Home 2017 Races How Open/Restrictive Should Local Dem Committee Officer Election Processes Be?

How Open/Restrictive Should Local Dem Committee Officer Election Processes Be?

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It’s fascinating to see the different rules that local Democratic committees operate under in their biennial reorganization meetings, underway now (e.g., the Henrico County Dems last night elected Marques D. Jones as their new chair). For instance, see below for the rules for the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) reorganization, which specifies that only certain individuals (“a) All newly elected Precinct Representatives; b) Kip Malinosky, as the immediate past Chair of ACDC; c) The President of the Arlington Young Democrats and one additional designee of the Arlington Young Democrats; d) One representative designated by the Roosevelt Society Chair e) Any person residing in Arlington who is currently in elected office representing Arlington (in whole or in part) after having been elected to office from Arlington as a Democratic nominee or endorsee; f) Members of the Democratic State Central Committee who reside in Arlington.”) “may participate in the election of the ACDC Elected Officers.”

In contrast, see below the ACDC press release some information, courtesy of Virginia House Democratic Leader Del. David Toscano, about the Charlottesville and Albemarle County Democratic Committees, both of which “are open to anyone who is a registered voter in the jurisdiction, supports the principles of the Democratic Party, and plans to support Democratic candidates for office.”

Yet another example of how open/restrictive these local committee officer elections can be is the Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC), which allows all “members” (nearly 1,000 at this point, with any Fairfax County registered voter who pledges to support Democratic nominees and pays dues – unless waived due to inability to pay – by December 1, 2017 being able to join) of FCDC being allowed to vote for committee officers in January 2018.  Or take Henrico County, whose Democratic committee allows any registered voter in the locality who is willing to sign the form (which says you are a Democrat) to vote in the reorganization, which was just held last night.  Or Chesterfield County, whose Democratic committee  allows anyone to vote in the reorganization, and then all members vote for officers the next month (added wrinkle: if you missed the reorganization meeting in December but want to be eligible to vote for officers, you get your form in by a date certain, then those folks will get voted in at the beginning of the meeting and you can participate). Or Prince William County’s Democratic Committee, which states that “Membership in the PWCDC is open to Prince William County residents who support Democratic values,” and that these “seated members” get to choose committee leadership.

My general view is that these reorganizations should be open to as many Democratic voters in the relevant jurisdiction as possible. Of course, the committees don’t want to get flooded with people who really don’t care about the committee, who don’t do any work, who are perhaps there one time simply to elect their friends, and/or don’t have any clue about the people running or whatever. That’s why I can see the point in requiring dues and/or duties of some sorts, or in having two separate meetings – one for reorganization, in which any member (new or old) can participate, then a month later the election for officers by members of the committee.  As for the Arlington Dems, their rules on who’s allowed to vote for officers seem significantly more restrictive than other, local Democratic committees. Perhaps there are good reasons for that, I’m just not sure what those reasons are exactly, other than that perhaps you only want the people who are involved/actually do the work of the committee to be able to vote for officers?

Anyway, what do you think? How tight/loose should rules be for who is eligible to be a “member” of a local committee and to vote in reorganizations and/or for committee officers? Why?

Arlington County Democratic Committee Adopts Rules
for Reorganization/School Board Caucuses

The Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) is pleased to announce that it has adopted rules for the committee’s reorganization. Local committees are required to reorganize every two years, between December 15 and January 15.

Pursuant to the rules and Section V.A of its Bylaws, on 7:15 pm on January 10, 2018, ACDC will convene an Assembled Caucus to reorganize. This caucus will be held at the NRECA building at4301 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, VA. The complete rules and filing forms are at the links below:

This reorganization will see the departure of Chairman Kip Malinosky after serving two terms and the election of a new Chair and Steering Committee.

Malinosky commented, “It has been a great honor to serve as Chair of the Arlington Democrats. Helping elect progressive Democrats from the School House to the US Senate has never been more important. I hope candidates will file to fill all of the positions, from Chair to Precinct Captains so we can continue to ride this wave of blue and to continue to live the Democratic values we hold dear.”

All notices of candidacy and fees for ACDC positions must be paid no later than Monday, January 8, 2018.

In addition, Arlington Democrats approved the Rules for the endorsement of up to two candidates for Arlington County School Board in the November 6, 2018 election. An “unassembled caucus” will be held on Tuesday, May 15 (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) at Drew Model School and Saturday, May 19(11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) at Washington-Lee High School.

In order to be eligible for endorsement by the participants in the unassembled caucus, candidates for Arlington County School Board must file a letter of intent to seek the Democratic endorsement with the Chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, or his/her designated representative, after January 1, 2018, and before 7:00 p.m. on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.

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The following is from Virginia House Democratic Leader Del. David Toscano:

57th District folks: I wanted to be sure that you’re aware of the reorganization meetings this week and next week for our local Democratic committees.

The Charlottesville Democratic Committee (C’Ville Dems​) is holding its meeting this Wednesday, December 13, at the Central Library on Market Street. Registration to participate will begin at 5:30 pm, and the caucus meeting will start at 6:30 pm sharp. More information is available on their website, www.cvilledems.org.

The Albemarle County Democratic Party’s reorganization will happen next week, on Monday, December 18, at the Albemarle County Office Building on Fifth Street Extended, in Meeting Room A. (The address is 1600 Fifth Street, just south of Interstate 64.) Registration will open at 6:00 pm, and the caucus will begin at 6:30 pm sharp. More information is available on their website, www.albemarledems.org/reorganization.

These meetings are open to anyone who is a registered voter in the jurisdiction, supports the principles of the Democratic Party, and plans to support Democratic candidates for office. You can attend the meeting just to participate in the reorganization process – it’s the best way to have a say as to who will be leading your local committee for the next 2 years.

I hope you will come out to your reorganization meeting, to choose your committee representatives and leadership for our efforts to reclaim the Fifth District Congressional seat in 2018, and to keep the Democratic tide rising in our next state elections in 2019.