August 6, 2019 – Due to various extraordinary developments and the effort to improve the discourse surrounding the Transhumanist Presidential Primary, the United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) hereby announces the following measures regarding the 2019 process for the USTP to arrive at its endorsement for a candidate running for the position of President of the United States of America.
- Extension of Campaign Season: The campaign season is hereby extended by six weeks. Voting will begin on Sunday, September 22, 2019. Membership registration to become eligible to vote is hereby extended to the end of Saturday, September 21, 2019.
- Minimum Voter Turnout: The USTP primary election shall have a minimum turnout requirement of 50 percent of the membership of the USTP at the time that membership registration closes. This is in accord with the principle that elections should be representative of the constituency among which they are held. In United States Presidential elections, the voter turnout has consistently exceeded 50 percent of the eligible voter base. Therefore, setting the minimum turnout at 50 percent is reasonable as a way of expecting a similar level of participation. This minimum turnout requirement will mean that, once voting opens, it will remain open until the latter of one week hence or the end of the day at which 50 percent of members have voted. At present, there are 1,686 members in the USTP, so the minimum turnout requirement will be 843 members. The actual minimum turnout threshold may become larger by September 21, 2019, as more people join. Any candidate that receives our endorsement will therefore need to persuade more than 25 percent of the then-eligible USTP membership to support that candidate as any part of a preference order that would enable that candidate to prevail in a ranked-preference vote after any needed instant runoffs. This may mean that the voting period will be longer than initially anticipated. Candidates will be free to continue to campaign for existing members’ support during that voting period, and the USTP will send periodic reminders for members to cast their ballots. No vote results will be announced until the minimum voter-turnout threshold has been met. Periodic announcements about how many votes have been cast will be made, however.
- “Rewind” of Campaign Season and Reopening of Candidate Registration Window: Because of the acrimonious tone of the public discourse in early August 2019, there will be a “rewind” of the campaign season to an earlier stage – both symbolically and in practice. This is an opportunity to dial back the adversarial tone and also adopt a more thoughtful approach to the future of transhumanist politics. We welcome input from the transhumanist community about how to move forward. As part of the rewind, because many members have expressed the desire for additional options, the window for candidate registration is hereby reopened until the end of Saturday, September 14, 2019. Any individual interested in becoming a candidate may indicate such interest by completing the Presidential Candidate Declaration of Interest Form. All new candidates will be subsequently required to complete the standard candidate questionnaire via e-mail and participate in the USTP’s subsequent events preceding the primary election.
- Conference Call Among the Candidates: The current candidates will be expected to participate in a private conference call amongst themselves and including key USTP Officers, including the Chairman, Campaign Director, and others who wish to mediate for the purpose of achieving an improved tone to the rest of the campaign season.
- Third Virtual Debate: A Third Virtual Debate will be held in September at a mutually agreed-upon time, with stricter ground rules. Questions for the debate will be crowdsourced in advance from the transhumanist community, and candidates will have three minutes to respond to each question. Prior to the debate, the necessary parameters of civil engagement will be emphasized and enforced throughout.
- Candidate-Specific Resource Pages: The USTP will prepare candidate-specific resource pages, similar to the profile pages, where every candidate will be able to feature their campaign imagery, videos, merchandise, and other noteworthy information. There is currently still a dearth of exposure among the public to the candidates’ substantive views and activities; these pages will act as convenient centralized resources that candidates could share to inform members and motivate them to vote.
- Structured Candidate Communication with Members: Prior to the start of the voting, each candidate will have an opportunity to send one message to the USTP Google Group, outlining the strongest (but civil and constructive) case that candidate can make for why the voters should support him or her. The messages will all be submitted to the moderation queue in the Google Group and held for simultaneous release, preceded by a message from the USTP Chairman, informing members that these candidate solicitations will be coming.
These measures are an executive decision agreed to jointly by the USTP Officers. Reasons for the decision include the following:
- This is the USTP’s first primary election, and, as such, some aspects are necessarily tentative and experimental at the onset. We need to be open to refining our approach in accord with our limited resources and continual learning about what elements allow for effective and representative political decision-making processes.
- It was an extraordinarily poor confluence of events that the USTP has had to focus most of its recent efforts on dispelling unwarranted associations between the convicted criminal abuser Jeffrey Epstein and transhumanism, less than one week prior to the originally scheduled start of the primary vote. Because of this focus on crisis response, our limited resources are strained at this time, and thorough preparations for the election will take a longer time period.
- This is a time period when tempers are hot, a situation which is uniquely unsuited to thoughtful political decision-making. It is necessary to allow time for tempers to cool and for thoughtful analysis to occur on all sides regarding the candidates, their positions on the issues, and how the ideas of transhumanism could best be advocated for during the 2020 election cycle.
- An essential principle of democracy is that the outcome be representative of the wishes of the constituency which any candidate would claim to speak for. As a result, setting a minimum turnout requirement reinforces the principle that the members of the USTP as a whole – and not some small subset thereof – will need to decide the outcome of the election. Any candidate wishing to win the USTP nomination will need to convince diverse segments of the transhumanist movement of the merits of his or her approach and will need to build bridges and find common ground in order to achieve this.
- The requisite civility needs to be restored to this primary election season, and, accordingly, the USTP leadership will work closely with the candidates to do so. The tone of this primary election season will be reset to align with the USTP’s values of thoughtful, rational, ethical, and policy-focused discourse.
Pursuant to the authority of the Chairman in Article II, Section II, of the USTP Constitution, the following measures are hereby in effect. Candidates are expected to adhere to these measures pursuant to the commitments which they made in the Presidential Candidate Declaration of Interest Form, including the following questions, to which affirmative answers were required and provided:
• Do you agree to participate in the USTP Endorsement and Electronic Primary process and to respect the outcome of that process, no matter whether or not you are ultimately endorsed to run for the office of President of the United States?
• Do you agree to work collaboratively with the USTP during the campaign season and not to disparage the USTP as well as not to work contrary to the interests and goals of the USTP during that time?
We thank our candidates and their supporters in advance for their cooperation.