2020 Endorsement Criteria and Procedures
CANDIDATES: SUBMIT YOUR ENDORSEMENT APPLICATION HERE
Section 1. Authority for Endorsements. The Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus may endorse candidates in electoral races deemed significant to members of Michigan’s Jewish community. Endorsement applications shall be available to all local, state, and federal candidates, though the Executive Board shall retain sole discretion to determine in which races the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus will consider endorsement applications.
Section 2. Endorsement Criteria. The Political Committee, Executive Board, and General Membership shall consider the following criteria in making endorsement decisions, including, but not limited to:
A candidate’s viability and ability to win a general election
A candidate’s commitment to listening to and standing up for Michigan’s Jewish community
A candidate’s ability to support the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus in fulfilling its core priorities and mandate, including but not limited to, increasing Jewish representation in Michigan politics and government
A candidate’s alignment with the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ values, policy priorities, and mission statement
Section 3. General Procedures. Candidate endorsements shall be considered only with the submission of an endorsement application by interested candidates to the Political Committee of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus. The Political Committee shall track and review applications and forward candidate responses along with any relevant notes, questions, and recommendations to the Executive Board. The Executive Board shall in turn use candidate responses and the Political Committee’s notes to record an in-person interview with candidates for distribution to the General Membership prior to the voting window. Following candidate interviews, the Executive Board shall make a final determination as to which primary races will be forwarded to the General Membership for consideration at an Endorsement Convention, and construct ballots accordingly.
Section 4. Endorsement Conventions. The Executive Board of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall hold two in-person or online endorsement conventions in election years, the first in June or July, preceding the August general primary, and the second in August or September, in advance of the November general election.
Section 5. Recommended Actions. For each race forwarded by the Executive Board to the General Membership for consideration in an Endorsement Convention vote , the Executive Board may elect to issue a recommended action to the General Membership, eg. “For the 28th House District, the Executive Board recommends members of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus vote to endorse Rhonda Shapiro.”
Section 6. Voting Procedures. Endorsement votes may be held during an in-person or online Endorsement Convention, provided the Executive Board deems the online election platform secure and tamper-proof. The scheduling of endorsement conventions shall be publicized heavily to the General Membership. Online Endorsement Conventions shall consist of an online ballot made accessible to the General Membership continuously for a period of (7) days. No qualified elector may vote more than once in a given Endorsement Convention, and proxy voting is prohibited. Any attempts to breach these rules will result in disqualification of the offending elector.
Section 7. Qualified Electors. Only dues-paying members of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus in good standing, defined as those whose memberships have been valid for 14 days or longer, shall be considered qualified electors to participate in an endorsement election. The Political Committee shall ensure electors’ qualifications by verifying received ballots with the most up-to-date list of Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus members.The identities of electors whose ballots have been challenged on eligibility grounds will be recorded and forwarded to the Executive Board, which shall render a final determination by majority vote. The number of invalidated ballots shall be recorded in a post-election report to the General Membership.
Section 8. Quorum of Electors. A quorum of at least 50 qualified electors present in-person or online (in terms of ballots submitted) shall be required to validate any Endorsement Convention vote.
Section 9. Announcement of Endorsement Results. Results of online or in-person endorsement votes will be announced within 24 hours of the final count to the General Membership and publicized at a time and manner agreed upon by the Chair and the endorsed candidate’s campaign.
Section 10. General Election Endorsements. Candidates who have won the Democratic Party's nomination and were not endorsed by the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus ahead of their primary election may be endorsed with a two-thirds supermajority of the Executive Board pending the submission of an endorsement questionnaire by the candidate in question. A membership vote is not required to endorse general election nominees.
Section 11. Endorsements of Democratic Incumbents. Incumbent Democrats seeking re-election are eligible for a fast-track endorsement procedure, requiring a two-thirds supermajority of the Executive Board following the submission of an endorsement questionnaire by the incumbent candidate in question. A membership vote is not required to endorse incumbents.
Section 12. Primary Election Endorsements. Unless this rule is suspended by unanimous consent, the Executive Board shall not vote to endorse a candidate in a contested Democratic primary election prior to calling a vote of the General Membership. Endorsements in a two-way Democratic primary require a candidate to garner a supermajority of at least 55% of total votes in an endorsement ballot of the General Membership; in a three-way primary, only a simple majority is required. The Executive Board is not obligated to forward every primary race for which applications have been received to a vote of the General Membership; the Executive Board may instead vote to declare “no endorsement” in a given primary, to grant some or all candidates in the primary the status of “approved candidate,” or take no public action.
Section 13. Filing Deadlines. Under no circumstances shall the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus make any endorsement in a contested primary prior to the candidate filing deadline as determined by the electoral jurisdiction, unless so authorized by a two-thirds supermajority of the Executive Board.
Section 14. Equal Opportunity. If a primary in which the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus has an interest in fielding an endorsement is a contested primary, the Political Committee shall make every attempt to solicit questionnaires from all declared candidates and publicize a deadline for their submission.
Section 15. Ensuring Fairness, Openness, and Transparency. No member of the Executive Board or Political Committee shall allow his or her personal preferences to impede the execution of a fair, open, and transparent process for making endorsements in Democratic primaries. The Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ commitment to a fair, open, and transparent endorsement process does not constitute a guarantee that self-same process shall be competitive for every candidate that participates; merely that every candidate shall have the opportunity to be considered according to the same standards and procedures.
Section 16. Recourse for Bias and Conflict-of-Interest. Should any bias or conflicts-of-interest on the part of an Executive Board or Political Committee member be alleged to influence or distort the fulfillment of his or her duties, the Chair shall conduct an investigation, which may result in asking said member to recuse him or herself from the process, or, for more serious breaches, launch a formal removal process.
Section 17. Resource Allocation. The Chair of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall possess the mandate to negotiate with the campaigns of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus’ endorsed candidates the circumstances of any endorsement announcement, and will determine with the Executive Board the resources, if any, to be allocated by the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus on behalf of any endorsed candidate. Endorsement by the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus shall not in any way constitute an obligation to provide material or financial resources, unless and until the Executive Board decides otherwise.
Section 18. Prohibition on Out-of-State Resources. In no circumstances shall the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus provide resources to candidates seeking elective office outside the State of Michigan, unless so authorized by a two-thirds supermajority of the Executive Board.