What's #RepYourBlock and how can I join?
- How can I get on Brooklyn's Democratic County Committee?
Getting on a ballot requires petitioning -- collecting a minimum number of signatures from eligible voters. Petitioning season in 2018 ran from June 5 to July 12. The next chance to petition for Kings County Democratic Committee (County Committee) is in February to March 2020. You must use specific forms and collect signatures only from Democrats who are registered in the Assembly District (AD) where you live. The minimum requirement is to collect signatures from 5% of the registered Democrats in your Election District (ED). As the number of voters in each ED varies, the number of signatures required varies by each ED, but it's usually somewhere between 30 and 60 signatures.
We'll make it easy for you: the #RepYourBlock team will calculate the number of signatures you need to collect and give you voter lists, petitions, and any other tools you need to get started.
If you collect the necessary signatures, but face a primary challenger for your County Committee seat, you will be on the ballot in your Election District on the June 2020 Democratic Primary Day for that cycle. You will need to canvass once more and ask your neighbors to vote for you in the primary! Mark your calendars, locate your polling place, and read up on races and candidates in your area.
- What does a County Committee member do?
The main responsibilities of a County Committee member are to cast a vote for the Executive Committee, including Chair, of the Democratic Party of Brooklyn and to vote on any resolutions proposed to the entire County Committee, including the passage of the Party budget. Well-organized groups of County Committee members can even advance resolutions! Most importantly, a County Committee member may be called upon to choose among candidates seeking the Democratic ballot line in a special election. Special elections are called when a midterm vacancy in an elected office occurs for any reason (such as when an elected official resigns to take a different office, or is indicted).
- Where is my Election District?
Each Assembly District (AD) is composed of smaller Election Districts (EDs), typically one to three city blocks. To find out what your ED number is, enter your address in PollsiteLocator.com, and save that list! Then you’ll know the numbers of all the overlapping legislative and judicial districts you live in. For the purposes of County Committee, you need to know your AD and your ED.
Who can run
- Is someone already representing my Election District on County Committee?
Maybe! Once you know your Election District (ED), you can scroll through the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s website to look for your ED number. If you see your ED listed, you will see the names and addresses of your County Committee representatives. If you can’t find your ED within your AD, then there is no County Committee member currently serving there.
- What do I do if my seat is already filled?
You should plan to run anyway! Because County Committee is a two year term, nobody is automatically put back on County Committee. Every seat is open and if you want to put in the work to get on, you should!
- If the seat is currently empty, can I just be added right now?
No, unfortunately, not according to the Rules of the Kings County Democratic Party. Special election rules don’t apply to County Committee, and your District Leader only has the power to appoint people to vacant seats at the beginning of every two-year County Committee term. But even then, we encourage people to petition for their own seat so that your neighbors have an opportunity to interact with you, rather than being appointed and never getting to meet your neighbors. The best way to get on County Committee is with your own two feet (or however you get around your neighborhood!).
- My neighbors and I all want to run. Will we have to run against each other?
No. Members of the county committee only have to live in the same Assembly District as the Election District (ED) where they're registered to vote. We'll coordinate our candidates to be sure there are no unnecessary head-to-head match-ups between our allies. Ultimately, you (or your neighbors) might end up representing the ED across the street or around the corner from you.
- If multiple people run for the same seat, could I have an election?
We’re careful to avoid that, but yes, it is possible that somebody else will petition for the same Election District (ED) as you. If that happens, it’s important that you take your time collecting petitions and have conversations with the other Democrats in your ED so that they will want to vote for you! We will provide you with a plan for how to run an effective (and tiny!) campaign for your ED.
We will also coordinate with everybody signed up for #RepYourBlock to make sure you are not running against each other.
- Can you help me find a running mate?
Yes! If you don't have anyone in mind to run with you, leave the referral field on the sign-up page blank. If we have another solo candidate in your Assembly District, we can pair you up.
- What's the deal with gendered (male/female) seats?
The County Committee rules require that every Election District has at least two seats: one female and one male. So, a different-gendered person (maybe a roommate, neighbor, partner, or friend) could be the ideal person to collect signatures with you. Plus it’s more fun and less stressful with a running-mate! (Some districts even have four seats: two female and two male.)
Because County Committee is not currently inclusive of non-binary Brooklynites, we recommend people who don’t identify as male or female to run for whichever seat they’d prefer. We have never heard of the Board of Elections asking for confirmation of a County Committee candidate’s gender. If you have suggestions for how we can support, recruit, or organize with more gender-expansive Democrats for County Committee, please reach out. We are committed to changing the gendered nature of this process.
- How much time will it take for County Committee?
Not much! Petitioning will take you perhaps two half-days or three evenings (in nice weather!), depending on how fast you can track down approximately fifty of your neighbors who are registered Democrats. We’ll give you names and addresses so you’ll know exactly which doors to knock.
- Once I'm elected to County Committee, how much of a time commitment is it?
It’s up to you. The most important power -- and responsibility -- you have is your vote. You can either come to the County Committee meetings (two per year) or you can send a New Kings Democrats member your proxy vote. But some people like to use their position on the County Committee as an overture to organize their neighbors around issues that matter to the community, or an opportunity to get to know their elected officials. In that case, the sky's the limit!
- When would my term start?
If you successfully petition yourself onto County Committee in February - March 2020, you will become a member at the party’s September 2020 organizational meeting.
- I am unable to petition. How can I rep my block?
Petitioning is not an easily accessible activity. We need to change that. But in the meantime, if you are not able to petition, please email us at [email protected] and we will connect you with a petitioning partner. We want to make County Committee accessible to all, and we are committed to providing accommodations to people with disabilities or life circumstances that make petitioning untenable.
- As long as I'm collecting signatures, can I also help out a candidate for State Assembly, State Senate, or District Leader that I support?
Yes! If you live in an area where New Kings Democrats has endorsed a candidate, we'll coordinate to make sure you're collecting signatures for yourself AND for that candidate. If you want to help out a candidate we haven't endorsed, we can try to help put you in touch with that campaign.
NKD and County Committee
- What's NKD's history with County Committee?
New Kings Democrats has been working to reform County Committee since our club began in 2008, and since then we’ve recruited hundreds of Brooklyn Democrats to petition for (and run for) seats on County Committee. We, along with our reform club friends, have successfully introduced incremental reforms to the County Committee. Take a look through our press releases to get more details about this and other work we’ve done.
- What's the best way to support the #RepYourBlock campaign?
Thanks for asking! You should recruit more people through social media and email. And you should become a member of New King Democrats. And you can contribute more to this campaign at any time by making an additional one-time or monthly recurring contribution.