Third Party Formulas for Apportionment 
of Delegates to National Conventions
Various Measures Used to Reward Party Activity
The Constitution, Green, Libertarian and Reform parties are selecting their 2000 presidential nominees at national conventions.  Like the Democratic and Republican parties, third parties must determine how many delegates each state receives.  Typically the formulas include a base represention for every state, a population-based component, and further criteria reflecting party activity.  The four parties have operationalized this last variable in a number of ways including a state party's electoral success, membership, payment of dues, attendance at national meetings, and so forth.  Depending on the party, electoral success may be indicated by the relative showing of the presidential candidate (Libertarians), the number of elected party officials (Greens) or by ballot qualification for the party's presidential candidate (Constitution).  Not discussed here is the convention of the Natural Law Party which is more of a national meeting, bringing together candidates from around the country; Dr. John Hagelin is the de facto nominee.

The most closely watched convention may be that of the Reform Party.  The Reform Party's formula for apportioning delegates is the simplest and does not include any rewards for state party activity or strength.  While the formula is simple, the actual seating of various state delegations for the convention promises to be a contentious affair. 

The Reform Party is holding a presidential primary in the period from July 4 to the August convention.  The primary is open to Reform Party members, petition signers and citizens who request a ballot from the state party, with voting by mail, phone and internet; a candidate's appearance on the ballot is based on his or her efforts at ballot qualification.  The likely candidates are Pat Buchanan and Dr. John Hagelin. 

However, the primary vote can be overriden by a 2/3rds vote of the national convention.  The Buchanan campaign has been very aggressive about securing delegates at various state Reform Party conventions around the country to ensure his nomination.  In  a number of states, longtime Reformers and Buchanan backers have held parallel meetings and elected competing delegate slates. 

As a result, the credentials committee meeting in Long Beach on August 9, the day before the formal start of the convention, may well be the most important part of the convention.  (Politicking surrounding the credentials committee began months before the convention.  On June 11, 2000 committee co-chair Kelly Abt, a Buchanan supporter appointed by Pat Choate, was abruptly replaced by former Reform Party chair Russ Verney, who is most closely aligned with Ross Perot). 

Reform Party   ...August 10-13, 2000
"Delegates to the Convention shall consist of the three at-large state delegates from the Affiliated State Party or Affiliated State Organization, and one delegate from each Congressional District of the Affiliated State Party or Affiliated State Organization. The maximum possible number of delegates from any state is equal to the number of U.S. Congressional Districts in that state plus three."  [The District of Columbia is included and gets four delegates by this formula.  Further, members of the Executive Committee are delegates, adding ten more to the total number of delegates].
Reform Party--General Guidelines for Credentialling


Libertarian Party   ...June 30-July 3, 2000
Each affiliate party shall be entitled to send delegates to each Regular Convention on the following basis:

a. One delegate for each 0.1 percent, or fraction thereof, of the total Party membership in that affiliate; provided that at least one such delegate must be a resident of that State or District.

b. One delegate for each 0.25 percent, or fraction thereof, of the votes cast nationwide for the Libertarian Party candidate in the most recent presidential election, cast in that affiliate's state.

Bylaws of the Libertarian Party--Article 13, Section 4


Association of State Green Parties ...June 24-25, 2000
The formula was developed by the Credentials Committee and approved in a January 2000 e-mail vote by the Coordinating Committee.  Among issues of concern were how big the convention should be and whether membership in the ASGP should be rewarded (under this permutation, which was not chosen, states would have received one delegate for showing up and one for ASGP membership; the approved formula allotted two delegates for showing up).  In addition to population, the final formula gives weight to activity by Greens and electoral success:

1. Each credentialled state party shall be entitled to two delegates.

2. One delegate awarded for each Congressional District in which the Party has campaign activity; activity defined as "three or more Greens residing in the same Congressional District who, since January 1, preceding the previous Presidential election, cooperated in campaigning as Greens for a Green candidate in a partisan race, or for a ballot initiative, referendum or a non-partisan candidate which was endorsed by a Green Party local or state party organization ... or has circulated a ballot access petition for such a candidate."

3. A state Green Party may name additional delegates for each elected Green official with the state elected at the state or federal level, or who have been elected with over 500 votes.  A state party may also name an additional delegate for every five elected Greens receiving less than 500 votes.

Credentials Rules of the Green Presidential Nominating Convention--Section 4 


US Taxpayers (Constitution) Party ...Sept, 1-6, 1999
The formula for convention voting was presented and approved at the USTP's national committee meeting in Seattle.  It was based a combination of factors:

1. Each state will be allowed 2 voting delegates representing the number of Senators each state is allowed under the U.S. Constitution.

2. Each state which achieved ballot qualification for the USTP (now CP) Presidential ticket in 1992 or 1996, or has achieved ballot qualification for the ticket in 2000 shall be assigned additional delegate votes equal to the number of congressional districts in the state.

3. An additional delegate vote shall be assigned a state for each year, subsequent to the previous presidential election year, in which that state has fulfilled its $2000 annual assessment to the USTP National Committee.

4. An additional delegate vote shall be assigned a state for each National Committee meeting held, subsequent to the previous election year, at which the state had at least one National Committee member in attendance.

5. Once a states delegate total has been fixed, the chairman of the state delegation shall determine the numerical weight of the vote cast by each person representing this state as a delegate in the context of the state's authorized number of voting delegates.  All roll call votes anounced by states shall be in whole numbers only.

Copyright 2000  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.