By Michelle Hazekamp
August 16, 2022
Huge Turn-Out for Muskegon County!
On the eve of Thursday, August 11, County Conventions took place throughout Michigan whereby Precinct Delegates were elected to attend and vote at the Michigan State Nominating Convention, commencing on August 27th in Lansing. Muskegon County had a huge turn-out as the initiative this past year to acquire much needed Precinct Delegates resulted in success.
What is a Precinct Delegate?
A Precinct Delegate is an elected official and although the lowest of elected positions, the Precinct Delegate assumes a very important role when it comes to political party state conventions. Precinct Delegates are the only ones who receive the honor to represent their county and vote for key political candidates at their state endorsement & nominating conventions. The candidates that are endorsed and nominated via State Conventions include Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Board of Education, University of Michigan Board of Regents, Michigan State Board of Trustees and the Supreme Court Justices. Many people do not realize that these candidates do not run in a primary race, and are chosen only by the voting endorsements of Precinct Delegates to represent the Republican Party on the General Election ballot.
The Hunt for Precinct Delegates
Muskegon County in the past years has been lacking in Precinct Delegates. It was even more evident after attending the State Endorsement Convention back in April of this year and not having enough Delegates to fill the slate, thus leaving the Muskegon County "under-represented." While an initiative to acquire more Precinct Delegates for Muskegon County was already well under way, this pushed the GOP to work a little harder in acquiring Precinct Delegates to fill all vacancies in each precinct. In the August 27th State Convention, Delegates will be voting to now nominate those same candidates who were then only endorsed by the Delegates at the State Convention in April. Once nominated, these candidates will officially represent the Republican Party with the full support of the MIGOP for the November General Election.
Confusion & Disappointment Amidst Convention Procedures
County Conventions are the first step of the process in getting to the State Convention, and over 200 Precinct Delegates showed up to Thursday's Muskegon County Convention held at Whitlow's. Most expected to be on the slate to attend the State Convention on the 27th, however, there was much confusion and disappointment when new Delegates learned that number of eligible voting attendee's to State Convention is limited and regulated by the State GOP.
2 Districts = 2 Concurring Conventions
Because of redistricting in 2021, Muskegon County is now split into two Congressional Districts, consisting of the 2nd and the 3rd Congressional Districts, causing us to split into two separate conventions at the same time. We are permitted to have 16 Delegates in District 2 and 18 in District 3 on the slates to attend State Convention, as well as the same number of "alternates," who can step up and take the place of a slated voter who is unable to attend.
Steps to Officiate a Successful Convention
Although the procedure for the convention is explained in the letter each Delegate received from the State GOP, it did lead to some misinterpreting and frustration. And, understanding conventions are confusing to most until they experience the process. The following is a step -by-step guide as to how County Conventions work:
After receiving the official convention letter from the State GOP with instructions, notify in writing (email is acceptable) to your county GOP Chair person that you want to be added to the slate of Delegates for State Convention.
Officers of your County GOP create a slate of Delegates and alternates who will attend the State Convention. They typically choose in the order of requests received, then further breaking it down between those who put in a great deal of time and involvement into the GOP new Delegates.
Attend your County Convention where you will be handed a list of the slated Delegates for a vote of approval.
Once the Convention is called to order, you may challenge a slated Delegate if you are not on the list as either an attending voter or alternate. In this manner, you may give your grievance as to why you should be selected. Usually, the person being challenged is not in attendance at the County Convention and therefore cannot defend themselves. Otherwise, this leads to a debate until a decision has been made by the Convention Chair, or one succeeds.
The slate is then approved by the convention of Delegates and the Convention is adjourned.
The Chair of the County Convention sends the State GOP officers a final report including number of attendees for State Convention and names.
State Convention: A Recommended Experience
State Conventions run a little differently, whereas it is an all day event that can carry late into the evening as multiple rounds of voting occur by Delegates, along with brief speeches given by the candidates in-between voting. It is definitely an experience that we recommend for all Delegates to observe, as it is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend as visitors.
Going Off Grid
Once the Muskegon County Convention was called to order Thursday evening, districts were split by way of a curtain drawn. When Delegates began to express their frustration over the slate, The Chairman of the 3rd Congressional District Convention, Zach Lahring, was able to calm the crowd by answering questions and explaining in detail how the process works and why certain Delegates were chosen over others. In doing so, he strayed from the official manner in which a convention is supposed to be ran, where as the Convention Chair for the 2nd District, Malinda Pego, ran her convention in an official format. Both slates were approved and accepted by the Delegates, with no challenges. Afterwards, local candidates who were in attendance were given the opportunity to briefly speak.
The most important role of a Precinct Delegate is to vote at the State Convention. However, it is not their only role. Becoming a Precinct Delegate enables you to be more involved with your community, county and local GOP. You can be a voice for your community within your precinct, community, county government and keep your community informed on important issues. Getting involved with the GOP gives you the ability to be informed first-hand on local and state issues. And volunteers are always needed on committee's such as events, outreach, communications, etc. If you want to help make change, volunteer. We always have fun, and it is self-rewarding when working towards a common goal for conservative and righteous values.
Looking Forward to Many New Relationships
The Muskegon County Convention was a great success thanks to all the new Precinct Delegates that took the time to show up. This was a display of willingness to be involved and take part in very important political processes. We look forward to many new relationships in this fight for integrity and freedom as we continue to build a strong family of community for the sake of a future where freedom has been maintained once again for generations to come.