By Elias “Eli” Valantin
The South Carolina Democratic Party Convention is taking place May 19th through May 22nd. Due to the coronavirus and the implications of a large crowd gathering indoors, this year’s convention is again virtual. This process is an essential element of our democracy and a critical step in determining the future of the SCDP!
Why is the convention important? In years ending in odd numbers, the convention is usually in Columbia. One of the most important jobs for state delegates is to elect the leadership of our State Party. We will vote on the chair position, the 1st vice chair, 2nd vice chair, and 3rd vice chair. Following best practices to ensure a diverse and inclusive leadership team, the bylaws of our convention state eligibility for each of these roles.
Here is a quick rundown of the eligibility requirements.
- The chair is responsible for the overall success of the SCDP. The position entails stewardship of the Party/s finances and operations, serving as our lead point of contact to the DNC, nominating remaining leadership positions to be approved by the State Executive Committee (Secretary and Treasurer). In addition, this individual will select the executive director who runs the day-to-day operations of the Party.
- The 1st vice chair MUST be of different gender identity than the chair. This person is an integral part of our representation to the DNC and will step in as chair if the chair cannot do so. Currently, this role also assists with political outreach and finance.
- The 2nd vice chair MUST be of a different race than the chair position. Currently, this role oversees the caucuses of the SCDP and is responsible for running the Clyburn Fellowship.
- The 3rd vice chair MUST be 18-36 years old, representing younger and ensuring their voices are at the table. Currently, this position works with the SC Young Democrats and the affiliate organizations within the counties. This position is also responsible for data analysis, analytics and assisted with candidate development.
You can find a link to the list of candidates for SCDP leaders here. We will release a blog next week with some biographical information on the candidates as well.
There are also many other important reasons to be a part of the SCDP Convention. The SCDP is growing the caucus program. Please see the schedule here of when these constituency groups will meet! Each of the organizations will be electing new leadership for the next two years. The caucuses are a great way to increase engagement with our State Party. They promote issues and create an organizing apparatus necessary to advocate those in positions of power effectively.
Every two years, the Resolution Committee will meet and discuss proposed resolutions by the State Executive Committee or the various County Party Executive Committee to put forward a floor vote at the Convention. A resolution is a statement of clarity and intention from us as a Party on a specific issue, policy, or response to the Republicans’ ineptitude on a host of topics.
One of the best reasons is getting to see the fantastic faces who are doing the work every day to make a difference in their communities. It is a great time to fellowship with everyone.
Where does Greenville County fit into the SCDP Convention? Greenville is the largest county in the state, giving us the largest delegation to the convention with a maximum of 154 delegates. That is 33 more than Charleston, 22 more than Richland, and 55 more than neighboring Spartanburg County. To reach an equitable balance based on how our county encompasses two Congressional Districts, the GCDP must carve out 19 of our State delegate slots to those who are voters in the 3rd Congressional District. The remaining 135 delegates consist of voters eligible to vote in the 4th Congressional District, which encompasses the majority of Greenville County. Each delegate has one vote per agenda item put to the Convention floor.
So how do I get in? It all begins with precincts!
Start now by signing up to participate in our Precinct Recruitment Training. Please email us at Precincts@greenvilledemocrats.com. Becoming a member of your precinct leader’s team is the first step in the process. Precinct Reorganization, where we meet in small groups across the county to organize at the grassroots level, takes place every other year. In March 2022, you will have another opportunity to get involved with your neighborhood precinct. At this meeting, you will indicate your intentions to run for a spot as a county delegate. All precinct leaders are encouraged to show up and participate in our GCDP County Convention, where you would run for a state delegate spot. If you are successful in the election, you are a state delegate for a two-year term.
Check out the SCDP Facebook Page on Saturday, May 22nd, 2021, to watch the convention Program streamed live.