Bylaws

The Pierce County Democratic Party strives to practice open, participatory governance.  To that end, we maintain this public posting of the bylaws by which the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee operates.  These bylaws have been approved by a vote of the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee.

ARTICLE 1. NAME

The name of this organization shall be PIERCE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE, hereafter referred to as the “Central Committee” or the “PCDCC”.

ARTICLE 2. PURPOSE

The purpose of the Central Committee shall be to contribute to the growth, development and influence of the Democratic Party of Pierce County, to be the administrative body of the Democratic Party in Pierce County, to do all in its power to inform the residents of the County regarding the ideals, goals, and operations of the Democratic Party and its candidates, to participate in the activities of the Democratic Party, to support the platform of the Democratic Party, and to support the nominees of the Democratic Party, who, by their record and positions are in general agreement with that platform.

ARTICLE 3. MEMBERSHIP

3.1 The following shall be members of the Central Committee with full voice and vote, except as may be provided elsewhere in these bylaws:

3.1.1 Elected or appointed Pierce County Democratic precinct officers;
3.1.2 Elected officers of the Central Committee;
3.1.3 All Executive Board Members of the Central Committee.

3.2 The following shall be associate members of the Central Committee with privilege of voice but no vote:

3.2.1 Any Democrat serving in an elective position and residing in Pierce County;
3.2.2 Any member of the Democratic National Committee residing within Pierce County;

3.3 Payment of annual dues shall be encouraged for all members listed in section 3.1, but shall not be a requirement for granting rights and privileges of the Central Committee.

3.4 Following the biennial reorganization meeting, membership is open to all residents of Pierce County who assert themselves to be Democrats and pay the requisite membership dues. Those members shall have full voice and vote except where state law, these Bylaws or the Bylaws or Charter of the Washington State Democratic Party restrict such to Precinct Committee Officers. Membership terminates immediately prior to the next biennial reorganization meeting. Dues shall be established by the PCDCC Executive Board at the first meeting following reorganization. New memberships will not be accepted at regular or special Central Committee meetings until the conclusion of all business.

ARTICLE 4. OFFICERS

4.1 The officers of the Central Committee shall be Chair and Vice-Chair (being of opposite sexes), Secretary, Treasurer, Asst Treasurer-Membership, Sergeant-at-Arms, PCDCC State Committeewoman and PCDCC State Committeeman. All officers must be Democrats registered to vote in Pierce County.

4.2 Officers shall serve for two years or until their successor(s) are elected, the term of office to begin at the close of the reorganization meeting at which they are elected. The outgoing officers shall turn over all records to the incoming Chair within ten days of the election.

4.3 In the event of a vacancy in any of the elected positions, notice of the vacancy shall be announced at the next special or regular meeting of the Central Committee. At the following regular meeting of the Central Committee, an election shall be held to fill such vacancy.

4.4 At any regular meeting of the Central Committee, the organization may remove an elected officer or representative for cause by a two-thirds vote of the members eligible to vote for that office who are present and voting, provided such officer or representative has been given 20 days notice of the intent to consider removal, and notice of the proposed removal has been included in the notice of the meeting.

4.5 Only precinct committee officers shall vote for election or removal or replacement of the Chair, Vice-Chair, or representatives to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.

4.6 Duties of Officers

4.6.1 The Chair shall

a) be the chief executive officer of the Central Committee with the responsibility of overseeing the operations of the organization unless otherwise stated in these bylaws.
b) preside at all meetings of the Central Committee and Executive Board and be responsible for setting those meetings, consistent with these bylaws.
c) have the authority to appoint the members and chairs of all committees, whether standing or special, when not in conflict with the bylaws or rules of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
d) appoint each January an audit committee of not less than three to conduct a financial audit of the preceding calendar year and present a report to the Central Committee at the next regular meeting.
e) have the final authority to make appointments to Pierce County election boards for work at the polls and canvassing of votes.
f) be a member of the Organization of Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Washington State Democratic Party.
g) be the spokesperson for the Central Committee.
h) appoint a parliamentarian.
i) perform any additional duties and make such additional appointments which may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the organization.

4.6.2 The Vice-Chair shall

a) preside at all meetings in the absence of the Chair.
b) be a member of the Organization of Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Washington State Democratic Party.
c) otherwise aid the Chair in the performance of his or her duties.
d) assume the office of Chair, if vacant, until a new Chair is elected.

4.6.3 The Secretary shall

a) record and keep accurate minutes of all meetings of the Central Committee and Executive Board.
b) process the official correspondence of the organization.

