Thursday, March 1, 2012

Overview of Tuesday, March 6 Presidential Primary Ballot: Obama and Newburyport Democratic City Committee

First, yes the President will be on the ballot.  There will be a Democratic Ballot, a Republican Ballot, and a Green-Rainbow Ballot.  Independent/Unenrolled voters get to choose their ballot.
Democratic Candidates
Barack Obama
Republican Candidates
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney
Rick Perry
Rick Santorum
Jon Huntsman
Michele Bachmann
Newt Gingrich
Green-Rainbow Candidates
Kent Mesplay
Jill Stein
Harley Mikkelson

Second, candidates for the Democratic Committees of the 6 Wards will also be on the ballot.  Those candidates submitted signature sheets to the City Clerk in the Fall.  In Newburyport, the 6 Ward Committees collectively form the City Committee.  To be a member of a Ward Committee/City Committee, you need to be a Democrat who gets voted in during this Presidential Primary or (and this is much more common) gets voted in during a meeting of the City Committee.

In Newburyport, we will need to meet by April 9th to ‘organize’ our Committee.

From the MA Secretary of State’s website:

The basic legal organization of political parties in Massachusetts are the ward and town committees. Each political party may elect a ward or town committee consisting of three to thirty-five members in each ward of a city and in each town for a four year term. Members of ward and town committees serve in the following capacities:
• represent their party at the local neighborhood level;
• promote the objectives of the party; and
• work for the nomination and election of party candidates.

Organization of Ward and Town Committees
Following the presidential primary elections, each elected ward, town and city committee is required by law to organize by meeting within ten days following the 30th day after their election. At this first meeting the committee will elect a chairperson, a treasurer and a secretary. The committee may also fill any vacancies that have not been filled at the presidential primary and has the right to break any tied vote for a position on the committee by choosing between the two or more candidates who were tied.
Any ward or town committee member who moves to another ward or town automatically loses his membership on the committee at the end of that calendar year, if they don’t resign sooner. Any member who changes party enrollment or unenrolls from the party immediately loses his or her membership from the committee. Vacancies may be filled by vote of the committee. A committee may also appoint associate members. There is no limit on the number of associate members, but associate members do not have the right to vote at committee meetings.
A city committee is not separately elected, but is composed of the several ward committees in a city. At its organizational meeting, which is held between the 31st and 40th days after the presidential primary, the city committee is required to elect a chairperson, a secretary and a treasurer.
Filing Officers’ List and Acceptances
After the organizational meeting, the secretary of each city, ward and town committee is required to file lists of officers and members, with their addresses. Additionally, in order to qualify for office, the treasurer of each committee is required to file a signed acceptance of the office of treasurer with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. A treasurer has not fully qualified for office until such filing is complete. To meet all of the above filing requirements, a reporting form, available from both the Office of Campaign and Political Finance and the Elections Division, must be filed with the four offices listed below. File the original report with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, and file copies with the three other offices listed:
1. Office of Campaign and Political Finance, One Ashburton Place, Room 411, Boston, Massachusetts 02108 (617-979-8300);
2. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division, One Ashburton Place, Room 1705, Boston, Massachusetts 02108 (617-727-2828);
3. State Party Committee Headquarters; and
4. City/town clerk or Election Commission.
Ward committee secretaries are also required to file such lists with the city committee chairperson within ten days after organizing.