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It’s Your Party: How to Make a Difference in the California Democratic Party

During presidential elections, we often hear the term “delegate” being tossed around — by the journalists and pundits who bring us the news, to the politicians vying for our votes. But have you, as a voter, been clearly told what a delegates’ specific role is, who they are, and how they came to be in these positions of power? 

Thought so. 

We — the people — deserve a government that is transparent, easy to understand and navigate. But the reality is, the inner workings of Party politics is a mystery to many of us, and the California Democratic Party is no different. This week, we have an opportunity to begin to change that. California’s Assembly District Election Meetings (or ADEMs for short) hold elections every odd numbered year in January where registered Democratic voters vote for Assembly District Delegates (or AD Delegates) — this year, the vote happens on January 30. These delegates attend the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) to represent our interests within the Party. 

AD Delegates will also represent their constituents at California Democratic Party Regional Meetings, vote at the California Democratic Party’s Convention, and a subset of AD Delegates are elected to serve as an Executive Board member where they represent our communities at Executive Board meetings. Californians who are registered as Democrats, should vote because AD Delegates establish the Party’s platform and priorities, as well as choose who the Party will endorse and what ballot measures the Party will support, and so much more. (1) In short, AD Delegates have a tremendous amount of influence and responsibility, so be sure your voice is heard with your ballot by voting for AD Delegates that reflect your values. 

If you’re anything like me, you may have asked yourself, how does California overwhelmingly vote for Senator Sanders to be the Democratic presidential candidate, yet the California Demcractic Party endorses so many moderate while rejecting to back progressive champions, such as when Kevin de Leon challenged Senator Feinsten’s reelection bid. The answer: delegates. And these delegates are elected during “off years,” when most of us aren’t tuned into politics. But we must stay tuned in, even during years when there isn’t a presidential election because–as you can see– so much is at stake in terms of the future of the Democratic Party during these so called “off-years.” 

Delegates have the power to determine how our state’s Democratic Party will operate and what its focus will be. That means, as voters we have the power–right now–to influence the Party’s direction by electing folks who reflect our values of equity and justice to represent us. If you want California Democrats to back bold initiatives such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, we start by electing delegates that share those values because through reforming the party, we can reform our society. 

A record breaking 169,743 people registered to vote for this year’s ADEMs election! (2) And although the election is days away, there’s still time for us to organize and build support for candidates who reflect our progressive values, and help get out the vote. Be an empowered voter by researching local slates, promoting candidates committed to equity and justice, and making sure that your community gets their ballots in the mail on or before January 27 (received by Jan. 30).

Deadline Extended: Received by Feb. 3!

Now is our time to start building the government we want–and deserve–by electing courageous delegates that truly represent our needs, ideals, and are committed to progress. And in doing so, we will not only reaffirm our commitment to electing a government that is more reflective and accountable to the people it serves, we will take the first steps to realize our commitment.