Adopted by unanimous vote of DSA-LA Electoral Committee on 5/9/22, ratified by DSA-LA Steering Committee on 6/13/22.
The current endorsement process is described in the following documents;
Changes to Petition and Petitioning Process
- The Electoral Committee will create a standardized, templatized, electronic petition available upon request to any chapter member requesting it. This will allow the EC to know which petitions are circulating among the membership, while cutting out the current ambiguity about the form and content of an endorsement petition.
- Petitioners will be asked to commit to a number of hours per week on behalf of the Electoral Campaign Working Group, and will express their commitment on the petitions via a drop-down field. Currently, the EC’s endorsement FAQ states that signatories are committing to 4 hours per month, but this is not adequately communicated to signatories nor are they asked to affirm their commitment.
- To be considered for endorsement, at least 20% of petitioners must reside in that jurisdiction. This is to ensure that a successful petitioning effort will have a baseline of support from within the district itself.
- The new petition will require a Chief Petitioner to be identified among petition signers. This person will be recognized as the primary point of contact with the nascent petitioning effort, and will be included in communications regarding the processing and consideration of the endorsement petition. The Chief Petitioner will also be responsible for assisting in identifying candidates for Working Group leadership, and ensuring that WGs do have a full complement of support(and taking that position if they cannot)
- Petitions for US Congressional Candidates will require 100 signatures from chapter MIGS, an increase from the current 50. This is in part because of the larger size of the congressional districts, but also in response to guidance from the NEC to discourage endorsement and focus on congressional candidates without already existing and large support bases. Petition thresholds for all other races will remain at 50.
- Members who receive any compensation from either an official candidate/initiative campaign or an independent expenditure campaign in support of said candidate/initiative will be barred from signing a chapter endorsement petition for that candidate/initiative.
- Additionally, members who do any work, paid or volunteer, for either an official candidate/initiative campaign or an independent expenditure campaign in support of said candidate/initiative under consideration for chapter endorsement will be asked to identify themselves to the Electoral Committee. This is to ensure that the chapter is compliant with relevant campaign finance laws and does not unintentionally facilitate any individual member breaching campaign firewalls.
- Endorsement petitions for statewide candidates and ballot initiatives will not be considered, as those endorsements are to be made by California DSA. However, the EC may form Electoral Campaign Working Groups for statewide candidates or ballot initiatives endorsed by CA DSA.
Changes to Chapter Voting on Endorsements
- To be endorsed by DSA-LA a candidate or initiative must receive 60% or more votes in support endorsement. The current threshold is simple majority, while many other organizations (other DSA chapters, union endorsement committees, Dem clubs, etc) require supermajorities.
- Eligible voters for endorsement votes will be all chapter members who were MIGS 7 days prior to the beginning of voting.
Changes to Language
- Chapter “endorsement” of a candidate or initiative will be rebranded as a candidate/initiative being a “Priority Electoral Campaign”. Candidates/initiatives who are not Priority Electoral Campaigns, but are recommended in the chapter Voter Guide will continue to be referred to as “Recommended”. This is to minimize the confusion among many members who conclude that if there is not an “endorsed” candidate within a race, the Electoral Committee and the chapter have not taken a position on that race, or that a “recommended” candidate ought to be receiving chapter support in the same manner as an “endorsed” candidate. The current strategy of maintaining 2 levels of support for a candidate (“endorsed”/”Priority Electoral Campaign” and “recommended” in the Voter Guide) will continue, and only the terms we typically use will change. The term “endorsed” will not be used to mean anything other than a candidate/initiative being a chapter PEC, and will generally be used sparingly.
Changes to Electoral Campaign Working Group Formation
- The Electoral Committee shall be empowered to appoint the leadership of Electoral Campaign Working Groups, and determine the number of and composition of appointed positions. The Electoral Committee may choose to issue ballots to determine appointees as has been the practice over for the last few electoral cycles, or may use another method to determine appointees. Similarly, the EC shall be empowered to replace and/or un-appoint a member of campaign leadership at its discretion and with approval of the Steering Committee.
Future Changes to Endorsement Process
- It shall be Electoral Committee policy that future changes to the endorsement process may only be enacted by a majority vote of the Electoral COmmittee and with approval of the Steering Committee.