POLITICAL PARTY CONVENTION SYSTEM IN TEXAS *
By participating in a party’s convention system, any qualified Texas voter can participate in the formulation of the state and national platform, and in choosing the party leadership. While the leaders of a county party (County Chair and the County Executive Committee) holding primary elections are directly elected by the voters, the leaders of the state party (the State Chair, the State Vice-Chair and the State Executive Committee) are elected by the delegates at the biennial State Convention. In presidential election years, the State Convention delegates also elect the National Committeewoman and the Committeeman to represent Texas on the National Committee and the delegates and the alternate delegates to the National Convention.
Conventions are held every two years (except for the National Convention held only in presidential election years). There are four convention levels: the election precinct level, the county or senatorial district level, the state level and the national level. The cost of each convention is the responsibility of the political party.
At each convention level, except the national level, delegates and alternate delegates are chosen to attend the convention at the next highest level. In addition to the requirement of party affiliation, either by voting in a party General Primary Election or by attending a party nominating Convention, a person must be a qualified voter of the territory the voter is selected to represent. Alternate delegates replace absent delegates at any convention level.
PRECINCT CONVENTION LEVEL
The Precinct Convention is held on General Primary Election day, generally at the polling place. The Convention convenes at a time designated by the County Executive Committee between 7 PM and 9 PM. However, regardless of the time set for convening, the Convention may not convene until the last voter has voted. The time and the place of the Convention are posted at the entrance of each polling place.
The Precinct Chair serves as the Temporary Convention Chair, and the business consists of the election of a Permanent Chair and Secretary, adoption of resolutions to be forwarded to the next convention level and the election of delegates and alternate delegates to attend the next convention level. The number of delegates and alternate delegates allocated to each precinct is set by state party rules. The number is based on a ratio of one (1) delegate and one (1) alternate delegate to a designated number of votes cast in the election precinct for the party’s candidate for Governor in the previous gubernatorial election. For example, in the Republican Precinct Convention, the ratio may be one (1) delegate to twenty-five (25) gubernatorial votes or one (1) delegate to forty (40) gubernatorial votes as determined by the County or District Executive Committee.
COUNTY OR SENATORIAL DISTRICT CONVENTION LEVEL
A County Convention is held providing the county is located in a single state senatorial district. If a County is located in two or more state senatorial districts, two or more State Senatorial District Conventions are held. The hour and the place for convening the Convention(s) is determined by the County Executive Committee, but the date is determined by Texas Election Laws. Election Laws require that the Convention(s) be held on the third Saturday after the General Primary Election day, unless the date occurs during Passover or on the day following Good Friday. In such case, the Convention(s) will be held on the next Saturday that does not occur during these holidays.
The Convention elects permanent officers, adopts Convention rules, passes and forwards resolutions to the next convention level and elects delegates and alternate delegates to attend the next convention level. The number of delegates and alternate delegates allocated to this convention level is set by state party rules. The number is based on the ratio of one (1) delegate and one (1) alternate delegate to a designated number of votes cast in the county or state senatorial district for the party’s candidate for Governor in the previous gubernatorial election. For example, in the Republican Convention the ratio may be one (1) delegate to each three hundred (300) votes or one (1) delegate to each six hundred (600) votes, as determined by the State Executive Committee. The delegates selected by a Precinct Convention who attend this convention are entitled to cast a number of votes equal to as many delegates that a Precinct Convention was entitled to select.
STATE CONVENTION LEVEL
The State Convention for parties that nominate candidates by primary election is held on any day in June at the hour and place determined by the State Executive Committee. The Convention for parties with state organizations that nominate candidates by a Convention is held on the second Saturday in June.
The state party Chair serves as the Temporary Convention Chair. The Convention elects permanent officers, approves party rules, adopts a platform and elects a State Chair, a State Vice-Chair and members of the State Executive Committee. A National Committeewoman and Committeeman and delegates and alternate delegates to the National Convention are elected by the Convention in Presidential election years. The number of delegates and alternate delegates allocated to each state is determined by national party rules. The delegates selected by a County or Senatorial District Convention who attend this Convention are entitled to cast a number of votes equal to as many delegates that the County or Senatorial District Convention was entitled to select.
NATIONAL CONVENTION LEVEL
The National Convention is held in presidential election years at a date and location determined by the political parties. The purpose of the convention is to adopt party rules and a party platform and to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President.
*According to Texas Election Laws and State Party Rules
(Compiled by the Montgomery County Republican Party, 04-2003)