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Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
- What is a Democrat?
- What does it mean to be a Democrat?
- Where do my donations go?
- What can I do to make a difference?
- Which offices are partisan (i.e. affiliated with a political party)?
- How does a law get written?
- How do I find out what's happening for particular legislation?
- How do I become a candidate?
A person is a Democrat when they are a member of a Democratic Party organization. There are local, state and national Democratic organizations. In Washington State, voters do not have to identify a party in order to register to vote. Many people choose not to become members of a particular party organization but still consider themselves Democrats if they share our belief system.
Being a Democrat means caring about others and supporting Democratic values. Our platform supports equal access, social justice, and sustainability at every level, including protection of those less fortunate, stewardship of the environment, and family values. Read our full platform for more details.
Every part of your dues go to getting Democrats elected. Your dues go to help support the local office. They help support local special events or even distribution of a newsletter. All of the work done in the name of the party is done by volunteers. During the campaign season, fundraisers are used to get more funds to further help support the campaigns of local, endorsed Democratic candidates.
The single best thing you can do is get involved. There are many ways to help. We need day-to-day assistance, committee members, people who like to plan events, fundraise, talk to people, write letters and stories, help with campaigns, share their good ideas, serve as officers. For almost anything you can think of, we can use your help! Just call or email us and we’ll try to find the right fit for you.
State and national offices are partisan. The only local office which is partisan is the District Attorney’s office.
In the state and national legislatures, a bill may be written by a legislator, a group of legislators or by a committee. The bill will be read before the first chamber (either Senate or House) and then sent to various committees. If there is enough interest in the bill, it will be scheduled for hearings before those committees. If enough of the committee agrees to send it along, it will be passed to whatever other committee it has been assigned to. Finally, if it gets enough support it will be heard on the floor of that chamber and will be voted upon. Then it goes to the second chamber where the same process is completed. If it gets through that chamber without changes, it is sent to either the Governor or the President for signing or vetoing. If changes are made to the bill so that the bill coming out of each chamber does not match, then representatives from both chambers are appointed to work out a compromise. If a compromise is reached, then the bill goes back to each chamber to be voted upon again. If no compromise is made, the bill dies. The life of a bill is very difficult.
Locally, the process is similar but both city and county council have only seven members. Proposed legislation comes to the body, is sent to a committee and the committee makes a recommendation. The bill is not usually passed during the same session in which it is introduced. A simple majority is required to pass a bill. After it is passed, it is sent to either the mayor or the county executive, again for approval or veto.
If it’s federal legislation, you can either look online at THOMAS , or call your local US Senator’s or Congressman’s office. For state legislation, go to the Washington State Legislature or contact your state Senator or Representative. You can read the minutes and see the hearing schedule of both the County Council and the City Council.
The County Auditor’s office has clear instructions for the steps you must take for filing for public office. Filing takes place every last week in July for one week only. Within two weeks of the time you announce your intention to become a candidate, you must file with the Public Disclosure Commission. Both of these offices have excellent websites and helpful personnel. To be endorsed by the Democrats, you need to be a member in good standing or a PCO, and you need to speak with the Chair of the party.