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Delegate Election

EAPD delegate winners Christine Louise Mills, left, and and Ceci Dominguez, right, with a supporter

Something unusual happened on the hot January day in East LA when a near record 900 voters from Assembly District AD 51 stood in a long line to vote for Democratic delegates to be our communities’ voice in the state party. Democracy in action, you might say, except extensive cheating went on. Everyone knows it happens at most ADEM elections; people who live outside a district come to vote even though they are ineligible. And a historically lax California Democratic Party verification process allows the cheaters to slip in and vote.

Community activists from AD 51 led by members of East Area Progressive Democrats, said enough, and they challenged the results with the state party Compliance Review Commission.

But not on this day. Community activists from AD 51 (that includes Echo Park, East LA, Highland Park and Eagle Rock) led by members of East Area Progressive Democrats, said enough, and they challenged the results with the state party Compliance Review Commission. The result: 97 ineligible votes were cast that day and a new election was ordered.

A breaking point sparked a turning point on the second, April 27 election when EAPD delivered a sweeping victory to its United Progressive Democrats team of 10 delegates made up entirely of EAPD members. Their platform is devoted to protecting public schools and cleaning up the party’s broken governance. EAPD President Hans Johnson told winners and voters: “You should be proud to be standing on the side of justice. We are not pushovers for powerful insiders who seek to crush and retaliate against those who expose misconduct and sexual abuse within our party leadership. It’s up to us and other progressives to build a better party.”

That includes “without excuses or delays,” says AD 51 delegate and Executive Board winner Eileen Hatrick, “trustworthy elections that inspire confidence and participation.” A long-time teacher and public school principal, Hatrick believes “we need our Democratic Party to stand solidly for safeguarding public schools and to be guided by honesty and integrity.”

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Ceci Dominquez, a respected grassroots leader in Elysian Valley, went on to win a delegate seat for the second time in April. “The values we say we stand for as Democrats cannot be undermined or taken for granted in our party, and I intend to strongly uphold them.”

Reforming the state party begins with running fair elections. Because of the successful challenge to the January election by EAPD members, Jeanine Rohn and Ron Birnbaum, pressure is mounting on the state party to implement instant voter eligibility checking in all delegate elections statewide starting in January 2021.

With a special election by delegates for a new state party chair coming up June 1 and 2, “our delegates want to lead by example in making democracy inclusive and enjoyable,” says EAPD President Johnson. “I am grateful to ALL the voters who took the time to come and cast ballots. We are eager to show that informed participation, not money and not machine politics, is what makes democracy strong.”

mary fischer 2019

Mary A. Fischer

Mary A Fischer is a journalist and member of EAPD.