2014 Democratic Caucuses A Guide to hosting the 2014 Caucuses
June 13th and 14th, 2014 Democratic State Convention Worcester, MA
The State Convention • The Massachusetts Caucuses elect delegates to the annual Democratic State Convention • 2014 is a Nominating Convention • Statewide candidates who receive 15% of delegate votes at the convention will be on the Democratic Primary ballot in September, 2014
Dates you NEED to Know • January 31, 2014: Deadline to register as Democrat • January 24, 2014 : Caucus locations Registered • All locations will be publicized, available in local media and also on Massdems.org/caucuses • February 8th- March 2nd, 2014: Caucus Window • March 30, 2014: Add-On Application Deadline • April 11, 2014: Delegate Registration Deadline • June 13th & 14th, 2014: Democratic State Convention
Rule Changes for 2014 • Delegates must be present at the caucus to be elected • Exception for person serving in U.S. Armed Forces • Must advise Chair by February 8, 2014 of desire for consideration • Deadline to register as a Democrat moved to January 31st
Your Job as Chair • Call the Caucus! • The town/ward chair shall call a caucus to occur during the February 8th- March 2ndwindow • Caucus start time: No earlier than 9AM on the weekend; No earlier than 6PM on a weekday • The caucus must occur at a public location must be ADA accessible • Date, Location and Time must be registered with the MDP by January 24, 2014
Eligibility Rules for Delegates • Must be a registered Democrat in the town or ward by January 31, 2014 • Must be present at the caucus • Exception for person serving in U.S. Armed Forces • Must advise Chair by February 8, 2014 of desire for consideration • Cannot have publicly supported or endorsed any candidate opposing a nominee of the Democratic Party in the current or previous partisan election • For Statewide and President, 4 year ban • For all other offices, 2 year ban
Preparing for the Caucus • Notify registered Democrats in your town or ward of the caucus. • Notice should appear in local media no sooner than thirty and at least nine days before caucus • Obtain a copy of the most recent official registration of Democrats from your local clerk • Recruit volunteers to assist with registration and balloting at the caucus • Make copies of Add-On Delegate forms and Registration Fee Waivers
Use VoteBuilder to Gather Dems • Utilize your town’s FREE VoteBuilder account to bring in strong Democrats to the Caucus • Find Registered Dems who voted in ALL 3 of the last 3 primaries (Super Democrats!) • Find newly registered Dems who might want to get involved for the first time • Encouraging involvement in the Caucus strengthens town/ward committees for 2014
Caucus Day • Arrive at least 45 minutes early to set up • This is an open Democratic Party meeting • No person shall be denied admittance • An area shall be set aside for those not eligible to vote in the caucus • Only registered Democrats residing in the ward or town may vote and/or run for Delegate/Alternate • Registration must begin 15 minutes prior to the starting time and remain open until 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time • Post and Distribute the Preliminary Call to Convention for the Massachusetts Democratic Party
Caucus Agenda • Read and present the information concerning the 2014 Massachusetts Democratic Convention with emphasis upon responsibilities of Delegates to the convention • Read and discuss the “Affirmative Action and Outreach” as outlined in the Party Charter and Statewide Affirmative Action and Outreach Plan • Inform participants of Add-On positions: Disabled, Minority, Youth • Read and review the “Method of Selecting Delegates to the 2014 Massachusetts Democratic Convention” • Explain ex-officio delegates • Read aloud the letter from the Chair NO CAUCUS SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO WAIVE THE READING OF ANY DOCUMENT OR COMMUNICATION INCLUDED IN THIS AGENDA
The Balloting • Balloting must begin within 1 hr of start time • Collect nominations for individuals (NO SLATE) • Post the names of all candidates prior to vote • Candidates have right to brief (2 min) speech • Run separate ballots for women and men • If odd number of seats: Third ballot open to both genders after gender-specific seats filled • Alternates elected after Delegates, ranked by votes received; ties decided by lot
Examples of Gender Balance Example #1: Ward/Town is allotted 12 Delegates: • 11 Delegates to be elected – 5 men, 5 women and 1 of either gender • The Chair is the 12th Delegate (ex-officio gender not a factor) • If 2 men and 15 women are candidates – then 2 men and 5 women can be elected; a 6th woman can be elected to fill the either gender seat. Example #2: Ward/Town is allotted 2 Delegates • 1 Delegate to be elected, either man or woman • The Chair going as the 2nd Delegate • If 0 men and 7 women are candidates, then 1 woman can be elected.
After the Caucus • Remind elected Delegates/Alternates that the $75 registration fee is due by April 11th, 2014 • $25 late fee for missing April 11 deadline • Highlight Fee Waiver process (MDP Exec. Director) • Remind Delegates to COMPLETELY fill out their Delegate Certification forms • Chair should submit caucus books by mail back to MDP two days after the caucus • If book is not received by May 23rd, no one shall be seated in the Chair’s ex-officio position
VoteBuilder for your Results • VoteBuilder will collect caucus results online • Towns/Wards who have not yet registered for VoteBuilder must contact the State Party immediately • Refer to the document included in the caucus mailing for step-by-step directions on coding • Keep track of all elected Delegates, Alternates, and Attendees! • All three types of individuals will have an individual code to be applied – utilize attendance sheet in the caucus book for Sign-In Tables
MOST IMPORTANT Read the “Method for Selecting Delegates to the 2014 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention” These slides are a summary, but many details found in the Method will provide further explanations and solve issues that may arise.
Tips for a Successful Caucus • Make sure you have plenty of volunteers. Recruit a volunteer staff to help with registration, to count ballots and to help set up. • Have a space big enough to accommodate unusually large turnouts. Make sure there are separate areas and identifying labels (i.e. colored name tags) for voting members versus other attendees.
Experienced Chair Advice • This section is a space for Town Chairs to talk about their experiences during nominating conventions of a similar scale. • They can include helpful tips and some anecdotal stories to aid chairs in preparation and execution of a successful caucus.