Rules of the Democratic Party of the Town of Darien, Connecticut
Article I – Darien Democratic Town Committee
Section 1 – Scope of Democratic Town Committee
The policies and principles of the Democratic Party of the Town of Darien shall be formed, directed, and executed by the Democratic Town Committee (the “Town Committee”).
Section 2 – Committee Membership
The Town Committee shall consist of 25 members elected at large, each of whom shall be a qualified elector in the Town of Darien at the time of such election. The Town Committee, at a meeting called for such purpose, may, by majority vote of those present and voting, increase its membership, provided that all new members shall be duly elected and begin their terms in accordance with Article 1, Section 4 herein. No person shall be elected to or hold the position of the Town Committee member unless his or her name appears on the last completed enrollment list of the Democratic Party.
Section 3 – Election of DTC members
The members of the Town Committee shall be elected at a duly noticed Democratic caucus held for such purpose in accordance with State Primary Law and the Connecticut Democratic State Party Rules (the “State Party Rules”).
Section 4 – Terms of DTC members
The terms of elected members of the Town Committee shall commence at the first regularly scheduled meeting in March of each even numbered year. Town Committee members shall serve for two years or until their successors are elected or deemed elected. The term of each member shall end on the same day. Town members may resign by providing written notice to the Chairperson of the Town Committee of their resignation.
Section 5 – Filling of vacancies on the Town Committee
Any vacancy on the Town Committee arising from any cause, including failure to elect, may be filled by the Town Committee by a majority vote of the Town Committee members in attendance at any regular meeting of the Town Committee.
Article II – Officers
Section 1 – Organizational Meeting
At the first regularly scheduled meeting in March of each even numbered year, the Town Committee shall elect a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and such other Officers as may be deemed advisable. Said organizational meeting shall be called by the Chairperson of the Town Committee in office immediately prior to the day established for a primary to elect the Town Committee. If the Chairperson fails, for any reason, to call such meeting within the period prescribed, it shall be the duty of the Vice-Chairperson serving concurrently with the said Chairperson to do so, and if the Vice-Chairperson fails to do so, it shall be the duty of the State Central Committee members in the district to do so. The said Chairperson shall give notice of the organizational meeting to all members of the Town Committee at least three days prior to said meeting. The notice of any organizational meeting call by the said Vice-Chairperson or said members of the State Central Committee shall be issued to each of the newly elected members of the Town Committee within 48 hours of the necessity of either to do so.
Section 2 – Election of Officers
The Chairperson and other Officers of the Town Committee shall be elected from within the membership of the Town Committee by a majority vote of the membership of the Town Committee in attendance at the organizational meeting. When the number of candidates for any given office exceeds the number to be elected, a secret ballot shall be taken by two or more counters appointed by the acting Chairperson.
Section 3 – Term of Officers
Officers so elected shall hold office for the term of the Town Committee electing them.
Section 4 – Duties of Officers
Each of such Officers shall have the duties usually incident to his/her office and such other duties as the Town Committee may from time to time prescribe. In the event a vote of the Town Committee results in a tie, such tie shall be dissolved by the vote of the Chairperson, but his or her provision shall not affect the right of the Chairperson to cast any vote to which he or she is otherwise entitled as a member of the Town Committee.
Section 5 – Filing of list of Officers and DTC members
The Chairperson shall be responsible for filing the names and addresses of the Officers with the appropriate state and local officials, as required by law, and with the Democratic State Central Committee pursuant to its rules.
Section 6 – Removal of Officers, Committee Chairpersons, and Vice-chairpersons
Officers of the Town Committee and Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of any Committee or Subcommittee of the Town Committee may be removed from their position by a two-thirds vote of the membership of the entire Town Committee upon proof of neglect of office or for other good cause at a meeting called for that purpose on at least seven (7) days’ notice, which may or may not be a regularly scheduled meeting. If the Chairperson shall fail or refuse to schedule a vote for removal after receiving a request endorsed by one-third of the Town Committee membership, said vote shall be taken at the next regularly scheduled Town Committee meeting. The Town Committee may fill the vacancies so created by a majority vote of the membership of the entire Town Committee, either at the next regular meeting following the session at which the removal action was taken or at a special Town Committee meeting called for this purpose.
