5th Legislative District Democrats procedures for the 2017 & 2018 election cycle (adopted January 18, 2017)
Preamble Endorsements are a public declaration of support by the 5th Legislative District Democrats (5th LD) on behalf of a candidate for public office, a person seeking appointment to a public position of responsibility, or in favor of or opposition of a ballot measure. Endorsements also signify support for or opposition to ballot measures. They represent a determination by the membership that election/appointment of the candidate, or approval/defeat of the ballot measure, will further our Democratic values and ideals.
Article I – Timeframe and criteria for endorsements
• Section 1. Every candidate endorsement shall be for a specific candidate, office and term.
• Section 2. Endorsements may be considered for any candidate or ballot measure for which at least one registered voter in the 5th LD is entitled to vote.
• Section 3. Endorsements for all elected offices made before the end of any filing period, whether the regular filing week (two weeks before Memorial Day), or a special filing period, shall be considered early endorsements.
• Section 4. Endorsements made after the end of filing (but before the primary election) or as part of the necessary business of a nominating convention shall be considered regular endorsements. Endorsements made after the primary election in August shall be considered late endorsements.
Article II – Endorsements Committee
• Section 1. The Endorsements Committee is responsible for reviewing the qualifications of candidates and making a recommendation to the membership on which candidates to support (for nominations, elected office, or appointed positions) and which ballot measures to support or oppose.
• Section 2. The District Chair shall appoint an Endorsements Committee Chair for a two-year term with the approval of a majority of members present and voting at a regular meeting. This appointment should be made at the district’s reorganization meeting, or as soon thereafter as practical.
• Section 3. Additional committee members shall be appointed as needed. Committee members are responsible for researching candidates and ballot measures prior to drafting recommendations.
• Section 4. The Committee may, at its discretion, produce its own questionnaires, hold its own Candidate interviews, or schedule discussions between rival candidates seeking endorsement.
• Section 5. The Committee is encouraged to prepare materials for presentation at meetings where it anticipates releasing recommendations. For instance, the Committee may distribute printed handouts, or make use of audiovisual equipment to explain its research and rationale.
Article III – Significance of endorsements
• Section 1. Endorsements represent a directive by the 5th LD’s membership to its executive board and other committees to make every reasonable effort to support the election effort of the endorsed candidate or furtherance of the ballot proposal position.
• Section 2. Endorsed candidates are entitled all services the 5th provides to candidates; this, for example, includes access to databases and lists, ability to promote events through the 5th LD’s calendar, and the right to list the 5th as an endorser in campaign materials.
• Section 3. Candidates and ballot measure campaigns may not receive any financial support from the 5th District Democrats unless they have received an endorsement. Furthermore, the 5th shall only promote the circulation of petitions for ballot measures it has endorsed.
• Section 4. In the absence of an endorsement, the executive board and other committees are expected to make case-by-case decisions on providing specific non-financial services in furtherance of the goals of electing Democratic candidates and advancing Democratic values and ideals. A candidate may not claim to have the support of the organization – or imply the same – unless he or she has actually been endorsed.
Article IV – Eligibility for endorsement
• Section 1. Candidates must request the support to be considered for endorsement. Completion of a candidate questionnaire submitted to either the King County Democrats or the 5th LD Endorsement Committee automatically constitutes a request.
• Section 2. No request from a campaign is necessary for the 5th LD to take a position on a ballot measure. Positions may be taken on any ballot measure (such as an initiative, constitutional amendment, or referendum) for which the language is finalized and a number assigned.
• Section 3. A candidate for a partisan office must file as a Democrat or publicly announce his or her intention to do so.
• Section 4. Candidates for nonpartisan offices must show support of Democratic values and ideals.
Article V – Evaluation of endorsement requests
• Section 1. Endorsement requests, whether for candidates or for positions on ballot measures, should generally be directed to the Endorsements Committee for review and a recommendation prior to consideration by the general membership.
• Section 2. When time is a constraint, endorsement motions from the floor are in order with no prior committee review, unless the motion is to endorse in a contest with multiple Democratic candidates.
• Section 3. If the Endorsements Committee is evaluating a race in which there are multiple Democratic candidates, and finds that one or more has not completed the King County Democrats questionnaire, it may choose to defer a recommendation in that race in order to give fair consideration to each candidate who may be eligible for an endorsement.
