Process and FAQ
Who is responsible for Central Committee, General Assembly, and County Council member appointments?
Only CC members within each district are responsible for participating in the appointments. While voters and those outside of the CC are welcome to provide recommendations, information, and endorsements, only CC members interview the candidates, deliberate together, and vote. We ask that all letters from the public include contact information for verification purposes.
Materials should be emailed to: email@example.com with the subject line "BCDSCC Open Central Committee Seat" or mailed USPS to BCDSCC, P.O. Box 19092, Towson, MD 21284 no later than 11:59 PM on July 10, 2020.
Does the whole central committee ratify the appointments recommended by the district committees?
Yes, the full committee will vote either during a regularly scheduled meeting if it falls within the necessary time frame or during a special session that is called for by the CC Executive Committee. Prior to the ratification vote, the full CC will hold a closed session for the purpose of discussing the district committee's recommendation(s). While at-large members have most of the same privileges as elected district member, they do not vote for General Assembly or County Council appointments. Appointment candidates may speak at their respective ratification meetings.
Is the process the same if the position for General Assembly crosses jurisdictions?
The process starts the same way. The CC posts the position as soon as it becomes available and provides two weeks for applicants to submit their materials. Then the district committee reviews the materials and sets up interviews with all bona fide candidates. After the interviews, the district committee votes on the candidates and the recommended appointment is submitted to the full committee for a vote. The other jurisdiction will go through a process of selection according to their bylaws. If both jurisdictions select the same candidate, the name will be submitted to the governor for appointment. If the choice of the two jurisdictions differs, then both names are submitted to the governor and the governor makes the selection.
Is the process the same if the position crosses districts for County Council?
Again, the process starts the same way. However the district committee is now composed of all CC members who reside in the legislative districts that are wholly or partially in the councilmanic district. Each of these district committee members is entitled to one vote for each precinct of that councilmanic district for which their name appeared on the ballot. Once an appointment candidate has been selected, the name is submitted to the county executive.
What are the minimum qualifications for these appointments?
Because this information is not clearly spelled out in the CC bylaws, the state Attorney General’s office has advised that the term “qualified” means that candidates must meet the minimum requirements for a candidate who files for running for the specific office. The minimum qualifications, in addition to being a registered Democrat, for appointment to these vacancies include:
- Qualifications to serve on the central committee:
- Resident in the district
- Qualifications to serve in the General Assembly are:
- Resident of Maryland for a minimum of 1 year
- Resident in the district for a minimum of 6 months
- 21 years of age or older for state delegate and 25 years or older for state senate
- Qualifications to serve on the County Council are:
- Resident in councilmanic district for a minimum of 2 years.
- 25 years of age or older
The district committees are charged with ensuring that these minimum qualifications are met. In addition, a general background check will be conducted by the district CC. Though civil and criminal suits, investigations, and other such matters are not necessarily disqualifying, the governor or county executive may turn down a CC selection if they feel there is just cause.
What part of the process is public and what part of the process is private?
District-based interviews and votes must be held publicly but the district committees will hold a closed session to deliberate. Similarly, the full Central Committee vote must be open to the public. The voting by the full committee will be by ballot with the name of committee members and their votes read aloud.
What happens if there is a tie vote within district-based committees?
The CC chair is an ex-officio (voting) member of every district committee within the CC, so the chair may vote to act as a tiebreaker in district votes for appointment candidates. The chair may also provide additional support as needed.
If a CC member is running for an open General Assembly or County Council seat, do they need to recuse themselves?
Our bylaws do not prohibit CC members who are running for general assembly or county council appointments in their respective districts from interviewing and voting on the appointments. In addition, Roberts Rules of Order states that no one can be compelled to give up their voting rights. However, the CC Executive Committee encourages self-recusal, at least during the application and interview process, even if the member chooses to retain their right to vote.
What is the timeline for these appointments?
The CC has 45 days to fill a CC vacancy and 30 days to fill a General Assembly or County Council vacancy. The vacancies are posted the day there is an official vacancy, and the deadline for applications materials is a minimum of two weeks from the date of the vacancy posting. In each case, a complete timeline will be developed by the Executive Committee and posted on the website.
What are the responsibilities of the district committees in this process?
- Convene a meeting prior to or immediately following appointment openings to discuss parameters of decision-making process that would include but not be limited to:
- Develop an internal timeline.
- Determine where to host interviews.
- Determine the level of participation of individuals who are not CC members, such as providing endorsements, recommendations, public statements of support, etc. However, only central committee members of the particular district may participate in interviewing, deliberations, and voting. .
- Determine how to make the date and location of interviews and voting public.
- Develop a relatively consistent set of interview questions.
- Review applications to ensure candidates are qualified and conduct background checks as needed.
- Announce a date and location for interviews and voting.
- Inform the CC chair and/or executive committee of selected candidate.
Can someone vote who is not present at the meeting?
Our bylaws state that voting must be public. We have always interpreted that to mean individuals must be present to vote and this is the recommendation of Robert’s Rules of Order (RONR). According to RONR, voting should be in person whenever possible and prohibits proxy voting. (A proxy is a person who has been delegated to vote in place of a voting member and carries with it legal ramifications and the need to give that person power of attorney). However, absentee voting is addressed in RONR, and there are occasions when it is acceptable. The ideal method of absentee voting is with a mailed-in ballot. However, most voting by our CC does not include absentee voting, and any form of absentee voting must receive special permission through MDP in consultation with the CC chair.