4.6.4 The Treasurer shall

a) be the chief financial officer of the Central Committee, deposit all money received in authorized accounts of the Central Committee; sign all checks jointly with either the Chair, Vice-Chair or Secretary.
b) keep accurate records of all receipts and expenditures and prepare written financial reports to be presented at each meeting of the Executive Board and Central Committee.
c) be an ex officio member of the Budget and Finance Committee, be responsible for the preparation of the annual budget, and present the budget to the Board for its approval and transmittal to the Central Committee 30 days following the annual report of the auditing committee.
d) file all reports as required by federal or state law, including reports to the Public Disclosure Commission, and make said reports available for inspection at all Central Committee meetings.
e) disburse funds on behalf of the Central Committee only in accordance with the adopted budget and any applicable standing rules, with the following exception: exceptions not to exceed $50.00 jointly authorized by the Chair and Treasurer, without prior approval of the Executive Board.

4.6.5 The Assistant Treasurer/Membership Chair

a) Shall perform all duties of the Treasurer as outlined in 4.6.4 when the Treasurer is not available.
b) As Membership Chair be responsible for developing and maintaining an updated list of members of the Pierce County Democratic Party.
c) The Membership Chair is also responsible for the collection of dues each year and providing members with a Membership Card.

4.6.6 The Sergeant-at-Arms shall assist the Chair by maintaining order at all meetings.

4.6.7 The State Committeewoman and the State Committeeman shall

a) represent the Pierce County Central Committee as members of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee and any sub-committees thereof to which they may be elected or appointed.
b) report regularly to the Executive Board and Central Committee.

ARTICLE 5. MEETINGS

5.1 Biennial Reorganization Meeting

5.1.1 Central Committee (RCW 29A.80.030)

Following each State general election held in even-numbered years and after the certification of precinct officers by the County Auditor, the incumbent PCDCC Chair, or PCDCC Vice-Chair if the PCDCC Chair fails to do so, shall issue the call for a reorganization meeting of the Central Committee. Official written notice of the meeting shall be sent by the PCDCC Chair, via USPS first class postage paid, to each newly elected Democratic precinct committee officer within Pierce County at least ten days prior to the date of the meeting, which may be at any reasonable time or place. The meeting shall take place in Pierce County, no later than the second Saturday of the January following the State general election.

5.1.2 The Reorganization Meeting shall elect the officers of the Central Committee.

5.2 Legislative District Reorganization Meetings

5.2.1 Legislative District (RCW 29A.80.061)
Following each State general election held in even-numbered years and after the certification of precinct officers by the County Auditor, the incumbent LD Chair, or LD Vice-Chair if the LD Chair fails to do so, shall issue the call for a reorganization meeting of the Legislative District Committee. Official written notice of the meeting shall be sent by the LD Chair to each newly elected Democratic precinct officer within the District at least ten days prior to the date of the meeting, which may be at any reasonable time or place that does not conflict with the County Reorganization meeting. The meeting shall take place either in conjunction with the County reorganization meeting or within the Legislative District no later than the second Saturday of the January following the State general election.
5.2.2 The purpose of the reorganization meeting of each legislative district shall be to elect an LD chair and LD vice-chair of opposite sexes, secretary, treasurer, State Committeeman and State Committeewoman, representatives to the Central Committee Executive Board and such other representatives of the district as required by these bylaws or the bylaws of the legislative district organization. Only those persons elected as precinct committee officers in precincts within that district at the immediate preceding State general election may vote. The secretary and treasurer positions may be combined.
5.2.3 The term of office shall be for a period of two years, or until a successor is elected, beginning at the conclusion of the meeting at which the person is elected.
5.2.4 Vacancies shall be filled in accordance with the bylaws of the legislative district organization in which the vacancy has occurred.
5.2.5 A person may serve as LD chair or LD vice-chair of a legislative district without being an elected or appointed precinct committee officer if not prohibited by the District Bylaws.
5.2.6 Any legislative district chair who is a resident of Pierce County shall be a member of the Central Committee and serve on the Executive Board. The legislative district vice-chair, if also a resident of the county, shall have voice and vote at the Central Committee in the absence of the district chair.
5.2.7 Each legislative district chair and legislative district vice-chair shall serve as a member of the Organization of Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Washington State Democratic Party.
5.2.8 Other duties of the legislative district officers and representatives shall be as stated in the bylaws of the respective legislative district organizations.

