RULES GOVERNING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF CHESTER, CONNECTICUT
In conformity with the Connecticut Democratic State Party Rules (“State Party Rules”), the rules for the government of the Democratic Party of the Town of Chester, Connecticut, are amended, effective immediately upon their filing with the Secretary of the State and the Chester Town Clerk to read as follows:
The Democratic Party of Chester shall support the registration of all community members qualified to be Democratic electors and encourage the full participation by these electors in party meetings, caucuses, and conventions, and as prospective candidates for any elected or appointed position within the Party without discrimination of any kind, including age, race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.
In electing members of the Town Committee, candidates for municipal office, delegates to the convention, and in all other Party Affairs, the Democratic Party of Chester shall attempt to reasonably reflect the registered Democratic electors in the town.
The time and place for all public meetings of the Democratic Party shall be publicized in accordance with the State Party Rules, and in such a manner, to provide timely notice to all interested persons. Meetings shall be accessible and open to all members of the Democratic Party and the public, regardless of age, race, color, creed, sex, sexual preference, gender identity, or national origin.
ARTICLE I ~ DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE
Section 1.1. Party Rules. The Party rules and principles of the Democratic Party of the Town of Chester shall be developed and translated into action by the Democratic Town Committee, hereinafter referred to as the Town Committee.
Section 1.2. Composition. The Town Committee shall consist of twenty-five (25) members who shall be elected at large, each of whom shall be a registered Democratic elector in the Town of Chester.
Section 1.3. Election of Members. In each even numbered year, the members of the Town Committee shall be elected at a duly noticed Democratic caucus held on a fixed day for such purpose, in accordance with State Party Rules and Connecticut General Statutes.
Section 1.4. Terms of Membership. Elected members of the Town Committee shall serve for a term of two (2) years, commencing on the first regularly scheduled meeting in March of each even numbered year and ending at the last meeting held in February in the next even numbered year. Town Committee members may resign at any time during their term by providing written notice of their resignation to the Chairperson or another officer of the Town Committee.
Section 1.5. Duties of Members. It shall be the duty of each member to: (1) attend meetings and caucuses of the Town Committee; (2) perform duties assigned by the vote of the Town Committee; (3) support the endorsed candidates by vote of the Town Committee and/or Democratic Party; and (4) actively participate in sub-committee, events, fundraising, and election activities of the Town Committee. The Town Committee members shall consider the performance of these duties, when determining the status of each incumbent member.
Section 1.6. Non-Voting Members. During their two (2) year term, elected members of the Town Committee may nominate candidate(s) who are either (1) a registered Democrat(s) with a distinguished, long-standing service to the Town Committee and Democratic Party to serve as an Honorary Member or (2) a young Democrat(s), ages 14 to 29 years, to represent youth voices as an Ambassador to the Committee. Candidates receiving the majority votes of electors present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose shall be deemed an Honorary Member or an Ambassador. Honorary Members or Ambassadors shall have all of the duties of members, but are non-voting members of the Town Committee and therefore, their attendance at a meeting would not be considered in the determination of a quorum.
Section 1.7. Status of Membership. The Executive Committee may recommend the resignation of any member of the Town Committee for just cause (e.g., failure to attend meetings, lack of active participation in sub-committees or events, posting inappropriate messages on social media). The recommendation for the resignation of a member shall be by a supermajority of two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Town Committee members present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose. The Town Committee Chairperson shall be responsible for contacting the member to request that persons resignation.
One-third (1/3rd) of the members of the Town Committee may recommend the resignation and removal of an officer for just cause. The request must be made in writing to the Chairperson or another member of the Executive Committee.
Officers of the Town Committee may be removed from office upon proof of neglect of duties or for other just cause by a supermajority of two-thirds (2/3rds) vote of the Town Committee members present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose. The meeting requires at least seven (7) days’ notice, which may or may not be a regularly scheduled meeting. After receiving the request, if the Chairperson fails to schedule a vote for removal, said vote shall be taken at the next regularly scheduled Town Committee meeting.
Section 1.8. Vacancies. The Chairperson shall notify members of the Town Committee of any member or officer vacancy at the first meeting following the creation of the vacancy. A vacancy of members or officers, arising from any cause, shall be filled by a majority vote of the Town Committee members present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose.
ARTICLE II ~ OFFICERS
Section 2.1. Organizational Meetings and Election of Officers. In early March and after the election of Town Committee members, or in accordance with State Party Rules, the incumbent Chairperson shall call an organizational meeting of the members-elect of the Town Committee to elect a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, a Secretary, and a Treasurer, and such other officers as may be deemed advisable. These four officers (i.e., Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer) shall form the Executive Committee.
