The By-Laws of the Democratic Party in the Town of Wilton
Article 1 – Preamble
1.1. The Democratic Party believes in the principles of participatory and open government.
1.2. It is the intent of the framers that these By-Laws govern the administration, affairs and conduct of the Democratic Party in the Town of Wilton, Connecticut, except that when these By-Laws are found to be in conflict with the laws of the State of Connecticut or United States of America, or the rules of the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut, such By-Laws shall be superseded thereby.
1.3. These By-Laws constitute the local party rules of the Democratic Party in the Town of Wilton, Connecticut.
Article 2 – Town Committee
2.1. The affairs of the Democratic Party in the Town of Wilton shall be governed by the Democratic Town Committee, hereinafter referred to as the “DTC.”
2.2. Election of Town Committee
Election to the DTC shall be made by direct primary as provided by law. Party-endorsed nominees are the people endorsed by a caucus called for that purpose. No person shall be nominated or elected or hold the position of DTC member unless the name of the person appears on the last completed enrollment list of the Democratic Party of Wilton, Connecticut.
184.108.40.206. Primary Date
The date for holding a primary for the election of DTC members shall be as provided by the laws of the State of Connecticut and by the rules of the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut.
220.127.116.11. Caucus Date
The date for holding caucuses shall be as provided by the laws of the State of Connecticut and by the rules of the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut.
2.2.2. When Primary Not to be Held for DTC Members.
No primary shall be held for election to DTC unless candidates for such election numbering at least twenty-five (25%) percent of the number of DTC members to be elected are timely filed by persons other than party-endorsed candidates.
2.3. Term of Office
The terms of DTC members shall start on the first Monday following the date established for holding a primary for the election of DTC members (regardless of whether or not such primary is actually held), and they shall serve for two (2) years or until their successors have been chosen. The term of all members shall end on the first Tuesday in March of the next even-numbered year.
The DTC shall consist of not less than seventeen (17) members, nor more that a number equal to one percent of voters registered as Democrats in Wilton on the date of the last regular Congressional election. This maximum number shall be announced at a meeting of the DTC before the caucus held to nominate the new DTC members. Each DTC member shall be elected at large.
Any vacancy on the DTC arising from any cause including failure to elect may after the commencement of its two-year term be filled by the DTC by a vote at a regular or special meeting called for that purpose.
All meetings of the DTC shall be open to all enrolled members of the Wilton Democratic Party. Two-fifths (2/5) of the then current membership of the DTC shall constitute a quorum at any meeting.
2.6.1. Regular Meetings of the DTC
There shall be not less than two (2) regular DTC meetings per calendar quarter. Such meetings shall be publicized in the local news media and in such a manner as to assure timely notice to all anticipated interested persons (meeting location, date, and time published publicly on the DTC website shall suffice), and shall be held in places accessible to all party members and large enough to accommodate all anticipated interested persons. When there is a change of date in scheduled meetings of the DTC, members should be notified by e-mail or otherwise notified.
2.6.2. Special Meetings of the DTC
18.104.22.168. The Chairperson may call a special meeting of the DTC for any purpose upon reasonable e-mail, written, or oral notification of DTC members and officers. Whenever time permits such special meetings shall be publicized in the local news media and in such a manner as to assure timely notice to all anticipated interested persons (meeting location, date, and time published publicly on the DTC website shall suffice), and shall be held in places accessible to all party members and large enough to accommodate all anticipated interested persons. DTC members should be notified of special meetings by e-mail or otherwise notified.
22.214.171.124. Upon receipt of a written request, signed by not less than twenty percent (20%) of the members of the DTC, the Chairperson shall instruct the Secretary to give reasonable notice of the time, place, and purpose of such meeting to all members and officers of the DTC. In the event there are no officers, such special meeting may be called for the election of new officers over the signatures of not less than twenty percent (20%) of the DTC members. Such meetings shall be publicized in the local news media and in such a manner as to assure timely notice to all anticipated interested persons, and shall be held in places accessible to all party members and large enough to accommodate all anticipated interested persons.
2.6.3. Voting Procedure
126.96.36.199. Each member of the DTC shall be entitled to one vote. The Chairperson may reserve his or her vote and cast it after the tally if it shall change the outcome.
188.8.131.52. All voting shall be taken in public session by voice or show of hands, except under the following circumstances:
184.108.40.206.1. Vote shall be taken by written ballot in the event that the number of candidates nominated for election to fill any DTC vacancy or vacancies exceeds the number of said vacancy or vacancies; and
220.127.116.11.2. Vote may be taken by written ballot in the election of DTC officers, provided however that two-thirds (2/3) of the DTC members present and voting shall first approve a motion to vote by written ballot.
