The Fall County Convention Explained

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Pursuant to the rules and bylaws of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party (WCDP) and the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP),the WCDP will hold its Fall County Convention at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 23 via Zoom. (Here’s the registration link.)

This email attempts to explain the who, what, why and how of the convention and what happens afterward.

Why now?

The MDP rules require the County Convention to happen within twenty days of the general election. Call to Convention is the name of the official announcement. The Call to Convention went out on November 10 and can be found here.


What happens at the convention?

We will elect members to the 2020-2022 WCDP County Committee.

“We” means credentialed voters who are members of the WCDP. “Members” does not mean volunteers or Democratic voters but specifically those who joined through the MDP or those who qualify because they were Democratic candidates or elected as Democrats to office, including Delegates. You must have joined the MDP on or before October 24, 2020. (The 30-day requirement is waived for some groups of people. See details in the Call to Convention.)

Our bylaws state that the Democratic nominees for county-level offices, the state legislature, and US Congress from the most recent primary are automatically members of the Executive Board. At the convention, we will elect 44 additional members (twice the number of automatic members).


What does the County Committee do?The Committee is responsible for selecting and providing oversight to the Executive Board. (The Board is responsible for day-to-day operations of the WCDP. If you’ve ever attended meeting, the person leading the meeting was likely a member of the Board.) Committee is also responsible for approving the WCDP’s budget and reviewing expenditures. The Executive Committee’s term is two years.
 How often do they meet?The Committee meets four times per year. It can only act if 1/3 (usually called a quorum) of the members are present. Since the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer have voting rights on the Committee, a quorum is 70/3 = 23 members.


What is the process?

The credentialed voters gather in groups based on the ward/precinct/municipality they vote in. (See the Call to Convention for details.) Each receives a number of spots on the Executive Committee determined by the percentage of the votes cast for Biden/Harris in the general election.


What is a slate?

Those who wish to be candidates for a Committee seat present themselves as a “slate.” You can be a slate of 1 or more people. The limitation is the number of slots available in your area. Present your slate in order of priority. If you are a slate of 2 or more people, it is possible only 1, or even none, of you may be elected.


How does voting work?

If you are a credentialed voter, you may vote for only one slate. You cannot transfer your votes to someone else to use. You must be present to cast your own votes.

Now for the tricky part. The counting. Proportional voting means that a slate with 3 candidates might only get enough votes for 0, 1, or 2 of their candidates to be on the Committee. You will want to think about this when creating your slate – as candidates, you need to prioritize and present in advance who would be elected to the Committee.

The number of seats a slate receives is determined by this equation:  (Votes Received/Total Votes Cast) X Seats Available = Number of Seats Awarded.

If you have 3 seats and 20 voters in your group, that would be (Votes Received/20) X 3. If someone withheld a vote, then it would be (Votes Received/19) X 3.


What happens next?

The County Committee we elect must meet within 30 days to elect the 2020-2022 Officer of the Executive Board.


Questions?
Contact WCDP Chair Chris Savage by email at info@washtenawdems.org or by text/phone at 734-358-9276.


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