(These rules were last amended January 5th, 2022.)
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- Rule I – Timeframe and criteria for endorsements
- Rule II – Endorsements Committee
- Rule III – Significance of endorsements
- Rule IV – Eligibility for endorsement
- Rule V – Consideration of endorsement requests by the membership
- Rule VI – Rescission of endorsements
- Rule VII – Endorsements for leadership positions in the Democratic Party
- Rule VIII — Endorsements for appointments
- Rule IX – Amendment of these Endorsement Procedures
Endorsements are a public declaration of support by the 45th District Democrats on behalf of a candidate for public office or for a person seeking appointment to a public position of responsibility. Endorsements also signify support or opposition to ballot measures. Endorsements represent a determination by the 45th District Democrats that the success of a particular campaign will further our Democratic values and ideals.
Rule I – Timeframe and criteria for endorsements
- Section 1. Every candidate endorsement shall be for a specific candidate, office and term. A candidate may not be endorsed for more than one office simultaneously
- Section 2. Endorsements may be considered for any candidate or ballot measure for which at least one registered voter in the 45th District is entitled to vote.
- Section 3. Any process sanctioned by Washington State Democratic Party for endorsing candidates supersedes these endorsement procedures if they conflict with that process.
- Section 4. Endorsements made before the end of any filing period, whether the regular filing week at the end of May, or a special filing period, shall be considered early endorsements, unless the endorsement is for a position within the Democratic Party or an appointment.
- Section 5. Endorsements made after the end of filing (but before the Top Two election) shall be considered regular endorsements.
- Section 6. Endorsements made after the Top Two election shall be considered late endorsements.
Rule II – Endorsements Committee
- Section 1. The Endorsements Committee is responsible for vetting candidates, evaluating ballot measures, and making endorsement recommendations to the membership. For any given race or ballot measure, the Committee may only recommend one candidate or position at a time.
- Section 2. Except in case of emergencies, endorsement requests shall first be directed to the Endorsements Committee for review prior to consideration by the general membership.
- Section 3. The Endorsements Committee shall be reconstituted after each reorganization meeting of the 45th District Democrats as stipulated in the bylaws. The Committee may form subcommittees to evaluate candidates.
- 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 shall invite eligible Democratic candidates in partisan and nonpartisan races to apply for the 45th’s endorsement upon learning of their candidacies from examining PDC and King County Elections filings. Invitations must include a copy of the relevant candidate questionnaire and an explanation of the 45th’s endorsements process.
- Section 6. Whenever possible, the Committee shall attempt to provide the membership with information about recommendations it intends to present at an upcoming meeting. If the committee is still deliberating close to the day of the membership meeting, the committee may simply identify the office or ballot measure for which it anticipates presenting a recommendation.
- Section 7. Prior to bringing recommendations to the membership for positions in a city or school district not wholly contained within the 45th, the Committee must request to meet with the endorsements committees of any neighboring Democratic legislative districts that also have precincts in that city or school district. If the neighboring districts’ endorsements committees are amenable to the request, the Committee shall make representatives available to participate in a joint meeting to discuss the electoral landscape of that city or school district. The Committee is not required to conduct joint interviews or joint deliberations with the endorsements committees of other district organizations, but it may do so at its discretion.
- Section 8. Whenever possible, the Endorsements Committee shall interview all the known Democratic candidates running for a given position prior to bringing forth a recommendation, but the committee shall not be obligated to provide interview opportunities to candidates who do not provide working contact information, are not responsive to committee outreach, or who do not meet the committee’s publicly posted consideration deadlines.
- Section 9. Only committee members who have participated in all of the interviews for a given contest shall have a vote in that contest’s deliberations.
- Section 10. If committee members cannot reach consensus on a single recommendation in a given race, the Committee shall present a majority report and a minority report to the membership.
Rule III – Significance of endorsements
- Section 1. Endorsements represent a directive by the 45th’s membership to its executive board and other committees to make every reasonable effort to support worthy campaigns.
- Section 2. Endorsed candidates are entitled all services the 45th provides to candidates; for example, access to databases and lists, a listing in the 45th’s Endorsements Guide, ability to promote events through the 45th’s calendar, and the right to list the 45th as an endorser in campaign materials.
- Section 3. Only campaigns the 45th has endorsed are eligible for financial support.
- Section 4. The 45th shall only circulate and promote petitions for ballot measures it has endorsed.
