Here is a quick summary of the questions often asked by newly elected party officers. These answers are meant as a starting point. You’ll find more in-depth information on these topics in the pages of this guidebook.
How is the Democratic Party of Oregon structured?
The Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO) is a grassroots party wherein Precinct Committee Persons in each county elect Delegates and Alternates to serve on the Congressional District Committees (5) and the State Central Committee. The Delegates to the State Central Committee are proportionally allocated based off voter registration data in each county, with 1 delegate representing each special group caucus, and 1 delegate representing each Congressional District Committee. Each Congressional District Committee sends delegates to each of the DPO’s Standing Committees who serve to advise the State Central Committee and carry out its tasks across the State. A full organizational chart is available on pages 6 and 7.
Guide to the Guidebook:
- DPO (Democratic Party of Oregon)
- PCP (Precinct Committee Person)
- SCC (State Central Committee)
- CD (Congressional District)
- Organization (County Party, Caucus, or CD)
What are the Officers’ duties?
Each organization within the Democratic Party of Oregon maintains their own bylaws which may vary or dictate specific duties. The below is a general guide, that may be overruled by your bylaws.
Convenes and presides at meetings of the organization. The Chair attends meetings of the State and Congressional District Committees and performs all other duties connected to the office.
Presides, in the absence of the Chair, at meetings. A further duty is to assist the Chair in the discharge of the Chair’s duties, and to attend meetings of the State and Congressional District Committees.
Preserves the minutes and attendance records of all Executive and Central Committee proceedings. Directed by the Chair, the Secretary notifies Executive and Central Committee members of meetings. The Secretary performs all other duties usually connected to the office of Secretary (e.g., updating the event calendar, maintaining organization rosters, etc.) The Secretary is also responsible for reporting changes in leadership or delegation to the Democratic Party of Oregon Operations Director.
Takes responsibility for funds and makes no disbursement without authority or ratification by the Executive Committee or Chair. The Treasurer keeps accurate records of donations and expenditures and is responsible for timely reporting to the Oregon Secretary of State in compliance with its rules.
State Central Committee (SCC) Member/Alternate
Members are expected to attend quarterly meetings to conduct party business including budget approval, resolutions, amendments to bylaws and state officer elections, among other things. Alternates are encouraged to attend all SCC meetings and can vote when upgraded to replace an absent delegate from their County, CD, or Caucus.
Congressional district (CD) Committee Member/Alternate
Members are expected to attend meetings to conduct party business. Members of the Congressional District (CD) Committees liaise with their Congressional Representatives and elect members to serve on the Democratic Party of Oregon Standing Committees. Alternates are encouraged to attend all meetings and can vote when upgraded to replace an absent delegate for their CD.
What does the County Central Committee do?
The Central Committee is the governing body of the County Democratic Party and is responsible for all County Party business, including filling officer vacancies, approving expenditures, electing delegates to the State Central Committee and Congressional District Committee(s), and recruiting volunteers and organizing events.
After County Party Reorganization …
What should the Chair and Vice Chair do first?
- Welcome other officers, SCC Members/Alternates and precinct committee persons (PCPs) by mail, email, and/or phone.
- Hold an orientation event and training session for PCPs as soon as possible.
- For county officers needing Voter File access, send account requests via email to the DPO Technology Director at [email protected]
What should the Secretary do first?
- Create and maintain complete rosters of County Central Committee, Executive Committee, Congressional District Committee, and State Central Committee Members. Submit a complete report of the rosters including contact information (phone, email, mailing address) to the DPO Operations Director.
- Establish and distribute the schedule for all Central Committee and Executive Committee meetings.
- Post all event/meeting dates and details on the DPO events calendar at www.DPO.org.
- Send timely meeting notices, with agendas and other details.
What should the Treasurer do first?
- If the Chair and/or Treasurer are new, they should both go to their bank to change the signatories on the organization’s bank account (County Parties).
- Submit an updated Statement of Organization form to the Oregon Secretary of State if the Chair and/or Treasurer are new.
- Download and read the Campaign Finance Manual from the Oregon Secretary of State at sos.oregon.gov.
- Review training videos and seek other assistance from the SOS regarding the use of its reporting software (Orestar), etc.
What are the Precinct Committee Persons’ duties?
The Precinct Committee Person (PCP) is charged with organizing the Democratic Party in the precinct and are the voting body of the County Central Committee. PCPs are elected on the May Primary ballot in even-numbered years, but can be appointed by the County Central Committee in the interim.
PCPs play a critical role in reaching out to Democratic voters, recruiting volunteers and supporting campaign activities, including:
- Canvassing precinct residents to identify and keep record of likely Democratic voters.
- Identifying Democratic voters in the precinct who are willing to work on campaigns or have campaign lawn signs on their property.
- Facilitating voter-registration efforts in the precinct.
- Distributing the slate cards and campaign literature for endorsed candidates.
- Joining the Neighborhood Leader Program or other county volunteer efforts.
- Assisting with get-out-the-vote efforts at election time.
- In the event of a vacancy in elected office or on the ballot for partisan office, a convention of PCPs will fill appropriate vacancies.
Is there a limit on the amount of money a County Party can raise?
There is no limit on the amount, but certain types of contributions are prohibited, such as:
- Anonymous contributions
- Contributions in a false name
- Contributions from foreign nationals
If you have any questions about contributions, always refer to the Campaign Finance Manual produced by the Oregon Secretary of State.
Are there limits on donations from County Party organizations to campaigns?
There are not limits to State Candidates. There are limits to Federal Candidates. There may be limits to Local Candidates. If you have any questions about state and local candidate contributions, refer to the Campaign Finance Manual produced by the Oregon Secretary of State. The rules for contributions to federal campaigns (U.S. Senate or House, for example) are set by the Federal Election Commission. If your party organization is interested in contributing to candidates for federal office please consult with the DPO Executive Director or Compliance Director.
What are the Democratic Party of Oregon Governing Documents?
Bylaws & Standing Rules
The Bylaws and Standing Rules of the Democratic Party of Oregon provides the foundational rules and operating procedures for Party activities. These documents are subject to amendment and approval by the State Central Committee.
The DPO Platform and Legislative Action items
The DPO Platform states the beliefs and principles of the Democratic Party of Oregon. The Legislative Action Items include specific legislative and policy priorities for a two-year period. These documents are both produced at the biennial DPO Platform Convention event, which contains representatives from each of the 36 County Parties as well as the Oregon Legislative Assembly.