March 9, 2016
The Washington State Democratic Party clarified its interpretation of Rule 19 yesterday, after pushback and questions from Caucus Jurisdiction Coordinators and others last week.
"Rule 19. If no one in the group entitled to a delegate wishes to serve as delegate, the delegates and alternates shall be reallocated, in the order determined on the Delegate Allocation Worksheet, to the other presidential preferences."
Here's the updated interpretation (from State Parliamentarian David McDonald) on how Rule 19 works:
Assume that a precinct has 8 delegates and 8 alternates to send to the next level of the caucus process.
Also assume Candidate Yellow earns 3 delegates and alternates through the preference process, and Candidate Blue earns 5 delegates and alternates through the preference process.
Candidate Yellow's supporters are all willing to be delegates and alternates, and they fill Candidate Yellow's earned delegate/alternate slots without any difficulty.
Candidate Blue's supporters, though, don't have the time nor the inclination to attend the next level of the process --- and only 4 delegate/alternate slots are filled with Candidate Blue's supporters.
Rule 19 provides that so long as one person is willing to serve as a delegate for Candidate Blue, the empty delegate slots for Candidate Blue stay empty. So Candidate Blue may have earned delegates, but if at least one person is willing to serve as a delegate the remaining earned delegate slots go unfilled.
Coming out of the process would be Candidate Yellow with 3 delegates, Candidate Blue with 4 delegates and there would be nobody filling Delegate #8's slot (even though it was earned by Candidate Blue).
Change the facts in the example to nobody being willing to serve as a delegate for Candidate Blue. If that's the case, then the delegate slots earned by Candidate Blue are reallocated, in the order determined on the Delegate Allocation Worksheet, to the other presidential preferences.
The moral of the story is still the same. Supporters need to be willing to serve as delegates and alternates for a favored candidate to do well in the caucus process. But the new interpretation of Rule 19 will be implemented at the caucuses on March 26.