NC Democratic Party organizational meetings

Anyone who has witnessed the bickering here on BlueNC has seen only the tip of the iceberg as far as how far the Chairman's supporters will go in his defense. Folks who would normally step up and lead action against Voller will not, because he does have widespread support among the State Executive Committee's 700 members.

The only way to have a more sensible leadership in the Party, therefore, is to have those who disagree with the current party's leadership attend their local and county party meetings and run for the SEC. I won't. I tried twice, and I could not even get listed on the ballot in my county.

Maybe there is more hope outside the Raleigh beltline. The precincts have already started meeting and will continue into March. You can find your county party's information at the state party's web site:

NC Democratic Party – Calendar of Events 2014

Precinct Meeting Dates
February 25 - March 10

County Convention Dates
April 5 - April 12

Congressional District Convention
May 17th


And you never know how low...

...the Voller-haters will go in their constant attacks on him.

Tell me Martha - what basis do you have for stating that Randy Voller doesn't have widespread support among the 700 SEC members?

How many of them have you personally contacted?

As I suspect, if you have not contacted them - perhaps you might want to modify your statement.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Good grief, Chris

READ what I wrote. I said he does have widespread support.

My point is that a wiser, more informed group would not have such widespread support, in my opinion.

Martha Brock


Why are there 700 members of the SEC? There aren't that many seats to fill in the NCGA, Congress, and the council of state combined!

I'll be the first to admit I know nothing about the organization of the party I am registered to vote under. I am about as ignorant as one can get in this regard and still be considered an informed voter. Parties, and most other organizations involving more than three people, do not hold any attraction for me, but 700 members seems a bit excessive in a state of 100 counties. No wonder the party is so fractured and dysfunctional, or at least appears that way to those of us on the outside trying to convince ourselves to go inside.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Well, Get Educated, Well Educated -- Freedom aint free

Go get really smart, and give some money -- I did, you can,



SEC members are elected to

SEC members are elected to two year terms, and those elections take place in odd-numbered years.

And each county is allotted a

And each county is allotted a number of SEC members related to the number of votes that county had for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the last gubernatorial election.

Updating SEC by metro and demographics

If there's a move to update the SEC membership in someway, I'd like to propose the ballots for men and women reflect both a better balance of demographics and metro within the county they are elected to represent.

For example, here in Wake County, we should look to divvy up our Wake SEC seats by the twelve metros and base the number of SEC seats on our ballot by the current formula (the number of votes cast for the democratic governor candidate divided by 3,000 voters) and then within that number, divide by male and female as is the norm.

This would provide a much better representation of the county's voters and bring in a much needed fresh perspective on increasing democratic success in all parts of the county. For example, Apex voters cast 13,022 votes in 2012 for Walter Dalton which would equal 4 seats from Apex (2 male, 2 female); Cary voters cast 29,417 votes which equates to 9.8 seats (5 male, 5 female); Raleigh voters cast more than 137,000 votes which equates to 46 seats (23 male and 23 female). You get the idea.

Essentially breaking things down by metro voting means a better representational SEC at least here in Wake County and in those counties with larger populations. To continue the aforementioned breakdown for the rest of the smaller metros in Wake, the number of SEC seats by metro (again, based on their votes in the 2012 governor's race) would run roughly along these numbers: 3 SEC seats each per Garner, Wake Forest, and county (non-city); 2 SEC seats each per Fuquay Varinia, Knightdale and Wendell; 1 SEC seat each per Holly Springs, Morrisville and Zebulon. Creedmoor, New Hill and Willow Springs had percentages too low to qualify for any seats but together equal a single SEC seat.

Within those SEC seats allocations, if each metro's SEC members should reflect the racial percentages of its democratic-voting voters or at least of its own metro population, which ever seems fair and balanced.

