OCYD’s Endorsement Process and Candidate Endorsement Packet

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(Updated 3/10/2017)

Orange County Young Democrats

2018 Primary – Candidate Endorsement Packet

Thank you for your interest in the Orange County Young Democrats (“OCYD”)’s endorsement for the 2018 Primary Elections.  OCYD represents Orange County’s young voice—we are the umbrella organization for Democrats in Orange County, aged 14-35.  Our members come from diverse backgrounds, and share the common goal of advancing progressive and Democratic values in our county, state, and nation.

Founded in 1998, OCYD is currently experiencing rapid growth and an increasingly active network of members.  Our organization’s membership has increased by 85% in the last two years.- our monthly membership meetings regularly net over 70 attendees.  We currently have approximately 150 dues-paying members, a distribution list of over 800, and over 3,200 followers on Facebook.

So, why does our endorsement matter, and how will it help your campaign?  Our endorsement means that you have the support and backing of the county-wide youth vote.  OCYD will do a press release immediately after the meeting announcing our endorsed candidates. We also encourage you to advertise yourself as the OCYD endorsed candidate on all campaign materials. In addition to traditional media, we have a cutting-edge social media and graphics team that will work with your campaign to creatively and efficiently promote your candidacy on OCYDs social media platforms. In addition, we will encourage our large membership base of motivated young individuals to volunteer for your campaign. We are committed to being a resource to the candidates our membership endorses.

A final note:  In order for OC’s youth voice to be heard, OCYD intends to make an affirmative endorsement in each race up for endorsement; there will be no “no endorsements.” OCYD wants to endorse in each race, because we want our voice to be heard—since our voice matters.  That said, we understand that this election season has been one of the most interesting in Orange County’s history—and 2018 is probably the most important election year for OC Democrats, ever.  To that end, we plan on endorsing any candidate who wins the primary, regardless of whether they obtain our endorsement tor not, the day after the primary in June (unless the candidate faces another Democrat in the general, or the candidate does not ascribe to core Democratic values).  We will enthusiastically promote the candidate who wins the primary, regardless of whether they receive our April endorsement or not.

Our candidate endorsement information is below.  The Packet is divided into four Parts:  (I) Overview of Endorsement Process; (II) Timeline; (III) FAQ; and (IV) Questionnaire.

Again, we sincerely thank you for your interest in our endorsement.  Please direct any questions or concerns to Avelino Valencia III, OCYD Political Director via email at avelino.valenciaiii@gmail.com, or by phone at 714-916-2729, should you have any inquiries.


Avelino Valencia III, 2018 Orange County Young Democrats Political Director

On behalf of the OCYD Board of Directors

I. Overview of OCYD Endorsement Process

OCYD’s endorsement vote will take place on April 11, 2018, at the DPOC Headquarters (Plumbers Hall, 1916 W. Chapman Ave Orange, CA 92868).  Doors will open at 6:00 PM and speeches will start at 7:00pm.  All candidates will have one and a half minutes to address the OCYD membership. Candidates will be timed and cut-off if they exceed a minute and a half.  No surrogates will be allowed to speak in place of candidates.  Candidates must also complete a OCYD questionnaire (see below for more information) in order to seek OCYD’s endorsement.  Candidate speeches will be ordered from “lowest” to “highest” ranking office (e.g., local races, then state, then national) and from lowest to highest numerical district.

OCYD will be endorsing in races that have primaries, but only for the following categories of races:  county-wide seats, State Assembly, State Senate, and U.S. Congress.

All current OCYD members are permitted to vote for every endorsement.  “Current” membership means the member has paid dues, or been granted a waiver of dues, sometime between March 21, 2017 and March 21, 2018.

OCYD will use ranked-choice voting (“RCV”) to determine the candidate it endorses in each race.  The OCYD Board approved of RCV because it permits organizations to endorse the candidate who a consensus of the membership prefers, and is consistent with OCYD’s ethics of transparency and reflective representation.  RCV gives members the power to rank candidates. In addition to a member’s first choice, they will also rank their second and third choices in each race.  Each choice will be assigned a numerical value, and the candidate with the highest total number wins.  An example of OCYD’s RCV is below, in the FAQ section.

