San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action will soon be taking up a number of electoral races in which to consider endorsements. Before we hold any endorsement meetings--and without any specificity to any particular races or measures that we might consider--I’d like to share our process and member voting eligibility requirements as laid out in the club’s bylaws, and my own thoughts on the process.
The club’s Political Action Committee shall notice races for consideration, help in shaping candidate questionnaires, conducting the endorsement meetings, and then noticing endorsed candidates for supporting actions by the club. Endorsement considerations will be presided over by our VP for Political Action Steve Rivera. Questions for candidates will be submitted for moderation and may only be submitted by eligible voting members. *
For endorsements conducted via Zoom, the chat will be turned off. Interruptions will not be tolerated, and disparaging comments or personal attacks will be ruled out of order as we conduct respectful and fair hearings. If you have a pointed question that you’d like to ask that relates to environmental issues and positions that the club has taken, please submit them for moderation. As our by-laws in fact state:
Members are encouraged to ask questions relevant to the Club's mission of advancing environmental or green issues, of candidate viability, fundraising ability, endorsements, or the candidate's "vision."
In keeping with our community agreement of "step up, and step back" please keep questions brief and to the point in consideration for both our candidates and to allow space for fellow club members to step up and ask questions that might relate to other concerns you have.
As we prepare to vote, candidates and attending campaign personnel will move into a break-out room (Zoom) or outside of the room where the voting will take place (for in-person meetings). We will recognize up to three speakers to speak for each candidate or for the “No Endorsement” option. Members speaking during this discussion segment must disclose if they are working for any candidate being considered or are in the employ of a company or organization with a vested interest in the outcome of the endorsement or stand to gain in any way from the candidate’s endorsement or electoral success. Members giving comments during this segment must clearly identify the candidate or position they are speaking for, and avoid disparaging comments or personal attacks which will be ruled out of order.
*Per our by-laws, an eligible voting member is one whose club dues are current, and who has attended at least two club meetings as a member within the past 12 months.
Our balloting procedure shall allow each voting member to cast ballots unseen by other members.
Balloting follows a ranked-choice format, with eligible members selecting their first, second, and third choices. In each round of the ranked choices and vote counting the option for No Endorsement is a valid choice that does not get dropped.
If a tally of the votes shows that a candidate has reached the threshold of 60 percent of votes, permission is granted for use of our club's name and logo on the campaign’s website and on campaign literature. The club shall instruct its Associate Member(s) to the San Diego County Democratic Party's area caucuses to cast votes in support of the endorsed candidate, toward the official endorsement of the County Party. The club will list the official as endorsed and may act to publicize candidate events or to organize actions in support of the candidate.
1. We are an environmental club, and we should be endorsing candidates running on strong environmental credentials. We do not owe an endorsement to any candidate just because they are the incumbent or preferred Democrat in the race. There seems to be a tendency in voting that the end result should result in the endorsement of an individual candidate; the option for No Endorsement is always viable and should not be overlooked.
2. In voting for candidate to gain the club’s endorsement, consider what actions you would commit to in support of the candidate through the remainder of the election cycle, should the club endorse. Will you show up to canvass neighborhoods in the candidate’s district? Will you volunteer time to do phone banking? Will you make financial or other volunteer contributions toward that candidate’s success? If the club organizes a fundraiser or canvassing effort for the candidate, will you come out?
3. As aforementioned, our club has enacted bylaws to ensure that eligible voting members in endorsements are participating members of the club. This is to prevent “club-stacking” by campaigns and outside groups who have sought to purchase their way to the votes needed for an endorsement. To be an eligible voting member in any of our endorsement considerations, make sure your member dues are current and that you have attended at least two club meetings in the past 12 months as a paid member.
4. Help our endorsements have an impact. Share the club’s endorsement announcements on social media. Wear your club t-shirt to canvassing efforts and events supporting our candidates. If you are interested and able to financially support an effort by the club in support or a candidate or for paid ads publicizing our slate of endorsements, please contact the club.
5. If you see a candidate or group using the club’s name or logo to imply an endorsement or support for a candidate or ballot measure where the club has not voted to grant the implied support, please report it. In past years, we have seen several uses of the club’s name and logo being used to “greenwash” campaigns or impress environmentally concerned voters when no such endorsement was given from the member body.
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