000 votes. To quote Tommy Carcetti from HBO's The Wire, "Let the truth set you free...nothing matters at all!" You can vote for a Libertarian presidential candidate in Delaware, secure in the knowledge that you are highly unlikely to change the ultimate outcome of the electoral college vote. You just might get the LPD an extra delegate to the 2022 and 2024 national conventions though!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Delaware School Board Elections

Unlike elections for offices elsewhere in state and county government, Delaware school board elections are, in theory, non-partisan. Candidates do not appear on the ballot under a party label, and the political parties are not involved in the nomination process for candidates. Parties do often endorse and support candidates though. This presents a unique opportunity for the Libertarian Party of Delaware to support candidates without the disadvantage of running as a "third party" in a partisan general election. It is also a good opportunity for Libertarians in Delaware to engage in the electoral process, advance Libertarian ideas about education policy, and demonstrate the temperament of Libertarians in local government.

Election Information

School Board elections in Delaware are governed by Subchapter IV of Chapter 10 in Title 14 of the Delaware Code (primarily 14 Del. C. § 1072 and 14 Del. C. § 1075). These statutes set the date of school board elections to the second Tuesday of May (May 12, 2020), and the filing deadline for candidates to the first Friday in March (March 6, 2020). In order to qualify as a candidate, a candidate must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States and Delaware and live in the school district
  • Be 18 years of age or older at the time of the election
  • Live in the nominating district (many school boards only have "at-large" districts
  • Not be a paid employee of the district subject to local rules & regulations
  • Not have ever been convicted of embezzlement

Unlike partisan offices, there is no nomination process, primaries, or filing fees. In order to become a candidate, a candidate filing form must be submitted to the local county Department of Election prior to the filing deadline. The candidate filing form can be found on page two of the Commissioner of Elections' School Board Member Filing Packet available through their website.

Campaign Finance Information

As that packet also describes, candidates must either submit a Certification of Intention with the State Election Commissioner or create a Candidate Committee. Both can be done through the Commissioner of Elections' CFRS website.

School board members are forbidden by law to be compensated for their service (14 Del. C. § 1046), so the office pays less than $1,000. Therefore a candidate does not need to establish a campaign finance committee unless they raise or spend more than $2,000. Instructions for completing a basic Campaign Finance report can be viewed on YouTube, or candidates may contact the Commissioner of Elections office directly with any questions.

If a candidate does not raise or spend more than $2,000, only a Certification of Intention needs to be filed.


School boards have extremely limited influence over education policy, even within their own districts. Much of education policy is governed by applicable state and federal laws, and budgets are constrained by local property taxes subject to referendums within the district. Nevertheless, Libertarians on local school boards can help to promote libertarian goals like expanded school choice, fiscal responsibility, and tolerance within their local community. Serving on a school board can also provide valuable experience participating in a governing body and campaigning in elections for individuals with aspirations to higher offices. Without the common misconception of "unelectable spoilers" attached to a candidate's ballot access in partisan elections, a Libertarian candidate could do a lot of good for their communities and the Libertarian Party of Delaware by contesting a school board election.

If you are interested in contesting your local school board race, you are free to do so on your own, but by attending your local county affiliate meeting of the Libertarian Party of Delaware, you may be able to find additional assistance with running your campaign, formulating your platform, raising funds, and recruiting volunteers.

We will also be able to take some credit for your hard work to build and advance the party statewide!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

KCLPD Resolution Regarding Kent County Lodging Tax

Note: This resolution has been outpaced by events. The legislation in question has since been passed by both chambers of the General Assembly with overwhelming support and now awaits the governor's likely signature. Nevertheless, the >tax it reverses was passed by similar margins and this resolution was intended largely as a statement of principle regarding the LP's opposition to increased taxes in general, and tax revenues being diverted to private organizations in particular. The risk of the tax itself returning and of other taxes being levied on a similar model remains.

Passed by the Kent County LPD on 20 January 2020.

