What is the purpose of the Presidential Preference Primary?
The names of all persons qualified as Democratic Presidential candidates along with a listing for uncommitted, should any such group qualify, will appear on the ballot on the March 5, 2016 primary in accordance with the state law. The results will be tallied on a congressional district basis as well as on a statewide basis.
Candidates for the thirty-three (33) district level delegates positions, who have signed a statement pledging their support to presidential candidate or the uncommitted status, will be elected in caucuses ending on April 30, 2016.
In order to qualify to receive any District Level delegates, a presidential candidate or the uncommitted bracket must reach a threshold of at least 15% of the votes cast at the primary in each congressional district. If no presidential candidate reaches the applicable threshold, the threshold shall be the percent of the vote received by the frontrunner minus 10%.
There are eleven (11) pledged At-Large delegates and four (4) At-Large alternates along with seven (7) Pledged Party and Elected Officials delegates to be elected by the Democratic State Central Committee on May 28, 2016. In order to receive At-Large or Pledged Party and Elected Official delegates, a presidential candidate must receive 15% of the votes cast statewide at the primary. In the selection of the At-Large delegation, priority considerations shall be given to African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Women, LGBT and Labor. The election of At-Large delegates shall be used if necessary, to achieve the equal division of positions between men and women, and shall be used to achieve the representation goals established by the Affirmative Action Committee. Even though no delegates or alternates are elected directly at the primary, the results are used in order to determine the number of delegates a presidential candidate or the uncommitted bracket receives.
Who may qualify to run as a Delegate and how do I qualify?
Any registered Democrat may qualify as a delegate candidate. District level delegates are elected from throughout a congressional district. At-Large delegates are elected from throughout the state with no requirement that a certain number come from any certain area of the state. Persons eligible to be elected as a party and elected official delegate must be an elected official in the state of Louisiana.
To qualify, an individual should complete the qualifying form found here and return it to the Louisiana Democratic Party Headquarters by 5:00p.m. on March 30, 2016. Qualifying forms for the at-large delegates must be received at the Louisiana Democratic Party Headquarters by no later than 5:00p.m. on May 13, 2016.
How Will Delegates and Alternates Actually Be Elected?
District-level delegates and alternates shall be elected by a Vote By Mail Program and a post-primary Congressional District Caucus ending on April 30, 2016.
At-Large and PLEO candidates will be elected at a Democratic State Central Committee meeting on May 28th, 2016 in Baton Rouge (location yet to be determined).
Vote by Mail Program
District Level candidate qualifying period begins February 11, 2016 and ends by 5:00p.m. on March 30, 2016
Beginning March 14, 2016 and ending by 5:00p.m. on April 6, 2016 any registered democrat in the state of Louisiana will be able to request a ballot be mailed to them.
Once the request is received from the voter we will data-match them to the voter file and ballots will only be mailed to Registered Democrats to the mailing address provided to the Secretary of State.
Ballots can be requested online through Louisianademocrats.org, by calling our office, faxing our office, emailing a special email address or visiting our office in person.
The Diversity Action Committee and State Party will advertise widely the process for requesting a ballot and empower candidates to outreach to their networks to vote by requesting a ballot.
April 11, 2016, all Ballots will be mailed via our mail house to every registered Democrat requesting a ballot. Each Vote by Mail Ballot will have special bar-code containing the registered voter’s state id.
Voters will have two weeks to return their ballot via Postage Paid card/envelope. Ballots will come in to a special post office box where a rotating two person team will pick up Ballots together.
Vote by Mail ballots should be received by 5:00 p.m. on April 27, 2016. April 28, 2016 all Ballots will be scanned and securely stored until Monday May 2, 2016 at 9:00a.m.
Democratic registered voters who are not able to participate in the Vote by Mail Program will have a final opportunity to cast a vote on April 30, 2016 by participating in our post-primary Congressional District Caucuses in person at one of 7 locations (1 in each of the following cities—New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Shreveport, Monroe, Lake Charles and Lafayette).
Post-Primary Congressional District Caucuses
Caucuses – An election will be held in each Congressional District on Saturday, April 30, 2016. Only voters registered as a Democrat may participate in the election held in the Congressional District in which they reside. Voters shall only vote for delegate candidates qualified in the Congressional District within which they reside. No person shall be allowed to vote who has participated in the delegate selection process of another party in 2016 including Louisiana’s Vote By Mail program.