Article III – Town Committee Meetings
Section 1 – Schedule of regular meetings
Regular meetings of the Town Committee shall be held on a monthly basis. The regular meetings are to be called by the Chairperson or presiding officer of the Town Committee. A schedule shall be adopted at the beginning of each two-year term. Regular meetings may be cancelled or rescheduled by the Chairperson as necessary.
Section 2 – Special meetings
Special meetings of the Town Committee may be called by the Chairperson or by written request, endorsed by one-third of the members of the Committee, presented to the Chairperson. Upon receipt of such request, the Chairperson shall cause reasonable notice of the time, place and purpose of such meeting to be given to all members of the Committee as the circumstances require. In the event of an emergency or in the absence or incapacity of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson may take the place of the Chairperson for the purposes of this section.
Section 3 – Quorum requirements
Two-fifths (2/5) of the members of the Town Committee shall constitute a quorum at any meeting.
Section 4 – Chairing of DTC meetings
All meetings of the Town Committee shall be opened by the Chairperson, and if the Chairperson is not present, shall be opened by the Officer next in rank on the Town Committee in the following order: Vice-Chairperson, followed by Secretary, followed by Treasurer.
Section 5 – Agenda; order of business
The agenda for each meeting shall be established by the Chairperson, who shall consider requests for agenda items from all Town Committee members. The Agenda of each regular meeting shall include, at a minimum, the following items:
- Consideration of the minutes of the previous meeting (and their approval).
- Report of the Treasurer
- Sub-Committee reports (if any)
- Unfinished business (if any)
- New business
The Agenda may be modified as needed to address the business before the Town Committee and to accommodate any special guests of the Town Committee.
Section 6 – Financial schedule
Treasurer will provide a report at each monthly meeting and an annual financial report will be presented at the January DTC meeting.
Section 7 – Conduct of Meetings; Party participation
All meetings of the Town Committee shall be conducted by the Chairperson or, in his or her absence, the next ranking officer. The time and place for all public meetings of the Democratic Party shall be publicized in accordance with the State Party Rules and in any other manner reasonably calculated to provide timely notice to all interested persons. Such meetings shall be held in places accessible to all Democratic Party members qualified to be electors in the Town of Darien and large enough to accommodate all interested persons. The Town Committee will encourage full participation by all Democrats qualified to be electors in the Town of Darien in all Town Committee and Party affairs. Except as otherwise provided in these rules, Town Committee members may not vote by proxy and votes shall not be held by secret ballot.
Section 8 – Notices
Except as otherwise provided by State Primary Law or State Party Rules, all notices required by these Rules may transmitted electronically or in any other manner that is reasonably calculated to reach the intended recipient(s).
Article IV – Sub-Committees
The Officers of the Town Committee shall comprise its Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may meet or otherwise communicate as necessary to address issues arising between regular meetings or to execute the will of the Town Committee expressed at a regular or special meeting.
The Town Committee may appoint and staff sub-committees as it deems appropriate by a majority vote of Town Committee members present at a meeting called for that purpose. Committees may include, but are not limited to, a: (i) nominating/search committee, (ii) communications committee; (iii) fundraising/social committee, and/or (iv) issues committee. The charge and duration of any committee shall be established by the Town Committee and each committee shall report its activities, if any, at each regularly scheduled meeting of the Town Committee. Sub-committees may consist of Town Committee members and non-members as determined and appointed by the Town Committee. The Town Committee may designate one or more persons to serve as officers of a sub-committee, and if it fails to do so, a sub-committee may elect its own officers as they see fit. Sub-Committees serve at the pleasure of the Town Committee. The Chairperson shall be an ex-officio member of all sub-committees of which she/he is not otherwise a member.