5.3 Regular Meetings

5.3.1 Regular meetings of the Central Committee shall be held quarterly, at a date, time and place to be stated in the standing rules of this organization. Every member who has provided an email address shall be notified by email and all others shall be notified by USPS post card or letter, of the date, time and place of meetings.
5.3.2 No meeting shall be postponed or eliminated so that the quarter shall pass without a meeting except when so ordered by a majority vote of the members at a previous meeting of the Central Committee.
5.3.3 Ten percent of the membership of the Central Committee, including two officers, shall constitute a quorum for conducting all business except adoption or amendment of bylaws. The Secretary shall maintain a list of elected and appointed PCOs for purposes of determining presence of a quorum.
5.3.4 Any interested person who can conduct himself or herself in accordance with these bylaws and rules of the Central Committee and in a manner which is not disruptive to the assembly shall be welcome to attend the meetings of the Central Committee and participate in discussions when recognized by the Chair.

5.4 Special Meetings

5.4.1 A special meeting of the Central Committee may be called by the Chair with the concurrence of the Executive Board, or at the written request of no fewer than ten members of the Executive Board.
5.4.2 The purpose of each special meeting shall be clearly stated and notice of the meeting provided to each member at least ten days prior to the date of the meeting, either by USPS first class postage prepaid, or email, where the intended recipient has indicated such as the desired method of notice or by courier.

ARTICLE 6. FILLING PARTISAN OFFICES

The goal of the following rules is to assure that Democratic candidates compete in each election and to assure the timely submission of Democratic preferences in the event there is a vacancy where an appointment is to be made from candidates selected by the Central Committee.

6.1 Death or Disqualification of Candidate or Nominee (RCW 29A.28.011 & 29A.28.021)

6.1.1 Offices Solely Within Pierce County

A vacancy in a partisan office caused by the death or disqualification of any candidate or nominee may be filled at any time up to and including the day prior to the election for that position. An individual shall be appointed to fill such vacancy by the County Central Committee in the case of a county-wide office, based on a caucus of all elected and appointed Democratic Precinct Committee Officers of the County. For Legislative District offices the Legislative District Chair shall call a caucus of elected and appointed Democratic Precinct Committee Officers of the LD for the purpose of selecting a replacement candidate or nominee. Appointed PCOs must have been in office at least 30 days on the date of the caucus.

6.1.2 Offices Partially within Pierce County

The County Chair, participating with the Chair(s) of other involved Counties, shall convene a caucus of elected and appointed Democratic Precinct Committee Officers of the jurisdiction to select an appointee to fill such vacancy.

6.2 Vacancy in Partisan Office (RCW 42.12.010)

6.2.1 Offices Solely Within Pierce County

Upon a vacancy caused by the death or disqualification of a Democratic officeholder, the County or Legislative District Chair shall submit to the appointing authority three nominees as selected by the Democratic Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) of the County or the Legislative District. To determine the ranking of three candidates the PCOs shall vote for one from among the candidates. For each of the three positions in the ranking, there shall be a separate vote. The first vote shall be for those nominated to fill the first position, followed by a vote for those nominated to fill the second and then the third position. To be elected to fill each position, a nominee must receive a majority of the votes cast. Should there be three or more candidates, the person receiving the least votes shall be dropped off and the voting continue until there is one person who received a majority of votes for each position, who shall then be submitted in accordance with the ranking set by the PCOs. The County or LD Chair shall when necessary call an emergency meeting for such selection.

6.2.2 Offices Partially Within Pierce County

The County Chair, participating with the Chair(s) of other involved Counties, shall convene a caucus of elected and appointed Democratic Precinct Committee Officers of the jurisdiction to select three nominees to be submitted to the appointing authority. If necessary an emergency meeting shall be called for such selection.

6.3 Precinct Committee Officer Vacancies

If a vacancy occurs in the office of Precinct Committee Officer by reason of death, resignation, or disqualification of the incumbent, or because of failure to elect, the County Chair shall fill the vacancy by appointment. The appointment shall be made only upon the recommendation of the Legislative District Chair. The person so appointed must have the same qualifications as candidates when filing for election to the office for that precinct. When a vacancy in the office of Precinct Committee Officer exists because of failure to elect at a state primary, the vacancy may not be filled until after the organization meeting of the County Central Committee and the new County Chair has been selected as provided by state law and Democratic Party rules.

