5/22/16 Executive Board Meeting Recap

This past Sunday, May 22, the County Executive Board met to endorse candidates in the primary election for Civil Court Judge and approve the Party Call.

Civil Court Endorsements
Josh Hanshaft Esq. and Emily Morales-Minerva Esq. have received the endorsement of the NY County Party for the Countywide Civil Court vacancies.

They will run in the upcoming primary with the support of the Democratic Clubs and county organization which will help them petition and turn out voters for their win.

Should they win the primary, they will then proceed to the general election as the Democratic candidate.

The Party Call
The “Party Call” lists all of the available Judicial Delegate, Judicial Delegate Alternate and State Committee positions.These party positions will be elected during the Primary in September.

Judicial Delegates are proportional to the Democratic voter turnout (how many ppl vote for the Dem) in the last Gubernatorial election by district.

State Committee is two per Assembly District (Male and Female).

Meeting Live Tweets

How a Judge Becomes a Judge Part 1: Civil Court

One of the most honorable duties of the New York County Democratic Committee is to endorse candidates in the Democratic Primary for Civil Court Judge races. Since Judicial races are often under most peoples’ radar, these endorsements can be very important.

In Manhattan, we have a marquee process. The Judicial Committee, a sub-committee of the County Committee composed of a District Leader from each Assembly District (AD), creates an independent screening panel, attended by representatives from third party organizations. The panel proceeds with a thorough review of all applicants and endorses between two and three candidates for each open seat; some of which are County wide and some of which fall within specific districts (but we’ll get into that another time).

Next, the County Executive Board (composed of all the District Leaders and the elected County Leader) votes on which of these candidates will be the endorsed candidate in the Primary. The winner of that, of course, goes to run in the general election. The winner of that, is a judge.

Sound complicated? Here’s a handy graphic.

Civil Court Infographic 3


2016 Civil Court Independent Judicial Screening Panel Report

On April 5, 2016, the Independent Judicial Civil Court Screening Panel met and began the process of screening candidates for the nomination of the Democratic Party for two (2) New York County-wide Civil Court vacancies, one vacancy in the 4th Civil Court District, and two incumbents in the 2nd and 4th Civil Court Districts, to be filled in the November 8, 2016 General Election. The following individuals were designated to the panel:

  • Albert Barruceco, Hispanic National Bar Association, Region II
  • Dana M. Catanzaro, Columbian Lawyers Association
  • Stacey Charland, Neighborhood Defenders Service of Harlem
  • Joshua Crespo, New York Urban League
  • Khalil El Assaad, New York Law School
  • Patricia Fersch, New York Women’s Bar Association
  • Alan Greenberg, Jewish Lawyer’s Guild
  • Irving Hirsch, City Bar Association of New York
  • Emily Hoffman, Community Service Society of New York
  • Chris Kwok, AABANY
  • Arnold Levine, Criminal Bar Association
  • Cynthia Liang Weaver, Asian Americans for Equality
  • David Oddo, New York State Trial Lawyers
  • Wanda Sanchez Day, Puerto Rican Bar Association
  • Chul Pak, Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York
  • Karol Robinson, Association of Black Women Attorneys
  • Crystal Shipp, NAACP Mid Manhattan Branch
  • Asha Smith, Metropolitan Black Bar Association
  • Nasreen Syed, South Asian Bar Association of New York
  • Michael Weiner, LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (Le-Gal)

On May 3, 2016, the Independent Judicial Screening Panel for Civil Court reported that the service of incumbents, Hon. Eileen Rakower in the 4th Civil Court District and Hon. Margaret Chan in the 2nd Civil Court District merit continuation. The Panel also reported the following candidates as most highly qualified for two (2) county-wide Civil Court vacancies and a single vacancy in the 4th Civil Court District:

  • Judy Kim, Esq.
  • Phaedra Perry Esq.
  • Josh Hanshaft Esq.
  • Emily Morales-Minerva Esq.
  • Robert Rosenthal Esq.
  • Nicholas Moyne Esq.
  • Shahabuddeen Ally Esq.

Thank you to the panel and its administrator, Lucas A Ferrara, Esq. for their diligent work.

Curtis Arluck and Louise Dankberg
Co-Chairs, Judiciary Committee

Primary Primer III: What Happens At Convention

The primaries are upon us and soon both parties will be selecting their nominees. But if the residents of States vote in the primary, what’s the role of the Party Convention? Where do SuperDelegates fit in? Who is really choosing the Presidential candidate?

As we covered in the last two posts, the Presidential nominee for a political party is not directly elected by all voters. Instead, delegates are selected in a variety of ways; most often exclusively by registered members of a particular party. These delegates are then sent to a party’s National Convention to pick the nominee.

Nothing Is For Sure
Oftentimes it is clear who will win the nomination before Convention. However, even with primaries done and delegates pledged, the results are not predetermined. People can walk in expecting to be the Nominee and walk out an also ran. How? Let’s find out.

