Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Democratic Party of Collin County Chair Candidates Stepping Forward

Today, June 30th, Daniel Dodd ends his tenure as Democratic Party of Collin County (DPCC) Chair due to health reasons.

So far, three people have announce their candidacy for the Democratic Party of Collin County Chair position:
  • Shawn Stevens, who served as Vice Chair of the DPCC for five years, from 2003 until mid-November 2008,
  • Victor Manuel, who was the Democratic Candidate for Collin County Commissioner, Precinct 3, in 2008, and
  • Marlene Byndon, who was appointed as the replacement Vice Chair by Chairman Dodd and confirmed by the Executive Committee in February 2009.
More on these three candidates coming soon...
The County Party Chair is a critically important leadership position that is the focal point for local party building and organizing efforts. More importantly, the County Party Chairperson has the responsibility to organize, fund and execute the party's local primary election and convention activities every two years.

In Texas the Democratic party's county executive committee consists of one precinct chairperson from each of the county's designated precinct subdivisions, plus, a county party chairperson elected by voters to two year terms of office in even year Democratic Party primary elections.

The county executive committee and county chairperson determine policy in such matters as the conduct and financing of the Democratic Party's primary election and officially canvassing election results. In Texas the county party's primary election responsibilities include staffing each primary election day polling place with at least one Election Judge, one Alternate Judge and one Clerk, working with the county elections office to request adequate voting equipment for each Democratic Primary polling place, conducting the post election day Democratic Precinct Conventions at every polling place, conducting the Democratic County Convention and sending a county delegation to the state Democratic Party Convention.
Remember the 2008 primary season that was marked by record-shattering turnout at the polling places, the precinct conventions on election night and the county convention?

During the 2008 Democratic Primary more people voted in the Democratic Primary in Collin County than voted for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election. More than 20,000 people attended the Democratic Party's 2008 Precinct Conventions all across Collin County on primary election night and approximately 4,000 people attended the Democratic Party's 2008 County Convention. These are all historic record turnouts for the Democratic Party in Collin County and the total number of voters registered since the 2008 primary election has grown by approximately 60,000.

The 2010 primary election turnout numbers will likely not be near the record levels of 2008. Yet, proper organization and funding for the 2010 primary in Collin County will be a critical priority for the new party chairperson and executive committee between now and March 2010.
A quorum of the DPCC Executive Committee, comprised of county precinct chairs, will elect a new chairperson to serve out the remainder of Mr. Dodd's two year term of office, until March 2010, in a special election meeting on July 22, 2009.

Dr. Murray Leaf, Secretary of the DPCC, will gavel the special election meeting to order and then hand the gavel over to a temporary chairperson who will run the remainder of special election meeting. Dr. Leaf has designated Mr. Robert Miller to serve as the temporary special election meeting chairperson.

There is no requirement for candidates to make advance notice of their candidacy for county party chair, but three candidates have, so far, announce their intention to stand for election. Nominations for party chair must be given and seconded from the floor during the meeting. One to three nominating and seconding speeches for each candidate and candidate acceptance speeches are standard procedure for these special election meetings.

Party rules preclude secret ballots for executive committee special election voting, but the rules do provide for signed written ballots. The rules also allow for voice vote, standing division of the house or role call voting, at the discretion of the meeting chairperson.

According to the Article III, Section E, Subsection 5, Paragraphs (a) and (b) of the Texas Democratic Rule Book, the election process is as follows:
5. Vacancies.

(a) When a vacancy occurs in the office of County Chair, the outgoing County Chair or the Secretary of the County Executive Committee may call a meeting to fill the vacancy at any time after it occurs. Upon the written request of any Committee member, however, the Secretary shall call one for a date not more than 20 days after receiving the request, giving each [Executive Committee] member notice of the time, place, and purpose. Should a Committee Secretary fail to act after being requested in writing to do so, the State Chair shall call the meeting in like manner. The officer calling the meeting shall designate a Temporary Chair to preside until the new Permanent Chair is elected. (Texas Election Code §171.025)

(b) Any vacancy on the Committee [including Party Chair] shall be filled by majority vote of the County Executive Committee at a meeting at which a majority of the membership shall constitute a quorum. (Texas Election Code §171.024) Written notice of the replacement member’s name and address shall be promptly delivered to the State Chair... (Texas Election Code §171.024)

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