The Democratic Party of Oregon is divided into five basic levels: County Parties (County Central Committees), Congressional District Committees, Special Group Caucuses, Standing Committees, and the State Central Committee.
The County Party, or County Central Committee, is made up of all Precinct Committee Persons within that county.
The rules and statutes regulating County Central Committees are found in ORS 248 and the Democratic Party of Oregon Bylaws and are as follows (as of 1/18/2019):
Oregon Revised Statutes:
248.031 Precinct committee persons as county central committee; status and functions of committee. The precinct committee persons of the county shall constitute the county central committee of their party. The county central committee of each major political party is the highest party authority in county party matters and may adopt rules or resolutions for any matter of party government within the county which is not controlled by the laws of this state.
248.033 Organizational meeting; notice.
- The organizational meeting of a county central committee shall be held no less frequently than every 25 months.
- The retiring county central committee shall prepare a written notice designating the time, date and place of the meeting and file a copy of the notice with the county clerk not later than the 40th day before the date of the meeting. The retiring county central committee also shall mail a copy of the notice to the state central committee.
- Upon request of a county central committee, the county clerk shall provide the county central committee, without charge, a list of the names, addresses and other contact information, including electronic mail addresses or telephone numbers, of persons holding the office of precinct committee person for that major political party on the date the clerk receives notice of an organizational meeting under subsection (2) of this section.
- The chairperson of the retiring county central committee shall mail a copy of the notice of the time, date and place of the meeting, not later than the 10th day before the meeting, to each member of the county central committee. If permitted by the bylaws of the county central committee, the county central committee may notify members by means other than by mail.
248.035 Transfer of property; election of officers; notice of election; eligibility to vote.
- At the organizational meeting of a county central committee:
- The officers of the retiring county central committee shall make available to the committee the property, records and funds owned or controlled by the retiring committee.
- The committee next shall elect a chairperson, vice chairperson and other officers the committee considers necessary. The persons elected to the offices need not be members of the county central committee. The committee shall determine the term of each office. Only a newly elected precinct committee person may vote on the election of committee officers.
- The elected chairperson, within 48 hours of the chairperson’s election, shall send a list of the officers of the committee to the county clerk and to the state central committee.
- Only a newly elected precinct committee person or a person appointed or selected to fill a vacancy in the office of committee person may vote to fill a vacancy in a committee office. Immediately before a meeting of the county central committee at which there may be an election to fill a vacancy in a committee office, the chairperson shall obtain from the county clerk a list of committee members. The list shall determine the eligibility of a committeeperson to vote to fill a vacancy in a committee office.
248.043 Procedure if meeting not called; filling vacancies when no precinct committeeperson elected; term of appointee; notice to county clerk. If a newly elected county central committee fails to meet or to organize or if no person within a county is elected by a major political party as a precinct committeeperson, the chairperson of the retiring state central committee shall appoint a temporary chairperson of the county central committee. The temporary chairperson shall call an organizational meeting and organize the committee as provided by applicable provisions of ORS 248.033 and 248.035. A temporary chairperson appointed when no precinct committee person is elected may appoint members to fill the vacancies in the office of committee person for the precinct in which the persons are registered. A person so appointed may be removed from office at the pleasure of the central committee, but otherwise shall hold the office of committeeperson for the unexpired term and shall have the powers, duties and privileges of a committeeperson. When a person is appointed to the office of committeeperson pursuant to this subsection, the temporary chairperson shall notify, in writing, the county clerk of the appointment. The county clerk shall place the name of the person appointed on the list of committee persons.
248.045 Proxies prohibited; bylaws or rules; executive committee functions; voting privileges. Proxies in no instance shall be permitted to participate at any county central committee meeting. At any meeting of the county central committee, the committee may:
- Adopt, amend or repeal bylaws or rules for the government of the political party in the county.
- By the adoption of bylaws or of a resolution, select an executive committee and authorize the executive committee to exercise those powers delegated to it by the central committee including, but not limited to, the power to fill a vacancy in the office of committeeperson pursuant to ORS 248.026. In no event may the central committee delegate, or the executive committee exercise, the power to elect a person to, or fill a vacancy in a committee office. The persons selected as the executive committee need not be members of the county central committee.
- Except as provided by ORS 248.035 (3), grant participation and voting privileges to a:
- Person who holds a public office or an office of a political party.
- Person who has been nominated for a public office at the preceding primary election.
