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RNC Toughens Penalty For Rogue Delegates

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Charles Dharapak / AP

TAMPA — The Republican National Convention Rules Committee voted on Tuesday to toughen penalties on bound delegates who cast their ballots for other presidential candidates, in a compromise proposal meant to avoid a convention floor fight.

The amended rule, which would unseat any delegate that went against their obligation to vote for the candidate they are bound to, replaces a Romney-backed plan to give presidential candidates the right to disavow any delegates pledged to them.

The rule returns control over delegate selection to the state — a key demand of the dozens of committee members opposed to the original version — but still prevents a candidate like Ron Paul from securing more delegates by flipping pledged delegates.

Under the amended party rules, statewide contests, like the Iowa Caucus, must bind delegates to the nation convention, further preventing state convention takeovers like the ones executed by Paul’s supporters.

Under the rules, violating a binding pledge would be considered by the committee as submitting a resignation as a delegate, and the vote would be adjusted to allocate the vote in line with the delegate’s pledge — while the delegate would no longer be allowed to remain on the floor of the convention.

The text of the rule as passed:
Rule 16(2)
“For any manner of binding or allocating delegates under these Rules, if a delegate (i) casts a vote for a presidential candidate at the national convention inconsistent with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule, (ii) nominates or demonstrates support under Rule 40 for a presidential candidate other than the one to whom the delegate is bound or allocated under state law or state party rule, or (iii) fails in some other way to carry out the delegate’s affirmative duty under state law or state party rule to cast a vote at the National Convention for a particular presidential candidate, the delegate shall be deemed to have concurrently resigned as a delegate and the delegate’s improper vote or nomination shall be null and void. Thereafter the secretary of the convention shall record the delegate’s vote or nomination in accordance with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule. This subsection does not apply to delegates who are bound to a candidate who has withdrawn his or her candidacy, suspended or terminated his or her campaign, or publicly released his or her delegates.”

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