Currently, our Wake SEC contingent is grossly disproportionate to Wake's population demographics. The Wake SEC members are vastly dominated by white males (80%) and african american women (45%). These numbers are based according to the race listed on each SEC member's voter registration. Without more african american men, white women, as well as hispanics, asians and pan-asians of both genders, we can't expect to craft resonant messages to persuade the more diverse voter population of our own county to turn out to the polls. Check out the numbers:

Males (39 seats - includes the county chairman)
- african american (7) = 18%
- white (31) = 80%
- hispanic (1) = 3%
- pan asian (1) = 3%

Females (38 seats)
- african american (17) = 45%
- white (18) = 47%
- hispanic (1) = 3%

Our SEC delegation by metro shows Raleigh dominates the male Wake SEC membership to the extreme with 31 men, or 78% of male SEC members which are mostly white. Raleigh, compared to its true voter representation should only make up 58% or 23 males among the Wake SEC members, and this includes the present county chair. Raleigh's gain disadvantages all other metros in the county. As for female SEC members, Raleigh dominates again 71% with 27 women which is four more SEC seat than it should have based on the voting numbers for the democratic governor (23 seats or 59%). Cary, the second largest metro in the county, is very low on male SEC members and just over its proper share in females SEC members (5 per gender). And for the most part all other Wake metros are not even represented in the female SEC membership!

Males (39 - includes the county chairman)
- Raleigh (34) = 87%
- Apex & Morrisville (1) = 3%
- Cary (3) = 8%

Females (38)
- Raleigh (27) = 71%
- Cary (6) = 16%
- Knightdale (3) = 8%
- FQ, Wendell (1 ea) = 3% per

Feel free to let me know if any of these stats are incorrect given the timing of this posting, my math might be a tad fuzzy. It's all just food for thought if A) we're looking to update the SEC membership process and B) we're going to truly be the big tent party that represents all the voters who actually vote democratic.

Lastly, remember, don't kill the messenger. I sincerely hope that those who would attack this idea would do not do so from a position of personal concern that they may lose their own SEC seat. The goal here is to elect a truly diverse and representative Wake County SEC contingent as well as more balanced SEC membership.

Most of it makes sense,

although I'm not so sure having 10% of the SEC from Wake County is wise, especially if you want to get more rural areas organized. I understand the voter turnout thing, but still. Seems to be metro-leaning, if you catch my drift.

Strikes me the same way

And you'll never bring most rural folks into the fold by stacking the deck against them, which is exactly how such a thing will be and is perceived out here beyond the sidewalks.

And I still don't have an answer to why the SEC needs to be bigger than Congress or the NCGA. It would seem to me that a smaller SEC, by 40% to 50% would be a more effective body, perhaps elected from several regional committees and a few at-large positions.

With a party that seems prone to devour itself from the inside every couple of years, doing things the same way over and over appears to me like an exercise in insanity.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

in the big picture...

...the larger population-counties are going to have more SEC representatives as that's in keeping with our representational form of national government. However, that's not to say that smaller counties aren't or can't be effective because we do have district congressional chairs to look out for them and that level insures a level playing field when it comes to seeking funds and support.

Unless I'm missing something, it would seem that any county's SEC members can be effective by collaborating together on important matters and issues. Besides, from what I can tell, these larger counties seldom vote as a block one way or the other. Too many moving parts to corral that sort of effectiveness.

Could there be a change in that?

Every state in our union has 2 senators. It doesn't matter what size they are, they have 2 senators. It is different in the House, of course, but looking at the "big picture" in North Carolina, I wonder if it wouldn't be more democratic if each county had the same number of SEC members.

It's just a thought.

NCDP's SEC = House Reps., NCDP Cong. District chairs= Senate

To Chambers' point, we already have equal representation like U.S. Senators among our party's state executive committee and council in the form of congressional district chairs. And our NCDP SEC members reflect the population much like the US House of Representatives are elected.

I think a 700+ membership of the SECommittee and the 50+ SECouncil are good things because the larger the group, the harder it is to dictate or intimidate. The problem seems to be when we get distracted by self-serving factions within these two groups. I say self-serving in the sense of power struggles. These are inevitable in any organization where the focus is within the leadership instead of on those being lead/attracted.

I would hope that our SEC county membership elections take into account precincts as a segment. By having no more than 2 people of different genders per precinct, the SEC message can be better dispersed across the county through multiple precincts. As it is now, we do have some precincts with several SEC members.

