With all of the missteps of NCDP Chair Randy Voller and the attention on infighting within the North Carolina Democratic Party, it should not go unnoticed when a county party does something well. On Saturday voting members of Senate District 37 met to select Senator Dan Clodfelter's replacement in the NC Senate and voting members of the SEC and CEC from the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party met to select a new third vice chair of the party. I kept waiting for typical Democratic Party nastiness to rear its ugly head, but party chair Robin Bradford and the rest of the leadership team did a very good job of running an orderly meeting and a transparent selection process.
Chaz Beasley, the chair of Mecklenburg County Young Dems, read the rules of the meeting before they were adopted. That's probably a good thing, because I think many of us skip over things like rules and directions. Hearing them allowed those gathered to help remind Chair Robin Bradford of part of the voting process. She had a couple of missteps that were immediately corrected as she listened to the input of the members. She forgot that a second was required for a nomination and I think maybe nervousness got the best of her in the beginning when she had a couple of problems with Robert's Rules of Order. None of this appeared intentional and as I mentioned before she immediately corrected herself.
In the past, the MCDP has periodically had issues surrounding party votes. That wasn't the case Saturday. I don't know who was responsible for setting up the voting process, but they paid attention to details many of us would miss. Each voting member had a deep blue large strip of paper with the word 'delegate' printed on it. They also received a pack of ballots - enough for four rounds. Each ballot was a different color making it easy to see that one ballot of the correct color was being handed in. I could see the delegate tag and ballot color from across the room. This made the voting process transparent to delegates, observers, and the media from just about anywhere in the sanctuary.
The votes were counted by three tellers. I don't know who they were. I have not heard one word of doubt in this part of the process and I think the whisper campaign would have started by now if there were any problems with the people counting the votes.
I live in a different county, but my mother was a voting delegate and I was there with her. Once the voting started I moved to the far side of the sanctuary where media and guests were asked to sit. This left only voters from District 37 sitting on the left side of the sanctuary, voting CEC and SEC members sat in the center part of the sanctuary, and all others were on the right side. It was a smart move. While I would have much rather sat with my mother, keeping all voters together added to the transparency and helped avoid confusion.
There were two members who stood to be recognized because they thought their precincts were supposed to be included in the voting members for Senate District 37. They quietly and respectfully approached the dais and discussed their concerns. Their precincts weren't included in the district, but there was no fussing or other antics. Robin Bradford quickly explained what happened to the rest of us in the room and the meeting moved forward.
The candidate I was supporting did not win, but I still walked away from this process feeling pleased. There were other excellent candidates, so it felt great being "for" someone and knowing there was no reason to be "against" the others running for the seat. It is a very good thing when your candidate loses, you feel like it was a fair vote, and your inbox, voicemail, and Facebook feed aren't littered with ugly remarks and accusations. So, job well done, Mecklenburg County Democratic Party.