Voting Share
Unlike in general elections, representation isn’t necessarily based on the number of residents, or even eligible voters. Instead, every State is given a certain number of delegates proportional to the number of votes people in that State cast for the Party’s Presidential candidate in previous elections. So, the more votes your state give to a Democrat (averaged over the last three elections) the delegates your state gets to the Convention.

Who Can Delegates Vote For?
At the Convention, elected (not Super) delegates are bound to vote for whoever won the primary or caucus in their state; and in the same percentage. So, if a candidate on 40% of the vote, they get 40% of the delegates. Whoever wins a majority of the of Convention Delegates receives the nomination.

If no one wins a majority, delegates are released from their pledges. At this point, horse-trading and deals can be struck in a Brokered Convention. Voting continues through successive rounds until one candidate wins a majority.

The Democratic Party actually changed its rules in 1936 because nomination required ⅔ of the delegate vote and made brokered conventions incredibly common. As a result, many nominees ended up being compromise candidates who weren’t even front-runners before the Convention!

And The Winner Is…
Whoever gets the required majority of delegates becomes that party’s nominee. This candidate will receive the prodigious support that a National Party can offer – from local organizing apparatus (like local parties and Democratic Clubs), to the Party’s political brand and, of course, money.

It is up to the Party to come together after a nominee has been chosen and put aside the differences which were expressed in the primary period. Whatever issues were raised, the job of the primary was to air them and give Party members a chance to make the decision of who would perform best in the General election with their eyes open.

Primary Primer II: Who Chooses The Presidential Choosers?


The primaries are upon us and soon both parties will be selecting their nominees. But if the residents of States vote in the primary, what’s the role of the Party Convention? Where do SuperDelegates fit in? Who is really choosing the Presidential candidate?

In the last post we saw that many of the delegates are elected. But it’s not always clear who can vote for them. In this post we’ll examine who chooses them.

How Many Delegates are There? Who Can Be a Delegate?

Each state is awarded a set number of delegates based on Party rules. In the Democratic Party, for example, delegates are awarded based on a State’s historical electoral vote and its turnout for the Democratic candidate in previous elections. In this way, more Democratic States are given more voice.

Parties may also set representation goals, requiring that some number of seats be reserved for specific classes such as young members, or members of specific ethnic groups. This is often done to bring delegations in-line with the census report for each State.

Who Chooses the Elected Delegates?

Possibly the most important piece of all this – Delegates are RARELY chosen by voters at large. Even though the media makes it sound like caucuses and primaries are open to all, they generally aren’t. There are four kinds of election processes, each with their own rules.

Closed Primaries

In order to vote in a party’s primary, you must  to be registered with that political party before the election.

Deadlines for registration vary but if, for example, you want to vote in the Democratic Primary and you haven’t registered as a Democrat, you won’t be able to. New York actually has the most stringent laws in the country, with registration deadlines month before the vote.

There are 12 states that use a strictly closed primary process, including:[5][4][6]

Open Primaries

Any voter can vote in one party primary of their choice, regardless of registration. So, it’s basically the opposite of the closed primary.

There are 14 States that use a strictly open primary process:

Mixed Primaries

Mixed primaries are anything that’s not strictly open or closed. They have all sorts of rules ranging from some parties being open and others being closed, to using past voting history to decide in which primary a person can vote.

There are only 8 states which use mixed primaries and you can check out all their rules on Ballotpedia.org.

Blanket Primaries (Jungle Primary)

The least popular kind of primary, everyone can vote and the top vote-getter from each party for a particular office wins. So instead of voting by party, voters vote on candidates for office. But if one Democrat gets 100 votes, another 80 votes and the Republican gets 50; the top Democrat and top Republican both go on to the General election as the nominees of their party.

States which use this system are

Democratic Clubs Part I: Size Matters

By Cory Evans

Want to get involved in the Democratic Party at the hyper-local level? I don’t mean Congress, or even the City Council — I mean really, really local. If you do, and you live in Manhattan, you should consider getting involved with one of the many party clubs organized throughout the City.

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of Democratic Party clubs in New York City. The first category is called district clubs, the second category is called city-wide clubs. Today we’ll talk about these two categories and explain the differences.

District clubs represent the Democratic Party within a certain geographic area. For example, my Democratic Club — called the Lexington Democratic Club — represents the Democratic Party throughout the 73rd Assembly District.

You can be a member of as many district clubs as you want, and there are dozens throughout the City. But, by courtesy and tradition, you can vote in one. That club is called your voting club or home club, and you are said to be a voting member of that club.

Citywide clubs focus on advocating for an issue or cause within the Democratic Party. Examples include the Manhattan Young Democrats, the Stonewall Democratic Club and the Muslim Democratic Club. You can join as many city-wide clubs as you like and you can vote in all of them if you wish to.

But how do you know which district club covers your neighborhood? And how are the geographic borders decided anyway? I’ll try to answer both those questions next time when we focus on district clubs and district leaders.