Just some thoughts on better organizational representation. Look forward to comments.

Thank you

I don't know the in's and out's on NCDP structure so this is a learning experience for me. I know that there are precincts that aren't organized or even functioning from the experiences I have had. Does that matter in this?

Thank you for explaining this to me or us if there are people here that also don't know how this works.

Lack of information is the problem ...

Chambers, the only way I learned this was from others who had been involved in the party longer. Then of course they all pointed me to the PoO (the Plan of Organization with the worst acronym) which is the NCDP bylaws. This convoluted and a little disjointed 33+ page document lays out the way things work. The bad thing about it is the lack of clarity as it tends to be written by and for attorneys. Its very unclear which leaves things open to interpretation (always a problem) instead of making things simple to understand and straightforward.

I'm probably oversimplifying things but the basic outline begins with precincts. In NC, the NCDP requires five active democrats (reads: registered democrat) who are residents of the same precinct to meet on a specific day, time and location to officially "organize" their precinct (basically it details point-people for the county party to contact for poll-working, etc). Five democrats are the minimum number to form a 'quorum.' Once you have your 5 or more democrats meeting together on this one day, you can elect a chair, vice chair, and a secretary at the bare minimum. The other 2 of the 5 serve as witnesses to some degree.

Then based on how your precinct voted in the last governor's election, your precinct is allowed so many seats or votes in the form of delegates. This becomes important for working together at the county level. Based on your precinct's voter turnout for the democratic governor candidate, you are given a percentage of this as your precinct's votes. The more people in your precinct who voted for the dem. guv, the more votes your precinct has. In order to guarantee you get all the votes your precinct is entitled to, you now must locate that same number of even more registered democrats to lend their names to each seat (vote). In my precinct, we have 11 votes so we need 11 democrats to put their names on paper to state they are representing the precinct as delegates. If I don't find 11 (6 more than the five in the original quorum), then my precinct would not get to vote its full strength (11 votes).

These precincts are brought together annually at the county convention and each precinct is weighted by the number of delegates they have as votes that they can cast. So if all goes as expected, my precinct would be able to cast 11 votes in the election of county party officers in odd number years (April 2015).

Once these county party officers are elected, the convention turns to electing the SEC members in odd-numbered years. Wake typically has about 80 SEC seats split by gender. We're given ballots at the convention with 40+ or more names on the mens ballot, ditto for the womens ballot. Then, each precinct chair and vice chair cast their votes (this time voting not based on precinct but based on the # of SEC seats Wake County is allowed). In 2013, we were told to vote for up to 39 men and 38 women on the two ballots. These are then suppose to be collected, kept safe and then counted publicly after each voter (chair and vice chair) have been accredited as a valid voter within a week or so. This didn't happen in 2013. From what I saw, there were people voting who were from unorganized precincts (you can NOT vote if you live in an unorganized precinct). There were people who were too young to be registered voters, who voted and turned in ballots. I could go on but I digress.

Once the ballots are all counted, the votes for each SEC member of that county are then computed based on the precinct's voting strength. So say I voted for 38 men on my ballot. Given that my precinct only has 11 votes, I would be allowed to cast 5.5 votes as a precinct chair, and my vice chair would cast the other 5.5 votes. If that vice chair didn't attend, then we'd lose the 5.5 votes. Isn't this complicated?

Here's where it gets even more convoluted appropriately so. There's a spreadsheet held by the county party that lists each precinct and whether or not it is organized. Those that are are organized then have their two officers' votes total are put through a formula to split their precincts votes into "points" essentially. After all precinct officers have voted on their ballots, the points are put through a spreadsheet that divides the strength of each precinct officers votes...and the points added up. The top 39 candidates on the male ballot are then elected. Ditto the top 38 candidates on the womens ballots.

At that point these SEC members represent the Wake contingent at the state executive committee meetings held 3x a year across the state. This process is happening in all counties. All total, these 700+ SEC members along with elected public officials and NCDP state executive council members (51, *and some are appointees) and whoever else I may be forgetting, now come together to vote on the state party officers and other matters. State party officers are elected at the state convention. If I got any of this twisted, please let me know.

