Thank you for supporting Team Zakim! With your help, we will elect a progressive Secretary of State who will promote our values of voter accessibility, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability.
Since Josh announced his candidacy in November, we have felt a palpable surge of enthusiasm across the Commonwealth. Now is the time to translate that excitement into action!
The first step in the process is to ensure Josh appears on the September 4 primary ballot. To make that happen, we will need your support at caucuses being held across Massachusetts throughout February and March and at the State Party Convention in June.
We understand that some of you have been attending Town Committee meetings and caucuses for years whereas others are feeling compelled to engage more actively with the political process for the first time. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned caucus-goer or a newbie, we want you comfortable, empowered, and equipped to succeed. In that spirit, we have put together this FAQ to explain the caucus process, outline clear action steps, and ensure your voices are heard loudly and clearly over the coming months.
- What are the caucuses?
- In this case, a caucus is a meeting at which local members of a Democratic town or ward committees and other voters select delegates to attend the Massachusetts Democratic Convention in June. At the convention, these selected delegates cast their ballots for their preferred candidates in the four Massachusetts statewide races-- for Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and - most importantly! - Secretary of State.
Can I attend my local caucus?
If you are registered to vote as a Democrat or registered to vote but have not indicated affiliation with a political party, you may attend the caucus that covers the jurisdiction in which you live. If you are not enrolled in a party, you may register as a Democrat upon arriving at the caucus, and - in fact - you must do so in order to attend. If you are unsure about what district you live in, check here.
When and where is my caucus?
Your caucus information can be found on the Mass Dems website at this link. Sometimes the information may change without warning, so be sure to double check by calling the caucus organizer listed on the website.
What is the Convention?
The Massachusetts Democratic Endorsing Convention is where the delegates selected at local caucuses vote for their candidates of choice so that the candidates can appear on the primary ballot in September. The Convention will be held on the evening of Friday, June 1st, and all day Saturday, June 2nd. Delegates are only required to attend Saturday. You can learn more about the Convention procedure here.
How are delegates selected at my caucus?
Anyone in attendance may express an interest in serving as a delegate to the Convention. Candidates will be afforded a brief opportunity to discuss the issues that most inspire or concern them and may indicate support for specific candidates. You will not be required to state explicitly who you are supporting, but it may be a good idea to tell the caucus-goers that you plan to support Josh Zakim because of the values he represents and policy positions he espouses. After each candidate has had an opportunity to speak, caucus-goers will elect delegates via secret ballot. It is also important to note that delegates must be split evenly by gender, i.e. if a town can elect seven delegates, three must be male, 3 must be female, and the last one can be either. You can learn more about the official delegate selection rules here.
How does attending my caucus help Josh?
First, by simply attending your caucus, you will have the opportunity to vote for delegates who are supportive of Josh and who will advocate for a progressive platform at the Convention in June. Your individual vote in what is typically a small room of caucus-goers will go a long way, and you will have a significant say in choosing delegates.
Second, if you choose to compete for an appointment as a delegate, you will have an even bigger say in whether Josh’s name will appear on the primary ballot in September. We strongly encourage you to run as a delegate; it’s a simple process, and your voice will go a long way!
What other responsibilities will I have as a delegate? What is the time commitment?
Your commitment as a delegate is limited-- the only requirement is that you are able to attend your caucus and the Convention on June 2. Of course, we encourage you to bring as many friendly voters to your caucus and help us identify supporters and volunteers, too. We would love for you to be as active as your schedule will allow-- the more people we have aware and involved, the better we can spread Josh’s vision for our Commonwealth.
What if I don’t know who I will be supporting in the other three statewide races?
In addition to the Secretary of State race, the 2018 Massachusetts Democratic Convention will nominate candidates to represent the party in competitive races for a United States Senate seat, the Governorship, and the Lieutenant Governorship. If you are interested in becoming a delegate, you are not required to announce your support for any of these candidates. Furthermore, delegates at the Convention are not required to cast a vote for all contests.
What if I am not elected to be a delegate at my caucus?
Because there are only a set number of delegate spots per caucus, there is a chance you will be not be selected. Do not be discouraged. Remember, as a registered Democrat at your caucus, you still reserve the right to vote for the delegate nominees, and you vote does count. See below for how you can continue to help Team Zakim in the run-up to the September 4 primary.
- Additionally, the Massachusetts Democratic Party will appoint a host of “add-on” delegates from historically underrepresented constituencies (Youth, Minority, Disabled, and LBTQ+) between the caucuses and the Convention. The application to serve as an Add-On, which can be accessed here, prioritizes candidates who attended their caucuses. See below for how you can continue to help Team Zakim in the run-up to the September 4 primary.
How can I increase my chances of being selected as a delegate if I run at my caucus?
The best thing you can do is encourage friends and family to attend your caucus. The more votes you can guarantee for yourself, the better. Remember, all caucus-goers must be registered voters who live in-district! Publishing your caucus date information on social media is also a great way to spread the word, especially if you use the hashtag #MApoli and tag your local Democratic committee’s page!
Where can I direct other questions specific to my caucus?
If you go to the link in the question above, you can find the contact information for the caucus organizer. This will be your best bet to getting the best and most up-to-date information about your caucus. If they are unresponsive, we will help you get answers. Just email us at email@example.com.
If I can’t make it to my caucus or the Convention, how else can I help?
As we mentioned earlier, the best way you can help is by recruiting your friends and family to give a little time to the campaign. There are plenty of ways to help-- phonebanking, recruiting your friends and family, handing out flyers, attending non-caucus committee meetings, connecting the campaign with local influencers in your community, and engaging with/in the issues on social media (remember to #MApoli and #TeamZakim!). Of course, you can always reach out to the campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns, or ideas.
Is there a fee for attending the Convention as a delegate?
There is a delegate fee of $75 and a reduced fee for student, seniors, and those with disabilities of $50. No one will be denied access to the Convention based on need: there are full waivers and partial waivers one can apply for. The Chair of your caucus is required to provide these forms at the caucus, so make sure you get your hands on a copy of a payment form and/or waiver form if you are elected. You can take a look at these forms and a number of other caucus- and Convention-related documents here. You will also need to find lodging for your night’s stay on that weekend. The Party has negotiated deals with a number of hotels in the area to provide Convention attendees with discounts, and universities in the area will soon publish single-room availability at even lower rates. You can learn more about lodging here.
I think I support Josh, but I'm not entirely sure. Where can I find out more information about what he brings to the table?
We appreciate that you’re willing to do some research before supporting a candidate and we encourage you to look into all sides of political races and policy issues. Our website has a lot of good information about Josh, including a bio and our Press coverage. We will be rolling out our issues page soon, but in the meantime, you can follow Josh’s schedule to see when he’ll be speaking at a meeting near you!