- Member of the executive committee of the county central committee.
Democratic Party of Oregon Bylaws:
ARTICLE X – COUNTY CENTRAL COMMITTEES
Section 1 – Organization – Each county central committee must reorganize within 25 months of its previous organizational meeting, as required by state law. The sitting County Chair calls the meeting. If the sitting County Chair fails to call the organizational meeting within the time the county bylaws require, the State Chair calls the meeting. County central committees are strongly encouraged to take the wide diversity of their counties into consideration when organizing.
Section 2 – County central committees may combine with other county central committees to organize with the consent of each involved county central committee and the SCC. Counties deciding to combine may elect a single set of officers.
- The combined counties will not lose representation in the SCC.
- Delegates and alternates may be elected from the combined counties, as long as a majority of the precinct committee people from each of the combined counties agrees.
Congressional District Committees
Congressional District Committees are a part of the Democratic Party of Oregon and have no unique status in Oregon Statute. Congressional District Committees are defined as follows in the Democratic Party of Oregon Bylaws.
ARTICLE IX – CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT COMMITTEES
Section 1 – Membership – Members of the Congressional District Committees include at least two delegates from each county within the Congressional District and one delegate for each 15,000 Democrats or major fraction of 15,000 Democrats within the county and the Congressional District as of the primary election. County Congressional District delegate and alternate delegate positions shall be elected by a process that recognizes three gender categories: female, male and non-binary, and that assures that no gender category shall have greater representation than 50 percent or, in the case of an odd number, 50 percent plus one. Non-binary delegate positions shall reduce the male and female delegate positions as evenly as possible. Replacement preference for alternate delegates will utilize gender category first. Counties are strongly encouraged to consider the wide diversity of their counties when selecting delegates.
Section 2 – Organizational Meeting – Each Congressional District Committee holds its organizational meeting not later than the first quarter of the year following a General Election. The sitting District Chair calls the organizational meeting by the end of the year of a General Election. If the sitting District Chair fails to call the organizational meeting by end of that year, the State Chair calls the meeting. Districts are strongly encouraged to consider the wide diversity of their District when selecting officers.
Section 3 – Duties
- At its organizational meeting or in its next official meeting, each Congressional District Committee and the SCC delegates and alternates acting as delegates living in that district, elects representatives to serve on the standing committees of the SCC. Gender, race, age, physical ability, sexual orientation and gender identity shall be given strong consideration in the election process.
- The chairs of the Congressional District Committees serve as Presidential Electors during a Presidential Election year. If the District Chair is unable to serve, the district committee’s Vice Chair, Secretary, or Treasurer, in that order, serve as a Presidential Elector.
Each Congressional District Committee, along with the SCC delegates and alternates acting as delegates living in that district, elects committee delegates and alternates to the standing committees in the following numbers:
- Prepares a two-year budget for the Democratic Party of Oregon for submission to the Executive Committee by the end of November of each odd-numbered year, and for the subsequent submission to the State Central Committee at its 4th quarter meeting;
- Makes all necessary reports to the State Central Committee.
- Signs up members of the SCC and Executive Committee, designating delegates and alternates;
- Conducts elections for party officers with the assistance of DPO staff;
- Assists with members’ registration for special events, and other duties as assigned.
Platform and Resolutions Committee:
- Recommends resolutions to the SCC;
- Submits a draft platform to the DPO’s platform convention;
- Assures that proposed resolutions and platforms are submitted in accordance with the Bylaws and rules of the DPO;
- Recommends ballot measures to the SCC.
- Reviews the Bylaws regularly and recommends amendments;
- Proposes the rules and procedures for state conventions. Those rules and procedures are to be approved by the delegates of those conventions.
- Reviews the bylaws of prospective special group caucuses to ensure those bylaws meet the goals and Bylaws of the DPO. The committee may recommend approval of the caucus to the SCC.
Local Events and State Fair Committee:
- With the assistance of staff, operates the State Fair booth, and assists county central committees with operating booths at their county fairs;
- Assists county parties, congressional district parties, and caucuses at local events when asked;
- Performs the other functions that may be assigned by the SCC.
The Chair of the SCC appoints the chair, vice chair and one voting member of each standing committee. The chair of the standing committee may appoint one voting member of the standing committee, with approval of the Administration Committee.
