In Texas voters must return to their polling place at 7:15 p.m. after the Primary Polls close to particpate in electing delegates to the County/Senatorial Convention. Most of these delegates go as pledged delegates, based on the number of votes each Presidential Candidate receives in that precinct. Voting in the Primary and participating in the Precinct Caucus are important. In Texas, a total of 126 delegate positions (three-quarters of the base delegation) will be distributed to presidential candidates based on the results of the primary. Forty-two delegate positions (one-quarter of the base delegation) will be distributed based on the number of people attending the party’s conventions. Delegates to the State Democratic Convention are elected at the County/Senatorial District Conventions. Delegates to the National Democratic Convention are elected at the State Convention. Texas gets a total of 228 delegates to the National Democratic Convention.
Explanation of how the process works is taken from the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party:
HOW TO BE A DELEGATE TO THE 2008 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
Texas will send 228 delegates and 32 alternates to the Democratic National Convention in 2008. These Texans will help choose the Democratic nominees for President and Vice President, and they will also express opinions on key national
issues. We encourage you to participate and to run for national delegate. What follows is, in general terms, an explanation of how to be a delegate to the National Convention. If you want more information, read the “Texas Democratic Party National Delegate Selection Plan for 2008” and the “Rules of the Texas Democratic Party.” Both
are available on the Texas Democratic Party website.
To become a delegate to the National Convention you must:
1. Vote in the 2008 Democratic primary;
2. File a Statement of Candidacy with the State Chair no earlier than April 21 and no later than May 21, 2008. Filing forms will be available from the Texas Democratic Party by April 5, 2008; and
3. Be elected by the State Convention in Austin June 6-7, 2008. If you participate in all stages of the convention process and campaign among delegates to the State Convention, you will have a better chance to become a delegate.
Texas will hold a presidential primary on Tuesday, March 4, 2008. The Primary will be open to any registered Texas voter who does not vote in another party’s primary and who does not attend another party’s political convention.
A total of 126 delegate positions (three-quarters of the base delegation) will be distributed to presidential candidates based on the results of the primary. Forty-two delegate positions (one-quarter of the base delegation) will be distributed based on the number of people attending the party’s conventions. The delegates themselves will be elected at our State Convention June 6-7, 2008, in Austin.
Texas Democratic Party has a three-level convention system:
Level 1. Precinct Conventions;
Level 2. County Conventions (or Senatorial District Conventions in urban areas); and
Level 3. State Convention.
Those who attend their Precinct Convention will elect delegates to the County/ Senatorial Convention; those who attend their County/Senatorial Convention will elect delegates to the State Convention. Those who attend the State Convention
will elect delegates to the National Convention.
A convention will be held in your precinct at 7:15 p.m. on March 4, 2008, the same day as the Presidential Primary.
The convention is usually held at the polling place and is open to anyone who votes in the Democratic Primary that day (or during the early voting period). There will be a sign at the polling place telling exactly where the convention will be held. If you can’t find a sign, ask your election clerk where the convention will be held.
The convention begins at 7:15 p.m. when the Precinct Chair calls the convention to order. If the Precinct Chair is absent, anyone participating may start the meeting. The convention is governed by Robert’s Rules of Order and Texas Democratic Party Rules. If you are late to the convention, you can still participate; however, you can’t change what has already happened.
The first item of business is for everyone attending to sign in and indicate the presidential candidate (including undecided) he or she supports. This is not a secret ballot. The State Party will provide your Precinct Chair with forms to use.
Next, the convention elects a Chair and Secretary to run the convention.
Third, the Chair announces:
1. The number of delegates to the County/Senatorial Convention the precinct will elect;
2. The percent of people attending the Precinct Convention who support each candidate; and
3. The number of delegates the supporters of each candidate are entitled to elect.
Delegates are awarded to presidential candidates based on a candidate’s share of supporters at the convention by using the following formula:
E-Z Math Formula to Determine Threshold
Number of People at Precinct Convention
Number Of Delegates To County/Senatorial
Convention To Which The Precinct Is Entitled
Threshold (Number of People Required for a Candidate Caucus)
(Always Round Up)
31 people attend a Precinct Convention which is entitledto 6 delegates to the County/Senatorial Convention. Divide 6 into 31 for an answer of 5.1. Since you always round up, the threshold for this Precinct Convention would be 6.
Fourth, supporters of each candidate gather in a group and elect delegates and alternates to the County/Senatorial Convention.
Anyone who supports a candidate who did not win enough of the convention to elect one delegate may join the supporters of the candidate who is their second choice.