18.104.22.168.3. Proxy Voting
The Chairperson, with the concurrence of the Vice Chair, Secretary or Treasurer, may authorize DTC members unable to attend a special meeting to vote by proxy. Proxy voting is permitted exclusively for special meetings. The Chairperson, or persons designated by him or her, shall endeavor to give notice of such authorization to all DTC members in person, by email, or by telephone. DTC members who wish to vote by proxy shall advise the Chairperson how they wish to vote by email, by telephone, or in person. Members voting by email must forward the email at least two (2) hours before the scheduled start of the meeting. The Chairperson shall announce at the meeting how each person voting by proxy cast his or her vote.
22.214.171.124. A tie vote shall be deemed a defeat.
2.7. Attendance and removal
Each new DTC shall enact attendance guidelines and procedural rules for implementing such guidelines. The DTC may remove any member who has failed to attend three (3) consecutive regular DTC meetings. Such removal will be made only if there is a motion to do so, and the motion is approved by a majority of then current DTC members. A member may also be removed by joint recommendation of the Chair and Vice-Chair, and provided that two thirds of the other members approve such removal. In any circumstance where the DTC is authorized to remove a member, it may instead determine to suspend such member for any period of time determined by the DTC. During the period of any suspension, the suspended member shall have no rights as a DTC member, and his or her seat shall not be considered when determining the minimum number of members necessary for a quorum.
The Chairperson may appoint, subject to DTC approval, Advisors to act as special counsel to the Chair. Advisors shall be kept informed of all DTC activities and will be encouraged to participate in DTC activities. As an Advisor, one may attend DTC meetings and participate in all discussions, but will not be permitted to vote on any questions before the DTC.
2.8.2. Election and Term of Office
Advisors shall be appointed at any time by a majority vote of DTC members at a regular monthly meeting. Advisors shall serve until the expiration of the Chair’s term, after which they may be reappointed by a majority vote of the DTC.
Article 3 – Officers of the Town Committee
3.1. Duties of the Officers
Each of the officers shall have the duties usually incident to the office and such other duties as the DTC may from time to time prescribe. In the event of the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall act as Chairperson. In the event of both their absences, the Secretary, then the Treasurer shall act as Chairperson. In the event of the absence of all the officers, the DTC shall elect a temporary Chairperson. The Chairperson shall serve as a member ex-officio of all committees. The Treasurer shall serve as a member ex-officio of the Development Committee. The Chairperson shall not hold any elected or appointed governmental offices or positions other than Democratic Party offices, Justice of the Peace, or positions of an intermittent nature.
The Chairperson shall submit a budget for the upcoming fiscal year (September 1 through August 31) to the DTC for its consideration each year during the month of August. The annual budget adopted by the DTC may be amended from time to time by vote of the DTC. No financial commitment or payment which shall result in exceeding the budget, as last amended, shall be made without the approval of the DTC.
Accurate and complete records will be maintained by the Treasurer with respect to the receipt and expenditure of all funds. The DTC will comply fully with all laws relating to the handling and reporting of political contributions and expenditures. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the custody of all funds, which shall not be commingled with other funds and shall be deposited in a separate bank account in the name of the DTC, and for ensuring compliance with the requirements of this Article. The books of the DTC shall be open to members of the DTC upon reasonable notice and at reasonable times.
3.1.3. Authority to Sign Checks
Subject to the other provisions hereof, the Treasurer shall have authority to sign checks on the DTC’s account and the DTC may from time to time authorize additional signatories that are consistent with the laws of the State of Connecticut and rules of the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut All signing authority shall expire at the end of each signatory’s term of office or earlier at the discretion of the Treasurer.
3.2. Election of Officers
Within seven (7) days following the primary date and election, the members elect of the DTC shall meet for organization and shall elect a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. Such organizational meeting shall be called by the incumbent Chairperson of the DTC or, in the event the Chairperson fails to do so in the time allotted, any State Central Committeeperson shall forthwith call such a meeting and chair it until a permanent Chairperson is elected. The officers of the DTC must be members of the DTC. Within one (1) week after organization of the DTC, the Secretary shall file with the Secretary of the Democratic State Central Committee a list of the names and addresses of the officers and members of the DTC, and the name and address of the Democratic Registrar of Voters.
3.3. Term of Office
The officers of the DTC shall hold office for the term of the DTC electing them and until their successors have been elected or until they have resigned or have been removed from office pursuant to Section 2.7 or by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the entire DTC at a meeting called for that purpose.
No officer or DTC member shall receive directly or indirectly any compensation for services other than reimbursement for expenses as approved by the DTC.
