Leave That Feeling of Helplessness Behind
These days we wake and immediately check our phones with one eye open lest the apocalypse is upon us. Then maybe we turn on the television and fill up with a pre-coffee jolt of injustice, pain and rage. From there we drop off the kids and head to work moaning to anyone that will listen. We can’t even enjoy the warm sun on a winter’s day because we know global warming is at play. Not to mention that, as the put-upon gender, our our responsibilities at home remain high while we are paid less at work. The only relief is that we don’t live in Japan… as the New York Times made painfully clear this weekend (worth a read). Sound about right? Then it’s time we talk to you about running for office. You heard us right, whether Democrat or Republican, the County Committee needs you.
It’s Time to Step Up
Many of the women we know give of themselves civically despite the fact that there are not enough hours in a day to do this (proof: Department of Labor’s 2015 ‘Volunteering in America’ report). From leading Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) to taking on roles at a city level and with volunteer organizations… It always seems impossible to do more, but we do. As they say, if you want something done, give it to a busy person.
So it’s to all of you overachievers that we ask… Imagine if you didn’t just have to moan about politics, but could instead be a politician? Even better, what if it was easy to register to run? Not at all time consuming? And that it’s unlikely you would even run against anyone…
Run Every Seat
Regardless of your political beliefs, it’s hard to argue that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is anything but a breath of fresh air. She’s passionate, committed and committed to demystifying the political process. AOC represents a youth quake that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And so it’s not a surprise that we were recently came across the aspirational and inspirational group of young leaders behind Run Every Seat. Working as volunteers, this group has uncovered one of the most overlooked opportunities to become a part of the solution instead of just endlessly bemoaning the problem.
Introducing… The County Committee
Each party in every part of the country is made up of elected officials representing their community. Whether you are registered as a Democrat or a Republican, and from there sit philosophically on left, right or in the center, the only way for democracy to work is to get involved. The county committee role is an easy entree to participation and there are thousands of positions that go unfilled each year.
In New York state alone (where we live and run our business) there are 15,700 election districts. Each district elects one to two people for a two-year, unpaid term (the county committee position). But here’s the kicker: about half of these roles go unfilled. This year, there will be 8,000 seats up for grabs in New York alone, so if you are local, it’s worth consideration. If you live in another state, email us and we’ll direct you to resources within your city/state.
Why Doesn’t Anyone Run?
The simple answer….there are a lot of people required to fill these seats but not a lot of motivation by party bosses to promote the position. Party leaders can appoint people to unfilled seats and those thousands of appointments can give them all the power they need to make decisions. And this is where identifying with the left, right or center of your party and encouraging diverse views can really matter.
This article from the New York Times last September, tells it all…nearly 500 people turned up to the Kings County Democratic Committee meeting in Brooklyn that month. Even with record attendance and heated debate the only person that had a say was the Brooklyn Democratic Party leader Frank Seddio. Why? He had hundreds of proxy votes available to him from unfilled positions (in Brooklyn, just 2,200 of 5,000 positions are currently seated). While it’s not to say Seddio doesn’t encourage fresh thinking; his uncontested position isn’t really the best case for democracy.
County Committee New York City: What is the Role and How to I Sign Up?
We’re asking for help from the experts to answer this one…source: Runeveryseat.org
The County Committee is responsible for:
- Choosing judicial candidates for the General Election
- Choosing the party nominee in Special Election
- Creating the local party platform
- Committees must meet at least once a year, some Committees hold monthly meetings
Am I eligible:
- Any registered party member in New York State. If you live in Manhattan and Staten Island the election process starts now
- You can check out this handy tool to see if your local seat is currently held by anyone
How to get elected to County Committee:
- You must collect signatures from 5% of the registered party members in your district. That ranges from 5 to about 35 signatures depending on where you live. This process goes from February to April this year
- Submit your petition to the Board of Elections. if approved you are now a candidate for County Committee
- If there are as many candidates for County Committee as there are seats then you are automatically elected to County Committee (this is the most common case)
- If there are more candidates than seats, then your name will appear on the September Primary Ballot and you must win the election in your District
Say, What? How Can I Get Help
Glad you asked. You can email Jack at –
It’s a fantastic first step for anyone who wants to consider office in the future. You only need to be 18, so wonderful for a younger generation finding their voice. Or even just for a neighbor or someone active in the community to turn their influence into something more powerful. We know you are interested, so get in touch!