Voting within the group is done at one time. The group first secures enough nominations to fill all of the delegate and alternate positions. Each person casts as many votes as there are delegates to be elected. For instance, suppose you
support Jane Doe for president and she is entitled to 4 delegates and 4 alternates to the County/Senatorial Convention.
Your group must first make at least 8 nominations.
Then, one vote is taken and you cast 4 votes. You may cast your votes for one person or split them among several people. The highest vote-getters are selected in rank order until all delegate and alternate positions are filled.
The Precinct Convention may take positions on issues.
If you are elected a delegate or alternate at your Precinct Convention, you may attend your County Convention on Saturday, March 29, 2008. In some urban counties, Senatorial District Conventions will be held instead of a County Convention.
The County Convention is called to order by the County Chair, who calls for the report of the Credentials Committee.
The Credentials Committee is a committee of the convention that decides disputes over who has been elected a delegate or alternate. The committee is elected by the
County Executive Committee before the convention.
You will first elect a Chair and Secretary to run the convention.
Next, a poll is taken of all the delegates to determine how many delegates of the convention support each candidate.
The Chair will announce the results.
Fourth, delegates in each precinct, or sometimes a group of precincts, gather together to elect delegates and alternates to the State Convention. Within the group, the delegates and alternates are elected at one time, but you cast only one vote. The highest vote-getters are the delegates and the next highest are the alternates. For example, suppose your precinct gets to elect one delegate and one alternate to the State Convention. Only one election is held and you get to cast only one vote. Thus if 10 supporters of John Smith are present and all 10 vote for one delegate to the State Convention while 8 supporters of Jane Doe are present and all 8 vote for another delegate, then the John Smith representative will be the delegate and the Jane Doe representative will be the alternate.
The results of all the elections within the precincts are added together and given to the Nominations Committee. This committee then distributes the “at-large” delegates among each of the presidential candidates so that the county’s delegation
reflects each candidate’s fair share of the convention.
For instance, if supporters of Jane Doe made up 50% of your convention, the Nominations Committee would work to see that 50% of the delegates to the State Convention from your county would be her supporters. However, a candidate who wins less than 15% of the convention doesn’t have to be given any at-large delegates. The at-large delegation must also be used to make sure that the whole delegation is equally divided between men and women as far as mathematically practicable.
If you were elected a delegate at your County/Senatorial Convention, you may participate in the State Convention, held June 6-7, 2008, in Austin.
Although the State Convention will officially come to order about 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 6, there will be issue caucuses during the day and Senate District Caucuses will meet from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Any Senate District Caucuses that do not finish their business will reconvene after the convention recesses for the evening.
Each delegate will officially sign-in indicating his/her presidential preference or uncommitted status when the delegate picks up his/her credentials. The sign-ins will be counted statewide and the totals will be used by the Nominations Committee on Saturday to distribute the pledged party and elected official delegates and the at-large delegates among the presidential candidates. However, any candidate who wins less than 15% of the whole State Convention will not get any at-large delegates.
The State Convention elects four types of delegates to the National Convention:
1. 126 pledged senatorial district delegates and
2. 35 unpledged party and elected official delegates;
3. 25 pledged party and elected official delegates and
5 alternates; and
4. 42 at-large delegates and 6 alternates.
PLEDGED SENATORIAL DISTRICT DELEGATES
At the Senatorial District Caucus, supporters of each candidate gather to elect their share of delegates and alternates to the National Convention. These must be equally divided between men and women.
The number of delegates awarded each candidate is based on the results of the Presidential Primary in that district. However, any candidate who does not win 15% of the vote in that district will not get any senatorial district delegates.
UNPLEDGED PARTY AND ELECTED OFFICIAL DELEGATES
On Saturday morning, June 7, the Nominations Committee will meet to first nominate unpledged delegates. These are set by national party rules as:
1. Members of the Democratic National Committee from Texas;
2. The former Speaker of the United State House of Representatives and the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee; and
3. All Democratic Members of the United States House.
These delegates will be immediately ratified by the State Convention.
PLEDGED PARTY AND ELECTED OFFICIAL DELEGATES
The Nominations Committee will take a break for one hour after nominating the unpledged delegates to allow those people who are eligible to be “pledged party and elected official delegates” to file a Statement of Candidacy with the chair of the committee.
After the break, the committee will nominate “pledged party and elected official delegates.” These are awarded to each presidential candidate based on the sign-ins made the day before.
These names will be immediately reported to the convention for a vote.
PLEDGED AT-LARGE DELEGATES AND ALTERNATES
After the convention votes on the pledged party and elected official delegates, the Nominations Committee will nominate “at-large” delegates and alternates.
