Message to County Convention Delegates and Alternates

April 16, 2016 by David Dehlendorf


To: Delegates and Alternates to San Juan County Democratic Convention

From: David Turnoy, Orcas Island, Chair of San Juan County Democratic Convention

April 15, 2016

Thank you for attending the recent precinct caucuses and for volunteering to serve as a delegate or alternate to the upcoming San Juan County Democratic Convention on May 1 at the Grange Hall in Friday Harbor. For those of you arriving by ferry, the Grange Hall is a short walk up the hill on Spring St., turning right on 1st St. for two blocks. The hall is on the right just past the Whale Museum and opposite the County Courthouse.

As detailed below, the purpose of the convention is to select delegates to both the Democratic National and State Conventions, as well as to vote on proposed resolutions.

The convention will begin at 12:30 pm, but you are more than welcome to arrive earlier. I will hopefully be there by 11:30 am to set up the room and get ready for our meeting. Upon arrival, every delegate and alternate will be required to fill out a form that we will have at the convention, so this could take some time. Please fill out the demographic information at the bottom of the form, even though it says the information is optional, because we will need this information to fill out an affirmative action report for the State Dems after the convention.

There has been some concern about the Grange not being large enough, as it holds about 150 people. This was the best venue we could find that was available on the required date of the convention and close enough to the ferry for people to walk to. We have 200 delegates and alternates total, and officially the meeting is open to the public. I don’t want to discourage any alternates from coming, as you may be needed to be seated for your candidate. But if you are an alternate, you may want to check with your precinct delegates to see if you will be needed or not. If you are not needed, you are welcome to attend, but won’t be able to vote. We are hoping not to repeat any of the problems that some other states have encountered.

Once you arrive and are checked in at our registration table and fill out the form, you will then have the option to sign-up to run to be a delegate or alternate to either the 2nd Congressional District (CD) Caucus on May 21 at a location to be determined, the State Convention on June 17-19 in Tacoma, or both. You simply nominate yourself by signing up at another table set up for this purpose. At the convention, we will vote to elect 5 delegates and 2 alternates to each of the 2nd CD Caucus and the State Convention.

The 2nd CD Caucus will in turn choose 7 delegates (no alternates) to represent our 2nd Congressional District at the Democratic National Convention on July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

The 5 delegates elected at the County Convention to the State Convention will meet there with current party leaders, activists, elected officials, and other Democrats from all over our state. You’ll be able to attend trainings and forums hosted by the state party, hear from some of our top elected officials, and have the opportunity to debate the important issues that make us proud to be Democrats. In addition, you will have a chance to vote on resolutions. There is a $50 fee to attend the State Convention, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay.

Getting back to the business of our County Convention, if we have delegates who fail to show up, we will seat alternates in their place. This could take a little while, so please be patient.

Just as at the recent precinct caucuses, delegates at our County Convention will split into two groups again based on candidate preference. This will be done to choose delegates both for the 2nd CD Caucus and for the State Convention. Should one candidate not have at least 15% of the delegates present, all 5 delegates available at our County Convention will go to the other candidate. If both candidates reach the 15% threshold, then the 5 delegates will be selected proportionally just as we did at the precinct caucuses.

There are also 2 alternate positions available. If one candidate has more than 75% of the delegates present, that candidate will receive both alternates. If not, the alternates are split between the two candidates. To be clear, we have 5 delegates and 2 alternates available to our county for both the 2nd CD Caucus and the State Convention.

We will also consider resolutions at the County Convention. We received more than 50 suggested resolution proposals at our precinct caucuses. From the state Democrats I found out that it is not wise for us to submit resolutions that repeat material already in the State Democratic platform, as they will be ignored. So I went through all the proposals and the state platform to determine which proposals are redundant, and the non-redundant proposals will be considered by a county committee of 15-20 Democrats this Sunday, April 17, many of whom are delegates or alternates to our May 1 convention. We will try to narrow the number down to the most important, and we will submit these to you at the convention. Following our convention, the resolutions we adopt will be sent to the State Platform Committee, which will bring forward resolutions on which to vote at the State Convention.

We are planning to finish on May 1 in time for people to catch the 4:15 pm ferry to Lopez. Orcas people will have to wait until 5:45 pm; perhaps they wouldn’t mind helping us disassemble the room. If you would like to bring food for yourself or food to share, that would be great.

If you have any specific questions you would like to ask me, you can contact me at 360-376-4165 or via email at

See you on May 1.

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