Alabama Democratic Party eliminates several diversity caucuses
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Democratic Party could face legal challenges following a vote to implement new bylaws that eliminated several diversity caucuses from the party.
Party Chairman Randy Kelley called some of the eliminated caucuses nonfunctional and said the representation of voting members was not accurate under previous bylaws.
“Caucuses was set up as an attempt to diminish the representation of Blacks,” said Kelley.
Under the new bylaws for the Alabama Democratic Party, the party replaced the diversity caucus with a “Prevailing Racial Minority” caucus, while other ethnic and status minorities are represented in committees.
Antwon Womack chairs the former LGBTQ Caucus. He said the change diminishes power.
“Caucuses are subordinate groups within the Democratic Party,” he said. “A committee is limited, and it’s limit in power, what it can and cannot do, according at the pleasure of the chair.”
To move from a committee to a caucus, the group must elect at least 15% of seats to the party’s voting group.
“I noticed the Native American Caucus just had two people in it,” said Kelley.
According to James Parker, who chaired the former Youth Caucus, youth make up 25% of the party. He said the vote to change the bylaws passed due to an unannounced $50 voting fee that they were not allowed to pay the day of.
“Previously a lot of things were either passed or not passed because we were there,” said Parker. “We basically had enough people to sway the votes. yay or nay, and they knew that.”
Kelley also said the removal of the caucuses will represent everyone.
“Just changing the name to committed the caucus, I don’t see how that actually destroys their participation,” said Kelley.
“Of course, they can speak up and say anything, but as far as actually having a vote or say so, they no longer have that option,” said Parker.
The Democratic National Committee requires state parties to have caucuses. DNC Chairman Jamie Harrison tweeted that they are looking closely into the situation.
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