COMMITTEE PERSON DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Congratulations on becoming a Committee Person with the Greene County Democratic Committee (“GCDC”). We are excited about having you on board. As a group we look forward to building a better future for Greene County. This document describes some of the goals and expectations for Committee People.
Please fill out the attached Committee Person contact sheet. This will indicate that you have received this document. The information will be used to add you to the GCDC’s communication list.
Please read this carefully. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
For up to date information please check the official GCDC web site:
Chairman – Doreen Parsley Davis
Vice Chairman – Terry McSorley
Vice Chairman – Beth Schneck
Secretary – Marie Metzler
Treasurer – Dave Dwinell
State Committee – Thomas Burke
State Committee – Beth Schneck
The primary duties and responsibilities of a member of the Greene County Democratic Committee include:
- Attend County Committee meetings. Full committee meetings are held six times per year. Attendance at all meetings is requested.
- Serve on a standing committee
- Carry designating petitions (for all candidates)
- Help support county and local campaigns – including registering voters, finding and training volunteers, raising funds, recruiting candidates, and supporting those candidates’ campaigns for office.
- Assisting with county party building efforts including fundraising and voter ID campaigns.
- Serve as a liaison between the County Committee and one’s town committee.
- Read and be familiar with the GCDC By-Laws and Platform
The County Committee is constituted by the election in each election district of the County of up to four members, each of whom will be an enrolled member of the Democratic Party residing within the town in which the election district he or she represents is located. Committee members shall be elected biennially for terms of two years at the primary election in odd-numbered years. Designating petitions for Committee Person must be filed in June/July (see the Official Political Calendar from the NYS Board of Elections for exact dates). At least 5% of the Democratic voters in your election district must sign your designating petition.
The number of authorized members in each election district is computed according to a formula based on the total Democratic vote for Governor in the most recent gubernatorial election in each election district.
The County Committee may elect up to two Associate Committee Members for each election district and will designate primary and secondary positions (all at the recommendation of the Committee People from that town). The Associates must be enrolled Democrats and an Associate Town Committee Members in the town of the election district that they will represent. They shall have all the rights of Committee Members and will be considered Committee Members, except for the right to vote on the County Committee. However, should a Committee Member be absent, the Associate will then be allowed to vote with the Primary Associate having priority over the Secondary Associate.
Full committee meetings are held six times per year, beginning each year with an annual operating meeting in January and occurring every other month. Also in odd numbered years a biennial organizational meeting is held within twenty days after the party primary election. Town Chairs also attend Executive Committee meetings on the months that there are no full committee meetings. All meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month at a designated meeting site that is communicated to the members.
The purpose of standing committees is to manage and carry out the day-to-day work of the County Committee. Each standing committee may fulfill its goals as it sees fit, subject to review by the Executive Committee and the County Committee. Other temporary committees may be formed from time to time for specific purposes at the discretion of the Chair of the County Committee. The terms of all committee members and chairpersons will expire at the Biennial Organizational Meeting.
The Standing Committees are as follows:
The Finance Committee establishes procedures for disbursement of funds, prepares an annual budget and presents an annual financial report to the County Committee.
Fundraising Committee plans and conducts all fund-raising and donor-development activities. Fundraising goals and activity levels are determined by the annual budget.
The Platform and Issues Committee researches issues that may be adopted as part of the County Committee’s platform. The Committee shall monitor the activities of village, town and county governments, track issues within the villages, towns and the county, and develop all pertinent information for the purpose of platform and issue development.
Party Building Committee provides information and logistical support to County Committee members, Town Chairs and Town Committees regarding party building. A significant part of the committee’s mission will be the voter ID effort and developing the volunteer base.
Candidates and Campaigns Committee recruits suitable candidates for county elective office, screen candidates for approval by the County Committee, provide information and logistical support to candidates for village, town and county elective office, and assist in their campaigns within the county; this group shall also maintain a County Committee liaison with the county board of elections, provide advice on requirements of the Election Law, and prepare petitions for Democratic candidates; in addition it will maintain communications with the state and national Democratic Parties and develop and support candidates for state and federal office in concert with the state and national parties.
Communications Committee manages the County Committee’s communications with the public and advises town committees with respect to their communications needs. The committee shall also work in conjunction with Democratic elected officials to facilitate more effective governance and communication among Democratic elected officials.
Information Technology Committee is responsible for purchasing technology equipment and software, for deploying and maintaining technology equipment and software, for maintaining and updating the voter, donor and fundraising databases, for coordinating and maintaining the Committee’s website and other on-line activities and for providing support for communications (e.g. mailing lists), and campaigns (e.g. walk lists).
By-Laws Committee reviews the By-Laws of the Greenc County Democratic Committee and recommends revisions.
A Committee Person must file a petition signed by Democratic voters in his or her election district.
Candidates for office also need signatures on petitions to be placed on the ballot. Candidates may need greater numbers of signatures depending upon the number of voters in the political unit (Congress, Senate, Assembly, etc.).
Usually, a Committee Person needs 10 or less signatures to qualify in his own district. Candidates may need more (usually, at least 25) signatures from each Committee Person’s election district. Failure to get the required number of valid Democratic signatures means that the candidate won’t be on the ballot in the general election.
A Committee Person should try to get more than the required number of signatures. To get that many signatures involves at best a couple of hours each year and gives the
Committee Person the opportunity to meet and talk with his or her district Democratic voters, to find out who needs a military or absentee ballot, and to find out who’s new in the neighborhood.