3.5. Vacancy in DTC Office
If there shall be a vacancy in any office of the DTC, arising from any cause, the DTC shall fill the same by a vote at a meeting called for that purpose.
Article 4 – Committees
Standing committees, as hereinafter provided, shall be constituted by the DTC. Said standing committees shall be designated and referenced as follows: Campaign Committee, Development Committee, Membership Committee, Nominating Committee, Platform Committee, Public Information Committee, and Website Committee. From time to time, the DTC may establish special committees, as it deems necessary or desirable, provided that such committees shall expire at the end of the term of the DTC that created them. Membership in all committees shall expire at the end of the term of the DTC. Each DTC member shall serve on not less than one (1) standing committee. The Chairperson of each standing and special committee shall be elected by vote at a DTC meeting called for that purpose. Committee members, except in the case of the Nominating Committee, shall be appointed by the Chairperson of each committee, from members of the DTC and the enrolled party membership in accordance with the following:
Each committee shall comprise one or more persons; and
Each committee may include persons who are not DTC members; and
Each Chairperson of a committee shall submit a list of committee membership to the DTC within thirty (30) days of his or her election as Chairperson and the DTC shall retain the right to veto. Other committees of an ad hoc nature may be appointed by the DTC Chairperson from time to time as deemed necessary by the DTC Chairperson. Ultimate responsibility for all decisions and actions of the committees resides with the DTC. Therefore, the DTC retains the right by vote to veto and direct the activities of its committees. All meetings of all committees shall be open to any member of the DTC. Others may attend at the invitation of the Chairperson of the committee.
4.2. The Standing Committees
4.2.1. Campaign Committee
The activities of this committee shall include but not be limited to:
Directing all Democratic election campaign activities in Wilton.
Coordinating these activities with Democratic candidates and with State and National Democratic campaign committees.
4.2.2. Development Committee
The activities of this committee shall include but not be limited to planning fundraising events; soliciting and collecting all funds for Democratic Party and DTC activities; and planning and arranging such other events as the DTC may from time to time sponsor.
4.2.3. Membership Committee
The activities of this committee shall include, but not be limited to:
Recruiting new Democratic voters.
Maintaining accurate up-to-date membership mailing lists.
Working in close harmony and cooperation with the Democratic Registrar of Voters.
4.2.4. Nominating Committee
It shall be the duty of the Nominating Committee to recommend to the DTC candidates to be placed in nomination for municipal elective office and persons to fill vacancies on municipal boards and commissions. It shall not be the duty of the Nominating Committee to recommend persons for nomination to or vacancies on the DTC nor to recommend delegates to conventions.
Any position under consideration by the Nominating Committee shall be advertised in the local news media. The Nominating Committee shall screen and evaluate interested persons. The Nominating Committee Chairperson shall report the Committee findings and recommendations, to the DTC Chairperson, who shall include the name(s) of the nominee(s) in the agenda of the DTC meeting at which meeting action shall be taken on the position(s) under consideration. The Nominating Committee Chairperson may invite the Committee nominees to attend the DTC meeting and shall submit to the DTC the Committee nominee or slate of nominees, together with written or oral information concerning each nominee, after which additional nominations, with the consent of those additional nominee(s), may be made from the floor. The DTC may interview any nominee(s), provided that all nominees for the position under consideration who are present shall be invited to address the DTC and be interviewed by the DTC. The DTC has the right to reject any nominee for any position under consideration, by a majority vote of those in attendance. The DTC may substitute other nominees for the nominees submitted by the nominating committee. The DTC may also make nominations without having received recommendations from the nominating committee.
The Nominating Committee Chairperson shall be a member of the DTC and, preferably shall have served on a prior DTC Nominating Committee. The Chairperson shall be elected by a vote of the DTC.
The Nominating Committee shall consist of up to fifteen (15) members, not more than nine (9) nor less than five (5) of whom shall be DTC members including the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee. Such DTC members will be chosen by mutual agreement of the DTC Chairperson and Chair of the Nominations Committee (with a vote of the full DTC if no agreement between them can be made). Additional members of the Nominating Committee shall be chosen by the members of the Nominations Committee from among town party members, with notice to the DTC including resumes of each new member. All members shall sit at the pleasure of the DTC and any may be removed by vote of the DTC. Vacancies shall be filled pursuant to the above rules, with preference given to DTC members unless the DTC Chairperson and Chair of the Nominations Committee agree otherwise.
The Nominating Committee shall elect a Vice-Chairperson. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall act as Chairperson.
