Ed Helvey, State Democratic Executive Committee Member
We have all watched the Democratic National Convention over the years. As the cameras pan the crowd, have you ever wondered, “who are those people, what are they doing there, and how did they get to be there?’
Next summer the Democratic National Convention will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Beginning in November, you can begin the process of being a delegate to the convention. Delegates vote on the national platform, pass rules for the party, and most importantly, nominate our candidate for President and Vice President.
Beginning on November 9 and continuing until 4 p.m. on December 30, 2019, any Democratic voter in Ohio can file a simple form with the Ohio Democratic Party to run to be a delegate. On the form, you have to declare which candidate you support for President. You may change your candidate up until the December 30th deadline. (This is important in case your first choice decides to drop out of the race, or their petition does not have a sufficient number of signatures to qualify for the ballot.)
On January 7, caucuses will be held in each of Ohio’s 16 congressional districts to choose who gets to be a district level delegate. For the second time, I will be coordinating the caucus for the 12th congressional district being held at the Willis Education Center located at 74 West William Street in Delaware.
The rules for the caucus have been written in detail, approved by the Ohio Democratic Party, and the Democratic National Committee. They will be strictly adhered to with no variations allowed. The link for the rules can be found here.
In the 12th district, the caucuses will select 3 female delegates, 3 male delegates, and one male alternate delegate.
We will begin the evening at 7 p.m. all in the auditorium. Instructions on the conduct of each candidate caucus will be given. At that time, the people attending will go to their assigned room in Willis to conduct the election. For instance, Candidate A will meet in Room 12, Candidate B will meet in Room 14, etc. People will be able to attend and vote in one candidate election. No one will be permitted to attend more than one caucus.
The actual election is straight forward and simple. Whoever gets the top three male slots win that stage of the process and whoever wins the top three female slots win that stage of the process. If you are serious about wanting to be a delegate, get as many friends and family members to the caucus as possible. They have to be registered to vote in the 12th District and must be a Democrat. Although, you may not need this many to win, it is not unusual to see people bring in 50, 70, even 100 people to vote for them.
The primary election results will determine who actually gets to go to the convention. For instance if Candidate A receives 50% of the vote and Candidate B wins 50%, each candidate is awarded 3 delegates. Since there will most likely be several candidates on the ballot, if a candidate receives 15% of the District 12 vote on March 17, that candidate will receive one delegate.
One final thing, you are responsible for all expenses to attend the convention. This includes travel, hotel, and food. Because 20,000 or more people will be in Milwaukee (delegates, campaigns, media) the hotels are expensive. ODP has reserved rooms, but the rate is $400 per night with a 5 night minimum. I add this so no one is surprised at the last minute about what to expect.
One final thing, ALL OF US should plan to be there on January 7th regardless if we want to be a delegate. We can participate in supporting our candidates for President and supporting our friends who are running to be a delegate.