Note that there are a lot of candidates this year, so we will endeavor to keep things moving.  On our end, that means stating on time, efficient vote-counting, and generally making sure the meeting is structured.  On the candidate’s side, that means showing up on time, and planning to speak for only one and a half minutes or less.  We appreciate that you have a lot to say to our group, which is why we’re requiring all candidates to fill out our candidate questionnaires, so our membership can learn more about your candidacy before the vote.

II. Timeline

March 8:  Candidate endorsement packets will be shared via OCYD platforms.

March 21:  Membership cut-off date.

March 30:  Candidate questionnaires due.

March 31:  Membership lists available to candidates (candidates must ask to be sent the lists, and must submit a questionnaire before receiving the list).

April 11:  Endorsement Meeting.

April 12:  Endorsements go live on social media.

III.       FAQs

  1. Q: Who is eligible to vote in the OCYD endorsement process?

A:  All “current” OCYD members.  Membership is “current” if an individual has paid their dues, or been granted a waiver of dues payment by the OCYD Board, at some point between March 21, 2017 and March 21, 2018.  Only those who meet our membership requirements may be a member.  In addition to dues, to be an OCYD member, the individual must be aged 14 through 35 (membership lapses on an individual’s 36th birthday), must be registered in Orange County or have an intent to register to vote in Orange County.

  1. Q: Can members vote remotely/submit an absentee if they cannot attend the April 11 endorsement vote?

A:  No.

  1. Q: Who will conduct the endorsement meeting, and who will count the votes?

A:  Avelino Valencia III, OCYD’s Political Director, will run the meeting.  Members of the OCYD Board will also assist.  Any Board members who work on campaigns will not be involved in the endorsement meeting (except that they may attend and vote).

  1. Q: Will the voting be documented?

A:  We will be using excel spreadsheets to count the votes.  If a candidate wants access to the excel spreadsheets after the vote, they can obtain access to the final vote count.

  1. Q: Please explain RCV.

A:  The best way to explain RCV is by way of example.  In this case, let’s look at a hypothetical race, for “Best Pet Ever.”  Candidates include Puppy, Kitty, Bunny, Fish, and Rat.  Members will be permitted to vote for their top 3 choices.  An example of the vote looks like this:

Member 1: 

Puppy – #1 choice (15 pts.)

Kitty – #2 choice (10 pts.)

Fish – #3 choice (5 pts.)

Member 2: 

Rat – #1 choice (15 pts.)

Puppy – #2 choice (10 pts.)

Fish – #3 Choice (5 pts.)

Member 3: 

Kitty – #1 choice (15 pts.)

Puppy – #2 choice (10 pts.)

Bunny:  #3 choices (5 pts.)

The winner is Puppy, with 35 points.  Kitty comes in second, with 25 points.  Rat comes in third, with 15 points. Fish gets fourth with 10 points.  Bunny takes last place, with 5 points.

No bullet voting will be allowed. Bullet voting or single-shot voting is a tactic in which the voter only selects one candidate, despite the option to indicate a preference for other candidates. They might do this either because it is easier than evaluating all the candidates, or (depending on the electoral system in use) as a form of tactical voting.  Any ballots with bullet votes will be rejected.  For more on the issue of “bullet voting,” see Question 15.

  1. Q: Who will see the answers to the candidate questionnaire?

A:  Your answers will be published to our membership on Facebook, our website, and in our emails. We will also have copies for membership to review at the endorsement meeting.

  1. Q: Can my campaign distribute materials at the endorsement meeting?

A:  Campaign materials will not be allowed inside the endorsement meeting although clothing demonstrating support for a candidate is permitted.

  1. Q: Are there any other restrictions on how campaigns should conduct themselves during the endorsement meeting?

A:  Candidates are expected to keep to the allotted speaking time and refrain from engaging in negative campaigning. If a candidate, staffer, or supporter instigates or is involved in any verbal or physical altercation they will be asked to leave the endorsement meeting immediately.

  1. Q: Will press and cameras be allowed at the endorsement meeting?

A:  Yes.

  1. Q: I understand that OCYD will endorse the Democratic victor in each race after the Primaries, but what if Democrats win the first and second spot in the Primary, such that two Democrats proceed onto the General Election?

A:  If one of the two was initially endorsed by OCYD, OCYD will stand by its Primary endorsed-candidate.  If neither candidate was initially endorsed by OCYD, OCYD will hold a further endorsement vote at its June 2018 General Meeting.

