On March 4, Democratic and Republican voters had the opportunity to elect precinct committee persons. Each precinct has one such official and collectively they make up the Central Committee of each party. One of their duties is to meet shortly after the results of the March primary are certified and select both the officers of the Central Committee and the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee becomes the governing board for the party. There is no legal requirement that the Central Committee meet as a body once the organizational meeting has been held. Although under the by-laws of the Medina County Democratic Party, the Chair of the Central Committee can call such meetings, traditionally there haven't been meetings of the Central Committee once the Executive Committee is chosen.
This year there were 63 Democratic precinct committee persons elected, out of a total of 151 Medina County precincts. This means that only 41.7% of the precincts elected Democratic precinct committee persons. These 63 elected party officials collectively received 8229 votes. This means that while 32,687 voters took Democratic presidential ballots, only 25.1% of potential Democratic voters voted for precinct committee persons.
The reason why there was only 63 Democrats running for the Central Committee was because many of the Democrats who were precinct committee persons as of the end of 2007 didn't file petitions to run for the Central Committee. The reason for that may have been the fact that the presidential primary in Ohio is in March and the petitions for the Central Committee have to be filed in early January, 60 days before the primary. This means that circulating petitions for Central Committee often conflicts with Christmas and holiday obligations. It also means that the weather can hinder the circulation of nominating petitions.
This is not a new problem for the Medina County Democratic Party. Under the Ohio Revised Code, a political party can chose whether the members of the Central Committee serve a two year term or a four year term. Since 1992 the members of the Medina County Democratic Central Committee have served a four year term. It may be time to consider having members of the Central Committee serve a two year term instead.
If the Medina County Central Committee amended the by-laws at the organizational meeting to shorten the term to two years, this means that members of the Central Committee would be elected in 2010, during the May primary. It would probably be much easier to get people to circulate nominating petitions during the spring than in the late fall and early winter. This would lead not only to more members of the Central Committee running for election, but would also lead to more Medina County Democrats voting for the Central Committee. Such an increased vote would give more legitimacy to decisions made by the Central Committee.
Another reason to adopt two year terms is that shorter terms would bring more accountability to the Democratic Party. Right now the opportunity to change the Executive Committee only occurs once every four years. Since the Executive Committee chooses the officers of the party, the opportunity to change those officers only occurs once every four years. Going to two year terms would result in greater accountability.
We are the Democratic Party. We are about accountability. We are about encouraging people to take part in their government by voting. Adopting two year terms for the Central Committee would be consistent with our party's philosophy. It would also lead to greater participation by Medina County Democrats in their party's operation.