If such Town Chairperson fails, for any reason, to call such a meeting by the end of the time period described above, it shall be the duty of the Vice-Chairperson to call the meeting within forty-eight (48) hours. If for any reason, the Vice-Chair fails to call the meeting within the forty-eight (48) hours, it shall be the duty of the State Central Committee members in the district to do so.
Section 2.2. Election of Officers. The officers of the Town Committee shall be elected from within the membership of the Committee.
Section 2.3. Term of Office. Officers so elected shall hold office for the same two (2) year term as the Town Committee electing them.
Section 2.4. Duties of Officers. Each officer shall have the duties usually applicable to the office and such other duties as the Town Committee may from time to time prescribe.
The Town Committee Chairperson shall preside over the Town Committee. In the event of a tie vote, such tie vote shall be resolved by the vote of the Chairperson or other presiding officer, if the Chairperson is absent, but this provision shall not affect the right of the Chairperson or presiding officer to cast any vote as a member of the Town Committee.
The Vice-Chairperson shall preside over the Town Committee in the absence of the Chairperson.
The Secretary shall maintain the membership list and meeting minutes, and shall provide members with a notice of upcoming meetings and events.
The Treasurer shall maintain accurate and complete records of the financial accounts of the Town Committee and file reports with State Election Enforcement Commission (SEEC) in compliance with State law. The Treasurer is responsble for the custody of all funds, which shall not be commingled with other funds, and shall be deposited in a separate bank account in the name of the Town Committee. The Treasurer or Deputy Treasurer shall have authority to sign checks, consistent with the laws of the State of Connecticut. All signing authority shall expire at the end of each signatory’s term of office or earlier due to resignation or for cause.
Section 2.5. Filing List of Officers and Members. Within one week after the organizational meeting of the Town Committee, or as required by law, the Secretary shall be responsible for filing the names and addresses of the Officers and members of the Town Committee with the appropriate state officials, Chester Town Clerk, and with the Democratic State Central Committee pursuant to its rules.
ARTICLE III ~ MEETINGS
Section 3.1. Regular Meetings. The Town Committee shall hold meetings at least six (6) times a year. A schedule of regular meetings shall be adopted by vote of the Town Committee at the beginning of each two-year term. Regular meetings may be cancelled or rescheduled by the Chairperson for due cause or as necessary, or by a majority of those members present and voting to cancel or reschedule future meeting dates.
Section 3.2. Notice of Regular Meetings. The annual schedule of regular Town Committee meetings will be posted on social media and on the Democratic Town Committee website. Notice of regular meetings with agendas shall be sent by email to Town Committee members at least five (5) days in advance of such meetings. Notice of a cancellation in regularly scheduled meetings will be made by email to Town Committee members at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance.
Section 3.3. Special Meetings. Special meetings of the Town Committee may be called by the Chairperson at the discretion of the Chairperson or within fifteen (15) days upon receiving a written request, signed by twenty-five percent (25%) of the members of the Committee. The Chairperson shall instruct the Secretary to notify all members of the Committee in writing of the special meeting, including the time, place, and purpose of special meeting. Such notice shall be given not less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the time of the special meeting.
Section 3.4. Quorum. Two-fifths (2/5ths) of the members of the Town Committee present at any meeting shall consitute a quorum.
Section 3.5. Voting Procedure. Each member of the Town Committee shall be entitled to one vote. All votes shall be taken in public (open) session by voice or show of hands, except, when allowed by State Party Rules, there is a majority vote for a written ballot by the Town Committee members present at the meeting. Vote by proxy is not permitted. In the event of a tie vote, such tie vote shall be resolved by the vote of the Chairperson or other presiding officer, if the Chairperson is absent, but this provision shall not affect the right of the Chairperson or presiding officer to cast any vote as a member of the Town Committee.
ARTICLE IV ~ SUB-COMMITTEES
Section 4.1. Establishment of Sub-Committees and Appointment of Facilitators. The Executive Committee shall make recommendations regarding the establishment of committees and appointment of committee members, subject to approval by a majority vote of the Town Committee members at a regular meeting or a special meeting called for that purpose. The specific responsibilities of the committees will be determined by the Town Committee. The members of each committee shall appoint a facilitator and a notetaker for meetings.
