Time to start learning how your state chooses delegates to the national convention

It might be too early to make predictions about what, precisely, will happen at the Republican National Convention this summer in Cleveland — whether it will be an open convention with second balloting determining the ultimate nominee or a smooth endorsement of a clear primary winner. But it’s not too early to start thinking of how your state chooses its delegates to the convention and how to become one yourself, if you’re interested.

In fact, in my state of Pennsylvania, the first date to remember for this process is just around the corner — January 26. On that day, you can start circulating petitions to get your name on the Republican ballot in your congressional district as a possible delegate to the national convention.

I contacted Megan Sweeney, director of communications for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, and asked her about Pennsylvania’s process. She explained that the Keystone state sends a total of 71 delegates to the national convention, 54 of whom are elected by Republicans by congressional district. The other 17 are made up of three national committee members and 14 delegates chosen at the state’s summer meeting after the primary, this year to be held in Lancaster, PA on May 21.

The important dates in Pennsylvania to remember are these:

January 26: The first day to circulate petitions. As a registered Republican, you must circulate petitions within your Congressional District (and by county if applicable) and secure 250 valid signatures from registered Republicans. Completed nomination petitions must be attested to and bear the seal of a Notary Public.

February 16: Petitions must be filed on or before 5 p.m. There is a $25 filing fee that must be paid by certified check or money order to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the time petitions are filed. The petitions, candidate’s affidavit and filing fee must be filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth at 210 North Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120. The phone number is 717-787-5280.

April 26: Primary election

May 21: State Committee Meeting to choose remainder of delegates.

In Pennsylvania, the only delegates allocated and bound to a specific candidate include the 14 selected at-large by the membership of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.

Every state handles things differently. When I lived in Vermont, I remember going to a state convention after the primary, at which delegates were elected by those in attendance. To find information on your own state’s delegate selection process, here’s a link to the national GOP with a clickable map of the states.