If you’re invested in the future of the Democratic Party, you need to understand what happened in Denver last weekend. State party leaders and the Democratic National Committee’s Executive and Rules and Bylaws committees met to discuss what comes next for us. I want to let you know what we talked about and how you can get involved.
Most of the selection process for Chair and every other officer position is laid out in the Charter and Bylaws, the constitution of the Democratic Party. Here’s what the Charter and Bylaws call for:
It’s helpful to remember that the DNC is a committee made up of voting committee members. There are about 447 members on the national committee, and they’ll be the Democratic leaders selecting our next Chair. These are people elected by your community to represent you: Most states elect their DNC members at the same time as presidential nominating convention delegates. State party chairs and vice chairs are also voting DNC members, as are representative officials from various levels of elected office, Democratic organizations, and constituency groups. Members will be voting on candidates for Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, National Finance Chair and Treasurer. In Denver, the Rules and Bylaws Committee set the deadline to declare candidacy for those positions for February 21. Candidates must file paperwork with the DNC and have signatures from 20 voting DNC members to be considered.
When They Vote:
The Charter and Bylaws call for DNC officer elections at the DNC meeting after a presidential election, which must be held before March 1 of the following year. Accordingly, our next DNC meeting is scheduled for February 23–26 in Atlanta, Georgia. That’s when we will elect our next Chair and other officers.
Knowing that we have to work within those parameters, we are setting out to hold the most open and transparent Chair election in history.
OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY
Democrats who won’t be able to vote will still be able to make their voices heard. We are hard at work creating opportunities — online and in-person — that will allow Democrats who are not voting DNC members to give input on how our Party should move forward.
We want Democrats — voting DNC members and non-voting supporters alike — to have the chance to hear from our candidates for Chair and other offices in advance of the DNC Meeting in February. In Denver, we announced that we are organizing four regional forums featuring the candidates. You might want to add these dates to your calendars*:
- January 13–14: Phoenix, AZ
- January 27–28: Houston, TX
- February 3–4: Detroit, MI
- February 10–11: Baltimore, MD
More information about the regional forums will be available soon (sign up here if you want us to email you when it’s time to RSVP). And if you can’t attend, you will still be able to participate. The DNC will livestream every forum on our YouTube page, and in January we will be sharing ways to submit questions for candidates in advance.
We know that so many Democrats are committed to building a strong party for our future, and that our non-voting supporters have good insights into how to make that happen. If you have thoughts or suggestions about this process and how we can move our Party forward, please submit them here and we’ll share your feedback with party leaders in your state.
It’s my job to think about how to involve Democratic supporters while also following the rules that bind us as a committee. Help me think of new ways to involve all Democrats in this process by leaving a comment on this post.
As always, thank you for being a Democrat. Happy holidays — see you in 2017.
* These dates are tentative and subject to change.