(These rules were last amended August 1, 2018.)
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 nominating 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 nomination, a position within the Democratic Party, or an appointment.
- Section 5. Endorsements for a nomination, or 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. Each winter, after consulting the executive board, the Chair of the 45th shall appoint or reappoint an Endorsements Chair and committee members to serve through the remainder of the year.
- Section 3. The Committee may, at its discretion, produce its own questionnaires, hold its own candidate interviews, or schedule discussions between rival candidates seeking endorsement.
- Section 4. The Committee shall invite eligible Democratic candidates in partisan and nonpartisan races to apply for the 45th’s endorsement upon learning of their candidacies. Invitations must include a copy of the relevant candidate questionnaire and an explanation of the 45th’s endorsements process.
- Section 5. 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 6. 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 he or she has 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 of a candidate questionnaire published by the 45th or the King County Democrats constitutes an automatic 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.
- 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 he or she is an independent;
- The Endorsements Committee has interviewed the candidate and a majority of the Committee recommends that he or she 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; endorsement motions
- Section 1. 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 2. Whenever possible, the Endorsements Committee shall interview all the known Democratic candidates in a race prior to bringing forth a recommendation. 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 3. Endorsement requests shall be considered at every regular meeting between the close of filing and the general election. No special notice is required for these meetings. At other times of the year, the membership must be notified in advance that an endorsement request will be considered.
- Section 4. 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. A floor motion to endorse a candidate may not be brought if the Committee is still evaluating candidates in that race.
- Section 5. Endorsement motions are only in order during the portion of the meeting designated on the agenda, as adopted, for consideration of endorsements. Before proceeding to the next item on the agenda, the Chair shall thrice ask the body: “Are there any further endorsement motions tonight?” If there be none, the endorsements business for that meeting shall be concluded.
- Section 6. All endorsement motions require a two-thirds vote of members present and voting to be approved. Motions to endorse for races are made by race, not by candidate.
- Section 7. Endorsement motions are not amendable, nor may they be tabled. They may be postponed to a future scheduled meeting, if that meeting will take place before the next pertinent election.
- Section 8. The Chair may limit debate to a fixed number of statements of a limited time for each nominated candidate and against endorsement at this time, 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, the motion to terminate debate shall be out of order.
- Section 9. Endorsements are considered by an “approval voting” process. First, members may nominate candidates for the race under consideration. Any candidate eligible for endorsement may be nominated. When there are no more nominations, each member in good standing may vote for as many or as few candidates as they approve of endorsing. The candidate receiving the most votes receives the endorsement, provided their total reaches the threshold defined in Section 6. If no candidate passes the threshold, no endorsement is made in the race.
- Section 10. In the event of a tie for highest vote, a simple plurality vote between the tied candidates is used. The non-tied candidates are eliminated, and members in good standing vote only once for the candidate they prefer; the candidate receiving the plurality of the vote receives the endorsement.
- Section 11. Votes on endorsement motions must be taken either by raised credentials or signed ballots. Following each vote, the secretary or acting secretary shall record the number of ayes and the number of nays on the motion immediately after the Chair or acting chair has stated a tally.
Rule VI – Endorsements for nominations and late endorsements
- Section 1. Candidates who are seeking an elected position that the Washington State Democratic Party intends to nominate a standard bearer for may request to be endorsed for the nomination prior to the date of the nominating convention for that office.
- Section 2. A Democratic candidate seeking the office of State Representative or State Senator in the 45th may request to be endorsed for the nomination beginning eight months in advance of the date of the Top Two election in the even-numbered year that the position he or she is seeking is subject to election. Recommendations for endorsements of state legislative candidates shall be presented to the executive board for review prior to being placed before the general membership for consideration.
- Section 3. Following the close of filing in an even-numbered year, the executive board and the Endorsements Committee shall review the names of candidates who have filed to run for the Legislature in the 45th. If there are only one or two candidates for each position, the 45th’s executive board shall schedule a nominating convention to select its legislative nominees for the following month. If there be more than two candidates for House or Senate in the 45th, the executive board shall schedule the nominating convention to be held following the certification of the Top Two election, but in advance of the autumn meeting of the WSDCC, in accordance with the Washington State Democratic Party’s rules for nominating candidates. Candidates nominated for state representative and state senator at the convention shall automatically be considered endorsed. Any endorsements of different candidates made by the 45th for those offices shall immediately lapse at the close of the convention.
- Section 4. Candidates who are nominated by the Washington State Democratic Party or King County Democratic Party for the following positions shall automatically be considered endorsed:
- The federal offices of U.S. Senate and U.S. Representative;
- The statewide executive department offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Commissioner of Public Lands, and Insurance Commissioner;
- The countywide office of Prosecutor.
- Section 5. The candidates nominated for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States of America by the Democratic Party at the Democratic National Convention shall automatically be considered endorsed. Motions to endorse candidates for either office are never in order.
- Section 6. Endorsements for nominations remain valid until a nominee is selected. In the event a candidate who is endorsed by the 45th for a nomination does not become the nominee, the endorsement that he or she received shall immediately lapse.
- Section 7. In the event that a nominated candidate does not survive the Top Two election, and a new nominee is not chosen by October 1st, the remaining Democrats in the race – if any – shall become eligible for a late endorsement, so long as they have satisfied the requirements set forth in Article IV.
- Section 8. In the event that no Democrat reaches the general election in a county, federal or state level contest, the Endorsements Committee shall work with the 45th’s executive board and the WSDCC (State Central Committee) or KCDCC (King County Central Committee) following the Top Two election to identify and recommend a suitable write-in candidate who would be worthy of the 45th’s support.
Rule VII – 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 VIII – 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 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.