So, it all begins with precincts to get into the party involvement. Being involved in your precinct means being a direct conduit to neighbors and fellow democrats on what is going on locally that the state and county party needs to know about. It's also the best pipeline to finding potential candidates and communicating with democratic voters.

I hope all this hasn't chased away any interests in the party but as you can see, we as a state or county party do not seem to promote this information in any reader-friendly way. Any efforts I made to do that as Cary Vice Chair only seemed to get me into hot water. I think that's why newbies often come away with the feeling we can be a cliquish organization. And that's because we are.

Some details are wrong

One SEC meeting has to take place before March in odd or even years. At least one more meeting has to take place after March. So it's not 3X a year unless there are special circumstances.

People who live in unorganized precincts can and do vote. SEC members from a county are automatically CEC members from their county - and they do get to vote. You yourself say that SEC members don't have to come from organized counties.

The deal is - SEC members are nominated and elected by the CEC. Any registered Democratic voter from the county can get nominated and elected to the SEC.

If you saw any underage people voting at the 2013 Wake Dems convention - why didn't you speak up and identify the people who voted illegally? I saw some younger Dems voting, but they (like Xena Eriksen) were 18 years old. There were not that many people there younger than 18, and they were there to help their parents (like Kristine Cole's sons) and they didn't vote.

I didn't see any direct evidence of ballot tampering in 2013, but I saw it in 2011. A female SEC candidate was running around asking other delegates to show her their ballot, and then this female SEC candidate was either crossing previously voted names out, or voting for candidates - essentially voting more than once. I and at least two other people (one a former Wake Dems Chair and the other a female lobbyist) complained to the Wake Dems Chair, but that Chair didn't even look at the ballots for evidence of tampering.

State Party officers are not elected at the State Convention. State Party officers and DNC members are elected by the State Executive Committee at SEC meetings held before March in an odd year, or elected to fill vacancies when they occur. DNC delegates are elected at State Conventions.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

oh, well if Chris didn't see it then it couldn't have happened!

Chris, I had forgotten about some folks who manage to be elected to the SEC despite living in an unorganized precinct. It's kind of ridiculous when you think about it - that folks who don't/won't do any of the grassroots work get to vote on party business. I often wonder if the Progressive Dems who always hand out an endorsement list (at conventions) of fellow progressives to vote onto the SEC even bother to confirm if the endorsed club members are from organized precincts or not. But I digress. Thank you for that helpful expose on how often the SEC meets et. al, Chris.

Now to address your other irrelevant points (for fun) ...Just because you are not personally aware of something, Chris, does not mean it did not happen. In this case, you have only state party chairman Randy Voller to blame. If Randy had done his job properly you'd know all the details about the 2013 Wake County SEC election tampering, the names of those underage voters and unaccredited voters. What possible excuse does Randy have for shelving this and other bonafide petitions? Randy does not have the authority to ignore these petitions nor the bylaws prescribing specific timelines, and yet he's done this to several.

There's just no escaping the fact that chair Randy Voller has been obstructing the party'sdue process regarding the internal disciplinary hearing matters. These petitions should be processed, heard and concluded by now. What's his excuse?

Perhaps Randy's been inundated by unfounded petition attempts by folks like you and Doris trying to exact revenge for petty, personal vendettas. After all, Doris's distorted petition against a fellow county party officer failed before the COR but was appealed on inappropriate grounds. The petition's appeal decision was found invalid and its decision was appropriately overturned with the full and unanimous support and approval of the 2011 state executive council right about the time when the two of you were after that same female SEC officer you're referring to in your comment directly above.

How about you give the veiled attacks a rest?

Lovely !

James here will appreciate this because of his time in the military. This all sounds mostly like a cluster fuck. The acronym K.I.S.S. applies here (Keep It Simple Stupid).

All of that is lovely but it's so confusing and convoluted that it makes people stay away rather than run to it.

