Kendall County Democratic Convention 2020: Special Circumstances

With the US declaring a national state of emergency and Texas declaring a disaster due to the coronavirus outbreak, KCDP will conduct a specially modified county convention on Saturday, March 21.

by Laura Bray, Deputy Chair, Kendall County Democratic Party

Red, white and blue balloons fall over the crowd on the floor of a large convention
“The balloon drop at the end of the Democratic convention” by Lorie Shaull is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

In this post, we’ll explain what normally happens at our county convention, the process of selecting delegates, and how this year’s convention will be adapted to minimize risk while still upholding our democratic responsibilities.

The information below has been updated with additional changes announced Monday afternoon, March 16.

What normally happens at our county convention

The business agenda for our county convention normally includes the following activities:

  • Meeting others from your precinct
  • Remarks from the Party Chair
  • Familiarizing everyone with expectations of delegates to the State Convention
  • Selecting Kendall’s eleven delegates to send to the State Convention (potential delegates will “declare” for a specific presidential candidate; our delegation will have representation of all presidential candidates, proportional to what percentage of the Kendall vote that candidate received)
  • Debating and passing any local resolutions that attendees submit for consideration; passed Resolutions are sent to the State Convention

The delegate selection process

Anyone who voted in the Democratic Primary (either during early voting or on Election Day) may register to attend and vote at our County Convention [however, see below for the special procedures we will follow in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak].

If you voted in neither primary, you may still participate by signing an “oath of affiliation to the Democratic Party” when you sign in. If you voted in the Republican Primary, you may attend but you may not vote at the KCDP Convention. The Credentials Committee will check all registrants versus the voting rolls from the Democratic Primary to ensure eligibility.

Since ours is a small convention (as compared to, say, Bexar County), County Chair Kevin Henning will propose that we operate as a “Committee of the Whole.” This way, we can vote as a group on the delegates we want to send to the State Convention (June 2-4, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio) and only break out into Precinct Conventions if absolutely necessary. As much as feasible, our 11 delegates need to have the broadest possible diversity (gender, ethnicity, LGBTQ). After some initial remarks and verification of eligible attendees, Kevin will ask everyone who wants to attend the State Convention to stand. If there are 11 or fewer standing, each person standing will have two minutes to explain why they want to be a delegate. Then Kevin will propose that we elect those individuals by acclamation.

If 12-15 individuals stand, the Convention will take a 10-minute break, and the group will decide amongst themselves which 11 will attend. Then each of the 11 will have two minutes to speak, then Kevin will call a vote.

If more than 15 individuals want to attend the State Convention, we will need to break out into modified Precinct Conventions to select delegates. Smaller precincts will be grouped with larger ones; each group should represent approximately the same number of Democratic voters. This breakout process will be further refined after we receive primary results. The nominations of each precinct grouping then go to the Nominating Committee, who compiles all the information and submits it to the Convention as a whole for a vote. Delegates are also elected proportionately to the number of supporters for a presidential candidate (as determined by the results of the March 3 primary election). For example, if Joe Biden receives 36% of the vote in Kendall County, four Kendall delegates would “declare” for Biden.

Special procedures for the 2020 county convention

Unfortunately, this year we are in the midst of a serious pandemic and must follow the advice of public health officials to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. Therefore, the Texas Democratic Party has advised county parties on the procedures that we can use to abbreviate our county conventions while still upholding our democratic and legal responsibilities.

This Saturday, March 21, we will hold our modified convention at the Democratic Headquarters at 518 E Blanco Rd, at 3:00 p.m. We ask that only the following people attend:

  • Party Chair, Kevin Henning
  • Deputy Chair, Laura Bray
  • Proposed Convention Secretary, Shawn Bonner
  • Nominating Committee (these individuals have already been notified), and
  • Anyone who wants to be a delegate to the State Convention, but has not pre-registered to do so.

Please note that:

  1. Precinct Chairs and other party officers no longer need attend the modified County Convention
  2. If you are interested in being a delegate to the State Convention and you follow these steps from the Texas Democratic Party to register your interest in being a delegate, you will not need to attend our county convention in person.
  3. We will ask everyone who wishes to attend the State Convention to complete a short questionnaire (located at bottom of this post) for the benefit of the Nominating Committee. You may also request the questionnaire by emailing Laura Bray.

The short, smaller convention will then elect a Nominating Committee that will choose our 11 delegates. The convention will then adjourn.

This modification is in keeping with recommendations from the Texas Democratic Party. Currently, there is no Kendall County guidance about cancelling events. Should that change in the interim, we will let you know.

At the State Convention, our Senate District 25 delegation—which comprises the area that Sen. Donna Campbell represents, including Kendall and parts of Bexar, Travis, and other counties—will elect Biden/Sanders delegates to attend the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July, where the Democratic Presidential candidate will be nominated.

As always, call/email with questions: email Laura Bray or call 210-884-6843

Prospective delegate questionnaire

The questionnaire for prospective delegates is below. You can hit the “full-screen” button in the lower right corner of the viewer to view it larger, or tap the menu button next to that to download the notice, either as a Word document, or as a PDF.

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