You are on page 1of 12

Dear State Committee

:

This letter outlines the special election process by which we will elect our State Chair to serve the remainder of the previous Chair’s term, which will expire in January of 2015.

State Committee Meeting: On August 17, 2013 the State Committee will convene to elect our State Chair at a location TBA in the Metro Atlanta area. Check in will begin promptly at 12:30pm and the meeting will convene at 1:00pm. The Chair will be elected by a majority vote of the State Committee or a majority vote of those present after quorum has been reached.

Qualifications for State Chair: Persons interested in running for the State Chair position shall file an “intent to run” statement with the State Party office no later than July 17, 2013. Either email the notice of intent to Nikema Williams at Nikema@georgiademocrat.org in addition to Laverne Gaskins at Laverne@georgiademocrat.org or mail two copies of the notice of intent to Nikema Williams and Laverne Gaskins at 763 Trabert Ave NW Suite A, Atlanta, GA, 30318. The intent to run must be received at the DPG Headquarters in Atlanta no later than midnight, July 17, 2013. Documentation sent by fax will not be accepted. A non-State Committee Member wishing to run for State Chair must submit such “intent to run” with the endorsement of a minimum of 30 State Committee Members (included in this packet as Exhibit A) and must also submit such notices by July 17, 2013. Included with this letter is an “intent to run” form. The intent to run and endorsement of 30 State Committee members (Exhibit A) must be received at the DPG Headquarters in Atlanta no later than midnight, July 17, 2013. Documentation sent by fax will not be accepted.

Election: Election of the State Chair shall be by ballot unless no more than one person is nominated for State Chair. Only State Committee Members may vote for State Chair. A brief three minute nominating speech may be made for each candidate. A one minute seconding speech may also be made. Neither are required. In an effort to keep the election meeting moving, the amount of time that any nominating or seconding speech exceeds these limits will be deducted from the nominee’s speaking time. The nominees may then address the State Committee for no more than five minutes.

Members will vote via a ballot upon which they must print their name legibly and sign it. (The DNC Charter prohibits the use of secret ballots in Democratic Party elections.)

Although any Democrat may serve as State Chair, the Charter and By Laws contain two provisions that restrict who may run in this special election. First, the Charter provides that the Chair and the First Vice-Chair must be of opposite gender. (C.4.1.2). Since the State Committee elected a female First Vice-Chair at the last party general election, and that officer is still serving, the Charter requires that the Chair be male. Second, the Charter provides that where a racial group constitutes 20% or more of the registered voters in the state then at least one member of that group must be an officer as either Chair, First Vice-Chair, or additional ViceChairs. (C.4.1.3). The Party had been in compliance with this provision because the Chair was white. The resignation of that officer creates a non-compliance situation. The Charter, therefore, restricts candidates in this special election by race. Thus, any white male Democrat is eligible to run in this special election. The By Laws of the Democratic National Committee specify state that the DNC “shall be composed of: (a) The Chairperson and the highest ranking officer of the opposite sex of each recognized State Democratic Party.” (DNC By Laws, Article 2, Section 2).

Also included in this packet is a list of FAQ’s that should answer most questions that may arise.

All previously announced State Committee and Executive Committee meetings, with the exception of the June 26th Executive Committee meeting, are hereby cancelled.

Forward,

Nikema Williams Acting Chair, Democratic Party of Georgia

Democratic Party of Georgia 2013 State Chair Special Election Notice of Intent to Run

I, ______________________________, intend to run for State Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. I affirm that I am/am not a current State Committee Member.

As a current State Committee Member, I serve under __________________ County or I am an At-large member.

Conversely, I am not a current State Committee Member and therefore the 30 signatures of current State Committee Members supporting my candidacy are attached as Exhibit A.

