Showing posts with label Virgin Islands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virgin Islands. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Colorado Republicans Eyeing a Primary Switch? ...and more

Leading the day at FHQ...

The Colorado Supreme Court decision to remove Donald Trump from the presidential primary ballot in the state has the state Republican Party exploring a late shift from a primary to a caucus. But that process is more complicated than simply declaring the change. More in a gift article at FHQ Plus.

In the continuing state-by-state series on delegate allocation rules, FHQ examines changes for 2024 in...
  • The US Virgin Islands: Republicans in the territory pushed the limits of the RNC rules in putting together a delegate selection plan for this cycle. ...and paid a price for it.
  • South Carolina: Meanwhile in the Palmetto state, Republicans are back to business as usual in a competitive presidential nomination cycle. But there are some interesting tweaks to an allocation system that has been a model of consistency for much of the post-reform era. 

See more on our political/electoral consulting venture at FHQ Strategies. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

2020 Democratic Delegate Allocation: US VIRGIN ISLANDS


Election type: territorial caucuses
Date: June 6
Number of delegates: 13 [7 at-large delegates, 6 automatic/superdelegates]
Allocation method: proportional territory-wide
Threshold to qualify for delegates: 15%
2016: territorial caucuses
Delegate selection plan (pre-coronavirus)
    [Post-Coronavirus Addendum]

Changes since 2016
If one followed the 2016 series on the Republican process here at FHQ, then you may end up somewhat disappointed. The two national parties manage the presidential nomination process differently. The Republican National Committee is much less hands-on in regulating state and state party activity in the delegate selection process than the Democratic National Committee is. That leads to a lot of variation from state to state and from cycle to cycle on the Republican side. Meanwhile, the DNC is much more top down in its approach. Thresholds stay the same. It is a 15 percent barrier that candidates must cross in order to qualify for delegates. That is standard across all states. The allocation of delegates is roughly proportional. Again, that is applied to every state.

That does not mean there are no changes. The calendar has changed as have other facets of the process such as whether a state has a primary or a caucus.

Democrats in the US Virgin Islands kept their first Saturday in June position on the 2020 primary calendar, keeping the territory's contest there on the calendar for the third consecutive cycle. The delegation also remained the same size as it was in 2016.

And while much of the delegate selection plan remained the same -- the bulk of it carrying over from 2016 -- the intervention of the coronavirus affected the original plans the Democratic Party in the territory made. The caucuses will go on as planned on June 6, but the party will scale back a couple of facets of their approved delegate selection plan. Although the island does not have same day registration, the party had planned to work toward that end during the caucuses in 2020. But that has been scrapped. Early voting was also to have taken place from May 26-29, but that four day window has been cut to just two days and pushed back to just before the caucuses on June 4-5.

Yet, not all of the coronavirus changes were negative in terms of their potential impact on caucus turnout. The territorial party introduced drive-thru voting as a means of ameliorating some of the concerns caused by the coronavirus. Drive-thru voting will be available at all three caucus locations -- one on each of the three islands -- during the early voting period through caucus day on June 6. The drive-through option is just that, an option. It is included alongside the other in-person, electronic and postal options already available to Democrats in the Virgin Islands.

The standard 15 percent qualifying threshold applies territory-wide for the allocation of the seven at-large delegates.

Delegate allocation (at-large)
To win any at-large delegates a candidate must win 15 percent of the vote in the caucuses in one or both of two subdivisions into which the Democratic Party in the US Virgin Islands has divided the territory. The caucuses in St. Croix will have four (4) delegates to allocate while St. John/St. Thomas will together have three (3) delegates to allocate. Under DNC rules these seven (7) delegates are at-large, but are treated (allocated) as district delegates. Their allocation hinges not on the territory-wide vote, but on the votes within the two subdivisions.

Only the votes of those candidates above the threshold will count for the purposes of the allocation of those delegates.

See New Hampshire synopsis for an example of how the delegate allocation math works for all categories of delegates.

