Call to Caucus for the Richmond City Democratic Committee’s 2020-21 Officer Elections
The Richmond City Democratic Committee (RCDC) will hold an assembled caucus on Thursday, January 2, 2020, beginning at 6:30pm, at Martin Luther King Jr Middle School (1000 Mosby Street) for the purpose of electing certain committee officers and ward chairs for the 2020-21 biennium.
I. PARTICIPATION AND ORGANIZATION
A. Date & Location. By authority of the Richmond City Democratic Committee, acting pursuant to the Virginia Democratic Party Plan, an assembled caucus is hereby called to meet on Thursday, January 2, 2020, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr Middle School, 1000 Mosby Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23223, for the purpose of electing certain committee officers and ward chairs for the Richmond City Democratic Committee. Doors to the caucus will open at 5:30 p.m.
B. Officer Positions. During the Caucus, committee members will elect the following officers:
2. First Vice Chair for Organization
3. Second Vice Chair for Finance
4. Third Vice Chair for Voter Registration
C. Caucus Eligibility. The Caucus is open to all 2020-21 RCDC members. All those in line at 6:30 p.m. will be allowed to enter and participate.
D. Governance. The Virginia Democratic Party Plan and the Bylaws of the City of Richmond Democratic Committee are incorporated by reference into this call.
E. Caucus Officials. The Chair of the City of Richmond Democratic Committee is authorized to appoint such officers as she deems necessary and to delegate to those appointees such duties as she deems appropriate for the proper conduct of the Caucus, including:
1. Caucus Chair
2. Caucus Secretary
4. Credentials Officers
The Caucus Chair and Caucus Secretary may not publicly endorse or support any candidate for RCDC office described in Rule I-B.
II. CITY-WIDE CANDIDATE FILING
A. Filing Deadline. In order to be eligible for election by the participants in the Caucus, candidates for RCDC city-wide officer positions described in Rule I-B must file with the Caucus Secretary or their designated representatives (Filing Officers) by December 23, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. Filing forms postmarked on or before December 23, 2019, but not received by 5:00 p.m. on December 23, 2019, will not be considered to be timely filed. Candidates for officer positions assume full responsibility for the timely filing of their own candidate filing form. Candidates for officer positions may file through a filing agent, but such action in no way alters the responsibility of the candidate nor extends the 5:00 p.m. December 23, 2019 filing deadline. All candidate filing forms shall be received by the Caucus Secretary from their designated Filing Officers no later than 5:45 p.m., December 23, 2019. These candidate filing forms shall be delivered in person or by messenger in order that the filing may be checked and ballots prepared.
B. Candidate Filing Form. Each candidate filing form shall include the name of the candidate and the RCDC officer position sought. Candidates may file for only one officer position.
C. Filing Method. Candidates may file for officer positions in writing with the Caucus Secretary beginning on December 9, 2019. Candidates may contact the Caucus Secretary to arrange filing: Isaac Sarver, 2606 Barton Avenue, Richmond VA 23222, (540) 616-8393, Isaac.Sarver@gmail.com.
D. No Candidates. If the Caucus Secretary determines that no candidate properly filed for any position, nominations for the position will be taken from the floor during the unassembled caucus.
III. CONDUCTING THE ASSEMBLED CAUCUS
A. Official Clock. All times shall be read from the official clock located in the check in area.
B. Ballot box preparation. No more than 30 minutes before the start of the Caucus, the Caucus Chair and Sergeant-at-Arms, shall open a ballot box for each contested officer position to ensure that it is empty and seal the box(es) in a manner that makes it impractical to open without evidence of tampering. During the course of the Caucus, if a subsequent ballot box is required, it will be opened, inspected and then sealed using the same procedure.
C. Commencement of the Caucus. At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 2, 2020, the Caucus Chair will declare that the Caucus has begun.
D. Limits on campaigning. No campaigning on behalf of or opposed to a candidate is permitted inside any Caucus building, and all campaigning is prohibited within forty (40) feet outside any entrance to any Caucus building. The use of any amplified audio system is not permitted within three hundred (300) feet of any Caucus building. No campaign or individual may interfere with persons entering or departing any Caucus location.
E. Check In. A participant is eligible to vote if they are a member of the Richmond City Democratic Committee at the time they seek to participate in the Caucus. When doors open at 5:30 p.m., Credentials Officers will begin checking in participants and issuing a credential to all eligible voters.
F. Order of Elections. Officer elections will proceed in the following order:
2. First Vice-Chair for Organization
3. Second Vice-Chair for Finance
4. Third Vice-Chair for Voter Registration
G. Method of Voting. The votes shall be taken by voice vote in the cases where only one person is running for a particular office. Ballots will be distributed in cases where two or more people are running for the same office.
H. Candidate Speeches. Two minutes total time shall be allowed for each candidate in contested elections. One minute may be allowed for candidates in uncontested elections. Time may be divided among as many speakers as the candidate desires. The order of speeches by candidates for each office shall be determined randomly unless all candidates for that office agree otherwise.
