I was elected to serve in the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee for 2 years, but chances are that my colleagues and I will stay for four instead.
The reason, as usual, is money. County Committee elections have historically been held during June primary elections on even years. As long as the Registrars of voters were issuing partisan ballots for State offices, it wasn’t a big deal to also have the Central Committees included. But now that we have open primaries, the only partisan ballot is that for the Presidential primaries. Registrars figured they could save millions of dollars and hundreds of hours if they could eliminate County Committee elections at other times. Sacramento listened, and the law now is that we’ll be on the ballot only during Presidential primaries.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that we automatically get to serve 4-year terms. The law does allow County Committees to hold caucuses to elect members at other times. I doubt, however, that many County Committees will chose to do that. Caucuses are difficult to run, expensive and not particularly democratic, so I can’t imagine large counties going for them. Indeed, the caucuses to elect state delegates to the Democratic convention last year were filled with problems.
This means that, in all likelihood, I get to serve until 2016 before having to face re-election. Personally, I think it’s a good thing. It means that I can concentrate in getting really good candidates elected for office in 2014 without having to think about my own re-election. It should also give more time for anyone who is interested to run for Central Committee, to become involved with the party (which they can, as a club member or associate) and learn the ropes before running for membership.
Jan ’14 update: It’s been confirmed. Bylaws were changed at the state party level so that Central Committee terms are now four years.