Delegate allocation (congressional district delegates)
There are no congressional districts within the US Virgin Islands and as such there are no technically district delegates to allocate in the June 6 caucuses. However, see the above description of the the at-large delegate allocation process.

Delegate allocation (automatic delegates/superdelegates)
Superdelegates are free to align with a candidate of their choice at a time of their choosing. While their support may be a signal to voters in their state (if an endorsement is made before voting in that state), superdelegates will only vote on the first ballot at the national convention if half of the total number of delegates -- pledged plus superdelegates -- have been pledged to one candidate. Otherwise, superdelegates are locked out of the voting unless 1) the convention adopts rules that allow them to vote or 2) the voting process extends to a second ballot. But then all delegates, not just superdelegates will be free to vote for any candidate.

[NOTE: All Democratic delegates are pledged and not bound to their candidates. They are to vote in good conscience for the candidate to whom they have been pledged, but technically do not have to. But they tend to because the candidates and their campaigns are involved in vetting and selecting their delegates through the various selection processes on the state level. Well, the good campaigns are anyway.]

The seven at-large delegates to the national convention from US Virgin Islands will be selected at the June 6 territory-wide caucuses. Delegate candidates were to have filed by May 17 and will be selected in proportion to the vote of qualifying candidates in the caucuses.

Importantly, if a candidate drops out of the race before the selection of territory-wide delegates, then any territory-wide delegates allocated to that candidate will be reallocated to the remaining candidates. However, given the simultaneity of the allocation and selection on June 6 in the Virgin Islands, that means that there is no real potential for reallocation of those territory-wide delegates. This reallocation would only apply if a candidate has fully dropped out.  This is less likely to be a factor with just Biden left as the only viable candidate in the race, but Sanders could still gain territory-wide delegates by finishing with more than 15 percent territory-wide. Under a new deal struck between the Biden and Sanders camps, Biden will be allocated (or reallocated) all of the territory-wide delegates in a given state. However, during the selection process, the state party will select Sanders-aligned delegate candidates in proportion to the share of the qualified territory-wide vote.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Virgin Islands Democratic Caucuses Slated for June

Democrats in the Virgin Islands retained the party's first Saturday in June date for its 2020 caucuses in the June 2019 release of their draft 2020 delegate selection plan. And if all other active legislation around the country is passed and enacted, that will make the June 6 caucuses in the Caribbean territory the final contest on the 2020 presidential primary calendar.1

The Virgin Islands Democratic delegation will have 13 delegates in total: six automatic delegates -- the territorial governor, delegate to Congress, party chair, vice chair, national committeeman and national committeewoman -- and seven at-large delegates. It is that latter group that is most noteworthy. Rather than being allocated territory-wide as is the case in the American Samoa Democratic caucuses, the seven at-large delegates will be divvied up between intra-territory districts. The St. Croix district is apportioned four of the seven at-large delegates and the St. Thomas/St. John district the remaining three. Instead of the entire pool of delegates being allocated to candidates with 15 percent or more of the vote based on the territory-wide results, there will be two separate allocations based on the two district results.

Splitting the allocation of such a small pool of delegates into subgroups makes it harder for candidates further down in the results to receive any delegates. For instance, hitting 15 percent in the St. Thomas/St. John district would net a candidate 0.45 delegates. Technically, that is not enough to round up depending on the actual results. Absent specific results, then, the threshold to guarantee delegates up front is 16.67 percent in that district. This serves as a cautionary note about the overall allocation process. Allocating large pools of delegates is more forgiving in the rounding process, but the more refined that gets -- the more subgroups of delegates created -- the more problematic it becomes for candidates further down in the results.

Of course, this may all be moot if the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination process has resolved itself by June 6. The presumptive nominee would likely claim all or the vast majority of those delegates. However, if the contest remains active heading into the final contest, then the delegate math (and the subtle intricacies therein) may be of some consequence. Then again, a share seven delegates is not all that likely to make or break anyone at the end of the calendar. But it would be something if it was.

