Dispensing with the “Runaway Convention” Myth Once and For All  

by Vickie Deppe – April 2023

In New Hampshire, HB 392, a delegate selection and oversight (DSO) statute, has passed in the House and awaits a hearing in the Senate Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee. The bill describes procedures for the popular election of delegates to propose amendments to the New Hampshire and United States Constitutions, as well as pledged delegates to any ratifying convention called under Article V. The legislation also establishes a bipartisan oversight committee and procedures for handling delegates who do not comply with their instructions. Model convention rules proposals have included the designation of a Sergeant-at-Arms whose responsibilities include monitoring delegates for compliance with the instructions issued to them by their respective state legislatures.

The primary sponsor of the New Hampshire DSO is Rep. Jodi Newell, a former Wolf-PAC board member. Though there have been dozens of occurrences of orderly interstate conventions throughout our nation’s history, and ratification requires the highest threshold of any political action in the United States—3/4 of the states—before any proposed amendment may become part of our Constitution, Newell argues that having DSO statutes in place can help provide additional confidence in the process. Rep. Newell and cosponsor Rep. Ellen Read encourage their counterparts in other states to adopt this strategy in a discussion with Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks.

Path To Reform 

[Ed. Note: the convention of 1787 and 2017 operated in the exact same fashion. However, even as the topics were not the same and each had a different outcome the historical records show us that they had the same SOP or standard operating procedures.

A review of Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention notes when compared with this Phoenix Planning Convention seven-minute video (of 27 hours over 4 days) shows us that the two conventions, as did the other recorded 650+ conventions, operated the same. Not a one of the records indicates a runaway.  Phoenix BBA Planning Convention]