Ballots – The State Central Committee shall prepare pre-numbered ballots for the Congressional District Elections. A separate ballot shall be prepared for each presidential candidate or the uncommitted bracket who qualifies for delegate positions. Upon each ballot will appear the name of the presidential candidate or the uncommitted bracket along with the name of each delegate candidate in each Congressional District pledged to that preference, in alphabetical order, with one listing for males and one listing for females. Also contained on the ballot shall be the number of each Congressional District and instructions:
In the case in which a presidential preference has been awarded one or two delegate positions in the Congressional District, you may vote for one man and one woman.
In the case in which a presidential preference has been awarded three or four delegate positions in the Congressional District, you may vote for two men and two women.
In the case in which a presidential preference has been awarded five or six positions, you may vote for three men and three women.
Ballots shall be printed by the Democratic State Central Committee in numbers sufficient for each polling place. Unauthorized duplication of ballots shall not be allowed.
The State Chairman will appoint a Congressional District Chair for each of Louisiana’s Congressional Districts. The Congressional District Chair shall not be a candidate for delegate or alternate. Ballots will be prepared and delivered to the Democratic State Central Committee office no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, 2016. At that time, the State Chairman and the Congressional District Chairs will inspect the ballots, after which the Congressional District Chair shall sign an affidavit setting forth the numbers of the ballots in their possession.
Conduct of Congressional District Caucus – The Congressional District Chairs shall conduct the Congressional District elections in their respective Congressional District. The Congressional District Chair shall select one (1) Caucus location in each Congressional District with the State Chairman having final approval. When choosing the Caucus location he or she must ensure that the location is accessible to all, and will be most likely to encourage participation of all Democrats. Congressional District Chairs may appoint poll commissioners in a number sufficient to assist in the conduct of the Caucus election. If a Congressional District Chair cannot be present to conduct the election, the State Chair shall appoint a replacement.
Voter File access will be live and available in each Congressional District. The Congressional District Chairs and commissioners must convene the Caucus no later than 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2016. If no commissioners are present within a reasonable time frame, those Democrats present may be drafted to fill the posts of the commissioners and those appointed commissioners must comply with the Louisiana Election Law, as set forth in the Louisiana Election Code. At least (2) commissioners shall be present at all times.
The election shall begin promptly at 9:00 a.m., at which time the commissioners shall open the ballot box to assure it is empty. This shall be shown to all present. Voting shall continue until 5:00 p.m. The Congressional District Chair will permit one representative of each presidential candidate to be present at the polling place. However, no persons shall interfere with or impede the casting of the ballots.
Voting – No person shall vote absentee or by proxy at these caucuses unless meeting the requirements as listed in the following section. Each voter shall give his or her name to the commissioner and will then sign the list for his or her presidential candidate. The commissioner shall record the voter’s participation in the voter file. The voter shall also legibly print his or her name, address, and phone number, ward and precinct. The voter shall then be given a ballot containing the names of all delegate candidates pledged to that preference. If the commissioners are not satisfied that the voter is a qualified voter in that district, they may require that the voter present his or her voter registration card or some other form of identification. Should another participant challenge a voter’s qualifications, the commissioners present shall decide the challenge. If the commissioners decide that the challenge is well-founded, the person shall not be permitted to vote.
Results – Ballots shall not be counted at the polling place. After the close of voting, the ballots will be sealed in a ballot box and delivered to the Congressional District Chair. At no time during or after the voting will the seal on the ballot box be broken. The sign-in sheets will be sealed in an envelope and shall accompany the ballot box. On Monday, May 2, 2016, all ballots will be delivered to the Democratic Party office by 9:00 a.m. Ballot boxes shall not be opened but shall be delivered with their original seal unbroken. At 10:00 a.m., the ballots will be tabulated, in Baton Rouge at the State Party headquarters. One authorized representative from each presidential campaign may observe the tabulations.
If I am an unsuccessful District Level Candidate, will I be permitted to qualify as an At-Large or PLEO Delegate?
Yes. All you would need to do is complete another qualifying form and submit to the Louisiana Democratic Party Headquarters by 5:00p.m. on May 13, 2016.
What is the Presidential Candidate Right of Approval?
At the close of qualifying for each delegate level, the Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party will submit to the presidential candidates the names of all delegate candidate pledged to them. The presidential candidate will then submit a list of approval delegates candidates to the state chair, provided that approval be given to three times the number of delegate men to be elected and three times the number of delegate women to be elected. If less than this number have qualified as delegate candidates, all candidates are automatically approved.
If Elected, Will I Pay My Own Expenses?
YES. All delegates are totally responsible for his/her travel expenses incurred to participate in the 2016 Democratic National Convention.