"Precinct chair orientation"
Precinct chair orientation Bexar County Democratic Party Objectives Maximize Democratic turnout in November, 2012. Get our candidates elected… not just locally, but even our statewide candidates. Be active in every precinct in Bexar County. If we all work together, we can Turn Texas Blue! What’s on the agenda for today 1. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party 2. Duties of a precinct chair 3. Robert’s Rules of Order 4. Resources for precinct chairs Part 1 Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party (BCDP) Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party The BCDP is governed by the County Executive Committee (CEC), which consists of all precinct chairs and the county chair. Conduct of the business of the BCDP and the CEC is subject to (in this order): Federal Laws and The Texas Election Code The Rules of the Texas Democratic Party The Continuing Rules of the BCDP Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party County Executive Committee (CEC) meeting Tuesday, June 7, 6:30 pm Luby’s, 911 North Main All precinct chairs and applicants should attend. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party Between CEC meetings, the Executive Council conducts legal and financial business and drafts communications. The Executive Council consists of: County Chair Treasurer Secretary (non-voting) Four Deputy Chairs Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party There is one Deputy Chair for each of the four County Commissioner Precincts. Deputy Chairs are elected at the first CEC meeting in the new term. Deputy Chairs communicate with precinct chairs in their Commissioner’s Precinct. Your County Commissioner’s Precinct is the first digit of your four-digit precinct number. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party The Secretary takes minutes of meetings. The Secretary is elected at the first meeting in the new term. The Treasurer reports to the Budget and Finance Committee and to the CEC. The Treasurer is elected no later than July 1 in the new term. Nominations for Treasurer are screened by the Budget and Finance Committee. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party The agenda for CEC meetings is set by the Steering Committee, which consists of: County Chair Four Deputy Chairs Secretary Treasurer Presidents (or a representative) of Democratic clubs (with 25 or more members) State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) members from Bexar County A representative of each standing committee Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party CEC meetings take place at least four times per year, usually the first Tuesday of the month. Precinct chairs should receive notices of the CEC meetings by mail. Quorum is 1/4 of the current CEC. Filling vacancies requires a majority quorum. “Majority quorum” means more than half. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party During the CEC meeting, discussion doesn’t go on forever! Discussion alternates between four speakers for the motion and four against (1 from each of 4 Commissioner’s precincts). Each speaker is limited to two minutes. The CEC can extend debate. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party Standing Committees include: Budget and Finance Campaign Communications Election Integrity and Voter Protection Fundraising Precinct Chair Recruitment Rules The CEC can also form ad hoc committees. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party Committeee members don’t have to be precinct chairs. Each committee elects two co-chairs. One co-chair must be a CEC member. There are additional qualifications for members of the Budget and Finance Committee. They must be appointed by the Executive Council and approved by the CEC. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party Democratic clubs affiliated with the BCDP include county-wide organizations: Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio Bexar County Young Democrats Bexar County Democratic Women Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party Several Democratic clubs affiliated with the BCDP are regional organizations: Northwest Democrats North East Bexar County Democrats Mission Democrats Alamo City Democrats Regional organizations have claimed a jurisdiction for the purpose of turning out the Democratic vote in their precincts. Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party Structure of the Bexar County Democratic Party Jurisdiction is not the same as membership area. If your precinct is within the jurisdiction of an organization, we encourage you to coordinate your campaign work with them. That doesn’t mean you have to be a member. We want every precinct to be active, and we want to avoid duplicated effort. Part 2 Duties of Precinct Chairs Eligibility for Precinct Chairs Eligibility to serve as Precinct Chair is determined by the Texas Election Code. Age 18 or more Registered to vote in Bexar County Must live in the precinct Not elected official or candidate for federal, state or county office Eligibility for Precinct Chairs After the Primary in even-numbered years, newly appointed Precinct Chairs must be officially affiliated with the Democratic Party. Two ways to become affiliated: You voted in the Primary. If you didn’t vote in the Primary, you must take an oath of affiliation. See Texas Election Code Section 162.008. Duties of Precinct Chairs Most important: Attend the CEC meetings. If you must miss a CEC meeting, notify the BCDP office. Your meeting