The 435-member Alabama Republican Executive Committee on Saturday voted to reject a proposed bylaws change that would have taken away the ability of Alabama Republican primary voters to elect the delegates to the Republican National Convention every four years. Under the proposal, the Executive Committee themselves would have picked all of the delegates.
The controversial measure was voted down 51 percent to 49 percent. This was a bylaws change so it required a two-thirds majority to pass. The vote was not even close.
The full Alabama Republican Executive Committee was holding its summer meeting at the Trussville Civic Center. Executive Committee members from every county in the state travel to the two Executive Committee meetings each year.
Claire Austin, who represents the Bullock County GOP, said that the committee would be taking away the people’s right to vote.
Joseph Fuller, who chairs the Bylaws Committee and represents the 3rd Congressional District on the ALGOP Steering Committee, argued for the change saying that having all of those delegate races on the ballot confuses primary voters and that 34 other states do not elect their convention delegates.
Fuller said the change was proposed by Elbert Peters of Madison County, who could not attend because of his health. One delegate from Jefferson County accused proponents of the change of trying to take away democracy. This same bylaw change was proposed at last year’s summer meeting and rejected by the Executive Committee then as well.
Republican primary voters on March 3 elected 47 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Charlotte. The Alabama Republican Executive Committee elected 47 alternate delegates in May. This year’s GOP convention has been canceled by President Donald Trump because of the growing danger of contracting COVID-19 by mixing so many people across the country into a packed convention hall.
The Executive Committee did approve a bylaws change allowing that in a declared state of emergency that a meeting of the Executive Committee could be done online.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said that she had talked to some members who were afraid to attend Saturday’s meeting because of the coronavirus threat.
There was a live feed so that members who did not attend the summer meeting in person could watch online, but because there was no provision in the bylaws for remote participation, they did not count toward achieving a quorum and could not vote on the proposed bylaws changes, resolutions or on selecting delegates to the electoral college.
Due to so many members fearing exposing themselves to the coronavirus and wrecks on I-65 slowing traffic, it was over 30 minutes into the event before the Executive Committee had a quorum and could conduct business. The traditional fundraising luncheon was canceled this year due to COVID-19 fears. Lathan said that there may be a virtual fundraiser later in the year to address the shortfall.
The Alabama Republican Executive Committee meets two times a year. The 21-member Republican Steering Committee conducts regular business for the party and meets much more frequently.