- Section 5. 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 45th’s goals of electing Democratic candidates and advancing Democratic values and ideals.
- Section 6. A candidate may not claim to have the support of the organization – or imply the same – unless they have actually been endorsed.
Rule IV – Eligibility for endorsement
- Section 1. To be eligible for endorsement, a candidate must file as a Democrat with the Public Disclosure Commission, unless the candidate is seeking a nonpartisan office.
- Section 2. A candidate must request the 45th’s support to be considered for endorsement. Submission to the Endorsements Committee of a candidate questionnaire published by the 45th or the King County Democrats constitutes a request. The Endorsements Committee shall make blank candidate questionnaires available for download to candidates seeking legislative, judicial, and executive office on the 45th’s website and shall provide an email address or web form for candidates to use when submitting their questionnaires.
- Section 3. If the nonpartisan office sought is judicial, no attempt shall be made to ascertain party affiliation. If the nonpartisan office sought is executive or legislative, a candidate must satisfactorily answer the question, “Are you a Democrat?”, either in the affirmative or the negative. A candidate who answers in the negative is not eligible for endorsement unless the following additional criteria are met:
- The filing period has closed;
- The candidate’s completed questionnaire states that they are an independent;
- The Endorsements Committee has interviewed the candidate and a majority of the Committee recommends that they be endorsed.
- Section 4. No request from a coalition is necessary for the 45th to take a position on a ballot measure. Positions may be taken on any ballot measure (such as an initiative, referendum, constitutional amendment, or local proposition) for which the language is finalized and a number assigned.
Rule V – Consideration of endorsement requests by the membership
- Section 1. Endorsement requests from candidates, ballot measure coalitions, and members shall be considered at every regular meeting between the close of filing and the general election with no advance notice required. At other times of the year, the membership must be notified at least seven days in advance that an endorsement request will be on the agenda for consideration. On seven days’ notice, the Chair may also call a special meeting of the membership to consider time-sensitive endorsement requests.
- Section 2. At each meeting where endorsements are being considered, the Endorsements Committee and the executive board shall propose, as part of the meeting agenda, a calendar to determine the order of consideration for the committee’s recommendations and accompanying motions from the floor.
- Section 3. Candidate endorsements shall be considered on a per-office basis under an approval voting process, in which members shall have the freedom to simultaneously vote for as many candidates running for a given position as they approve of. For the purposes of these rules, “per office basis” means that all competing endorsement requests for that office are considered together and not separately, to allow the use of approval voting.
- Section 4. In accordance with Section 3 of this rule, motions to endorse more than one candidate for a position shall be deemed out of order at all times.
- Section 5. Endorsement requests for a given office shall ordinarily be voted upon once per election cycle. In the event an endorsed candidate is eliminated in the Top Two round, dies, or withdraws from campaigning, consideration of endorsement requests for that office may begin anew. If the membership fails to endorse any of the eligible candidates for an office, that office may be considered for endorsement again only if two-thirds of members present and voting wish to revisit the membership’s prior decision at a subsequent meeting.
- Section 6. The provisions in Section 5 of this rule shall not bar the organization from holding a revote on an endorsement motion or set of endorsement motions in the event the Chair, the tally committee, or a member identifies a problem with the original vote that would necessitate voting again in order to correct.
- Section 7. The Secretary or their designee shall be responsible for tracking the organization’s endorsement votes and decisions, and advising the Chair when points of inquiry are raised about an endorsement vote taken earlier in the meeting or at a prior meeting.
- Section 8. For each contest in which a majority of the Endorsements Committee has reached a recommendation, the process shall begin with the automatic placement of the committee’s majority recommendation into the nomination for that position, followed by the automatic placement into nomination of any candidates who earned the support of a minority of the committee via a minority report. The Chair shall then open the floor to additional nominations for that office from the membership. The Chair shall close nominations either when all eligible candidates have been nominated, or after thrice asking if there be any further nominations for eligible candidates and not hearing any.
- Section 9. For any contests in which the Endorsements Committee does not have a recommendation, but in which there is at least one candidate who is eligible for endorsement and is not waiting on the Committee to finish deliberations, the process shall begin with a member bringing forth a motion to consider making an endorsement for that office. Motions must be made in the following form: “I move that the 45th consider making an endorsement for [state name of position] in the upcoming [state month] election.” If there be a second, the Chair shall open nominations, and follow the applicable procedures described in Section 8 of this rule.
