The GOP placed a rule in the national convention protecting Iowa, New Hampsire, South Carolina and Nevada as first in the nation. That rule, Rule 15(b) 1, has been pasted for convenience. "No primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention shall occur prior to the first Tuesday in March in the year in which a national convention is held [which is March 6, 2012]. Except Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may begin their processes at any time on or after February 1 in the year in which a national convention is held and shall not be subject to the provisions of paragraph (b)(2) of this rule."
Setting aside that (b)(2) provision for a minute, the next step is to determine which conventions and caucuses were done before the Republican National Committee allowed. The key section, which has added underlines for emphasis, prohibits delegate selection or binding delegates to a popular vote.
Looking at Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, none of them actually violated the Republican rules. Iowa did have its first in the nation caucus in January. However, Iowa's delegates are not required to follow the popular vote. Instead, Iowa holds a caucus process to determine who are the delegates. The delegates can vote for anyone, even someone who isn't running at all.
New Hampshire and South Carolina, both held their events before February 1st. Their delegates ARE bound to their primary results. This is a violation of the Republican National Committee rules.
Florida, Arizona and Michigan also bound their delegates to their primary votes and held their contests prior to March 6th. Because both of those statements are true, those states also violated the Republican National Committee's rules.
The Republican National Committee decided to dock these states half their delegates and remove voting privileges for their party leaders.
Yet, for Florida and Arizona are subject to that language in subsection (b)(2). It requires that any state that selects or binds its delegates before March 6th that is not Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada to allocate its delegates proportionally. Yet, Florida and Arizona are both winner take all.
This skews the media's estimate of delegates in favor of Mitt Romney.
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