I hope you will attend our National Convention in St. Louis. If you haven’t decided whether to attend yet, it’s still not too late — you can even show up unannounced. However, there are some risks you need to be aware of if you show up to the convention without registering in advance, and without confirming your delegate status.
I want to point out the distinction between these two important preparations for attending the convention.
1. Registering for the Convention
This is where you select a package and pay for any meals and speaker events that are included in the package. IMPORTANT: Just because you registered and/or paid for a package does not mean your state party recognizes you as a delegate.
2. Becoming a Delegate
Only delegates get to vote on business at the convention. State parties decide who their delegates are. Even if you registered for the convention and bought a package, that does not mean your state party has decided to make you a delegate. If you are uncertain whether or not you are a delegate, please contact your state party and double-check. Sometimes people show up at the convention assuming they are delegates, only to find out their state party never approved of having them as a delegate. Don’t let that happen to you — if you want to be a delegate, make sure you have contacted your state party.
Backup Plan (join another state delegation)
Even if your state party does not name you as a delegate, there is a backup option that people sometimes use. It’s quite common for some states that haven’t filled their alloted delegations to accept delegates from other states. Some states, especially large states, probably won’t bring as many delegates to the convention as they are allowed to. So, if you do not end up getting named as a delegate from your own state, another state might be willing to name
you as a delegate for the convention. (But there are no guarantees.)
Schedule. More detail was added to the posted schedule recently. Please be aware that the schedule can change due to decisions that the delegates make at the convention. We can’t tell you for certain what time things like the platform debate or officer elections will be held or will be finished. That’s because the delegates who attend have some control over the agenda and can vote to rearrange things during the convention.
Delegation Chairs Manual. For those interested in a lot of detail about how the convention works, Secretary Bob Sullentrup has prepared and posted this 33-page “Information for Delegation Chairs and Delegates.” The LP will not provide printed copies of this in St. Louis, so you might want to print this out and bring a copy.
Note to first-time attendees. Attending the convention is usually quite fun for everyone. The first national convention I attended was in 2004 in Atlanta. Although I was not personally interested in all of the formal convention business, it was always nice to chat with the other Libertarians about what volunteers and activists are doing in other parts of the country.
What to wear. Dress varies from business to casual. My rough estimate for past conventions is that for much of the business session, 30% of the attendees wore business attire, 40% wore business casual, and 30% wore casual or other attire. Some people think we make a more positive impression if more of us are in suits, but there’s no mandatory dress code. Most of those attending the Sunday night banquet will be dressed in business or formal attire.
Ground Transportation from the airport to the convention hotel. There’s a MetroLink subway option. It is only about a 40-minute trip from the Lambert Airport Main Station to the Convention Center Station, and it costs only $2.25 each way. From Convention Center Station, the National Convention Hotel is about a six-minute walk. I’m told that due to traffic, it takes almost as long by cab or car.
Our LP Headquarters staff will attempt to answer any questions you have, but as you might imagine we are extremely busy preparing for the convention on top of keeping day-to-day operations running. Also, please note that LP Headquarters staff (including me) are required to be impartial on matters that will be voted on at the convention. So please don’t ask us how to vote or whom to vote for. We need to be impartial, and we won’t be voting delegates at the convention. Feel free to contact Libertarians in your area or elsewhere for additional insights and other advice.
Registrations continue to roll in, so it looks like we will have a well-attended convention.
Yours in liberty,
Libertarian National Committee
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