By Mary McCune, Fem Dems President
The Fem Dems of Sacramento have always encouraged our membership to pursue pathways to influence, whether it be through grassroots campaigning, a local non-profit organization, or most commonly, through running for office. In our last blog post, we delved into how the next election you can participate in is closer than you think: January 7 and 8, the California Democratic Party is holding Assembly District Delegate Elections, commonly referred to as ADEM (find your Assembly District here!). While not a publically-held office, this private party election helps determine the voice of the state Democratic Party, which can pack a punch to a candidate's endorsements come election season. Candidates who can tout a party endorsement can rely on, in many cases, several thousand votes for those who bring party voter guides with them into the election booth.
However, endorsements are not the only things that ADEM delegates lend their voices to. Delegates convene every year at the annual California Democratic Party Convention to also shape and modify the party platform, and vote on a variety of procedural issues.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you prepare to vote for ADEM delegates:
As a Californian, and a resident of a state that proudly identifies as a majority minority state, does the platform and the party prioritize the needs of these voices?
As a Fem Dem, does the platform promote feminist principles and foster leadership from women and their feminist allies?
As an individual, do you think the party platform, as it stands, amplifies the voices of the state’s increasingly diverse electorate?
As a Democrat voter… you can help send delegates that align with your answers to these questions!
How do I know who to vote for?
In the wake of the most recent election, the California Democratic Party has seen an increase of delegate candidates filing to run. In Assembly Districts where historically it would be tough to find 7 men and 7 women to even file to run, we are now seeing over 60 men and women run to fill a total of 14 delegate slots. This is a great problem to have, as it means more people want to make their voice heard. But, with so many people to choose from, how do you cast your ballot with confidence? The answer is not always easy, so here are some helpful tips to help navigate you through these “deep blue” waters:
1. Read the candidate statements/list to candidate speeches.
This is oftentimes a candidate’s first interaction with a voter. These statements can offer a glimpse into the candidate’s platform, offer a personal story, and a chance to connect with voters over shared common goals. Candidates have the option to submit a statement at the time of filing, which will be posted for public viewing here. Candidates will also have the ability to give a 1-minute speech to voters half an hour before polls open.
2. Phone a friend.
Delegate candidates are just like us! They are members of the community and can be novice or seasoned community activists. Chances are, you know some of the people running in your district or have some mutual friends. Reach out and see if you can schedule some sit down time with candidates or even an email exchange to learn more. Most, if not all candidates would love to have the chance to talk to their constituents. Historically, these types of elections can be won by only one vote, so every vote matters.
3. Vote with a slate.
In nearly all the Assembly Districts slates have been forming. A slate is a group of people that have vetted themselves to be aligned with specific causes or platforms. The members of the slate will not only promote themselves, but also help ensure that voters cast ballots in favor of their slate mates as well. Many of these slates are currently establishing Facebook events or pages to promote their members, but expect more to pop up within the next week or so as all candidate statements have been uploaded onto the party website.
What do I do now?
While Fem Dems has not officially endorsed any ADEM delegate candidates due to the holiday season, the organization did want to acknowledge the following Fem Dems members who have taken the initiative to run as delegate candidates in the following Assembly Districts encompassing Sacramento County. Are you running as a delegate, a current dues-paying Fem Dems member, and not on our list? Please email email@example.com to let us know which Assembly District you are running in and any affiliated slates so we can publish a comprehensive list by Friday, January 6, 2017.