Signature

Date

Non-State Committee Member Exhibit A

Candidate’s Name_____________________

Signature___________________________

Printed Name

County

Signature

Phone

1_____________________________________________________________________________

2_____________________________________________________________________________

3_____________________________________________________________________________

4_____________________________________________________________________________

5_____________________________________________________________________________

6_____________________________________________________________________________

7_____________________________________________________________________________

8_____________________________________________________________________________

9_____________________________________________________________________________

Exhibit A, Page 2 Printed Name County Signature Phone

10____________________________________________________________________________

11____________________________________________________________________________

12____________________________________________________________________________

13____________________________________________________________________________

14____________________________________________________________________________

15____________________________________________________________________________

16____________________________________________________________________________

17____________________________________________________________________________

18____________________________________________________________________________

19____________________________________________________________________________

20____________________________________________________________________________

Exhibit A, Page 3 Printed Name County Signature Phone

21____________________________________________________________________________

22____________________________________________________________________________

23____________________________________________________________________________

24____________________________________________________________________________

25____________________________________________________________________________

26____________________________________________________________________________

27____________________________________________________________________________

28____________________________________________________________________________

29____________________________________________________________________________

30____________________________________________________________________________

Special Election FAQs
 What are the duties of the Chair? The Chair is responsible for State Party activities and acts as official spokesperson for the Party. (BL.4.1.1). The Chair has specific responsibility for maintaining the records of office, including lists of Party officers, members, and contributors, reports and official documents, and formulating a Strategic Plan for the Party for the present year through the next two election cycles. (BL.4.1.2).  Who is eligible to run for Chair? Although any Democrat may serve as State Chair, the Charter and By Laws contain two provisions that restrict who may run in this special election. First, the Charter provides that the Chair and the First ViceChair must be of opposite gender. (C.4.1.2). Since the State Committee elected a female First Vice-Chair at the last party general election, and that officer is still serving, the Charter requires that the Chair be male. Second, the Charter provides that where a racial group constitutes 20% or more of the registered voters in the state then at least one member of that group must be an officer as either Chair, First Vice-Chair, or additional Vice-Chairs. (C.4.1.3). The Party had been in compliance with this provision because the Chair was white. The resignation of that officer creates a non-compliance situation. The Charter, therefore, restricts candidates in this special election by race. Thus, any white male Democrat is eligible to run in this special election. The By Laws of the Democratic National Committee specify state that the DNC “shall be composed of: (a) The Chairperson and the highest ranking officer of the opposite sex of each recognized State Democratic Party.” (DNC By Laws, Article 2, Section 2).

 Does a current officer have to resign their current position to run for chair? No. If elected Chair, the position held by the officer will become vacant and a special election must be called to fill that position.  Who is eligible to vote? Only members of the State Committee may vote for officers. (C.11.3.3, amending C.4.3 as of July 29, 2006).  What if a candidate is not a State Committee member? A candidate does not need to be a member of the State Committee to run in the special election. A non-State Committee member must submit a statement of intent to run that has been endorsed by no less than thirty State Committee members. (CBL3.4.3). The intent to run submitted by a non-State Committee member must list the names of endorsing State Committee members and must include a signature and contact information. The Party will verify with listed State Committee members that they endorsed the intent to run.

Who do I notify regarding my candidacy? The notification should be addressed to the Acting Chair, Nikema Williams, with a copy to Laverne Gaskins, the Party secretary. It can be delivered in person or by mail to them at the Party headquarters 763 Trabert Ave NW Suite A Atlanta, GA 30318, or by attachment to an email sent to the Acting Chair at Nikema@georgiademocrat.org and to the Party secretary at Laverne@georgiademocrat.org . Documentation sent by fax will not be accepted.

What documentation do I need to run? Candidates need to submit a document with the heading “Intent to Run for Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.” The document must specifically state an intent to run. The document must state whether the candidate is a member of the State Committee. If the candidate is not a member of the State Committee then the document should contain a section headed “Endorsements” (included as Exhibit A in this packet) which lists the names of thirty State Committee members endorsing the candidacy and include a signature and contact information. The intent to run should state the name of the candidate as they would like for it to appear on the ballot. The document should include a mailing address for the candidate, telephone numbers, and email addresses so they can be contacted by Party staff if necessary.

 When must the documentation be submitted? The intent to run must be received by the Party 30 days before the election, on July 17, 2013. (BL2.7.2).

When will this term expire? January 2015. (C.11.3.3, amending C.4.3 as of July 29, 2006). What if no one gets a majority of the vote in the first round? The candidate receiving the fewest votes is asked to withdraw. Subsequent rounds of voting take place until one candidate receives a majority of the votes. (Roberts Rules of Order, Section 46). What is the quorum for this election? A quorum for a State Committee meeting is 20% of the Regular membership. (BL2.3). “Regular” state committee members are those elected by County Committees (BL.2.1.1), State Party Officers, all Executive Committee members, 30 members appointed by the Chair, and one member of each approved affiliate organization. (C.2.4.2).

Regular membership does not include the most recent non-elected State Party nominees for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State School Superintendent, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor, Public Service Commissioner, and the United States House and Senate, the Democratic leader of each House of the General Assembly, the two members selected by Young Democrats, nor the elected member of a municipal governing authority and elected member of a county commission as appointed by the Chair. Note: the exclusion of these ex officio members is only for determining the number required for a quorum. Ex-officio members are entitled to vote in the special election.

Who may speak at the election? Each candidate may have a State Committee member make a 3 minute nominating speech and 1 minute seconding speech, although neither are required. The nominee may address the State Committee for no more than 5 minutes. (BL3.4.4). In an effort to keep the election meeting moving, the amount of time that any nominating or seconding speech exceeds these limits will be deducted from the nominee’s speaking time.

What are the provisions for a recount? A recount is automatic. The procedure for counting votes traditionally used by the Party requires the Chair to appoint as many tellers as necessary to collect, secure, and count ballots. Tellers may be employees of the Party, State Committee members, or other Democrats selected for the purpose. Once voting is completed, the tellers go to a separate room to count the vote. The total numbers of ballots are counted without regard as to how the ballots are voted to insure that the number of cast ballots does not exceed the number of voters eligible to vote. Two of the tellers are then selected to be

excluded from the room. After they leave, the ballots are separated into piles for each candidate, and each pile is counted. The tellers record in writing the number of ballots cast for each candidate. Each candidate is entitled to one observer in the counting room. At this point, but not before, the observers may raise objections. Once the tellers feel that the count is accurate then the two excluded tellers return to the counting room but are not told the results of the first count. The two excluded tellers separate the ballots into piles again, count each pile, and without announcing their result, write down the totals. The two sets of totals are compared. If they are identical, then the results are announced to the State Committee. If they are not identical, then the two excluded tellers leave the room during a new count. The process is repeated until the two counts are the same. The ballots are to be secured by the tellers and are kept by the Party for three months.

FAQ answers provided by General Counsel Michael Jablonski.