The Newton Dems are hosting a caucus on Sunday, May 19th for all Newton wards to elect delegates to the 2019 Democratic State Convention which will be held on Saturday, September 14th in Springfield, MA. We are also hosting a food drive this day. See caucus information below including a detailed Q&A.
The Official Caucus Schedule:
2:30 pm - school opens, ward chairs arrive for set-up
3:00 pm - Doors officially open. Registration opens. Caucus goers may network, plan slates, organize in the Newton South High School main entrance area.
3:30 pm - doors close/convention caucus begins
3:30 pm to 3:45 pm - late arrival grace period - ward chairs will begin their caucus (reading of rules, process etc) but may not begin nominations or voting until 3:45 pm - any person who arrives between 3:30 pm and 3:45 pm may still enter, register and participate
6:00 pm (or before depending on each caucus) - caucus ends
ALL those who are registered to vote as Democrats in Newton are welcome and encouraged to participate in the 2019 caucus to elect delegates to the Democratic State Convention. New this year-high school students may also participate if they are pre-registered to vote and will be 16 years old by May 11, 2019.
Who may participate:
Anyone registered to vote in Newton as a Democrat as of the start time of the caucus, or any young person who will be 16 years old by May 11, 2019 and is pre-registered to vote in Newton as a Democrat.
We will have registration forms for anyone interested in registering (or pre-registering) to vote or changing party affiliation to Democratic. Upon completion of the form those people may participate in the caucus.
If possible, any pre-registered 16-year-olds should bring proof of pre-registration (i.e. copy of receipt from election officials).
Wondering if you should attend, or what happens? Please see the caucus Q&A below.
On Sunday, May 19th, 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 this year’s State Democratic Convention.
The caucus is a fun event involving Dems from all across the city, scores of candidates for statewide office, local elected officials and (during election years) most of all and appeals for support from all corners from people who aspire 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 2019 Democratic State Convention on September 14th in Springfield, MA.
What do delegates do at the State Convention?
They decide who gets on the Democratic primary ballot, and who doesn't and guide the issues process. During election years they vote to place candidates for statewide office on the primary ballot. During non election years they focus on issue activism and education. Always, they are treated to lots of great political speeches by inspiring leaders!
Why are statewide candidates interested in the caucus during election years?
Because they need the votes of 15% of delegates at the Democratic State Convention in order to get a place State Democratic Party primary ballot during an election year. If a person is campaigning for statewide office as a Democrat and they don't get 15% of delegate votes at the convention, then their campaign is over. This happened to Marisa DeFranco in 2012 who was running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat alongside Elizabeth Warren. So, candidates will organize their supporters to run for delegate so they can be assured of meeting the 15% threshold at the convention.
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 eligible to run?
If you are registered to vote in Newton as a Democrat, yes! You need to be registered as a Democrat in Newton to participate. If you register at the last minute, please bring proof of registration to the caucus.
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. Commitment to the Democratic Party is key, as well as perhaps the statewide candidate you'd like to support at the convention. 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. Newton delegate allocation for 2019 is
Ward Total Del-Male Del-Female - Any Gender Alternates
Newton 01 8 4 4 4
Newton 02 9 4 4 1 4
Newton 03 11 5 5 1 4
Newton 04 7 3 3 1 4
Newton 05 9 4 4 1 4
Newton 06 10 5 5 4
Newton 07 6 3 3 4
Newton 08 7 3 3 1 4
When is the convention? Do I have to be able to go to the convention to participate?
Saturday, September 14th in Springfield, MA. 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 - this year candidates may be elected if not present if they have submitted a written letter of interest in running.