Participating at your Organizing Unit Convention

The Organizing Unit is the second level of the DFL Party structure. Delegates are elected to their Organizing Unit Conventions at their local precinct caucuses. These delegates will then endorse candidates for the State legislature and choose delegates to move on to the State and Congressional District Conventions.


Basics of Organizing Units

Organizing Units are the local branches of the DFL and may be based on county, senate district, or house district boundaries. In larger counties, the Organizing Unit and Senate District Conventions are combined into one convention that both endorse legislative candidates and handle other party business. In areas where there are more than 3 house districts in a county, they are organized by Senate District, and separate conventions are held to endorse candidates. (The different Organizing Units are defined in Article V of the DFL Constitution.)

Organizing Unit and Senate District Conventions are generally held on even-numbered years, with a few exceptions. The Central and Executive Committees are the governing bodies of an Organizing Unit between conventions. You can still participate in off years by attending meetings or events your unit might be hosting. You can find information on your Organizing Unit here.

Organizing Unit/Senate District Convention Tasks:

  • To endorse candidates for State Senate and House
  • To conduct local party unit business
  • To present and consider platform resolutions
  • Elect Delegates to Congressional and State Conventions

Participating in your Organizing Unit Convention

If you were elected as a delegate or an alternate at your local caucus, you have the opportunity to participate in your Organizing Unit’s Convention. Below, you will find a basic description of how the day will likely run, but each Organizing Unit will be a little different. All conventions are similar in that they all follow the DFL Constitution and Official Call in how they are to be run. We use Robert’s Rules of Order to help our meetings run smoothly. Here is a primer to help you fully engage during the convention.

Sample Convention Agenda

This is a sample agenda for a Organizing Unit Convention with explanations of each event. Your convention’s agenda may look different depending on what it needs to accomplish.

Registration

  • At registration, if you are a delegate, you will sign in and receive credentials. This is generally a name tag that you wear which allows you to be on the “floor,” or the area where voting is happening. If you are an alternate, you should also sign in and get credentials, and you will be informed of “upgrading procedures.” This is the process by which you can switch from being an alternate to a delegate. You will often be seated near the other delegates from your precinct, but seating is decided by by the convention committees.

Calling the Convention to Order 

  • This is simply the official start of the convention and is generally followed by a flag ceremony and welcoming of delegates and guests.

Reading of Affirmative Action, Outreach and Inclusion Statement

  • We begin all DFL conventions by reading the Affirmative Action, Outreach and Inclusion statement to help keep these goals in the forefront of our organizing efforts.

Resolving any Credentials Challenges

  • Credentials are how we ensure the correct people are participating in the voting procedures. If a person believes they do not have the correct credentials following registration, this is an opportunity for them to to appeal to the larger group. This allows us to confirm that all eligible delegates and upgraded alternates have the correct badges from registration and are ready to participate in voting during the convention.

Election of Convention Chair(s) and Appointment of Secretary and other Convention Officials

  • At each convention, delegates get to vote on who will lead the convention as the Chairs. Generally, the Chairs are asked in advance, so they can prepare. However, anyone can be nominated from the floor to fill these positions.

Officer Reports 

  • Officers in your local unit may share what they are working on within the unit or successes they have had since the last convention.

Adoption of Agenda and Rules

  • The agenda and rules of the convention must be approved by the members of the convention. This is typically done by a vote of acclimation.

Endorsement of Local Candidates

Election of Party Officers and Directors

  • Depending on how your Organizing Unit elect officers and directors, you may vote to elect either officers, directors, or both at your convention. These positions, plus precinct leadership, combine into your Organizing Unit Central Committee. The convention is in charge of running the local unit, but between conventions, it is run by a unit’s Central Committee.

Adoption of Resolutions

  • Resolutions that were passed during precinct caucuses are presented at Organizing Unit Conventions, and a certain number of the resolutions earning the greatest number of votes will be considered at the State Convention.

Election of State and CD Convention Delegates/Alternates

  • Organizing Units are allowed to send a select number of delegates to their Congressional and State Conventions. (See Official Call). The selection of these delegates can take place as an election or through a process known as a walking sub-caucus. If you are interested in helping to endorse congressional representatives or state wide candidates, you should run to be a delegate at this level.

Election of Congressional and State Convention Delegation Co-Chairs

  • Your Organizing Unit delegates and alternates make up your delegation. You will elect people to lead this group at the conventions they attend.

Adjournment

  • This is the closing of the convention.

After the convention, you can stay involved by attending local unit meetings and events.  You can find information on your local unit here. You can also get engaged with a local candidate or campaign.

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