Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Structure of County Political Parties in Ohio

Here is how county political parties are organized in Ohio. We are putting up this entry to explain to our readers how the Medina County Democratic Party is organized, but, since the structure is established by the Ohio Revised Code, basically the same structure is used by county political parties across the state.

In Ohio, each political party is organized around precinct committee persons. Each precinct has an elected committee person for the Democratic and Republican parties. During the March 4, 2008 primary, each party elected precinct committee persons, either for a four year term or a two year term. In Medina County, for example, the Democratic Party's committee persons serve a four year term while Republican precinct committee persons serve a two year term.

These precinct committee persons will meet at an organizational meeting after the March primary results are certified. Collectively they are referred to as the Central Committee of the county party. They elect a Chair of the Central Committee, a Vice-Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. In Medina County the last two positions are combined.

The members of the Central Committee also elect an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee then elects its own officers. In Medina County the Executive Committee is composed of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary, and the Treasurer. Unlike the Central Committee, the last two positions are not combined, but are held separately.

The Central Committee is the only political party organization that is recognized under the Ohio Revised Code for county political parties. (The State Central Committee is comprised of a Committeeman and a Committeewoman elected from each State Senate district. In Medina County's State Senate District the State Central Committee members are Pat Hanek and Michael Todd.) While political action committees like MCDAC can organize to support political candidates of any political party, their existence is not formally recognized under the Ohio Revised Code.

Only elected precinct committee persons get to vote at the organizational meeting of the Central Committee. This means that 61 people elected to precinct committee positions during the March primary will basically decide who governs the party during the next four years. The Ohio Revised Code does not require that there be any more meetings of the Central Committee after the organizational meeting. Traditionally, in Medina County, there have not been such meetings between the organizational meetings held every four years.

The Ohio Revised Code does provide, however, that the names of county party officials be sent to the board of elections for that county. The ORC also requires that the by-laws of the party be filed with the local board of elections.

Consequently, the members of the Executive Committee at their monthly meetings run the party. They control how money is raised, how it is spent, and they plan party functions. Their decisions effect how candidates are recruited, what, if any, financial support they get, and how resources are allocated. They are, for all practical purposes, the Medina County Democratic Party.

One additional power that the Executive Committee has under the Medina County Democratic Party by-laws is that it can appoint people to vacant positions in the Central Committee once its members have been elected by the Central Committee. The by-laws require that the Chair of the Central Committee forward to the Executive Committee the names of people being considered for such appointment and the Executive Committee then makes the appointment.

Medina County Democrats interested in knowing more about their party and its leaders can visit to learn more about the leadership and structure of the Medina County Democratic Party.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Am still aggrevated that the Sheriff race could only be voted on by Republicans! Us Dems had to make a choice between voting for Presidential candidate of choice or the local Sheriff (since both candidates were Repubs). I know ORC makes these rules, but why is the Sheriff a "partisan" position?