Petitioning for Town Committee, State Assembly, State Senate and Congressional Offices Begins on February 25, 2020.
Petitioning is a legal process with strict rules and regulations. If you have never petitioned before or need a refresher, please attend the training sessions listed below. This training is open to all Democrats who wish to become members of the BTDC or would like to collect signatures for a candidate. An application forms to become a town committee member is attached and will also be available at the training sessions.
Click "Read More" below to read a brief description of the function of the BTDC and its members.
Saturday, February 15, 2020 - 12 noon to 1 pm
Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 12 noon to 1pm
Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 7pm to 8pm (tentative - held only if there are a sufficient number of sign-ups)
All training sessions will be held at BTDC Headquarters at 757 Horseblock Road, Farmingville (In the corner of the KK Athletics Plaza)
What is a Brookhaven Democratic Committeeperson?
The Brookhaven Democratic Town Committee is the local arm of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee. Town committee members have the power to nominate and vote for candidates at town and county conventions.
Town committee member are also responsible for helping to build a strong local Democratic Party by gathering signatures on petitions to help qualify Democrats for the ballot, volunteering in campaigns, and helping to raise money for the BTDC and democratic candidates.
We are governed by state and county party rules and regulations. The town committee meetings are run according to Robert’s Rules of Order. From time to time, we may establish rules for our own self-governance as long as they are not contrary to county and state rules.
The administrative structure of the BTDC includes a Chairperson, an Executive Board made up of vice-chairs, Council District leaders, and Committee People. These are all unpaid, volunteer positions. The leadership of the party is elected by the town committee members during an organizational meeting. The meeting date for reorganization is set by the county chair.
Town committee members each represent an Election District otherwise known as an “ED.” In Brookhaven, there are 296 election districts. Each ED allows for two Democratic representatives.
In order to be an effective town committee member, you should be interested in civic organizations and your community. You will be helping to register new voters, keeping track of voters who need absentee ballots, and providing information regarding local issues to the committee, candidates and democratic officials.
Town committee members are “elected” in even numbered years using a petitioning process. Town committee petitioning usually takes place in late winter and ends in early spring. Petitions are provided by the county committee and are distributed by the District Leaders in the town. It is their responsibility to make sure that each ED in their council district is represented.
To qualify for membership you must gather the signatures of registered Democrats who are registered to vote in your ED. Under most circumstances, a committeeperson lives in the ED that they represent.
BUT - if there are already two Democratic representatives in a particular ED, the rules allow you to represent a neighboring ED under the condition that the ED is in the same State Assembly District.
These rules are one of the reasons that is it necessary for anyone wishing to represent an ED to contact their District Leader. In order to avoid future complications, the DL’s keep track of which ED’s are represented.
The number of signatures necessary to become a committee member within an ED varies. It is a formula based on a previous election. Generally, each prospective committee member is asked to collect at the minimum, twenty signatures.
Petitioning - Important Steps to Follow
- Once you have determined that you want to help grow the Democratic Party, contact the town chair or your District Leader. Once the petitions are printed and received by the BTDC, a petition packet will be prepared for you for your ED (Remember, if there are already two representatives in that ED, you may be assigned to another ED).
- The packet will contain a petition with your name on it as well as the petitions of candidates for other offices.
- The packet will also contain a “walk book.” This is a list of all of the registered voters in your assigned ED. This will help you identify your friends and neighbors in the ED who are registered Democrats. In recent years, other methods such as apps for your phone that provide walk lists have been introduced. However, this is not yet available from the Board of Elections.
- Using the walk book as your guide, you will begin knocking on the doors of Democrats ONLY in your ED.
- By going door-to-door during petitioning, you are engaging in the most effective technique for building the Democratic Party, and establishing the relationships necessary for future elections.