Election Process — Party Chair 2017-18

TO:  Jefferson County Democrats General Membership and
Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs)
FR:  Committee on Chair Elections

Election process defined by Chair Election Committee and according to Bylaws of JCD:

*Asterisked items updated March 26, 2017, per consultations between JCD and State Parliamentarians.

March 28, 2017 Candidate Forum
6:00 to 9:00pm
Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Oscar Erikson Building
4907 Landes St, Port Townsend, WA 98368

Cynthia Koan
Larry Dennison

(Questions turned in by 6:30pm will be vetted and collated by a small group chosen by declared candidates, Celeste Bennett and Marty Gilmore.)

Moderator (Welcome and Introductions) – 10 minutes
Candidates – 10 minutes each

7:00  PCO questions from index cards (1 hour)

8:00  Membership questions from index cards (45 minutes)

8:45  Business meeting: Accounts Audit results (15 minutes)

Timing will be adjusted as needed between hard start and adjournment times.

April 11, 2017 Election
6:00 to 9:00pm
Chimacum High School Auditorium
91 West Valley Road, Chimacum, WA 98325

PCOs have to sign in. Jefferson County Bylaws require 25%, but no less than 6, qualifying PCOs be present to establish a quorum.  *Only PCOs who are elected or appointed to represent their geographic district can vote. PCOs living outside the precinct they represent cannot vote. *Proxy votes will not be allowed. Jefferson County Democrats currently has 29 PCOs qualified to vote in this election.


  • Arriving as early as 5:30pm, PCOs sign-in and take their seats in the Voting Section. All other members simply choose their seats.

6:00 – 7:30pm

  • Acting Chair calls the meeting to order and appoints Interim Chair.
  • Interim Chair accepts nominations from the floor.  Each candidate is allowed one nomination speech up to 2 minutes in length.
  • Once nominations are complete, Interim Chair calls on each candidate to speak. Candidate speeches are allowed up to 3 minutes.
  • Interim Chair calls on people speaking in support of each nominee. Each nominee is allowed one support speech up to 2 minutes.
  • Tally Committee distributes printed ballots to Voting PCOs. Interim Chair instructs PCOs to mark their ballots.
  • Tally Committee collects ballots and adjourns to count ballots. Tally Committee Chair delivers results to Interim Chair.
  • If a second ballot is required, Tally Committee produces those ballots and distributes them to PCOs. Interim Chair instructs PCOs to complete the second ballots.  Tally Committee collects ballots and adjourns to count ballots. Tally Committee Chair delivers results to Interim Chair.
  • Results announced.
  • Interim Chair turns the meeting over to newly Elected Chair.
  • Elected Chair makes brief remarks and welcomes Chair of the Washington State Dems, Tina Podlodowski.

8:00 Tina Podlodowski – WA State Dems Chair – Town Hall.
If the election process is completed earlier, Tina’s Town Hall will begin sooner.

The following paragraphs, in combination with the outlines above, explain events our committee has set up relating to election of a chair. While our bylaws specify only that the chair be elected by a meeting of all elected and appointed PCOs, we believe the party is better served by preceding that election with a candidate forum. We also believe that allowing a gap between the dates of the candidate forum and the election supports participation, allowing PCOs time to consider what they learn at the candidate forum and permitting membership sufficient time to communicate with their PCOs.

Candidate Forum The candidate forum will be a moderated question and answer session with candidates for Chair of Jefferson County Democrats. It is being held March 28,, 2017, in the Oscar Erickson Building at Jefferson County Fairgrounds (the largest capacity building available on that date) beginning at 6:00 pm.

That night, the candidates will have 10 minutes to introduce themselves, explain their reasons for running, and describe their qualifications. The moderator will then pose a series of questions that have been submitted in advance by PCOs. Candidates will be given an equal amount of time to respond to each question.

Following questions from PCOs, questions from the general membership will be presented to the candidates. General membership will have an opportunity to submit questions at the forum, in writing; however, we would request that questions be submitted early to facilitate the process. 

At the candidate forum, 3 x 5 cards will be provided for members to submit questions. Since we anticipate many questions will have similar themes, the cards will be collected and vetted by volunteers who are neutral or who, in total, represent equal representation for all candidates. Questions may be summarized or combined by those volunteers, and then will be asked of each candidate by a moderator. 

Prior to the candidate forum, questions can be submitted to your PCO or can be emailed to: trishwalat1@gmail.com, or you may submit them by text to 206-850-5835. The committee would like questions to be sent before March 14th.

*The candidate forum is being held as part of our general membership meeting on March 28th and will use most of our time; however our bylaws require that an audit of accounts be presented to membership by the March 28th meeting, so that business will be conducted at the end of the evening.

Interim Period — March 28th to April 11th Criticisms raised by the December 2016 election process stemmed from people not understanding who was eligible to vote for officer positions and being frustrated they could not directly participate in the election. It is a requirement of State Bylaws that all officers who are required to attend State Central Committee functions be elected by precinct committee officers (PCOs), which guards against takeover by members who might join solely to influence officer elections. (PCOs are elected on a partisan ballot every two years, a process overseen by the same governmental authorities monitoring all public elections.)  This committee has decided that permitting members to hear directly from candidates and then be given ample opportunity to communicate their opinions to voting PCOs will reduce the risk of frustration and promote party unity.  We hope that members will participate with questions on March 28th and will use the time between March 28th and April 11th to connect with their precinct committee officer.

Election On April 11th, the election for Chair of the Jefferson County Democrats will take place in the Chimacum Schools auditorium. People may arrive as early as 5:30pm. The election process will include short nomination, candidate, and support speeches. Announcement of the chair election results will be followed by a Town Hall with Tina Podlodowski, Chair of Washington State Democrats.

If there are any questions regarding these decisions of the Committee, please contact committee chair Juliet Parfrey (julietparfrey@gmail.com).


Respectfully Submitted:

The Ad Hoc Committee to Convene on Chair Elections
Chair, Juliet Parfrey