Preparing for elections:
- Searching for candidates is a year round effort.
- Raising campaign funds – car washes, raffles, dinners, etc. year round.
- Circulating petitions
- Holding a Caucus to nominate party candidates
- A list should be developed of property owners who may allow campaign signs on their lawns.
- Town Democratic newsletters with candidate biographies and platforms should be mailed to all town residents.
- Meet and greet candidate parties and going door-to-door with candidates to meet residents.
- Event lists should be prepared that include parades, church suppers, firefighter events, and other local gatherings.
- Campaign signs should be posted (and quickly removed the day after Election Day.)
Election Day activities:
- Democratic Election Inspectors must be named and available for each election district. Two inspectors are required at each polling place so, it is helpful if a number of alternate inspectors are enlisted to fill in when needed. It is also beneficial if the election inspector lives in the election district he or she is assigned to because they would be more likely to know the voters in that district. (Inspection duties are spelled out in a handbook and training is provided by the BOE.)
- Arranging for a “ride to the polls”. Many voters are without transportation on voting days. Usually, drivers are recruited by the Committee Person and that fact is advertised with phone numbers to call just before Election Day. Each Committee Person should see to it that no voter in his or her district fails to vote for failure to get a ride to the polls. The Committee Person should, where necessary, drive voters to the polls, even baby sit for a few minutes where child-tending chores are keeping the voter from voting.
Notes on electioneering:
Election Law Chapter 8 covers rules on electioneering. Election Inspectors and Poll Watchers need to know this law. Basically, no overt politics are to take place within 100 feet of the polling place. “No political banner, button, poster or placard shall be allowed…”.
USING THE VOTER REGISTRATION LIST
The voter registration list comes from the Board of Elections (“BOE”) and is the list of all registered voters in your district. Information provided includes: name, address, registration date, birth date, party affiliation and sometimes a telephone number is given.
This list is helpful in determining who is not registered (i.e., those names not on the list) so you should make an effort to get those people registered to vote.
This list can also help you in looking for Democrats to be Committee People, election inspectors or poll watchers. This is also an excellent list to continuously canvas for potential candidates.
MAKING CONTACTS WITH VOTERS AND POTENTIAL VOTERS
Ideally, a Committee Person should know all the enrolled Democrats in his or her District. This requires a periodic effort since we live in a highly mobile society; neighborhoods and their residents are constantly changing.
The Committee Person should attempt to know and get to know as many people in their Election District as possible. A Committee Person’s duties offer many opportunities to meet people: seeking signatures on designating petitions; selling tickets to Party functions; canvassing for absentees and new voters; calling and contacting people on election days; finding volunteers. Other ways to get to know people include church activities, neighborhood charity drives, fraternal, organizational and other social events. These contracts are invaluable in any Committee Person’s work. The Committee Person should let people know he or she is a Committee Person; should be informed on matters of national, state and local politics, so as to be able to encourage and promote voters to register and vote Democratic.
A Committee Person will be asked to help with the GCDC Voter ID effort. This effort is intended to identify non-Democrats (called “persuadables”) who potentially vote Democratic. This list will be kept in a database and used for campaigns at all levels to develop targeted walk and mailing lists that will help candidates use their limited resources (time and money) more efficiently.
BUILDING A POOL OF POTENTIAL CANDIDATES (THE “FARM TEAM”)
The power of a Committee Person in the political process is enormous. Committee Persons select candidates (except where there are primaries).
A pool of candidates should constantly be built up from local organizations: zoning boards, school boards, library boards, etc. Building and maintaining a “farm team” is the best way of having quality candidates for elections.
NOTING, LISTING, AND REPORTING LOCAL EVENTS
Different activities occur in each district. Each Committee Person should periodically list the activities going on in his or her district – especially during the 3 or 4 months before election – and send that list to the County Chairman, who can compile a master list to be furnished to our candidates. This information will also be added to the GCDC web site.
Where possible, attend you Town or Village and County board meetings and keep informed on issues and political representatives.
Become an expert at what’s happening in your districts and town and pass that knowledge on to the County party level and to our candidates.
BUILDING YOUR TOWN ORGANIZATION
There is strength in numbers. If each Committee Person can find three of four people in his or her district to help with basic committee work, the job becomes easier and is more likely to be done effectively and thoroughly.
Telephone banks, ride-to-the-polls, house parties, canvassing, getting-out-the-vote, and mail campaigns, for example all require the efforts of more than just one Committee Person. The Committee Person will soon learn that he or she needs other people to do the best job possible. This is why every Committee Person, at the very least, should seek out someone in his or her election district to recommend serving as an Associate Committee Person.
SOLICITING CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PARTY
The County Committee needs money to operate: for housekeeping items, party building and campaigns. Some monies are raised from picnics, rallies, and dinners. The majority of support of this committee comes from voluntary contributions. The more money in the treasury, the more organized the Party can be, and better, more effective campaigns can be waged.
SUPPORTING PARTY FUNCTIONS:
Our picnics, rallies, dinners, and other functions serve two purposes: primarily, to get the Democrats together, to unify our efforts, and to meet and hear candidates; and, secondly, to raise needed funds for the Party.
Committee Persons must support these functions. Party activities need the support of the Committee Person – both in his or her own attendance and the attendance of the people to whom he or she sells tickets.