attendance is tracked on the BCDP website. Be sure that the party office has your current contact information (address, phone numbers, e-mail address). Organize your precinct convention on the night of the primary. Duties of Precinct Chairs Organize your precinct by getting to know your precinct and its voters. Encourage Democrats in your precinct to vote. Act as liaison between voters in your precinct and elected officials. Help to find election workers for your precinct. Dress your polling place with campaign signs for Election Day, and work your polling place. Understand the Party rules and the Election Code. Can we count on you to conduct the campaign in your precinct? The November 2012 election will be competitive. We have a strong chance of electing our statewide candidates for the first time in… far too long! We need to know where our precinct chairs are active. If we have precinct chairs who don’t want to do their part, we have other people who can help. But we need to know! Can we count on you to conduct the campaign in your precinct? We are asking every precinct chair to work their precinct by building and leading a team of volunteers to turn out the Democratic vote. Some precincts don’t have a precinct chair. In these precincts, we try to find someone to serve as precinct team leader. We ask every precinct chair: “Can we count on you to lead your precinct team?” Can we count on you to conduct the campaign in your precinct? If the precinct chair doesn’t want to be precinct team leader: We will try to find someone else to lead the precinct team. We will NOT remove precinct chairs for refusing to work their precinct. But in an election this close, every precinct matters! Part 3 Robert’s Rules of Order Robert’s Rules of Order The Rules of the Texas Democratic Party designate Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (current edition) as the parliamentary authority for meetings. Robert’s Rules of Order are named after the original author, Gen. Henry Robert, who published them in 1876. Parliamentary procedure is based on these principles: Decisions are made by a majority. Each member can vote and express an opinion. Decisions are reached fairly and efficiently. Agenda of CEC meeting 1. Call to order 2. Pledge of allegiance and moment of silence 3. Introduction of elected officials and candidates 4. Approval of agenda (can be amended by CEC) 5. Statutory business (when required by the Election Code and/or TDP rules) 6. Approval of minutes of previous meeting 7. Reports by County Chair, Executive Council, Treasurer, Standing Committees 8. Unfinished business 9. New business (Items not specified on the agenda may be brought up here) 10. Announcements 11. Adjourn I don’t “motion,” I “move”! Most business is conducted through motions. A precinct chair introduces the motion by standing, saying “Madam Chair,” being given the floor, and saying “I move that….” Another precinct chair stands and says “I second the motion.” (Otherwise, the motion fails.) There is discussion on the motion. During the discussion amendments can be made, but no new motions can be made while the original motion is “on the table.” A vote is taken on the amendment first. A vote is taken on the amended main motion. The chair announces the result of the vote. Votes in the CEC meeting Only CEC members can vote. The Chair does not vote except to break a tie. Usually voting is done by voice vote. Chair announces whether the ayes or the nays “have it.” To verify the result of the vote, you must stand and say “I call for a division of the house.” You cannot interrupt, nor can you do this after another motion is made. Verifiable methods of voting (can be counted): Secret ballots are prohibited by the Rules of the TDP. Show of hands Standing vote (To facilitate counting, chair can ask the ayes and nays to move to opposite sides of the room) Roll call vote (If anyone objects, it must be established that at least 10% want to have a roll call vote.) What to do if… you can’t hear what’s going on You rise and say “Point of Privilege.” (You may interrupt.) You explain. No second is needed, and there is no debate. The situation should be resolved. “Point of Privilege” can also be used to complain about room temperature or anything else that is interfering with the meeting. What to do if… you want to ask a question You rise and say “Point of Information.” (Do not interrupt unless it is urgent.) No second is needed, and there is no debate. If the matter requires further study, instead of “Point of Information,” you say, “I move that we refer this matter to the ____ Committee.” This motion requires a second and then a vote. If the motion prevails, the Committee meets separately and brings the issue back at a subsequent meeting. What to do if… you want to amend a motion During discussion of a motion, you rise and say “Madam Chair.” (Do not interrupt.) When acknowledged, you say, “I move that this motion be amended by….” The amendment must be seconded (or the amendment fails). There is discussion and then vote on the amendment. If the amendment is acceptable to the person who made the main motion, it is called a “friendly amendment.” No vote is taken on the amendment. What to do if… discussion is dragging on and on You rise and say “Madam Chair.” (Do not interrupt.) When acknowledged, you say, “I move the previous question.” A second is needed (or the discussion on the main motion continues). A vote is taken on ending discussion. A two-thirds vote is required. If the previous question