At 3:00 pm on Sunday, June 7 at Newton South High School, Newton Democrats - meaning any person who lives in Newton and is registered to vote here as a Democrat - will caucus to elect delegates to the 2015 State Democratic Convention on September 19 in Springfield.
The caucus is a fun event involving Dems from all across the city, scores of candidates for statewide office, local elected officials and most of all and appeals for support from all corners from people who apsire to represent you in State Government.
The NDCC encourages all registered Democrats to participate as voters, candidates for delegate or just curious onlookers. This Q&A will give you more information about how and why you can be involved.
What is a caucus?
Basically, it's a political gathering where something is decided by a vote of eligible participants.
What is the purpose of THIS caucus?
The purpose is to elect Democratic delegates to the 2015 Democratic State Convention.
What do delegates do at the State Convention?
During campaign years, they decide who gets on the Democratic primary ballot, and who doesn't. They vote to place candidates for statewide office on the primary ballot. During non-campaign years, delegates speak out on issues and participate in great trainings. In all cases, there are always lots of great political speaches by inspiring leaders and fun networking with Democratic friends.
What happens at the caucus - how are delegates elected?
Voting at the caucus takes place by anonymous, paper ballot. Candidates are nominated and seconded. Each ward has a specific number of delegate spots and each attendee may cast that specific number of votes. So for example, if a ward has five slots for men, then a caucus voter may vote for five men. If there are five or fewer candidates who are men, then everyone gets elected. If there are more, then the top five vote getters get elected. Same for women - there are equal numbers of slots for men and women.
I'm interested in running but never have before - am I eligibe to run?
If you are registered to vote in Newton as a Democrat by January 31, 2015, yes!
Also, do I have a chance of getting elected?
Absolutely. Many voters at the caucus are open to being inspired by and voting for a candidate for delegate be it a veteran or a first-timer. This is particularly true during non campaign year conventions. If you're interested in running, you should run! Bring friends (who are Dems) and don't be afraid to ask people at the caucus for help. You'll likely be welcomed and fed lots of information by dedicated activists who love to talk politics.
How many delegate slots are there?
Each of Newton's 8 wards is allocated a certain number of slots. It varies slightly from ward to ward, but basically there are about 8 to 10 slots in each ward split 50/50 between men and women.
When is the convention? Do I have to be able to go to the convention to participate?
Saturday, September 19, 2015 in Springfield. If you are running for delegate, yes, you should be able to go to the convention. That's the whole point of being a delegate! But if you want to attend the caucus just to watch, or to vote, then no you don't need to be able to attend the convention.
I can't make the caucus in person. Can I still vote or run for delegate?
Yes, absentee candidates are allowed during non campaign years. You must submit a request in writing to the Ward Committee Chair for your ward. Candidates who are there in person have preference. If there are not enough in-person candidates to fill all the slots, then absentee candidates may be considered.
I have other questions - who should I contact?
Contact Shawn Fitzgibbons at (617) 997-2577 or email@example.com