There has been a lot of digital ink spilled on the idea that a convention disenfranchises certain voters. Here is a listing of people who either cannot or will have significant obstacles in attending a convention, but could otherwise vote in a primary:
Who does a convention entirely disenfranchise under the Hatch Act?
- Federal law enforcement, national security personnel, senior government workers, and political appointees in the DOJ or DOD. Hatch Act. “Further Restricted Employees” may not engage in political activity. What is political activity? “A. For purposes of the these rules, political activity is defined as an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group. Examples of political activities include: volunteering for the campaign of a candidate for partisan political office, serving as an officer of a political party or club, serving as a delegate to a political convention, or distributing campaign literature for a candidate for partisan political office.”
- This includes: all career Senior Executive Service (SES) employees; administrative law judges; employees in the Criminal Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Division; and criminal investigators and explosives enforcement officers in ATF. Further restricted employees may not campaign for or against candidates or otherwise engage in political activity in concert witha political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group.
Considering the Department’s mission, the Attorney General has previously determined that, as a matter of Department policy, all political appointees will be subject to the rules that govern “further restricted” employees under the Hatch Act to ensure there is not an appearance that politics plays any part in the Department’s day to day operations.
- The entire active-duty military. Here is the directive: 1.1.9. Attend partisan and nonpartisan political fundraising activities, meetings, rallies, debates, conventions, or activities as a spectator when not in uniform and when no inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement can reasonably be drawn. Here is the regulation in full. Only attend as a spectator, not as a delegate.
Who does a convention partially disenfranchise due to difficulty in attending?
- Families with small children. Regardless of child care given. Families should not be expected to leave their children with unfamiliar, untrained, uncertified people just to exercise their right to vote. Further the expenses and rigors of travel with small children will dissuade many from attending.
- The elderly. Often on a fixed income and with health concerns, the costs and rigors of travel will dissuade many from attending.
- Rural Virginians. Those who live in south-west Virginia, the Northern Neck, and other distant areas are heavily dissuaded due to the cost and length of travel.
- Hard Working Virginians. Anyone who has to work over the weekend of the convention is disenfranchised.
- Fixed or low-income Virginians. Travel is expensive. Even without an illegal mandatory fee, the cost of travel will prevent many Virginians on tight budgets from participating.
In sum, a convention is anti-law enforcement, anti-military, anti-family, anti-elderly, anti-rural, and anti-hard work. In contrast a primary is pro-law enforcement, pro-military, pro-family, pro-elderly, pro-rural, and pro-hard work. So a primary favors the Republican “grass-roots” or voter base and a convention is against it. Seems simple to me.