Section 4.2. Membership. Each Town Committee member shall serve on not less than one (1) committee. All committees shall consist of at least three (3) members of the Town Committee. Additional members appointed to serve on the committees may be non-members of the Town Committee. All committee members must be registered Democratic electors in the Town of Chester. The Town Committee Chairperson shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and shall be responsible for the committees fulfilling their assigned function.
Section 4.3. Reporting. Members of each committee shall establish a meeting schedule to complete their assigned responsibilities within the designated time period. The notetaker shall be responsible for recording the notes from the meetings. The facilitator (with the support of committee members) shall report on the meetings (i.e., date of meeting, number of members present, summary of discussion, activities, and recommendations), if any, at each regularly scheduled or special meeting of the Town Committee. All committee recommendations will be subject to approval by a majority vote of the Town Committee members present at a meeting for that purpose.
Section 4.4. Candidate Search Committee. The Candidate Search Committee shall recruit, review resumes, request meeting attendance records (if applicable), interview, and make recommendations to the Town Committee of potential candidates for: (1) Democratic positions to be filled on Municipal Boards and Commissions; 2) municipal elections; (3) delegates to municipal, district, or state conventions; and (4) Town Committee membership.
Section 4.5. Publicity Committee. The Publicity Committee shall be responsible for arranging publicity in print news media and publications, cable, and radio, including press releases, advertisements, articles, editorials, and mailers for all events and activities associated with Town Committee, as well as local, state or federal elections.
Section 4.6. Events & Fundraising Committee. The Events and Fundraising Committee shall be responsible for: (1) creating and maintaining an annual calendar of events; (2) planning, staffing, and budgeting for each event (e.g., Chester Fair, Meet the Candidates, Fundraisers, Socials); and (3) collecting items or donations for events and raising funds needed for the Town Committee and/or to support campaign expenses.
Section 4.7. Social Media/Website Committee. The Social Media/Website Committee shall be responsible for the social media presence of the Town Committee including, but not limited to, regular postings and updates to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the Town Committee website.
Section 4.8. Get Out The Vote Committee. The Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Committee shall be responsible for: (1) coordinating Town Committee members and volunteers to assist in contacting residents/voters by telephone banking, door knocking, email, mail, and/or social media posts to identify supporters of and promote Democratic candidates; (2) encouraging voter registration, calling registered voters on Election Day to get out the vote, and arranging for transportation to polls as necessary; (3) collaborating with Democratic Town Committees, campaigns, organizations, and Democratic State Central Committee on GOTV activities;
Section 4.9. Ad-Hoc Committees. The Executive Committee may establish and appoint members to temporary Ad-Hoc Committees for a specific purpose, as necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the Town Committee. The members of Ad-Hoc committees shall appoint a facilitator and a notetaker for meetings and report directly to the Executive Committee.
ARTICLE V ~ PARTY ENDORSED CANDIDATES
Section 5.1. Endorsement of Candidates for Town Committee. The enrolled members of the Democratic Party in Chester, at a caucus called for the purpose shall, by a majority vote of such enrolled members present and voting, select party-endorsed candidates for the Town Committee. At the caucus, candidates may be nominated individually by eligible electors or by slate. Candidates receiving the majority votes of those electors present and voting shall be deemed the party-endorsed candidates.
Section 5.2. Endorsement of Candidates for Municipal Office or Delegates. The enrolled members of the Democratic Party in Chester, at a caucus called for the purpose shall, by a majority vote of such enrolled members present and voting, select party-endorsed candidates for each municipal office and delegates to conventions. At the caucus, candidates may be nominated individually by eligible electors or by slate. Candidates receiving the majority votes of those electors present and voting shall be deemed the party-endorsed candidates.
Section 5.3. Municipal Office Candidates. Candidates for municipal office shall run in the primary for such office as party-endorsed candidates; provided any such candidate shall be the nominee of the Democratic Party for the office for which that person is a candidate, if no valid opposing candidacy has been filed for nomination to such office by six (6) o’clock P.M. on the twenty-first (21) day preceding the day of the Democratic primary for such office.
Section 5.4. Slate of Delegates. The slate of candidates for delegates to a convention shall run in the primary for delegates to such convention as the party-endorsed slate; provided such slate of candidates shall be deemed elected as the delegates to such convention, if no valid opposing candidacy by a complete slate, including persons other than party-endorsed candidates has been filed by six (6) o’clock P.M. on the fourteenth (14) day preceding the day of the Democratic primary for delegates to conventions.