Article V – Endorsement of Candidates; Nomination of Municipal Officers; and Election of Committee Members and Delegates
Section 1 – Endorsement at Party Caucuses
The enrolled members of the Democratic Party at a caucus called for such purpose shall by a plurality of votes cast select party-endorsed candidates for each municipal office the Town Committee and, if a caucus is called for such purpose, for delegates to conventions except as otherwise provided in these rules. At all caucuses, nominations for consideration by the caucus may be by submission of a list of candidates by the Town Committee, supplemented by nominations from the floor. In no event shall a member of the caucus vote for a greater number of candidates than those to be elected. The time of any such caucus shall be fixed so as to permit compliance with the provisions of the State Primary Law as the same may be amended from time to time, and shall be conducted in conformity with the provisions of said law concerning Nominations and Political Parties as it may be amended.
Section 2 – Delegate Endorsement for conventions
The Democratic Party endorsement of candidates for delegates to any convention shall be made by at a special Democratic caucus called for that purpose or by a meeting of the Town Committee. At any Town Committee meeting held for the purpose of electing convention delegates, Town Committee members may vote for delegates by written proxy if such proxy is submitted to the Chair in writing prior to the meeting and such proxy votes shall be counted towards quorum requirements for said special meeting. No other Town Committee business may be conducted at a special meeting to elect convention delegates. At any Democratic Party caucus, the Town Committee may propose a slate of convention delegates to which the Town or voting district within the Town is entitled under the State Party Rule. The Chairperson, or his or her designee, shall be one of the Town Committee’s selected delegates and shall lead the Town of Darien’s delegation at any Connecticut Democratic Party convention. The Chairperson, or his or her designee, shall also be a selected delegate and lead the delegation to any other party convention in any voting district in which he or she is an elector. Nominations for convention delegates at a caucus of the Democratic Party may also be taken from the floor. In the endorsement of such candidates, the vote of each member of the caucus or Town Committee shall be for a number of candidates not to exceed the number of a full slate as defined above. The voting for endorsement of delegates to each convention shall be done by individual convention.
Section 3 – Primaries for endorsed candidates for municipal office
Candidates for municipal office chosen as provided in Article V Section 1 above and properly endorsed shall run in the primary as the nominee of the Democratic Party for the office for which she/he is the candidate if no valid opposing candidacy has been filed for nomination by the deadline set by State Primary Law or the State Party Rules for such office.
Section 4 – Primaries for endorsed candidates for Town Committee
Properly endorsed candidates for Town Committee members chosen as provided in Article V Section 1 above shall run in the primary for Town Committee members as party-endorsed candidates; provided such candidates shall be deemed elected as members of the Town Committee if no valid opposing candidacy has been filed by the deadline set by State Primary Law or the State Party Rules for such office.
Section 5 – Failure to endorse at Caucus
If, for any reason, sufficient endorsements of candidates for municipal office or Town Committee members are not made, any eligible person may seek to become a candidate in accordance with State Primary Law.
Section 6 – Certifying of endorsed candidates
The Secretary and the Chairperson or presiding officer of the Town Committee caucus or convention, as the case may be, shall certify to the Town Clerk the names and street addresses of the Democratic Party-endorsed candidates selected as provided above, the title of an office or position as Committee member or delegate and the name or number of the political subdivision or district, if any, of the Town of Darien for which each such person is endorsed. In the case of endorsement of candidates for delegate to a convention, such certification may also include the last name of a candidate, if any, selected by the endorsing authority for placement on the ballot label. In the endorsement of a candidate for an office or position as delegate or committee member, for whom only the electors of a political subdivision of the Town of Darien or a senatorial district or assembly district located in the Town of Darien may vote, only the enrolled Democratic Party members, delegates or Town Committee members, as the case may be, from such political subdivision or district, may participate.
Section 7 – Deadlines for endorsement by Caucus
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 in accordance with State Primary Law and State Party Rules, and shall be certified to the Town Clerk by the Chairperson or presiding officer and Secretary of the Town Committee caucus or convention as the case may by the deadline provided for under State Primary Law or State Party Rules, whichever is earlier. In the case of an endorsement for the municipal office of State Senator or State Representative, the Chairperson or presiding officer, or the Secretary of the Town Committee, caucus or convention which made the endorsement shall attest a certificate signed by the candidate stating his name and residence address, the fact that he was endorsed, and the title and district of the office for which he was endorsed. The attested certificate shall be filed by the candidate with the Town Clerk not later than four o’clock p.m. on the fourteenth day after the close of such Town Committee meeting caucus or convention or any earlier deadline specified by State Primary Law or State Party Rules.