I. Distribution of ballots. Credentials officials will distribute paper ballots to each credentialed committee member with a procedure ensuring that only one ballot is given to each participant.
J. Ballot format. Ballots will be prepared listing properly filed candidates in the order in which they filed.
K. Marking of ballots. Caucus officials will direct each voter to the location where they may make their ballot selection, and may provide voting instructions as needed. Voters will mark their ballots in a setting that permits observation by Caucus officials, but also permits voter privacy and confidentiality of voter choice. In accordance with the Democratic National Committee Charter & Bylaws, each voter must initial their ballot.
L. Casting of ballots. Upon marking their ballot, each voter may fold the ballot and must place the ballot into the ballot box. A vote is not considered cast until it has been placed into the ballot box. If a voter spoils a ballot before casting it, the voter may request a replacement ballot; however, only the Caucus Chair may exchange such a ballot for a fresh ballot. The Caucus Chair shall keep a record of spoiled ballots.
M. Disability Services. A participant with a physical disability may request the physical assistance of one or more Caucus officials to execute any of the tasks listed in this section (e.g., to read and/or mark any form and/or place a ballot in the ballot box). Designated seating for Disability Services Voting will be provided for individuals who request it. Once voting begins, caucus officials will assist participants in this area obtain a ballot, seal the marked ballot in an envelope to ensure voter privacy, and return the marked ballot to the ballot box.
N. Full participation. Full participation without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ethnic identity, or economic status is encouraged.
IV. Determination of Nominee: Counting of Votes, Announcement of Results.
A. Teller Committee. The Caucus Chair will appoint a Teller Committee to count the votes. The Teller Committee will comprise a Head Teller and at least four Tellers.
B. Sequestration of tellers. The Teller Committee will conduct its activities in a segregated area of the room in which voting occurred. All members of the Teller Committee must agree to be sequestered in this area and not to communicate with the outside world during the tallying for each contested position, and must surrender electronic communications devices during this period to the Sergeant-at-Arms. Only caucus officials are permitted inside of the segregated area. The segregated area will be designed to allow other Caucus participants to generally observe the Teller Committee’s activities without interfering with them.
C. Conduct of Teller Committee. The Teller Committee will count, record, and verify the results of the Caucus voting. At the conclusion of their activities, the Teller Committee must agree upon their tabulations and affix their signatures upon the written certification of the results. All activities of the Teller Committee will occur under the direction of the Head Teller.
D. Opening. The Head Teller will open the ballot box in the presence of the Teller Committee. At the commencement of the counting process, the Credentials Chair will also announce the number of Caucus voters.
E. Tallying. The members of the Teller Committee will tally vote totals for each contested membership position. Each ballot must be initialed to be counted. If any ballot is unclear, any teller may ask at any time that it be set aside as a “questionable” ballot. The Head Teller must then ensure that all tellers agree on the totals (and report the total number of questionable ballots, if any).
F. Certification of results. Immediately upon the conclusion of all counting, the Caucus Chair will ensure that each member of the Teller Committee certifies the tabulation; no announcement of the results will be made until all reasonable efforts at this certification have been undertaken.
G. Disposition of questionable ballots. If elected city-wide officer positions could depend on the disposition of questionable ballots (i.e. ballots as to which any teller does not agree as to the disposition) an Expediting Committee will immediately convene. The Expediting Committee will consist of the Caucus Chair and up to four 2018-19 RCDC Committee Officers who the Chair selects. A candidate for a 2020-21 RCDC city-wide officer position, may not be selected to serve on the Expediting Committee. The Expediting Committee will review any questionable ballots, and will determine for each ballot by plurality vote how to allocate the ballot, with the Caucus Chair being permitted to cast an additional vote if needed to break a tie. If the Expediting Committee is convened for any purpose, the Teller Certification will note in the appropriate section that the matter was referred to the Expediting Committee, and the Caucus Chair will certify the Expediting Committee’s determination.
H. Ties. In the event two candidates are tied, the Caucus Chair will flip a coin to determine the nominee. In the event three or more candidates are tied for first place, one candidate will be determined by drawing of lots by the Caucus Chair.
I. Announcement of results. The Chair will announce the certified results of each office to those assembled.
J. Preservation of ballots. After the Chair has announced the results, all ballots and provisional ballots will be taken up and sealed for preservation.
V. Ward Chair Elections. Following city-wide officer elections, committee members will caucus by Ward to elect one Ward Chair to serve on the RCDC Steering Committee. Committee members may only vote in the Ward Caucus where they are registered to vote. Nominations for Ward Chair will be taken from the floor during the Ward Caucus. Two minutes total time shall be allowed for each candidate in contested elections. Ward Chair elections will be held by voice vote or show of hands. The results of the Ward Chair elections will be reported to the Caucus Secretary.
VI. Appeals. If there are any challenges to the conduct of the election, they will be resolved by the Caucus Chair. If there are further challenges to the Chair’s decision, they will be resolved by referring to the Democratic Party of Virginia Party Plan.