Forty percent of the members of the Nominating Committee shall constitute a quorum. If a quorum is not available, then any member of the DTC may be considered as a temporary member of the Nominating Committee for the transaction of business and achievement of a quorum
4.2.5 [Intentionally omitted]
4.2.6. Platform Committee
The Platform Committee shall be responsible for:
Preparing a draft of the party platform after consultation with the DTC Chairperson and Democratic municipal office holders; and
Presenting platform issues before at least one (1) public hearing; and
Submitting the proposed party platform for approval to the DTC and to a caucus.
The party platform shall survive for two years from approval, unless modified by vote of two thirds of the DTC.
The Chairperson of the DTC Campaign Committee shall sit as an ex-officio member of the Platform Committee.
4.2.7. Communications Committee
The activities of the Communications Committee shall include, but not be limited to, providing news media, including print, television, and radio, with coverage of activities and issue positions of the Democratic Party in Wilton.
The Committee may provide advice to DTC members responsible for communicating on behalf of the DTC.
The Chair of the Communications Committee shall serve as an ex officio member of the Website Committee.
4.2.8. Website Committee
The Website Committee shall have as its mission the gathering of information, writing of articles, and design and regular updating of the Wilton Democratic Town Committee’s website and social media accounts.
The Website Committee shall be composed of up to five members including the Webmaster. The majority of members shall be members of the DTC.
The purposes of the Website Committee shall include:
1) To express the position of the DTC on local issues;
2) To provide information for Democrats and the voters of Wilton, Connecticut;
3) To attract and retain volunteers for various Wilton Democratic Town Committee activities;
4) To encourage and welcome more Wiltonians and other locals to participate in Wilton Democratic Town Committee activities;
5) To assist in efforts to raise funds for the Wilton Democratic Town Committee and for candidates and issues supported by the DTC; and
6) To manage and monitor social media communications (e.g. Twitter and Facebook).
All content will be reviewed by the Website Committee prior to posting on the website or social media channels, provided that the DTC Chairperson may authorize the Website Committee Chairperson to post material in his or her discretion unless and until such authority is revoked or modified.
The Chair of the Website Committee shall serve as an ex officio member of the Communications Committee.
All party caucuses shall be open to all Democrats appearing on the last completed enrollment list for the Town of Wilton. The notice and purpose of such meetings shall be publicized in compliance with the Election Law of the State of Connecticut, and shall be held in places accessible to all qualified persons and large enough to accommodate anticipated interested persons. The time of such caucus shall be fixed so as to comply with the Election Laws of the State of Connecticut. Caucuses shall be called for the following purposes:
To nominate at large candidates for the DTC.
To endorse at large candidates for municipal office.
To adopt the party platform.
For any other legitimate purpose.
5.2. Call of The Caucus
Such caucus may be called by:
The Chairperson of the DTC.
The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson, or the Secretary of the DTC upon resolution adopted by a majority of the entire DTC.
By petition signed by ten (10%) percent of the Democrats appearing on the last completed enrollment list for the Town of Wilton, filed with the Chairperson of the DTC, and called by such petitioners.
The caucus shall elect a Chairperson and Secretary and shall conduct itself under Robert’s Rule of Order, latest edition, and any applicable law or rule of the Democratic Party of Wilton or the State of Connecticut. The Chairperson of the DTC shall preside until the Caucus Chairperson shall be elected.
5.4. Selection of Party-Endorsed Candidates
The enrolled members of the Democratic Party in the Town of Wilton, at a caucus called for the purpose, shall by a vote select at large party-endorsed candidates for Municipal Officeand to the DTC,. All such candidates shall run in a primary for such office as Party- Endorsed Candidates. In the event no valid opposing candidacy has been filed for such office by four o’clock (4:00) P.M. on the thirty-fourth day preceding the day of the primary, the Party-Endorsed Candidate shall be deemed elected as a DTC member or shall be deemed nominated as the Party-Endorsed Candidate. In the event a valid opposing candidacy has been filed, the vote at the primary polls shall rule.
5.5. Voting for Candidates for Town Committee
The DTC may propose to the caucus a slate of candidates for the next DTC. The names on the slate endorsed by the DTC shall appear on a printed ballot. The printed ballot shall have space at the bottom to add the names of qualified candidates nominated from the floor of the caucus. The order on the ballot shall be alphabetical. Nominations from the floor shall be added to the bottom of the ballot utilized by each enrolled Democrat who wishes to vote for such person. Should the number of candidates not exceed the number of vacancies, those candidates shall be deemed nominated by the caucus.Should the number of candidates exceed the number of vacancies, the vote shall be by printed ballot with space available for each enrolled Democrat to add and vote for any qualified person nominated from the floor of the caucus . Those candidates being nominated for the DTC shall be selected in descending order of the vote received by each candidate until all vacancies are filled. Each enrolled Democratic voter present and voting shall be entitled to the number of votes equal to the number of vacancies. However, no such voter shall allot more than one (1) vote for any candidate. Should any ballot contain more than one vote for any candidate or a total number of votes exceeding the number of vacancies, that ballot shall be voided.
