WCDP County Convention Explainer

Pursuant to the rules and bylaws of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party (WCDP) and the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP), the WCDP will hold its November County Convention at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 26 at the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center.

This email attempts to explain the who, what, why and how of the convention and what happens afterward.


Why Now?

Because MDP (and therefore WCDP) rules require the County Convention to happen within 20 days of the fall general election. Call to Convention is the name of the official announcement. The Call to Convention went out November 12 and can be found here.

What Happens at the Convention?

We will elect members to the 2018-2020 WCDP Executive Committee. (MDP refers to them as the “County Committee”.)

“We” means credentialed voters who are members of the WCDP. Members does not mean volunteers or democratic voters, but those who joined through MDP, or who qualify because they were Democratic candidates or elected as Democrats to office, including Delegates. You must have joined MDP on or before October 27, 2018. (The 30-day requirement is waived for some groups of people. See the Call to Convention for details.)

Bylaws say that a third of our Committee must be the Democratic nominees for county level offices, the state legislature, and Congress, produced in the most recent primary. In Washtenaw, that is 22 candidates whose positions on the Committee are automatically filled.

On November 26, we will elect another 44 members from across the county.

meeting icon

What is the Executive Committee and what does the Committee do?

The Committee is responsible for selecting and providing oversight to the Executive Board. [The Board is responsible for day-to-day operations of the WCDP. If you’ve ever attended a committee meeting, the person leading the committee was likely a member of the Board.] Bylaws allow the Committee to approve the WCDP’s budget and review expenditures. The Executive Committee’s term is two years.

How often do they meet?

The Committee meets six times per year. It can only act if 1/3 (usually called a quorum) of the members are present. Since the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer have voting rights on the Committee, a quorum is 70/3 = 23 members.

What is the process?

The credentialed voters gather in groups based on the ward/precinct/municipality they vote in (see the Call to Convention for a detailed list.) Each receives a number of spots on the Executive Committee determined by the percentage of the votes cast for the Democratic candidate in the Secretary of State race (Jocelyn Benson) on November 6th.

What is a slate?

Those who wish to be candidates for a Committee seat then present themselves as a “slate” to the group. You can be a slate of 1 or more people. The limitation is the number of slots available in your area. Present your slate in order of priority. If you are a slate of 2 or more people, it is possible only 1, or even none, of you may be elected.

proportional voting

Voting and proportional voting.

If you are a credentialed voter, you may vote for only one slate. You cannot transfer your votes to someone else to use. You must be present to cast your own votes.

Now for the tricky part. The counting. Proportional voting means that a slate with 3 candidates might only get enough votes for 0, 1, or 2 of their candidates to be on the Committee. You will want to think about this when creating your slate - as candidates, you need to prioritize and present in advance who would be elected to the Committee.

The number of seats a slate receives is determined by this equation:  (Votes Received/Total Votes Cast) X Seats Available = Number of Seats Awarded.

If you have 3 seats and 20 voters in your group, that would be (Votes Received/20) X 3. If someone withheld a vote, then it would be (Votes Received/19) X 3.


What happens next?

The Executive Committee we elect on November 26 must meet within 30 days to elect the 2018-2020 Board and officers. This meeting has been scheduled for:

6 p.m., Sunday, December 16th
The Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center
4135 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor.


Contact WCDP Chair Chris Savage by email at or by text/phone at 734-358-9276.
Copyright © 2018 Washtenaw County Democratic Party, All rights reserved.

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