Section 5.5. Date of Party Endorsement of Candidates. Each party endorsement of a candidate to run in a primary for the nomination of candidates for municipal office or for the election of Town Committee members or delegates to conventions shall be made within the timeframe established by the Connecticut General Statutes, which is not earlier than the forty-ninth (49) day nor later than the thirty-fifth (35) day preceding the day of the primary. Said endorsements shall be certified to the Town Clerk pursuant to the State Party Rules and state statute.
ARTICLE VI ~ NOMINATED CANDIDATES
Section 6.1. Certification of Party-Endorsed Candidates. The Secretary and/or the Chairperson of the Town Committee meeting or caucus, as the case may be, shall certify to the Town Clerk the names, and addresses if required, of the party-endorsed candidates, including the title of the office or position, and term if applicable, as the Committee member, municipal candidate, or delegate for which each person is endorsed, and the date upon which the primary or convention is to be held.
Section 6.2. Vacancy in Nominations for Municipal Office. If a nomination has been made for a municipal office and the nominee thereafter, but prior to twenty-four (24) hours before the opening of the polls on the day of the election for which such nomination has been made, dies, withdraws their name, or for any reason becomes disqualified to hold the office for which that person has been nominated, a nomination to fill such vacancy may be made by the Town Committee by a majority vote of the Town Committee members present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose. In the case of withdrawal, said nomination shall not be valid until the candidate who has withdrawn has filed a letter with the Secretary of State and the Town Clerk. The Secretary of the Town Committee shall immediately certify the nomination to fill such vacancy to the Secretary of the State. The permanent Chairperson of the caucus shall be empowered to fill any vacancies that exist within five (5) days of the election.
Section 6.3. Vacancy in Party-Endorsed Candidacy. If the party-endorsed candidate for nomination to a municipal office or for election as Town Committee member or delegate to a convention, prior to twenty-four (24) hours before the opening of the polls at the primary, dies, or, prior to ten (10) days before the day of the primary, withdraws their name from nomination, or for any reason becomes disqualified to hold the office or position for which that person is a candidate, an endorsement may be made to fill such vacancy by the Town Committee, by a majority vote of those members of the Town Committee members present and voting, at a meeting called for that purpose. The Secretary of the Town Committee shall immediately certify the endorsement to fill such vacancy to the Democratic Registrar of Voters. No candidate shall have been deemed to have withdrawn until a letter of withdrawal signed by such candidate is filed with the Town Clerk.
ARTICLE VII ~ ELECTIONS
Section 7.1. Primary Elections. The Town Committee shall by law fix the date of any primary election for election of Town Committee members or candidates for municipal offices, in accordance with the decisions of the State Central Committee in each instance. The date of the primary shall be published in the newspaper having a general circulation in the Town of Chester and shall be posted in the Town Hall at least fifty-six (56) days before said date, on the initiative and at the expense of the Town Committee. In addition, the date of the primary may also be posted on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and on the Democratic Town Committee website.
Section 7.2. Election Without Primary. If no valid opposing candidates for Town Committee membership have been filed with the Town Clerk in accordance with legally required procedures by four (4:00) pm on the twenty-first (21st) day preceding the day of the Democratic primary for such offices, the party-endorsed candidates for The Town Committee shall be deemed elected as of the primary date.
ARTICLE VIII ~ DELEGATES TO STATE CONVENTIONS
Section 8.1. Delegates to Conventions. The party endorsement of candidates for delegates to any conventions shall be composed of a number of persons, equal to the number of delegates to which the Town is entitled under the State Party Rules.
Section 8.2. Appointment of Alternate Delegates. In conformity with the law and these rules, each elected delegate to a convention may in writing designate an alternate delegate or a proxy to act for the elected delegate in that persons absence. The elected delegates and alternates must advise the Chairperson of the Town Committee at least five (5) days before any convention date as to their plans to attend. Notice of designation of an alternate delegate shall be provided in writing to the Chairperson of the convention. In the absence of a delegate and that person’s alternate, the Town Committee Chairperson shall fill the vancancy by appointing a proxy.
Section 8.3. Voting at Conventions. At district or state conventions, the elected delegates or their alternates shall cast their first ballot for the candidate or candidates endorsed by a majority of members present and voting at a Town Committee meeting. If a majority is not attained, the Town Committee will direct delegates to cast their first ballot vote to reflect the actual result attained by the voting members. After the first ballot vote and in all succeeding ballots, the delegates may cast their vote as they choose.