6.4 Lack of Nominee or Candidate

If a place on the ticket is vacant because no person has filed for nomination as the candidate, after the last day allowed for candidates to withdraw as provided by RCW 29A.24.131, and if the vacancy is for a state or county office to be voted on solely by the electors of Pierce County, the County Central Committee shall select and certify a candidate to fill the vacancy following a caucus of elected and appointed Democratic Precinct Committee Officers of the jurisdiction. A certificate setting forth the cause of the vacancy, the name of the person nominated, the office for which the person is nominated, and other pertinent information required in an ordinary certificate of nomination, shall be filed in the proper office no later than the first Friday after the last day allowed for candidates to withdraw, together with the candidate’s fee applicable to that office and a declaration of candidacy.

6.5 Candidates for Partisan Pierce County Offices

6.5.1 Prior to the date designated by the County Auditor, the PCDCC Chair shall advise the Auditor that the PCDCC will designate one person eligible to run for a Pierce County partisan office as a Democrat

6.5.2 Prior to the opening date for filing for Pierce County partisan offices, or other date specified by the County Auditor, the County Central Committee shall provide to the County Auditor a list of the names of persons entitled to file for office as a Democrat, designating one person for each position. Such list shall initially be prepared by the County Central Committee Elections Standing Committee for approval by the Executive Board and submission to the County Central Committee. Each Committee shall consider results of any straw vote taken at a Democratic Precinct Caucus if there are multiple candidates for a position.

6.5.3 Each potential Democratic candidate shall be provided the following list of guidelines:

a) Support of any non-Democratic partisan candidates shall be discouraged. A clear drawing of distinctions and differences between candidates in a friendly, informational, non-confrontational fashion shall be encouraged.

b) All Democratic candidates shall encourage their supporters to vote for Democratic candidates only.

c) Advertisements, media, field plans, events and other campaign activities are encouraged to be coordinated between campaigns, to the extent permitted by law, and, where possible and appropriate, shared in whole or in part to better promote the general Democratic message.

ARTICLE 7. EXECUTIVE BOARD

7.1 The Chair of the Central Committee shall Chair the Executive Board and the Executive Board shall include the following:

7.1.1 The officers of the Central Committee.

7.1.2 Three elected representatives from each legislative district a major portion of which lies within Pierce County. At least two of those representatives must be precinct officers and, when practical, the positions should be divided between men and women.

7.1.3 Any legislative district chair who is a resident of Pierce County, or, in his/her absence, the vice-chair.
7.1.4 The immediate past chair of the Central Committee.
7.1.5 One representative of the Pierce County Young Democrats.
7.1.6 One representative of the Federated Women’s Clubs of Pierce County.
7.1.7 The president of the Pierce County Democratic Luncheon Club.
7.1.8 All presidents of legislative district Democratic clubs who are residents of Pierce County.
7.1.9 Up to eight (8) at large positions to facilitate community outreach, to be selected by the Chair and confirmed by the seated Executive Board or Central Committee; to include representatives from the African American Community, the Asian Community, the Hispanic Community, the Gay and Lesbian Communities, the Native American Community, Veterans, and the Arab Community.

7.1.10 Any elected Congressional District Representative who resides in Pierce County.

7.2 Meetings

7.2.1 The Executive Board shall meet at least once each month on a regular date, time and place to be stated in the standing rules of the Central Committee.

7.2.2 No meeting shall be postponed or eliminated so that a month shall pass without a meeting except by majority vote of the Executive Board at a previous meeting.

7.2.3 A special meeting of the Executive Board may be called by the Chair or at the request of ten of its members, provided that all members are notified in writing at least ten days prior to the meeting. The notice shall include the date, time, place and purpose of the meeting.

7.2.4 A quorum shall be the number of members attending a properly noticed meeting, providing that at least one Executive Board member is present from each LD.

7.2.5 A vacancy on the Executive Board, other than that of an officer of the Central Committee shall be filled by the vacant member’s organization.

7.2.6 The Executive Board shall have the authority to take action on behalf of the Central Committee when circumstances dictate that a specific matter must be acted upon before it would be possible to bring the matter to the full Central Committee.

7.3 The Executive Board is the body which may recommend employment positions and salaries. A proposal for an employment position and salary shall be presented by the Executive Board to the Central Committee for its action.

ARTICLE 8. COMMITTEES

8.1 Standing Committees

8.1.1 The Central Committee shall establish a Budget and Finance Committee, an Elections Committee, African-American Caucus, Affirmative Action Committee and other committees as necessary. The Elections Standing Committee shall recommend, to the Executive Board, endorsements or positions regarding candidates, ballot measures and persons who are entitled to run as Democrats in Pierce County partisan elections.

