State Conventions

The immense effort of precinct delegates to elect America First state delegates at county conventions will culminate in an America First outcome at the following State Convention.
There are 3 different purposes for state conventions (described in more detail below): elect state party leadership, endorse major state office candidates or nominate major state office candidates.
For a better idea of when State Conventions happen, check out the Convention Cycle on this page.
Purposes

ELECT STATE PARTY LEADERSHIP
State Party Leadership is elected at Winter Conventions in every odd year.  The evening prior to the state convention, the state delegates and alternates caucus by congressional district to elect 25 members for each Congressional District Committee, of which 7 members also serve on the State Central Committee (the District Chair and 6 others).  Read more about party committees hereThe congressional district caucus meetings follow an agenda similar to that of a county convention for choosing the county executive committee, described on this page.
The State Party Chair, Co-Chair and 6 Vice Chairs (Administrative, Coalitions, Ethnic, Grassroots, Outreach, Youth) are elected at the state convention.
The National Committeeman and National Committeewoman are the only state party leaders who serve for 4 years and are elected at a different state convention – the Spring State Convention in Presidential Election Years.
ENDORSE MAJOR STATE OFFICE CANDIDATES
At the Spring Convention in Statewide Election Years, state delegates vote to give the Michigan Republican Party endorsement to candidates for the candidates for Secretary of State, Attorney General, Michigan Supreme Court Justices (2), State Board of Education Members (2), Governors of Wayne State University (2), Regents of the University of Michigan (2) and Trustees of Michigan State University.  All these same candidates are given the official party nomination at the State Convention just a few months later in August.  Endorsing these candidates gives them several extra months to campaign for the General Election, which increases their chances of beating the Democrat candidate.
NOMINATE MAJOR STATE OFFICE CANDIDATES
At the Fall Convention following the August primary election, candidates receive the official party nomination for major state offices.
  • In a statewide election year, state delegates nominate the Republican candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General.
  • In a presidential election year, Republican Presidential Electors are nominated.
  • And at each fall nomination convention, no matter if it’s a statewide or presidential election year, TWO party nominees are chosen for each of these offices: Michigan Supreme Court Justices, State Board of Education Members, Governors of Wayne State University, Regents of the University of Michigan and Trustees of Michigan State University

Winning the party nomination at a state convention is the equivalent to winning a Primary Election.  These candidates now will face off against the Democrat nominees in the November General Election.

Operational Elements

Governing Laws & Rules

The order in which these rules are listed is the order of precedence by which they must be followed.
Michigan Election Law (MCL 168)
Chapter 168 of Michigan Compiled Laws is titled Michigan Election Law – naturally, it supersedes any other set of party bylaws or rules.  A simple online search for the words “state convention” in Michigan Election Law pulls up several sections that govern state convention operations and the role of precinct delegates at these conventions. 
Michigan Republican Party Bylaws
Article XIII in the MRP Bylaws also includes some information regarding state conventions, most of it being copied verbatim from Michigan Election Law.
Michigan Republican Party RULES for the Selection of State Delegates & Alternates
Approximately 6-9 months prior to each state convention, the State Central Committee, at one of its quarterly meetings, approves rules for the state convention that have been drawn up by the Policy Committee (one of the standing subcommittees of the State Central Committee).  The rules they draw up govern not only the upcoming state convention, but also the preceding county conventions for the selection of state delegates and alternates to that state convention.  Visit the Resources page to find rules for recent state conventions.
Robert’s Rules of Order
All state conventions use the latest revised version of Robert’s Rules of Order for conducting business.  These rules are “a time-tested standard, providing common rules of parliamentary procedure for deliberation and debate in order to place the whole membership on the same footing and speaking the same language.  The conduct of ALL business is controlled by the general will of the whole membership – the right of the deliberate majority to decide.”  RRO Cheat Sheet

Delegate Packet

A Delegate Packet for all state delegates and alternates should be available on the MIGOP website a few weeks prior to upcoming conventions.  The Delegate Packet includes the official Call to State Convention, the schedule, a list of candidates on the ballot for both the initial and run-off voting rounds, a map of the state convention hall, a list of hotel blocks reserved and any other important information.

Voters

Each state delegate elected at a preceding county convention has the RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY to attend, participate in and vote at state conventions.   If state delegates are not present to vote, their voting privileges are automatically given to state alternates – in the order in which they were voted to the alternate slate at the county convention.
“Delegates At Large”
This group includes all Republican incumbents in the state legislature, incumbents in the federal legislature, the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general.  Also included in this group is any current officer of the Michigan Republican Party and the District Chair of each Congressional District Committee.
All voting takes place by congressional district.

Officers

Several convention officers are necessary for having a smooth and orderly state convention.  All state convention officers are appointed by the State Party Chair.
Chairperson
This is the most important role.  The Chair is responsible for leading the convention, following the agenda, receiving committee reports, facilitating discussion and recognizing motion-bringers.  The State Party Chair is the Convention Chairperson unless they appoint another person in their place.  
Secretary
The Secretary keeps formal record of the convention’s process and decisions. This is also called the “convention minutes”. The Secretary may receive and record voting results from Tellers or Vote Aggregators.
Parliamentarian
The Parliamentarians are responsible for making sure the convention body follows all laws, rules and parliamentary procedure as they conduct business.
Sergeant At Arms
The Sergeant At Arms maintains order and enforces law at state conventions.
Tellers
The Tellers are responsible for counting the vote: this may involve counting bodies in a “standing vote”, recording names in a “roll call” vote, tallying ballots or aggregating vote results from each congressional district.
Convention officers do NOT have to be state delegates.  However, if they ARE state delegates and are appointed to one of these positions, they still have a right to vote on all matters that come before the convention body.

