Dems Abroad DNC Members and How They’re Elected
Here is basic information about the Democrats Abroad members of the Democratic National Committee and how they are elected.
How many DNC members do we have? Dems Abroad has eight members of the DNC out of the total of 447 DNC members. Six of our eight are elected specifically to be our DNC members. The other two are the Dems Abroad global chair and vice chair, who are automatically DNC members.
How our DNC members are elected. Of Dems Abroad’s six elected DNC members, three are elected by the three Dems Abroad regions. Each region elects one DNC member. The regions are Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), Asia/Pacific (AP) and the Americas. Each region holds its own convention to elect its DNC member. This year, the regional elections will be held online on May 16 and 17. (Each region also elects delegates to the Democratic National Convention, which is different from being a DNC member.)
Who elects our three regional DNC members? At the regional conventions, the electors who vote for that region’s DNC member are from recognized country committees in that region. They are (1) anyone elected to a country committee office or elected by Dems Abroad members to be a voting representative to the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA), which is the governing body of Dems Abroad comparable to a state party’s central committee, (2) elected chapter chairs and (3) the regional vice chair for that region. Dems Abroad members who live in countries without a recognized country committee do not have representation at the regional conventions.
Who elects our three at-large global DNC members? The other three of the six elected members are elected at-large at a global convention, which will be held this year online June 6 and 7. The electors at the global convention are the nine regionally elected delegates to the Democratic National Convention, the eight incumbent Dems Abroad DNC members, the three newly elected DNC members from the three regions, all elected members of the DPCA and any “distinguished party leaders designated by the Secretary of the DNC”. So, the electors for the global convention include most of the electors at the regional conventions but not all of them. For example, elected chapter chairs who are not also elected as DPCA voting representatives are electors in the regional conventions but not in the global convention. Dems Abroad members in countries that don’t have a recognized country committee are not represented at the global convention, just as they are not represented at the regional conventions.
Diversity among DNC members. The eight DNC members representing Dems Abroad must be evenly distributed regarding their gender identification. The global chair and vice chair always need to be of different genders. The six elected DNC members need to total three women and three men. Nonbinary candidates are also welcome and there are provisions for gender balance considering nonbinary members as well. In addition, Democrats Abroad aims for inclusion in our delegation of members of specific groups historically under-represented in Democratic Party affairs such as African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and youth. Because the three regional DNC members are elected first and the three global at-large members are elected later, the at-large members can be elected to balance the gender representation and to meet the guidelines for the representation of historically under-represented groups. So, for example, if by chance all three regions happen to elect men as their DNC members, all three at-large DNC members would have to be women and only women candidates could run.
DNC members’ terms. All Dems Abroad DNC members serve for a four year term. The members we elect this year will begin their term at the close of the Democratic National Convention in August. They will serve as automatic delegates to the 2024 Democratic National Convention.
All these details about the Dems Abroad election of DNC members are stipulated by the official 2020 Delegate Selection Plan which is available here, section III, parts C and D.
Dems Abroad DNC members have only ½ vote each. Each Dems Abroad DNC member has one-half vote in the DNC, so we have a total of four votes even though we have eight members. Other DNC members have a full vote. The half-vote arrangement was adopted to enable DA to have enough members to serve on various DNC committees and in various roles within the DNC while giving DA the same number of full votes as 24 smaller-population states and all the territories.
Where do all the other DNC members come from? To put these numbers in perspective, of the total of 447 DNC members, 214 are elected at the state level, which includes the 50 states plus six territories and Dems Abroad. An additional 114 DNC members are the chairs and vice chairs of all 50 state parties plus six territories and Dems Abroad. So, 328 members of the total 447 represent states, territories and Dems Abroad. Of the remaining 119, 75 are called “at-large” members. They are appointed by the Chair of the DNC and voted on as a block by the rest of the DNC, typically or always without debate. The other members are appointed by fifteen specific groups within the Democratic Party such as the Democratic Governors Association, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, College Democrats of America, National Conference of Democratic Mayors and others.