Tomorrow we will be holding the first of four Ward Chair Training sessions in preparation for the March 23rd ward and precinct elections, starting at 1:30 PM at the Central/Unser Library. The process used for these elections may seem, especially to newcomers, fairly complex, so I encourage everyone who plans to participate in their ward meeting in two weeks to attend, to better understand the process.
Two questions that I get fairly often is “why is the process so complex?” and “do all of the other counties do things exactly the same way?”. The answer to the second question is easy. No, not all the counties do things this way. For many of the more rural counties the complexity is unnecessary since they’re small enough for their County Central Committee meeting to be held in a member’s home, with the precinct meetings held in the same location earlier in the day. With a County Central Committee of 15-20 Democrats who already know each other quite well, the process can be very simple and still stay within the rules. But, with 58 wards, made up of 441 precincts, and participants numbering in the thousands to fill most of the 970 possible elected positions on the CCC, Bernalillo County can’t possibly do everything in one day in one location.
Our system for conducting these elections evolved over the years. Every seemingly excessive step along the way is in answer to situations that occurred in previous years. For instance, the inch-thick ward roster that you’ll be seeing is a listing of every one of the approximately 3,000 Democrats in your ward, used to determine a person’s eligibility to participate. After the party is done with it, it goes to the ward chair to use as a tool for management in his or her ward. Prior to their use anybody could show up at a ward meeting, claim that they were a Democrat residing in the ward, participate in the election of a ward chair, get elected and nobody would know it if that person was actually a Republican. And yes, that did happen more than just a few times.
Electronic data processing of the results was added about a decade ago to change the verification and credentialing process from a multi-week chore to a 1-day task. Everything else in the process is a check, a double-check or a triple-check, to make sure that we’re only electing Democrats from the ward to leadership positions, and to make sure that the elections were all conducted strictly “by the book”, with “the book” being our party rules.
So yes, our process is complex, but necessarily so since we have close to 200,000 registered Democrats in Bernalillo County. That’s why we encourage everyone who wants to participate in it to learn it. Although we still call these trainings “Ward Chair Trainings”, they’re not just for ward chairs and potential ward chair candidates. They’re also for other ward officers, potential precinct officers and anyone else who wants to understand what’s going on around them on March 23rd. In other words, this training is for YOU!
We MUST keep working together!
Chair, Democratic Party of Bernalillo County
505-463-7045 (Text Please)