- Section 10. Once nominations are closed, the membership shall proceed to consider the nominated candidates for that office. Consideration may consist of candidate speeches, committee presentations, question and answer sessions (Q&A), and debate among members, at the discretion of the Chair and in the interest of respecting members’ time.
- Section 11. Whenever multiple candidates are nominated in competition for the same endorsement, the Chair shall poll the present members to ascertain who wishes to participate in making an endorsement decision for that office immediately prior to the vote. Members who do not respond, or who wish to abstain, shall be excluded from the tally of eligible voters and not considered to be present.
- Section 12. To be endorsed, a candidate must earn the votes of at least two thirds of the members present in the meeting as specified in Section 11 of this rule. In the event that multiple candidates for a position earn the votes of at least two thirds of the members present in the meeting as defined in Section 11, the organization shall award a sole endorsement to the candidate with the highest number of approvals.
- Section 13. In the event of a tie for the most approvals, the organization shall hold a runoff vote, with only voters who participated in the previous vote permitted to vote again. In the runoff, voters shall be limited to making a single selection, and any candidates who received fewer votes than the tied top vote getters shall be eliminated from consideration. The candidate who receives a plurality or majority of the votes in the runoff shall be endorsed. Prior to the runoff vote, the Chair shall provide members with an opportunity to debate who should receive the organization’s sole endorsement. In the event of another tie, the relevant portions of the procedure described in this section shall be repeated, and an additional runoff vote held.
- Section 14. Because endorsements are not ratings, and because the voters of the 45th District may legally only vote for one individual per position on their ballots, the organization shall have no more than one endorsed candidate for each office in any election. Once a candidate has been endorsed for a position, other candidates for that same position shall not be eligible for endorsement unless the organization rescinds the endorsement it previously made for that office.
- Section 15. Votes on endorsement motions must be taken either by raised credentials, raised hands of electronically credentialed members, or through authenticated ballots. To be authenticated, a ballot must either be signed or be electronically associated with the name of the member who cast it. Paper or electronic ballots shall be designed to allow members to vote for as many candidates as they approve of. Following each vote, the secretary or acting secretary shall record the number of votes for each candidate or ballot measure position after the Chair has announced the report of the tally committee.
- Section 16. As set forth in Section 6 of this rule, the Chair may limit debate to a fixed number of statements of a limited time for each nominated candidate and for a position of no endorsement, such as two statements for and against lasting no longer than two minutes each, and appoint a timekeeper to enforce the rules. When such a debate limitation is in place, motions to terminate debate or call an immediate vote shall be out of order.
- Section 17. Endorsement motions are only in order during the portion of the meeting designated on the agenda, as adopted by the membership, for consideration of endorsements. Before concluding that meeting’s endorsements business and proceeding to the next item on the agenda, the Chair shall thrice ask the body: “Are there any further endorsement motions at this meeting?” If there be none, the endorsements business for that meeting shall be concluded.
- Section 18. Endorsement motions are not amendable, nor may they be tabled; however, consideration of an endorsement for an office or ballot measure may be postponed to a future scheduled meeting, if that meeting will take place before the conclusion of the election in which the office or measure is to be voted upon.
Rule VI – Rescission of endorsements
- Section 1. An endorsement may be rescinded, or revoked, by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting at a general meeting. A motion to rescind must state a reason in writing.
- Section 2. In the event that an endorsed candidate dies or withdraws, the endorsement he or she received from the 45th shall immediately and automatically lapse.
Rule VII – Endorsements for leadership positions in the Democratic Party
- Section 1. An individual seeking a leadership position in another Democratic Party organization that geographically overlaps with the 45th may request an endorsement in advance of the meeting when the position will be filled. Endorsement requests for party offices decided at biennial reorganization meetings cannot be considered until the date of the general election in November has passed.
- Section 2. The 45th shall not endorse candidates for leadership positions on its own executive board.
Rule VIII – Endorsements for appointments
- Section 1. The 45th may endorse candidates who are seeking an appointment for an elected position covering part or all of the 45th that has become vacant due to a death or resignation, except appointments to the position of state senator or state representative.
- Section 2. The 45th shall not make endorsements for board or commission positions that are not subject to election by the voters.
Rule IX – Amendment of these Endorsement Procedures
- Section 1. Once adopted, these procedures may be amended by majority vote of the membership of the 45th at a general meeting, provided that the proposed changes have been reviewed by the 45th’s executive board prior to the date of the meeting and distributed electronically to the membership.