Now I see why I have seen so few precinct organizations. I can think of at least one way to make this precinct thing far easier, but it would just be my opinion and I won't try to share and argue its merits or lack of merits here. The last thing we need here is more arguing.

Thank you. I know that took some putting together.

It's not that confusing.

Regular SEC members and delegates understand it. It's spelled out in the POO.

Funny thing is - at the February SEC meeting, I noticed several irregularities on the schedule of meetings.

The District Conventions where originally scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd - the last day of Early Voting for the May primary. Big mistake! The District Convention were rescheduled 2 weeks later - on May 14.

The State Convention was originally scheduled to be one month later on Saturday, June 7. But there was no 2nd SEC meeting scheduled for the next day - Sunday, June 8. I mentioned this to both Randy and Robert.

After the District Conventions were rescheduled to May 14 - logic dictates that the State Convention should be moved back two weeks - and the SEC should be scheduled for the next day.

The staff not taking care of these details is just one more example of incompetence or sabotage. For example, last year's June SEC meeting was not rescheduled to August just to give Robert some breathing room. It was done because a staffer had never reserved the convention center space or hotel rooms for June - and it wasn't discovered until late in May.

This is what happens when you catch the "electoralitis" virus!

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Please do share!

Chambers, it does truly sound ridiculous in its own seriousness. Please share any ideas you have to simplify the process. Personally, I think no one should be allowed to run for their county's SEC positions if they reside in an unorganized precinct. If they can't accomplish this most basic step then how effective can they be as an SEC member?

I do urge you to share the ideas as we do need all the help, fresh ideas and simplification where possible in this party. We are unnecessarily convoluted in our processes which does seem to drive away brighter minds. Maybe fewer lawyers and more efficiency experts in our party leadership would help us focus on what we really need to be doing.

Hope you'll post you thoughts.

Catherine - I agree it's shameful that people...

...serve on the SEC and don't have their own precincts organized.

You do realize that there are many other officers in the NCDP who don't have their own precincts organized. Officers from chartered auxiliaries often don't have their precincts organized.

An even more shameful thing is county chairs that have unorganized precincts. That's literally like not wanting to register people to vote.

People who live in an unorganized precincts don't have a say in the Democratic Party. They can't vote for party officers. They can't vote for resolutions or have a say in the party platform. They can't vote to fill a vacancy in a district elected office.

But there are entire counties that don't have a chair. Voters in those entire counties don't have a say in the party affairs either.

I do hope that the POO Committee will work out a way for unorganized counties to get organized - and to ensure that Chairs at the County and District level get with the program to organize precincts and counties.

If we were to organize all 2800 precincts, and get 10 members of each precinct to pledge $20 per month - we'd have $6.6 million total. If we split that 4 ways between the Senate and House Caucuses, and the NCDP and the Congressional Districts for GOTV - that would be $1.65 million for each group. And that would not be including big donations.

That's the Victory Program the Taxpayer Checkoff Committee, Randy, Senator Nesbitt and Rep. Hall decided to put together last June. With more commitment to party building, we could really give the Republicans a run for it and take back our state and nation!

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Wait, what?

Sorry but I seriously hope the PoO Committee (who ever these Randy appointees are) does not try to subvert the existing state party bylaws in order to gain supporters in what would appear to be some sort of quid pro quo for organized county status when these counties haven't organized any precincts.

This should be a priority of Randy's, not the PoO committee, to address these unorganized counties. He is after all the chair. Tasking a committee to invent a loophole to allow some sort of party participation by those who are not fulfilling the basic "entrance" requirement of precinct organizing is certainly a troublesome concern.

Why would voters in unorganized precincts even care about having a say in "party affairs" when the state party hasn't bothered to assist these county democrats in organizing precincts etc.? If all they hear from the party is incessant email requests for monetary contributions, perhaps they don't want to get involved with a party that doesn't find them important enough to help establish a democratic leadership structure in that county.

Resolutions anyone?

I'm getting my new precinct organized but I don't have any resolutions to share. Any good ones going around? Anything on coal ash ponds maybe?

Progressives are the true conservatives.