5.6. Voting in Other Caucuses
The enrolled members of the Democratic Party in the Town of Wilton at any caucus, other than a caucus to nominate DTC members, shall by vote endorse candidates for elective municipal office and candidates for Justice of the Peace, and by vote resolve such questions as may come before the caucus. Prior to voting on nominees for an elective municipal office, the caucus shall designate the number of candidates to endorse for that office, which number shall not exceed the number of vacancies in said office that members of the Democratic Party may win on Election Day. Should any vote for municipal office go to secret ballot, each Democratic voter present and voting shall be entitled to the number of votes equal to the number of candidates the caucus has decided to endorse for that office.
5.7. Tie Vote
In the event of a tie vote, such that it is impossible to seat the candidates, the ballots shall first be recounted. If, after a recount, the tie persists, those candidates involved in the tie shall participate in additional elections until all the vacancies are filled. A tie vote on any question before the caucus shall be deemed a defeat.
5.9. Vacancy in Party-Endorsed Candidacy
If a party-endorsed candidate for nomination to a municipal office or for election as a DTC member or delegate to a convention, prior to twenty-four (24) hours before the opening of the polls at the primary, dies, or prior to ten (10) days before the day of the primary (or later if permitted pursuant to the Election Laws of the State of Connecticut), withdraws his or her name from nomination, or for any reason becomes disqualified to hold the office or position for which that person is a candidate, an endorsement may be made to fill such vacancy by the DTC by a vote at a meeting called for that purpose. The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, or Secretary of the DTC shall immediately certify the endorsement to fill such vacancy to the Town Clerk.
5.10. Insufficient Endorsements
If, for any reason, insufficient endorsements of candidates for Municipal Office, DTC members, or Delegates to Conventions are made, the provisions of Sections 9-418, 9-419, and 9-420 of the General Statutes (Revision 1969 and as they may be amended from time to time) shall govern.
5.11. Certification of Party-Endorsed Candidates
The Secretary and Chairperson of the Caucus or other authorized officers of the DTC shall certify to the Town Clerk the names and addresses of the Party-Endorsed Candidates, the title of the office or position as committee member or delegate for which each person is endorsed, and the date upon which the primary is to be held.
5.12. Date of Party Endorsement (Caucus Date)
The date for party endorsements of candidates to run in a primary for the nomination of candidates for municipal office shall be as provided by the laws of the State of Connecticut and by the rules of the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut.
5.13. Date and process for Delegate Selection
The date for selecting delegates to state and districts conventions shall be as provided by the laws of the State of Connecticut and by the rules of the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut. Such delegates shall be chosen by vote of the DTC at a meeting called for such purpose or at any regular meeting of the DTC.
Adoption and Amendment of By-Laws
6.1. Filing of Local Party By-Laws
Within seven (7) days after the by-laws or any amendments to the by-laws are adopted by the Democratic Party in the Town of Wilton, a copy of the same shall be filed with the Secretary of the State, with the Town Clerk, and the Secretary of the State Central Committee. Any amendments to be filed shall set forth in full the section to be amended. Matter to be amended, omitted, or repealed shall be surrounded by brackets or strike-through with previous provisions still readable and new matter shall be indicated by underscoring.
6.2. Amendment of Local Party By-Laws
These by-laws may be amended: (1) by a caucus called for that purpose; or (2) by the DTC to amend the by-laws to conform with law or State Party Rules only. In either instance, a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of those present and voting shall be necessary for the adoption of an amendment or amendments.
Any person eighteen (18) years of age or more who is an enrolled Democratic elector in the Town of Wilton may participate in any and all caucuses and DTC meetings and conventions and may be elected to any party office except where specifically prohibited by law.
7.2. Robert’s Rules
Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, shall be applicable, controlling, and conclusive on all parliamentary issues, except where specifically prohibited by law.
7.3. Gender – Plurality Saving Clause
Whenever used herein, the singular shall include the plural, the plural the singular, and the use of any gender shall include the other gender.
7.4. Effective Date
These By-Laws shall become effective sixty (60) days after filing with the Secretary of the State of Connecticut or on such other date as may be provided by law.
Definition of Terms
A vote unless otherwise indicated, means a majority of those present at a meeting and voting.
Approved on July 16, 2019 at the Wilton Democratic Caucus