UPDATED June 30, 2013
Special Election to be held Saturday, August 31, 2013.
Deadline for declarations of candidacy will be Wednesday, July 31, 2013.
Dear Georgia Democrat,
I would like to thank you for your willingness to work together, as we rebuild the Democratic Party of Georgia.
Eleanor Roosevelt gave context to strength and working as a team when she said we do not have to become heroes overnight. We just need to take a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.
We are doing that together.
As you are aware, I have been in regular contact with our local party leadership as well as national party leaders to help navigate our upcoming special election for party chair. After extensive consultation, I have decided to open this election to any Democrat who chooses to run for the position.
I believe that an open election is more consistent with our fundamental belief of full participation in the political process.
Our state charter and bylaws were created to implement this very process, at a time when women and people of color had been systematically excluded from full participation. It is that open process that I want to honor.
Our Counsel agrees and has advised me that the provisions of our charter and bylaws that address racial and gender composition of party officers can be interpreted as a goal that is intelligible when all offices are open for election, but do not explicitly apply in a special election for a single position.
I will be directing our Charter and By-Laws Committee to draft appropriate amendments that will clarify the goals of inclusion and establish uniform procedures for filling vacancies in any office at state, county, congressional district, or other level.
Therefore, the Special Election for Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia will be held on Saturday, August 31, 2013. The deadline for declarations of candidacy as outlined in the June 20th election notice will be extended until Wednesday, July 31, 2013. This will provide an opportunity for any Democrat to participate fully in our process.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions. I appreciate your commitment to our values, the time and resources you commit to our party and your willingness to work as a team.
Democratic Party of Georgia
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.
Further information about the election, including a list of FAQ’s and candidate forms, may be downloaded here.
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 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 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).
Details of the election will be worked out at the Executive Committee meeting next week.
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.
Acting Chair, Democratic Party of Georgia