Section 8 – Tie breaking rule at Caucus
In the event that a vote taken at a caucus on the selection of a party-endorsed candidate for a municipal office or for the election of Town Committee members or delegates to conventions results in a tie, the tie shall than be dissolved by the vote of the permanent Chairperson of the caucus, but this provision shall not affect his or her right to cast any vote to which she/he is otherwise entitled.
Section 9 – Withdrawal, death or disqualification of endorsed candidate prior to Primary
If a Democratic Party endorsed candidate for nomination to a municipal office or for election as Town Committee member, prior to twenty-four (24) hours before the opening for the polls at the primary, dies, or prior to ten (10) days before the day of the primary withdraws his or her name from nomination, or for any reason becomes disqualified to hold office or position for which her or she is a candidate, an endorsement may be made to fill such vacancy by the Town Committee, by a majority vote of those present and voting, at a meeting called for such purpose; provided if the original endorsement was made by the members of the Town Committee elected from only one political subdivision of the municipality, only such members shall participate in the endorsement to fill such vacancy. The Chairperson may cast a vote on such endorsement to break a tie, but this provision shall not affect his or her right to cast any vote, as a member of the Town Committee, to which he or she is otherwise entitled. The Secretary of the Town Committee shall immediately certify the endorsement to fill such vacancy to the Democratic Registrar of Voters. No candidate shall be deemed to have withdrawn until a letter of withdrawal signed by such candidate is filed with the municipal clerk.
Section 10 – State Primary Law
The nominations of the Democratic Party to all offices and the election of members of the Town Committee and delegates to conventions shall be made in all respects as provided in the State Primary Law. Whenever a primary for nomination to a municipal office or for election of Town Committee members or delegates to conventions is to be held under the provisions of said law, the nominee of the Democratic Party for such office and the members of the Town Committee and the delegates to conventions shall be determined by a plurality of votes cast for such purposes.
Section 11 – Withdrawal, death or disqualification of endorsed candidate prior to General Election
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 his or her name, or for any reason becomes disqualified to hold the office for which he or she 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 such purpose. The Chairperson may cast a vote on such nomination to break a tie, but this provision shall not affect his or her right to cast any vote, as a member of the Town Committee, in the first place. In the case of a withdrawal, said nomination shall not be valid until the candidate who has withdrawn has filed a letter of withdrawal, signed by such candidate, with the Secretary of the State, and also has filed a copy with the municipal clerk. The Chairperson of the Town Committee shall certify the nomination to fill such vacancy to the Secretary of the State and shall file a copy with the municipal clerk. Such certification of a nomination to fill a vacancy due to death or disqualification shall include a statement setting forth the reason for such vacancy.
Section 12 – Designation of alternate delegates
Each delegate to a convention elected in conformity with law and with these rules may in writing designate an alternate delegate to act in his or her absence. In the absence of such alternate delegate, the Chairperson shall fill any vacancy arising for any cause in delegations to conventions. Such alternate delegate shall be a registered Democratic Party voter in the Town of Darien.
Section 13 – Limit on number of Party endorsements
The Town Committee shall endorse and certify to the Town Clerk, and the primary shall choose, no more candidates for nomination to a municipal office or more persons as members of the Town Committee or as delegates to a convention than an elector may vote for in each case.
Section 14 – Plurality Vote Determinative of Nomination
The nominations of the Democratic Party to all offices and the election of members of the town committee and delegates to conventions shall be made in all respects as provided in the State Primary Law, as the same may be amended from time to time. At a primary for nomination to a municipal office or for election of town committee members the winner shall be determined by a plurality of votes cast.