WHEREAS, taxation is money or other resources taken from a population without their explicit and ongoing consent,

WHEREAS, a lodging tax levied at the county level, where it is already levied at the state level, and potentially at the municipal level as well, layers non-consensual costs on customers of an industry that in a small state like Delaware is particularly sensitive to price signals,

WHEREAS, SS2 for SB178 became law in July of last year with little consideration of the consequences for many groups including hotel owners and at-risk populations who utilize hotels and other covered accommodations as a last resort to avoid homelessness,

WHEREAS, that legislation was passed with only two dissenting votes from the entire General Assembly by members and sponsors of both parties,

WHEREAS, in the situations where taxation is necessary and appropriate, expenditure of the revenues should be the responsibility of the government levying those taxes with all of the accountability and safeguards in place for such expenditures,

WHEREAS, when tax revenues are diverted to private organizations, transparency, accountability, and other protections ensuring their efficient and lawful use are not available.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Kent County Libertarian Party of Delaware supports SB198 to undo SS2 for SB178.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Becoming a Candidate

There are two primary ways to become a candidate in Delaware's November general elections. The best known of these is to file in a major party's primary and win it. Slightly lesser known is to be nominated by a minor party at their convention. The state and county committees of major parties can also nominate candidates directly if no one files for the primary election prior to the filing deadline in July.

Minor Parties

Minor Parties are defined in the Delaware Code as any political party with fewer than 5% of the total registered voters in the State registered as members of that party. The Libertarian Party of Delaware is a minor party, as are the Independent and Green parties. There are a number of other minor parties, but these three parties are the only ones in the state qualified for ballot access by virtue of having at least 0.1% of the total registered voters in the State, as of the end of the immediately preceding year, registered as members of that party. As of January 2020 as this post is being written, that is 714 registered members.

The nomination procedures for each party vary, but candidates for the Libertarian Party of Delaware are nominated at the State Convention immediately prior to the election. The 2020 Libertarian Party of Delaware State Convention is scheduled for March 14th, 2020. All are welcome to attend, but only those meeting the membership requirements under the Articles of Association are eligible to be nominated as candidates, and they must also meet the statutory requirements under the Delaware Code. These requirement obligate any candidate to be a member of the political party nominating them at the time the certificate is filed, and in the absence of more specific residency requirements have resided within the district for which they are seeking to be nominated for at least one year.

The Libertarian Party of Delaware typically has more nominations available for the various offices than we do candidates willing to contest those elections, so the process at the convention relies on willing candidates making themselves known at the appropriate time. A candidate can then nominate themselves or have another delegate enter a nomination for them. All candidates for any nomination must defeat "NOTA" or "None of the Above" to be nominated as a safeguard integral to the philosophy of the Libertarian Party that sometimes No One is better than the wrong candidate.

Once a candidate has been nominated by the convention, the appropriate officers will sign off on a Certificate of Nomination. The State Chair and State Secretary must sign off on certificates for candidates running statewide or in any district which crosses county lines, while the County Chair and County Secretary must sign off on any candidate running for a local office fully contained within a single county. These nominations must be completed by August 1st and the nomination certificates submitted to the Commissioner or local county Department of Elections within 10 business days.

Once a candidate has submitted their certificate of nomination, they are required to file a Statement of Organization with the State Commissioner of Elections to register their campaign finance committee. As a candidate of a minor party, we do not have primaries and therefore the filing deadlines for primary reports do not apply, but all candidates are required to submit reports through the CFRS system annually, as well as 8 and 30 days prior to the general election. A guide to navigating the CFRS system has been prepared and posted to YouTube.

The Libertarian Party of Delaware prides itself on its comparatively low barriers to entry for first time candidates to get involved in the electoral process. If you have any additional questions not covered by this guide, please attend your next county meeting and ask. This will also be a good opportunity to get to know the other delegates who will need to support your nomination to make sure you aren't defeated by NOTA!

Winning

Becoming a candidate is the easy part. The next step is to win your election! We haven't figured out how to do that yet, but if you do, let us know!

2020 LPD State Convention

The LPD State Convention for 2020 has been scheduled for March 14th, 2020 at the Kent County Theater Guild. Lunch including pizza, sandwiches, and various snacks will be provided beginning at noon. Donations are requested. The Guild will open the bar for us to provide various beverages. The business meeting begins at 1p and is expected to last until 4/5p. Business items include:

  • Nomination of Candidates for November 2020
  • Selection of delegates for the 2020 LP National Convention in Austin, TX
  • Presentations from candidates for the 2020 LP POTUS nomination
  • Other State Party business

The Guild is located at:

140 E. Roosevelt Ave.
Dover, DE 19901

Please RSVP to the Facebook event to help us estimate numbers for food.

Delaware Campaign Finance Guide