  1. Q: What if I have a question about the endorsement process, before or after it occurs?  What if I want to challenge the process?

A:  Transparency and fairness are important to us.  We will answer any questions you have, either before or after the endorsement.  The OCYD Board of Directors will also take seriously any challenge you may have to the Endorsement process, and will address each challenge on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Q: May an endorsement be revoked?

A:  Yes, should an endorsed candidate do something antithetical to Democratic values, the endorsement will be revoked, based upon a vote of 2/3 of the Executive Board.’

  1. Q: Will incumbents have to participate in this process to obtain OCYD’s endorsement?

A:  Yes, unless there are no other Democrats running against them in the primary (see Question 14).

  1. Q: Will Democrats who are un-opposed in the primary have to partake in this process to obtain OCYD’s endorsement?

A:  Yes, un-opposed candidates must take part in the entire process, except that the vote for such candidates will be a voice-vote affirmation rather than RCV.

  1. Q: Is “bullet voting” allowed?  That is, can a member only rank one candidate as their top choice in a race, and not rank any other candidate in a given race?

A:  No, see answer to Question #5.  The reason we do not permit bullet voting is that it defeats the point of RCV and permits candidates to try to “stack the deck” in their favor unfairly.  Any ballots that use a bullet-vote method will be rejected and the member will be disqualified from voting in OCYD’s endorsement process.

IV. Candidate Questionnaire

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 30, 2018

Email to: Avelino Valencia III, OCYD Political Director

avelino.valenciaiii@gmail.com, cc danielleserbin@gmail.com  (OCYD Chair)

As stated, to be considered for endorsement, each candidate will be required to complete and submit the attached questionnaire via email with a headshot (800KB, PNG/JPEG).

Each candidate must answer all 5 questions below.  The questions were drafted by the Political Director, the OCYD Board, the OCYD Policy Committee, and the OCYD #DoBetterOC Task Force.

Two of the questions are specific to the level of office that the candidate is seeking. The remaining three questions address the candidate’s Democratic platform.

**Please attach a headshot (800KB, PNG/JPEG) with your submission of this questionnaire.**

Orange County Young Democrats

2018 Endorsement Questionnaire

[PDF Version Available Here]

Candidate Name:

Ballot Designation:


**Please keep your answers to each question limited to 250 words or less.**

Questions For All Candidates:

  1. Do you support a woman’s right to access reproductive health services including contraception and abortion? If so, what policies do you plan to advocate for to expand access and end societal stigma as it pertains to reproductive healthcare?
  2. What is a policy fix that you will champion in order to uphold the ideals of the #MeToo campaign?
  3. What are the top three Democratic ideals that distinguish your candidacy for elected office?

Questions Specific To Office:


  1. If elected, what is the first bill you would introduce? Please give an overview of the bill and explain why you want to introduce the legislation.
  2. What is your position on entitlement reform (g., Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security)? If you are against it, why? If you are in support, what policy will you champion to ensure that these services continue to be accessible for all?

State Senate

  1. What is your vision for Californian leadership in the Trump era?
  2. Do you support universal healthcare in the state of California? If no, why not? If yes, how would California’s universal healthcare system be structured?

State Assembly

  1. What is your vision for Californian leadership in the Trump era?
  2. Do you support universal healthcare in the state of California? If no, why not? If yes, how would California’s universal healthcare system be structured?

Orange County District Attorney

  1. What is your position on Proposition 47 and 57 and how do you feel it has impacted Orange County communities?
  2. How do you plan to repair the loss of trust in the District Attorney’s office following the Jailhouse Snitch Scandal?

Orange County Assessor

  1. If elected, what is the first policy change you will commit to implementing? introduce? Please give an overview of the policy and explain why you believe the change is needed.
  2. How do you plan to respond to the changes to the federal tax code that may lead to higher tax bills for Orange County residents?

Orange County Board of Supervisors

  1. How will you address the growing homelessness crisis?
  2. What policy action(s) do you commit to championing in order to ensure we build enough housing to keep housing costs affordable for all Orange County residents?

**Please attach a headshot (800KB, PNG/JPEG) with your submission of this questionnaire.**

For questions, please contact us.

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