The “at-large” delegation is distributed among presidential candidates in the same way that the pledged party and elected official delegates are distributed.
The entire “at-large” delegation must be used, if necessary, to make sure that the whole Texas delegation to the National Convention is equally divided between men and women. It will also be used to meet certain affirmative action goals.
The Nominations Committee will also nominate 3 unpledged at-large delegates.
If you are elected a delegate or alternate by the State Convention, you may participate in the National Convention in Denver August 25-28, 2008.
The state party will advise you on fund-raising and on lowcost housing and transportation if you would not otherwise be able to attend.
SENATORIAL DISTRICT DELEGATES AND ALTERNATES
District 1 - Delegates 4 -Alternates 1
District 2 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 3 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 4 - Delegates 4 - Alternates `
District 5 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 6 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 7 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 8 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 9 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 10 - Delegates 5-Alternates 1
District 11 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 12 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 13 - Delegates 7 - Alternates 1
District 14 - Delegates 8 - Alternates 1
District 15 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 16 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 17 - Delegates 5 - Alternates 1
District 18 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 19 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 20 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 21 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 22 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 23 - Delegates 6 - Alternates 1
District 24 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 25 -Delegates 6 - Alternates 1
District 26 - Delegates 4 - Alternates 1
District 27 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 28 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 29 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 30 - Delegates 3 - Alternates 0
District 31 - Delegates 2 - Alternates 0
See Texas Democratic Party Website for other information about the National Presidential Delegate Selection process.
Other information from the Texas Democratic Party Training Presentation
– To determine the number of Delegates to the County/SD Convention your Precinct gets to elect, the formula is:
• One (1) delegate for every 15 votes cast in the precinct for the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate in the last General Election
– TDP Rule change allows for 1 delegate for each 15 votes cast, instead of 1 per 25 votes, for 2008 computational purposes» Used to increase participation at the Precinct level
• Note: The number of delegates your precinct gets to elect will be specified in the Precinct Convention packet
– Delegates and alternates to the County Convention are elected in proportion to the percentage of attendees who signed in for each Presidential Preference
• Remember “Uncommitted” counts here!
– However, each Presidential Preference must meet a certain numerical threshold in order to have their own candidate caucus…• “EZ Math” Formula:
Number of people at the Precinct Convention
Number of Delegates to the County/Senatorial Convention to which the Precinct is entitled
“Threshold” (or the number of persons –
rounded up – required to form a candidate caucus)
– If your candidate meets this initial threshold, they are eligible to be awarded delegates. Then it’s simply a matter of calculating the percentage of individuals in
support of each Presidential Preference and allocating the delegates accordingly
– If your candidate fails to acquire the number of supporters necessary to be awarded any delegates, those supporters will be given an opportunity to join
the presidential candidate caucus of their second choice
• In this case, the presidential preferences will need to be recalculated and the delegates allocated accordingly
– Caucuses elect Delegates and Alternates
• Once the delegate slots are allocated to each presidential preference, supporters of each preference will caucus by their presidential preference to select the Delegate(s) and Alternate(s) who will represent them at the County/Senatorial Convention
– Each caucus secures enough nominations to fill all of the delegate and alternate positions. Each precinct convention will elect one (1) alternate for each delegate (TDP Rules Art.IV.B.8.(a)(3)).
» E.g. If a caucus qualifies for two delegates, that caucus elects two delegates and two alternates, etc.
• Each caucus holds one election in which the highest vote-getters become the delegates and the next highest become the alternates
• Each caucus member casts as many votes as the number of delegates allotted to their caucus
– E.g., If a caucus qualifies for two delegates, each member of the caucus can cast two votes.
– Caucus members can split the votes between multiple people or cast them all for one person.
– Convention Chair announces names of the selected Delegates and Alternates
• Those elected are ratified by vote of the Precinct
- A Delegation Chair to the County Convention is elected by majority vote
– Convention members consider other business, such as Resolutions
– The Convention is adjourned
PCT CONVENTION 101
Precinct Convention “Rules of Thumb”
– Be sure to VOTE!• If you do not vote in the Democratic Primary, you cannot participate in the Precinct Convention
• Note: Voting in the March 2008 Democratic Primary is the only technical requirement to participating in the convention process at any level
– This means that you could skip the Precinct or County conventions and still be elected to go to the State and National Conventions (TDP Rules Art IV.A.13)
- Practically, however, you must attend each level of the Convention process in order to have a chance of being elected to the next level
– If you attend the Precinct Convention, you will be almost certainly be a delegate (or alternate) to County/Senatorial Convention
– You can switch Presidential preferences if you need to, so you can move on to the next level