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DPLAC Ward Meetings and Conventions (Still) in the Time of COVID
Every two years (in even-numbered years), Democrats across the state gather to elect delegates to represent their counties at the state Pre-Primary Convention. Every Democrat registered in Los Alamos County as of January 6, 2022 can participate in their Ward meeting and absentee voting process to elect these delegates if they have signed up by January 26, 2022. Los Alamos County is what’s called a “pass through” county, which means the delegates elected at the Ward level are certified during the County Pre-Primary Convention without going through another election.
Being a delegate is awesome: you represent your Ward to vote for candidates to appear on the ballot in the Primary election and you vote for or against adopting the state party platform. The state Pre-Primary Convention will be held in Roswell on March 5, but voting will be conducted absentee, so delegates are not obligated to attend in person.
Normally we do this at Fuller Lodge, but due to the ongoing pandemic and increased access afforded by last year’s process, we will conduct everything virtually. We’re providing a lot of information to keep the process as transparent and accessible as possible.
What to do to participate in your Ward elections and the County Convention:
It’s really just three steps: register, listen to statewide candidates speak, and complete an absentee ballot to vote! After you register, we'll send reminders and links at every step of the way, but here’s the longer version:
- First, fill out this Google Form with your name, address, and contact info between January 6 and January 26 to register for your Ward meeting and the County Convention. https://forms.gle/gs1mbEdfajFTTcH78 You will have an opportunity to declare your candidacy to be a delegate to represent your Ward at the state Pre-Primary Convention, but any Democrat registered by January 6, 2022 is eligible to vote in these Ward meetings.
- Within a few days, you’ll receive a unique identifying number (UIN) via email or a request for more information to validate your registration.
- If you change your mind and decide to declare candidacy to be a delegate from your Ward, simply fill out the registration form again, and we will count only the most recent registration. You will not receive a new UIN.
- After registration closes on January 26, everyone registered for the Ward meetings will receive an email with dates, times, and Zoom links for the remaining stages of the process.
- On Saturday, January 29 at 2pm, we will have a County-wide Zoom meeting where statewide candidates will speak. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83933896350 This will be recorded! People who have declared their candidacy to be a delegate will have until noon on February 4 to update their candidate statements if they wish. Final candidate statements will be sent to all Ward electors in the evening on February 4.
- On Sunday, February 6, each Ward will meet on Zoom to hear from people in their ward who have declared their candidacy to be a delegate. The candidate statements will also be available with the ballots. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83933896350
- After the Ward meeting, you will receive a ballot as a separate Google Form at the email you used to register. You must complete it by noon on Monday, February 14. You will enter the unique identifying number—not your name—to cast your vote for delegates to represent your Ward.
- At an open Zoom meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, February 16, the Ward Chairs will count the ballots. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88995353672 Finally, you’ll receive an email notifying you of the results of the election for delegates. Congratulations, you have participated in the democratic process!
What happens after the Ward meeting?
After the Ward elections, we will hold a County Pre-Primary Convention via Zoom at 2pm on Sunday, February 20 to certify the delegates who were elected at the Ward level. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86218132024 Los Alamos is what’s called a “pass through” county, which means the delegates elected at the Ward level are certified during the County Pre-Primary Convention. There is not another election for delegates at the County Convention.
If you registered for the Ward meeting, you are automatically registered for the County Convention. If you did not register for the Ward meeting, you can still register for the County Convention at this link: ______
Why we’re doing things this way:
If you’ve ever attended the in-person convention, you may recall that you check in at a table where someone verifies your party registration and Ward and gives you a slip of paper to use to vote. That is the credentialing process; it’s how we make sure only people eligible to vote in their Ward elect their delegates.
The slip of paper you use to vote at the Ward meeting does not have your name on it, but because you received it upon check in, we know there’s one valid vote connected to that ballot. We use a process that creates a firewall between registration (which requires identifying information) from voting (which must be validated but should have as little identifying information as possible). For that reason, we have two separate committees working on these two steps, which creates a more lengthy process.
What’s going on behind the scenes:
The first Google Form, which includes your name and address--the information you would provide when checking in at an in-person convention--will go to the credentials committee. That committee will confirm your voter registration and Ward and assign you a unique identifying number, which will be sent to you via email.
After registration closes, the county credentials committee will work with the Ward credentials committees to verify the registrations. Then, they will send to the election committee a list of email addresses for people who are validated to participate in each Ward’s election (and who is validated to run as a delegate in each Ward). The election committee will send everyone credentialed in that Ward an email with a link to the correct Zoom links and ballot.
When you fill out your ballot, you will put in your unique identifying number instead of your name. The credentials committee will create a randomized (to the best of excel’s ability) list of the unique identifying numbers verified for each Ward and send it to the election committee. To count one eligible vote per person in the correct Ward, the election committee will validate votes using only the unique identifying number without knowing who cast each vote. If you complete the form twice with the same UIN, only the ballot with the most recent timestamp will be counted.
Why are we not using an encryption-based solution that fully anonymizes the votes?
Simply put: access. The most secure solutions are also the hardest to implement and would make it difficult for non-tech savvy Democrats in Los Alamos County to access and use our voting process. To conduct these elections virtually, we cannot avoid using web-based solutions. In accordance with guidance from the state party, we are limiting those solutions to the most straightforward, commonly used tools possible while still maintaining a gap between verifying credentials (which requires identifying information) and voting (which should have as little identifying information as possible).
DPLAC Virtual Ward Meetings, Elections, and County Convention
All Democrats registered in Los Alamos County as of January 6, 2022 are encouraged to register and participate in selecting our delegates.
Register for Ward meeting
Declare candidacy to be a delegate at the state Pre-Primary Convention
Jan 6 – Jan 26
Attend Zoom with statewide and federal candidates
2pm on Jan 29
Ward meetings via Zoom to hear prospective delegates speak
Ballots for Ward elections go out evening of Feb 6
Must be completed by noon on Monday, Feb 14
Zoom to process election results for all Wards
6pm on Feb 16
County convention via Zoom to certify delegates