ARTICLE IX ~ PARTY CAUCUSES
Section 9.1. Party Caucuses. The time and place for holding party caucuses shall be determined by the Chairperson ofthe Town Committee, and notice of the time and place and purpose shall be given to all enrolled Democratic voters of the municipality at least five (5) days, not counting the day of publication, in advance of the caucus by publication in a newspaper having a general circulation in Chester and by posting the same on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and the Town Committee website. The time of any such caucus shall be fixed so as to comply with the provisions of the State Party Rules, as the same may be amended from time to time, and to the rules of the State Central Committee.
The Chairperson of the Town Committee shall be the temporary chairman of all caucuses and shall preside until the meeting has selected a permanent Chairperson. In like manner the Secretary of the Town Committee shall act as Secretary until the meeting has selected its Secretary. The caucus shall be conducted in conformity with the Connecticut General Statutes, as these may be amended from time to time, specifying who is eligible to vote and the procedure for voting by ballot.
Section 9.2. Special Caucuses. Special caucuses may be called for for any lawful purpose, by a majority vote of the Town Committee, or by not less than ten (10%) percent of the registered Democratic voters in the town. The call for any such caucus shall be in writing and signed by the Chairperson of the Town Committee, if called by vote of the Town Committee; or signed by each voter, if called by ten percent (10%) of registered Democratic voters. Notice of time, place and purpose of said special caucus shall be given to all registered Democratic voters of the town at least five (5) days in advance of the caucus by publishing such notice in a newspaper having general circulation in the Chester and by posting the same on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and the Town Committee website.
No such caucus shall be called for the purpose of removal of the Town Committee except by the Chairperson of the State Central Committee upon petition of not less than twenty percent (20%) of the registered Democratic voters of the town and upon showing to the satisfaction of the Chairperson of the State Central Committee that the existing Town Committee has failed to perform its legal or proper functions. If such a caucus votes to remove a Town Committee during its term of office, the permanent Chairperson of the caucus shall fix a day not less than six (6) and not more than seven (7) weeks thereafter for the holding of a primary for the election of Town Committee members and shall publish the same in a newspaper having a general circulation in the Town of Chester and posting the same on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and the Town Committee website, not less than forty-two (42) days before such primary is to be held.
The procedure for the election of a new Town Committee shall be the same as in April of the even numbered years, except that no party endorsement for Town Committee members shall be made and all candidates for election to the Town Committee shall file their candidacies in accordance with the provisions of State Party Rules and the Town Committee members shall be chosen at the primary, except as provided in said State Party Rules. The Town Committee members so elected shall hold office from the time of their election and ending at the last meeting held in February in the next even numbered year.
Section 9.3. Tie Vote. In the event of a tie vote at a party caucus, such tie vote shall be dissolved by the permanent Chairperson of the caucus, but this provision shall not affect his right of the Chairperson to cast any vote to which that person may be entitled as a member of the caucus.
ARTICLE X ~ AMENDMENTS TO LOCAL PARTY RULES
Section 10.1. Amendment. The Town Committee shall have the power to amend or repeal the rules of the Town Committee by a supermajority of two-thirds (2/3rd) vote of the Town Committee members present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose, provided the amendment and proposed change was submitted in writing at the previous meeting of the Town Committee, or if changes in the State Party Rules make such amendments necessary.
Amendments made by the Town Committee must be consistent with Connecticut General Statutes and State Party Rules. Any change or amendment made by the Town Committee shall be in force only until the next succeeding caucus at which caucus they must be submitted for ratification or rejection.
ARTICLE XI ~ FILING OF LOCAL PARTY RULES
Within seven (7) days after Party Rules or an amendment to Party Rules are adopted by the Town Committee a copy of the same shall be filed with the Secretary of State and the Town Clerk. Any amendments to Party Rules so filed shall set forth in full the section to be amended. Matters to be omitted or repealed shall be surrounded by brackets or strike-through and new matters shall be indicated by underscoring.
A copy of these Party Rules shall be filed with the Town Clerk and shall be deemed to cover the activities of the Democratic Party of Chester until amendments consistent with these Party Rules and the State Party Rules are adopted. A copy of the same shall be filed with the appropriate state and local officials and with the State Democratic Party as provided in the State Party Rules.
ARTICLE XII ~ CONFLICT WITH LAW
If any provision of these Rules is found to be in conflict with the provisions of any law, the provisions of such law shall govern.
ARTICLE XIII ~ PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be considered as applicable, controlling, and conclusive on parliamentary issues, except as herein otherwise provided.
The above rules governing the Democratic Party of Chester, Connecticut, were amended and adopted by vote of Democratic Registered Electors in the Town of Chester on September 2, 2020.
________________________________ Chairman, Chester Democratic Town Committee
______________________________ Secretary, Chester Democratic Town Committee