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23 August 2008

Re-capping the DNC Rules Committee Meeting

186 party leaders and elected officials from across the country, including four representatives from Georgia heard from DNC Chair Howard Dean and other national party leaders as they voted to send a series of measures to the convention floor next week when the 45th Democratic National Convention convenes in Denver's Pepsi Center.

Georgians Evelyn Hall, Don Roman, Rachel Rosenblatt and Brian Wertheim participated in the Democratic National Convention Rules Committee meeting this morning where they voted to recommend delegates adopt the procedural rules for the convention, the permanent convention officers and the order of business.

"Without the Rules Committee, our convention could be chaotic," committee co-chair Mary Rose Oakar said.

Committee member Brian Wertheim, a Decatur attorney, described his experience on the panel as "exciting" and wonderful."

"We need change," Wertheim said. "And we saw unity at the Rules Committee meeting."

The first half of the meeting was uneventful as the delegates assembled breezed through the votes on the convention rules, convention officers and convention agenda. However, there was a lot of discussion when the last item on the agenda
came up; the Democratic Change Commission.

The resolution presented by former South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges and Craig Smith of Florida established a delegate selection reform committee that would examine all aspects of the way Democrats select their presidential nominee.

According to Hodges, the Democratic Change Commission will focus on three items:

1.) Timing of the nominating contests;

2.) Reducing unpledged delegates; and

3.) Improving the planning and implementation of the caucuses.

The committee members used up all the time alloted for debate on the resolution as they gave the document high marks while suggesting additional items be added to the scope of the Democratic Change Commission.

Merry Demarest, an Oregon committee member, spoke of the need to incorporate secret ballots, an auditable paper trail and absentee voting into the delegate selection process; particularly the caucuses. Demarest was also a leading sponsor of a "Full Participation and Fair Process" amendment to the DNC Charter, but withdrew it and asked that her proposed language be included within the scope of the delegate selection reform commission.

In the end, the resolution passed out of committee without unanimously and will be voting on by the Democratic National Convention delegates next week.

The full text of the resolution establishing the Democratic Change Commission will be able as soon as I type it, so check back later!