Committees

Several committees are necessary for having a smooth and orderly county convention.
Committee on Credentials
The Committee on Credentials has 7 members: the State Party Chair, State Party Co-Chair, National Committeeman, National Committeewoman, General Counsel, MIGOP Budget Committee Chair and MIGOP Policy Committee Chair. This Committee on Credentials receives the lists of state delegates and alternates selected at each county convention, certifies it, and then presents it to the Rules Committee.
Rules Committee
The Rules Committee consists of two members appointed by each of the Congressional District Chairs. They are responsible for accepting the list of credentialed voters and interpreting rules.
Issues Committee
The Convention Issues Committee is the same as the MIGOP Issues Committee. Any convention delegate wishing to propose an issue to the state convention body must send a written draft with pros and cons 7 days prior to the state convention and gain the approval of a majority of the Issues Committee. The committee will receive no more than 5 issues for consideration.
At state convention, The Issues Committee will give their report, and any issues will be submitted and debated.  The debate of an issue is subject to certain guidelines and time limits.  Parliamentarians are the time-keepers and District Chairs are responsible for tallying the votes of state delegates in their congressional district and submitting them to the Secretary and Tellers.

Processing the Ballots

Tabulator Machines
For several years, the Michigan Republican Party has used tabulator machines to count the vote at state conventions.  One tabulator is available for each district, with some of the larger districts having two.  Voters form lines by congressional district.  After having their credentials checked and hole-punched, they receive a ballot to complete and place into the tabulator machine.  After all voting is complete in a congressional district, the tabulator tape is printed for each machine, and the District Chair submits the tabulator tape to the Secretary and Tellers for vote aggregation.
Secure, Transparent Ballot Hand Count Process
At the April 2022 Endorsement Convention, a secure, transparent ballot hand count process, developed by a grassroots activist group called Unity4MRP was implemented as a means of verifying that the vote counts were not manipulated by machines and restoring the party unity needed to win against the Democrats.  The process was smooth and the vote count for each round was completed in about 90 minutes by a team of approximately 100 volunteers.   The results were an exact match to the tabulator tapes, and there was a consensus among patriots that this secure, verifiable process should be implemented at every future state convention.  Review the process in detail here.
Vote Aggregation
The votes are recorded by congressional district in a spreadsheet, and vote totals are displayed on a large screen for convention attendees.

Interpreting the Results

“Modified Unit Rule”
Before voting results are finalized, the “modified unit rule” is applied to any congressional district that had vacancies in delegation.  This rule dictates that “the delegates present from any congressional district shall vote the entire voting strength of such congressional district.”
Example:  A congressional district is allotted 200 state delegates.  However, a county within that congressional district was not able to fill all their state delegate seats at county convention.  This results in only 190 votes cast for that congressional district.  When subjected to the “modified unit rule”, the 190 votes would be treated as 200 votes.  Let’s say Candidate A gets 100 of the 190 votes, while Candidate B gets 90.  With the “Modified Unit Rule” ratio applied, Candidate A gets 105 votes and Candidate B gets 95 votes.
This could be the deciding factor in a situation where candidates are separated by only a few votes.
The Winning Percentage
After the voting results are in and the “modified unit rule” is applied, the winner of each race is determined by the percentage of votes he received.
In order to avoid a run-off election, a candidate in a “Vote for 1” race (such as Secretary of State or Attorney General) must receive 50% of the vote.
In a “Vote for 2” race (such as Michigan Supreme Court Justices), a candidate must receive 40% of the convention vote to avoid a run-off.

Agenda

State delegates and alternates arrive at state convention, obtain voting credentials at the location specified in the delegate packet, and then find their seat in the convention hall.
(1) The State Party Chair or the Chairperson he appoints will open the state convention with a call to order. This will be followed by prayer, recital of the pledge of allegiance, singing of the national anthem and a reading of the official call to state convention.  (2) Convention Officers are appointed by the chairperson and the oath of office will be administered to all officers.  (3) The Rules Committee will present their report, followed by the Issues Committee presenting their report.  If any issues were approved for discussion by the Issues Committee, this is the point where debate and voting on these issues will take place.  (4) Nominating speeches and seconding speeches will be made for each of the candidates on the ballot.  (5) There will be a demonstration period, where nominated candidates may give a speech or present a video to the convention body.  (6) Voters will line up by congressional district to cast their votes.  Votes will be counted, aggregated and reported.  (7) If necessary, there may be a run-off vote for one or more offices on the ballot, and these votes must also be counted, aggregated and reported. Run-off votes will occur until the winning percentage is acquired.  (8) The final convention business is the announcement of vote results, and then the state convention is adjourned.
State Convention Training Video
Part 4 of the MI Precinct First 4-Part Convention Training Series is focused on state conventions.  Visit this page to watch other training videos in the series.
PART 4 of 4: STATE CONVENTIONS