The state, ward, and town committees were elected in the presidential primary in February. The city committees are not directly elected, but are made up of all of the ward committee members elected in that city.
However, that election is not valid unless the committee meets in the 10 days from March 7 to March 16, elects officers, and submits paperwork to notify the appropriate parties of their existence. Again, if the reorg meeting is not held in these ten days, the February election is overturned, and the committee starts from scratch.
If you were elected on the February ballot and you don’t know about the reorg meeting for your committee, you should find out ASAP. Typically, the outgoing chair of the town or ward committee will know what’s going on. Otherwise, you can obtain the list of elected committee members from your town or city hall and contact people on that list. The first name on the ballot is the “contact point” for the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office and should have received the paperwork with a copy of the official form and a description of what needs to be done.
If your committee fails to meet, or worse, no committee was elected, it’s up to the local state committee members to help organize a meeting in your town or ward, so you might contact them if you’re willing to do the work of organizing the meeting.
Once your committee meets, you may add additional members who were not elected in the February primary. Before that election takes place, the committee should ascertain whether there are any members of the committee who have served for twenty years on the committee (or in the case of a ward committee, twenty years on any ward committee in the city). If there are, those members move to a non-elected status and will be permanent voting members of the committee as long as they remain registered Democrats in that town or ward. In addition, any Democratic State Committee members are ex-officio members of their local ward and town committees. Any vacancies due to these shifts, or vacancies from the ballot, may be filled by vote of the members of the committee. If there are more Democrats interested in joining the committee than there are vacant spots, the committee may elect associate members who are committee members without voting rights.
Once your committee is formed, you are required to elect a chair, a secretary, and a treasurer. The rules for who may serve as treasurer are slightly constrained by law (most notably, no public employees) and the treasurer must file an extra form with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF). In addition, the Democratic Party requires an additional officer, who is either a co-chair or a vice-chair, and who must be the opposite sex from the original chair. The Party also requires a Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor, so there are at least five officers required for each committee.
The chair is the most significant role, as this person will be the primary contact point for the state committee and is responsible for running things by the rules of the state and local party committee. The treasurer is responsible for keeping financial records and filling out the state finance reports.
Once you have your committee and your officers, you are required to file the organization form in four places: (1) OCPF, including the treasurer’s acceptance of the office, (2) the Secretary of State’s office, (3) the state party, and (4) your town or city clerk’s office. These forms must be re-filed every time your officers or committee changes.
According to the Democratic Party Charter, the committee is required to meet once a quarter, so it’s a good idea to start talking about when the next meeting will be.
The Party Charter also authorizes an Executive Board that is made up of elected officers and other designees of the committee. Your committee should think about creating such a board to help plan out the committee activities.
Use this post to let people know about your committee reorg meetings, or to request help.