8.1.2 Each committee shall have no fewer than six members. A committee member need not be a precinct officer. The makeup of the committee should be representative of both sexes and all legislative districts whenever possible.

8.1.3 Members of each standing committee shall be appointed by the Chair only with the concurrence of the chair of the district which the member represents, unless required to be elected or appointed in some other way by these bylaws or the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.

8.1.4 The Chair shall designate a chair for each standing committee. Each committee chair shall call the meetings, set the agenda, preside at the meetings, and designate a person from the committee to make a report to the Central Committee or Executive Board.

8.1.5 The scope of each standing committee shall be determined by the Central Committee.

8.1.6 A vacancy on a standing committee shall be filled by the Chair in the same manner as the original appointment.

8.1.7 A resignation from a standing committee shall be offered in writing to the chair of the committee unless it is the resignation of the chair, which shall be offered to the Central Committee Chair.

8.2 Special Committees

8.2.1 The Chair shall establish such special committees as are necessary to carry out the purposes of the Central Committee.

8.2.2 The Chair shall designate the members and chair of each special committee.

8.2.3 The Chair shall specify the purpose and duration of any special committee.

ARTICLE 9. CANDIDATE SUPPORT

9.1 It is the intent of the PCDCC to support qualified candidates seeking political office for both partisan and non-partisan office. To that end, the Elections Committee shall identify individuals who adhere to Democratic principles that can be demonstrated in the following ways: by Democratic Party activity, community activism, reputation among Democrats and statements they make supporting the Democratic Party and/or fellow Democrats.

9.2 Endorsements (Permits candidate to list PCDCC endorsement in advertising.)

9.2.1 A candidate seeking endorsement of the PCDCC shall indicate such desire to the Chair of the Elections Committee, either directly or through any member of the Executive Board. The Elections Committee may invite candidates chosen by the Committee to be interviewed for possible endorsement.

9.2.2 The Elections Committee shall conduct an investigation, through interviews or otherwise, of candidates for office and make recommendations for endorsement by the PCDCC. As to Pierce County partisan elective office, the Elections Committee may recommend endorsement of up to three (3) candidates per position.

9.2.3 When time permits, the PCDCC Chair shall call a meeting of the full Central Committee to discuss Elections Committee recommendations and either adopt or modify such recommendations. Each member of the Elections Committee shall have the opportunity to explain her or his support of or opposition to any candidate. Should timing not permit, the Executive Board may undertake the endorsement function.

9.3 Financial Support (Monetary or in-kind contributions.)

9.3.1 An endorsed candidate seeking monetary or in-kind aid shall indicate such desire to the Elections Committee Chair directly or through any member of the Elections Committee to the Elections Committee Chair.

9.3.2 The Elections Committee shall conduct an investigation of such request to determine candidate need, needs of other candidates, specificity of monetary or in-kind request and PCDCC resources available.

9.3.3 The PCDCC Chair shall authorize in-kind services.

9.3.4 Monetary contributions recommended by the Elections Committee shall be authorized at a full meeting of the PCDCC or by action at a meeting of the Executive Board, whichever occurs first.

ARTICLE 10. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY

Robert’s Rules of Order, newly revised, shall govern the conduct of meetings of the Central Committee and all subordinate committees. The Chair shall appoint a Parliamentarian, who need not be a member of the Executive Board, to assist in interpreting rules.

ARTICLE 11. PROCEDURE FOR AMENDMENT

These bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Central Committee as follows:

11.1 Proposed amendments shall be referred to the County Bylaws Committee. The committee shall submit its recommendation to the Central Committee within thirty days of receipt. If the Committee fails to report within 30 days of receipt, the proposed amendments shall be considered by the Executive Board at its next regular meeting and it shall submit a recommendation to the next regular meeting of the Central Committee.

11.2 A copy of the proposed amendment shall be given or mailed to each member of the Central Committee at least 10 days prior to the meeting.

11.3 Any proposed amendment(s) shall receive a first and second reading before the Central Committee prior to voting on the proposed amendment. The second reading may be at the same meeting at which the vote is taken.

11.4 Fifty members, including two officers of the Central Committee shall constitute a quorum for amending these bylaws. A two-thirds vote of those present and voting shall be required to amend these bylaws.

ADOPTED by the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee December 14, 1996

AMENDED by the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee March 16, 2006

AMENDED by the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee December 12-13, 2007

AMENDED by the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee March 13, 2008

AMENDED by the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee April 16, 2009