Special Group Caucuses
The SCC may grant official recognition to a statewide caucus of Democrats sharing demographic or similar identity. Caucuses are meant to promote diversity and encourage people with similar interests to be active in supporting the Democratic Party.
All registered Democrats are able to participate in caucuses, though each caucus has bylaws defining their voting membership.
As of January 2019, the Democratic Party has 17 recognized special group caucuses. These caucuses are represented on the DPO Executive Committee and the State Central Committee.
State Central Committee
The DPO is empowered by state law, (ORS 248.002 – 248.012), and the Democratic National Committee Charter to manage its affairs and transact its business. The State Central Committee (SCC) is the governing body of the Party and it may delegate its authority. The Officers of the Democratic Party of Oregon make up the Administration Committee. These Officers consist of the Chair, two Vice Chairs, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and Oregon’s three Democratic National Committee Members.
The State Central Committee is made up of delegates representing each of Oregon’s 36 Counties, A representative from each Special Group Caucus, a representative from each Congressional District Committee, and the Administration Committee. The State Central Committee meets quarterly in counties across Oregon, and follows the rules and statutes of ORS 248 and the Democratic Party of Oregon Bylaws and Standing Rules.
Oregon Revised Statutes:
248.072 Authority of state central committee. The state central committee is the highest party authority in the state and may adopt rules or resolutions for any matter of party government which is not controlled by the laws of this state.
248.075 State central committee; organizational meeting; notice.
- The state central committee shall consist of at least two delegates from each county central committee and other delegates from each county equal to the number of party members in the county registered on the date of the primary election divided by 15,000. If the remaining number exceeds 7,500, one additional delegate shall represent the county. The delegates and an equal number of alternate delegates shall be selected by the county central committee. When a delegate of a county central committee is unable to attend a meeting of the state central committee, an alternate delegate of the county central committee may attend the meeting.
- The organizational meeting of a newly elected state central committee shall be held on a date to be determined by party rule. The retiring state central committee shall mail notice of the meeting, not later than the sixth day before the meeting, to each member of the newly elected state central committee. If permitted by the bylaws of the state central committee, the state central committee may notify members by means other than by mail.
- The chairperson of the retiring state central committee shall mail a notice of the meeting to the county central committees not later than the 45th day before the meeting. The state central committee may not reorganize without the mailing of this notification.
- If a county central committee fails to organize before the organizational meeting of the state central committee, the appointed temporary chairperson of the county central committee may act as the sole delegate from that committee to the state central committee.
- If the retiring state central committee does not mail notice of the organizational meeting under subsection (2) of this section, the meeting may be called by a petition signed by at least 19 chairpersons of the county central committees. The petition shall state the time, date and place of the organizational meeting. A copy of the petition shall be mailed to each newly elected chairperson and vice chairperson of the county central committees not later than the sixth day before the meeting. A copy of the petition shall be filed with the Secretary of State.
248.085 Transfer of property; election of officers; bylaws or rules; executive committee functions.
- At the organizational meeting of the state central committee:
- The officers of the retiring state central committee shall deliver to the newly elected committee the property, records and funds owned or controlled by the retiring committee.
- The committee shall elect a chairperson, vice chairperson and other officers the committee considers necessary. The persons elected to the offices need not be members of the state central committee. The committee shall determine the term of each office.
- The committee shall adopt, amend or repeal bylaws or rules for the government of the state central committee.
- At any meeting of the state central committee, the committee, by bylaw or resolution, may select an executive committee and delegate powers to it. The persons selected as the executive committee need not be members of the state central committee. In no event may the central committee delegate, or the executive committee exercise, the power to elect a person to fill a vacancy in state committee offices. However, the central committee may provide in its bylaws for the appointment by the executive committee of a temporary officer to fill a vacancy.
The Democratic Party of Oregon has a full-time office staffed by professionals in finance, communications, party affairs, training, data and targeting who assist Democratic Party of Oregon members at all levels. The state office is located at 232 NE 9th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232.
Democratic National Committee
The DPO is a part of the Democratic National Committee. Every four years, the Democratic National Committee holds a Convention to select its Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. Oregon elects Delegates to the National Convention at Congressional District and State Conventions.
Between Democratic National Conventions, the governing body is the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Oregon is represented on the DNC by the state party Chair and Vice Chair and three at-large DNC representatives elected at the State Convention. The address of the Democratic National Committee office is 430 South Capitol Street, S.E., Washington, DC 20003; phone: 202-863-8000.