1 This entails legislation in Washington, DC being passed, moving the primary in the district to the first Tuesday in June. The Virgin Islands caucuses would fall just four days later on the calendar.

The Virgin Islands Democratic caucuses date has been added to the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

2016 Republican Delegate Allocation: VIRGIN ISLANDS

This is part twenty-seven of a series of posts that will examine the Republican delegate allocation rules by state. The main goal of this exercise is to assess the rules for 2016 -- especially relative to 2012 -- in order to gauge the potential impact the changes to the rules along the winner-take-all/proportionality spectrum may have on the race for the Republican nomination. For this cycle the RNC recalibrated its rules, cutting the proportionality window in half (March 1-14), but tightening its definition of proportionality as well. While those alterations will trigger subtle changes in reaction at the state level, other rules changes -- particularly the new binding requirement placed on state parties -- will be more noticeable. 


Election type: caucus
Date: March 10 
Number of delegates: 9 [6 at-large, 3 automatic]
Allocation method: delegates directly elected
Threshold to qualify for delegates: none
2012: caucus

Changes since 2012
Literally none.

However, there is a story behind that. The process book the Republican National Committee released on October 2 -- the day after the deadline for states and territories to submit their plans to the national party -- indicated that the Republican Party in the Virgin Islands would allocate all nine of its delegates in a winner-take-all fashion based on the vote in March 19 caucuses.

But none of that was official ( least not the part concerning the Virgin Islands). Instead the section on the Virgin Islands was based on a delegate selection plan that had yet to be submitted to the RNC. And, in fact, the VIGOP missed the October 1 submission deadline. In such situations, the state/territory party in violation is forced to use the rules that governed the selection/allocation process from the previous cycle.

That is why there are Thursday caucuses. The 2012 VIGOP delegate allocation rules called for a (Saturday) March 10 series of caucuses to directly elect six at-large delegates. The date remains the same, but the day is different. And that is essentially the only change to how Republicans on the Islands are electing delegates.

As the six at-large delegates are directly elected on the caucus ballot, there are no thresholds to qualify for delegates.

Delegate allocation (at-large delegates)
While there are no thresholds, candidates being "allocated" delegates depends on how many candidate-affiliated delegate candidates filed or were filed with the Virgin Islands Republican Party. In other words, a candidate cannot win all six at-large delegates unless there are six or more delegate candidates on the ballot who are aligned with a particular candidate.

Of the active candidates, only Ted Cruz has at least six delegates running on the caucus ballot. Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have only three delegate candidates running on their behalf while John Kasich has no delegate candidates pledged to him running on the ballot. What that means is that only Cruz can sweep the at-large delegates. The best Rubio or Trump can hope for is half the at-large delegates (and a third of the full nine member delegation). Kasich very simply is out of the running in the Virgin Islands.

It should also be noted that delegate candidates on the ballot can file and run as uncommitted to candidates. There are 20 such delegate candidates on the March 10 ballot. That remains something of a wildcard in all of this. Additionally, four of those uncommitted delegate candidates have had their residency on the islands called into question by the Department of Elections (not the territorial party) in the territory.

UPDATE: Those four uncommitted delegate candidates have cleared the residency hurdle for the time being.

If delegate candidates have affiliated with a candidate for the Republican nomination, then by rule of the VIGOP, the delegate, if elected, is bound to that candidate through the first ballot at the national convention. Should the candidate to whom those candidates are bound withdraw, then those delegates are released and treated as uncommitted.

As the 2012 rules have carried over to 2016, the three automatic/party delegates -- the territorial party chair, the national committeeman and national committeewoman -- are all unbound. Only the at-large delegates are bound and then only if they are aligned with a candidate. Yes, in other states, the automatic delegates have been treated as at-large delegates where the state/territory rules are not clear. However, the three party delegates will not appear on the ballot for electing delegates and there is not preference vote -- just the vote for the six at-large delegates -- to bind them.

State allocation rules are archived here.

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