Article VI – Endorsement motions; process for approving at meetings
• Section 1. Endorsement requests shall be considered at every regular meeting between the close of filing and the general election; these meetings shall be known as endorsement meetings. No special notice is required for regular and late endorsements at these meetings. At other times of the year and for all early endorsements, the membership must be notified at least seven days in advance of all endorsement requests that will be considered at the next general membership meeting.
• Section 2. The Endorsements Committee must present its recommendations (if it is making any) before any endorsement motions from the floor can be considered by the membership. Motions to endorse that are offered prior to this presentation shall be out of order. A recommendation by the Endorsement Committee in favor of endorsing a candidate or in support or opposition to a ballot measure constitutes an endorsement motion and second.
• Section 3. Whenever possible, the Endorsements Committee shall attempt to provide the membership with information about recommendations it intends to present at an upcoming meeting.
• Section 4. All motions for endorsement, whether for a candidate or a ballot measure, require a two thirds vote of members present and voting to be approved. Motions to rescind an endorsement require the same standard, but the Chair may rule such motions as out of order if he or she determines that circumstances clearly do not warrant rescission.
• Section 5. Upon recommendation by the executive committee and approval by the membership at a meeting prior to an endorsement vote, the two thirds threshold for endorsement for a specific office may be reduced. This is generally only warranted when there are three or more candidates seeking our endorsement in a race.
• Section 6. A motion to endorse a candidate from the floor is only in order if the candidate is eligible for endorsement as specified in article IV.
• Section 7. Combinations of candidates and positions may be considered in a single motion. For example, a motion to endorse all unopposed Democratic candidates or a motion to endorse several candidates for the same office may be considered.
• Section 8. The Chair may choose to limit debate to no more than a fixed number of statements of a limited time for and against each motion, such as two statements for and against of no more than two minutes each, and appoint a timekeeper to enforce the rules. When such debate limitation is in place, the motion to terminate debate by “calling the question” shall be out of order.
• Section 9. When a vote on an endorsement motion is held, the secretary or acting secretary shall record the number of ayes, the number of nays, and number of abstentions on the motion immediately after the chair or acting chair has tallied or accepted a tally for each.
Article VII – Endorsements for nominations
• Section 1. Any candidate for an office subject to endorsement per Article 1, Section 2 who is nominated by a process sanctioned by Washington State Democratic Party shall be considered automatically endorsed.
• Section 2. When a candidate is nominated for an office, the endorsements for any other candidates for the same office shall immediately lapse.
• Section 3. Motions to endorse a candidate seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the office of President of the United States of America shall never be in order. The candidate nominated for the office of President of the United States by the Democratic Party at the Democratic National Convention shall automatically be considered endorsed.
• Section 4. Motions to endorse additional candidates for an office subsequent to nomination of a candidate for that office are permissible but strongly discouraged.
Article VIII – Endorsement resolutions
• Section 1. Resolutions whose whereas clauses include support or opposition to any candidate or ballot measure are endorsements and subject to all the requirements and restrictions of these endorsement rules, including any eligibility restrictions and adoption thresholds.
• Section 2. Endorsement resolutions are a way of formally combining the rationale for an endorsement with the endorsement itself.
Article IX – Endorsements for leadership positions in the Democratic Party
• Section 1. Individuals seeking a position of responsibility in another Democratic Party organization which geographically overlaps with the 5th LD may request an endorsement. Such requests must first be evaluated by the Endorsements Committee. Valid requests shall be forwarded to the executive board, which shall determine whether it makes sense to place the request before the membership.
• Section 2. Motions to endorse an individual seeking a position of responsibility within the 5th LD shall never be in order. Individuals interested in seeking and holding leadership positions should make their intentions known to the Recruiting Committee, or to the executive board, if there is no Recruiting Committee organized.
Article X – Amendment of these Endorsement Procedures
• Section 1. Once adopted, these procedures shall be considered special rules of order and may be suspended or amended only by a two thirds vote of the membership of the 5th LD at any regular membership meeting; however, motions to amend these rules are not in order until and unless the maker of the motion has submitted them in writing, and at least one copy of the proposed changes has been made available for every two members present or the proposal is available for projection.
• Section 2. The membership may choose to refer consideration of any changes to the Endorsements Committee for review and recommendation.