June 24, 2020
The El Paso Young Democrats (EPYD), as an organization, focuses, not only on activism and opportunity, but on bettering our community through work in Democratic circles. Part of this work is endorsements and subsequently working hard for candidates who are true, not only to our values as Democrats and as progressives, but to the values of our city and the people we serve.
During the Democratic Primary, we were proud to endorse a number of great candidates for local and federal offices, many of whom were young Democrats. However, as we get closer to the general election in November, it is not lost on us that the majority of races are non-partisan. But, as we did in March, we are committed to supporting candidates who prove themselves ready to move El Paso forward if elected. Thus, we've outlined how we'll go about endorsements over the next few months.
Who can be endorsed
Per the Bylaws of the El Paso Young Democrats, (see Article VII Section 3), candidates in partisan races who run in a Democratic Primary are eligible for endorsement during the primary. However, this does not mean that we automatically endorse Democrats in a general election. We are committed to endorsing Democrats who are committed to the values of our organization and the Texas Young Democrats.
In non-partisan races — mayor, city council, etc. — any candidate who publicly aligns themself with the Democratic Party is eligible for an endorsement. Candidates who align themselves with the Democratic Party, however, must have voted in the last two (2) Democratic primaries, unless the candidate was reasonably unable to do so, (for example, because of age). For the upcoming general election, candidates for non-partisan races must have voted in the 2016 and 2018 Democratic Primaries unless they were reasonably unable to do so.
Please note that while we are committed to electing young Democrats in El Paso, our organization seeks to endorse the best candidates, regardless of age. Thus, there is no age requirement for endorsement.
The endorsement process
Candidates who are seeking the endorsement of EPYD are required to return a short questionnaire prepared by the Executive Board. The questionnaire asks questions about issues pertaining to the office the candidate is seeking, with a scoring mechanism, and place for an explanation. While the Executive Board has the ability to circumvent the questionnaire, no exceptions will be made. All candidates must return the questionnaire to the Executive Board for the endorsement to be considered by the full membership. The questionnaire will be available July 10, 2020.
Once the Executive Board has reviewed the questionnaire, the Executive Board may ask a candidate to participate in an interview with the Executive Board or a public forum to further ask questions and give the candidate an opportunity to elaborate or discuss other policy.
Once the above is completed, at a meeting of the General Assembly — that is, the full membership of the El Paso Young Democrats — the Executive Board will make a recommendation to the membership as to whom the organization should endorse. A recommendation by the Executive Board is not an endorsement. After private discussion, the General Assembly may vote to approve the recommendation or not. With a two-thirds (2/3) vote in favor of the recommendation, the endorsement is made.
Please note that the Executive Board may recommend more than one candidate to the General Assembly. However, a candidate must undergo the same process as aforementioned for an endorsement to be considered by the General Assembly. In other words, a candidate who does not complete the questionnaire or who does not participate in a forum if they were invited is not eligible for an endorsement. This is to ensure that the General Assembly makes an educated decision about candidates.
An important function of EPYD is giving our members opportunities to work and grow in Democratic spaces. A number of members are working on campaigns and we encourage such. However, the last thing we'd like is for an endorsement to be overshadowed by claims of unfairness or bias. In keeping with Article VII Section 2 of the Bylaws, while the Executive Board considers endorsements, any officer that is affiliated with a candidate for any office may not be privy to any endorsement considerations. Further, any officer who has publicly endorsed a candidate before EPYD has considered it is unable to participate in such. Further, such officers are not allowed to moderate or participate in any forums the organization may hold for that office. All discussions of such are to be kept from such officers and the Executive Board is aware that any malfeasance regarding endorsements results in the immediate dismissal of the officer.
During a meeting of the General Assembly when an endorsement is being considered, candidates who are members of the organization may not participate in discussions of endorsement for their race. They are allowed to vote, however. Similarly, members who are affiliated with a campaign may not participate in discussions of endorsement for the candidate they are affiliated with. They too, however, may vote. Officers, though they may not be privy to the discussion of the endorsement, may aide other officers in the voting process once the discussion has ended. All votes are done via secret ballot.
In their personal capacities, officers of the El Paso Young Democrats are allowed to endorse candidates for offices using their titles. However, such endorsements are not made on behalf of the organization and the organization may endorse other candidates.
In their personal capacities, members of the El Paso Young Democrats are allowed to endorse candidates for offices. However, such endorsements are not made on behalf of the organization and the organization may endorse other candidates. Any member who personally endorses a candidate, though eligible to vote to endorse, is unable to participate in discussions of endorsements as outlined above.
We are excited to work to elect strong Democratic voices up and down the ballot in November. Our organization is committed to ensuring that we support the best candidates in all races, races that are too often neglected. An endorsement by EPYD signifies that the person endorsed is the candidate to lead on young issues and is going to be an ally in the fights ahead.