Virginia Democratic Convention delegates

One of our primary focuses right now is the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) Committee convention, coming up this June 18th in Richmond. Here, selected delegates from across the state will convene to help set the direction of the Democratic party for the next 4 years, as well as select  those who will be representing the state at the national convention. There seems to be a lot of confusion about how things work, so let's break down what's going on

The main purpose of the party primary elections earlier this March was to set the delegate allocations for the two Presidential candidates in each Virginia city or county. Congressional districts (CDs) are also important here, as larger cities such as Hampton or Newport News, for example, are split between several different CDs, and have a certain number of delegates allocated in each district to each candidate. In addition to the delegates, a certain number of alternates are allocated, in case one of the primary delegates fail to appear or have to drop out for whatever reason.

Our goal between now and June 18th, is to make sure that we have as many people as possible filling those delegate seats, starting with those allocated for Bernie Sanders.

So, what commitment is a delegate making, time-wise? There will be three meetings delegates will need to attend: the locality caucus, the CD caucus and State convention. Local DPVA committee meetings should be between one or two hours and will take place on either Saturday April 16th at noon, or Monday April 18th at 7:30 PM. District meetings will be held on May 7th, 14th, or 21st, and will likely take several hours. The Saturday, June 18th state convention will be an all-day affair, and will require delegates to be present in Richmond in the morning, meaning you'll have to consider your travel time to the capital or get a hotel room.

So, let me explain what happens each step of the way.

As we mentioned, each locality has a certain number of delegates allocated for each of their CDs, although there are some places that don't have any for Bernie. Anyone interested in being a delegate is required to submit a pre-registration form to the local DPV committee, along with a voluntary filing fee. These are due 7 days before the locality meeting date. Note: the party cannot prevent you from being a delegate; this is a voluntary fee that goes to offset the costs of the meetings and materials, and should be somewhere between $15 and $25 dollars. If the number of pre-filers is equal to or less than the number of allocated seats, then no caucus is necessary and everyone goes to the district and state conventions. Of course, our goal is to meet or exceed these numbers, in which case voting will take place to choose who will go on.

The district conventions have several goals. The first is to elect the national convention delegates for the congressional district. These will be the people going to Philadelphia this summer to select the party's nominee. In addition, the CDs will also be accepting and voting on resolutions, which are basically statements that set the party's position on certain issues. This is where grassroots organizations have the best chance of having their voices heard, and where we'll be focusing our efforts. The DPVA already plans to get a resolution against the proposed Right to Work (For Less) amendment for the Virginia Constitution, but we plan on submitting additional resolutions focused on our important issues: stopping the TPP, joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, non-partisan redistricting at the State and Federal levels, protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and so forth. Ratified CD resolutions will go to the DPVA resolutions committee for consideration and possible forwarding for a vote at upcoming DPVA regular quarterly meetings. We plan on putting as many of these through as we can.

At the state convention, there will be several orders of business: Virginia's members to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), selecting our representatives for the Electoral College, and also selecting the additional at-large delegates for the DNC Convention in Philadelphia.  Here again is where it's important that we have every single Bernie delegate present, to make sure that we get every single delegate that we're entitled to, and have as much of a say in how the DPVA operates moving forward.

"So', you say, "what are the next steps?" We have put together a spreadsheet listing each locality by CD, along with the number of allocated Bernie delegates and alternates. Some of the localities have already been claimed by organizers who are working that city or county to gather the pre-file form, due date and turn-in location, as well as the locality caucus date and location. We're also keeping track of the number of people who have pledged to file as a delegate. If your area isn't claimed, and you can help, put your name next to it, and reach out to your local DPVA committee. If you need help, leave comments here or reach out to your local Virginians For Bernie page on Facebook.

So that's it for now: Contact your local DPVA committees, get the details on your local caucus, and then start recruiting people to participate in this process, and help them get pre-filed, and help us track progress across the state. There's a lot of work to be done in our great Commonwealth, and this is just the first step toward claiming our government back from the oligarchs. 

For Virginia,