Article VI – Caucuses
Section 1 – Special Caucuses
Special caucuses may be called for any lawful purpose by a majority of the Town Committee or by not less than ten percent (10%) of the registered Democratic Party voters qualified to be electors in the Town of Darien. The call for any such special caucus shall be in writing and signed by each of the persons issuing the same, and notice of the time, place and purpose of said special caucus shall be given to all registered Democratic Party voters qualified to be electors in the Town of Darien in accordance with the provisions of the State Primary Law providing for the noticing of party caucuses.
Section 2 – Notice of Caucus
The Chairperson or his designee shall give notice of the date, time, place and purpose of any caucus to all registered Democratic Party voters qualified to be electors in the Town of Darien as provided for in State Primary Law.
Section 3 – Caucus Chairperson and Secretary
The Chairperson shall be the temporary Chairperson of all caucuses and shall preside until the meeting has selected its permanent Chairperson. In like manner the Secretary of the Town Committee shall act as Secretary at such caucuses until permanent Secretary has been elected. If there are no officers present to fill the posts of temporary caucus Chairperson and Secretary, these posts shall be filled by vote of the members of the Town Committee present.
Article VII – Procedure
Section 1 – Resolving parliamentary issues
Roberts Rules of Order revised shall be considered as conclusive on parliamentary issues except as herein otherwise provided.
Article VIII – Amendments
Section 1 – Rules amendments by the Town Committee
The Town Committee shall have power at any meeting duly called to amend or repeal the rules of the Town Committee by a majority vote of the existing membership of the entire Town Committee, provided the amendment was submitted in writing at the previous meeting of the Town Committee. The notice for such meeting shall state the proposed change and be sent to each member of the Town Committee, not less than ten days prior to the date the meeting is to be held.
Section 2 – Rules amendments by Caucus
These rules may also be amended at a caucus, by majority vote of those present and voting, provided that the Town Committee gives due notice of the proposed change in writing in the call for said caucus. If the caucus is called by not less than five percent of the registered Democratic Party voters qualified to be electors in the Town of Darien, as provided in Article VII, Section 1, the call shall give due notice of the proposed change.
Article IX – Definitions
Section 1 – State Primary Law; nominations and political parties
As used in these rules, the term “State Primary Law” refers to Title 9, Chapter 153 of the General Statutes, as the same may be amended from time to time.
Section 2 – Municipal office
As used in these rules, “municipal office” means any elective office of a town, city or borough and the offices of justice of the peace, state representative in an assembly district composed of a single town or part of a single town, state senator in a senatorial district composed of a single town or part of a single town, and judge of probate in a probate district composed of a single town. The other terms used in these rules shall have the same meanings as provided for in the chapter(s) of State Primary Law pertaining to elections and political parties, as the same may be amended from time to time.
Section 3 – Caucus
As used in these rules, the term “caucus” means any meeting, held at a designated hour and place, of the enrolled members of the Democratic party within a municipality or political subdivision thereof for the purpose of selecting party-endorsed candidates for a Primary to be held by the Democratic Party and/or for the purpose of transacting other business of the Democratic Party.
Section 4 – Other terms
The other terms used in these rules shall have the same meaning as in the State Primary Law as it may be amended from time to time.
Article X – Filing of Local Rules
Section 1 – Filing requirements
Within seven days after party rules or any amendments to party rules are adopted by the Democratic Party, 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 XI – Participation
Section 1 – Eligibility to participate in Democratic Party activities
Any person eighteen (18) years of age or more who is an enrolled Democratic Party elector in the Town of Darien shall be eligible to participate in any and all party meetings, caucuses, primaries, and conferences and may be elected to any party office except where specifically prohibited by law.
Article XII – Resolution of Conflict in Rules
Section 1 – Governing laws over Town Committee rules
If any provision of the rules of the Democratic Town Committee of the Town of Darien, Connecticut, is found to be in conflict with any mandatory provision in the State Party Rules or with the State Primary Law, the applicable provision of said State Party Rules or State Primary Law, as the case may be, shall govern.
Adopted by a vote of the Darien Democratic Town Committee on May 9, 2019
David F. Bayne
Chairperson, Darien Democratic Town Committee
Elizabeth V. Hall
Secretary, Darien Democratic Town Committee
Date: _____5/11/2019_______ _____