prevails, discussion ends, no further amendments are permitted, and a vote is taken on the main motion. What to do if… you disagree with the Chair’s ruling You rise and say “I appeal the Chair’s decision.” (You may interrupt.) A second is needed. There is discussion. A majority vote is needed to overturn the Chair’s ruling. What to do if… someone makes an insult You rise and say “Point of order.” (You may interrupt.) No second is needed, and there is no discussion. There is no vote, and the Chair makes a decision. What to do if… you want to suspend the meeting You rise and say “Madam Chair.” (Do not interrupt.) When acknowledged, you say, “I move that we recess until….” A second is needed. The motion is not debatable but can be amended. A vote is taken to recess the meeting. Recessing the meeting does not mean ending the meeting. To end the meeting, say instead, “I move that we adjourn.” What to do if… you want to deal with an issue later You rise and say “Madam Chair.” (Do not interrupt.) When acknowledged, you say, “I move that we postpone this matter until….” A second is needed. The motion is debatable and can be amended. A vote is taken to postpone the matter. If you don’t want to take the matter up again at a specific time, say instead, “I move that we table it.” Tabling the matter doesn’t mean voting the matter down. It puts the issue on a list of things to be considered later, after someone says, “I move that we take from the table….” What to do if… you change your mind after a vote You rise and say “Madam Chair.” (You may interrupt.) You say, “I move we now reconsider our action relative to….” You cannot make a motion to reconsider unless You voted with the majority and You wish to change your vote. A second is needed. The motion is debatable but cannot be amended. A majority vote is needed to overturn the decision previously made by the body. What to do if… the issue is improper for the CEC You rise and say “Madam Chair.” (You may interrupt.) You say, “I object to consideration of this question.” There is no discussion, and no amendments are permitted. A two-thirds vote is needed to remove the matter from consideration. What to do if… a later item on the agenda is urgent You rise and say “Madam Chair.” (You may not interrupt.) You say, “I move that we suspend the rules and consider….” A second is needed. There is no discussion, and no amendments are permitted. A two-thirds vote is needed to consider the matter out of its scheduled order. Although the language of this motion is to “suspend the rules,” all rules are still in effect, and only the order of the agenda is actually suspended. What to do if… you can’t remember all this stuff All of these motions are summarized in a two-page chart in the booklet of Rules of the Texas Democratic Party. For experienced followers of Robert’s Rules: note that one page has motions listed in “order of precedence,” and the other page lists motions that have no order of precedence. If another motion was being considered when you make a motion, the Chair might determine that your motion is “out of order.” But this is not an arbitrary ruling, and you can still appeal the decision. Part 4 Resources for Precinct Chairs Resources for Precinct Chairs The BCDP website www.bexardemocrats.org Precinct chair list and contact info Training materials Events calendar Meeting minutes, agenda, Treasurer’s report Bexar County Elections www.bexar.org/elections Precinct maps, number of registered voters, election results Texas Democratic Party resources www.txdemocrats.org Grassroots Handbook Voter Activation Network (VAN) Other resources The BCDP Website The BCDP Website General The BCDP Website The BCDP Website Resources formerly available on the BCDP website, will be revised and made available again soon. Being a Precinct Chair (6 pages) Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Bexar Elections Dept. Resources Grassroots TDP Resources Handbook (80 pages) TDP Resources TDP Resources The Voter Activation Network (VAN) is a statewide database of registered voters. Voters have been identified by the TDP based on primary voting history: Hard Democrat Soft Democrat Unknown Partisanship Soft Republican Hard Republican TDP Resources Voters in the VAN have also been identified as to how likely they will vote in the November election: Certain Likely Potential Unlikely Non-voters TDP Resources If you are a precinct chair, you can get a VAN account for your precinct from http://texasvan.com. If you are not a precinct chair, you can get a VAN account for your precinct by becoming a Majority Builder, contributing $10 per month to the TDP. If you learn to use VAN, you’ll know who to target for your get-out-the-vote effort. You’ll also know which voters to target for persuasion. Resources: Future Training Sessions Building and Training Your Precinct Team Using Targeting to Your Advantage Blue Grassroots… Our Strategy for Turning Texas Blue Get Your Message Out Using Social Media Getting Out the Vote Precinct Convention Training Resources: Training Materials from previous training sessions will be placed on the party website The TDP has conducted a series of webinars on a dozen campaign-related topics. Resources: Democratic organizations Every Democratic organization in Bexar County has experienced campaigners. These organizations can help you find hard Democrats in your precinct and in nearby precincts. We are working to establish regional organizations in parts of Bexar County that are not yet covered. Our #1 Resource: You, the Precinct Chair