Where We Go: Reforming the Indiana Democratic Party

The Goals

  1. Precinct & County Committees: Fill all vacancies for precinct committeeperson on the 2022 primary ballot.
  • Easier said than done. To help accomplish this, pressure must be put on county chairs; tracking vacancies across the thousands of precincts across 92 counties cannot be done without help by a single staffer and is a waste of resources. Keeping a record of the party’s recruitment progress in a single, publicly available shared document will ensure that county committees are accountable and responsive in achieving this.
  • Provide stronger guidelines for operating county parties. This set of goals, spearheaded by activist precinct committeepersons in Lake County, can be a starting point for the more underdeveloped county committees.
  • The party must leverage partnerships with existing groups that are already doing voter registration and register year-round, not just during election season. While it is easier and cheaper to turn out existing registered voters, we risk political obsolescence by not ensuring that our new base, especially youth voters, people of color, and suburbanites, are explicitly listened to.
  • After redistricting and after completing a precinct-by-precinct analysis of past election results, the party must explicitly decide which races are top targets and which are not. The lack of support from the party for state legislative candidates in past cycles makes it clear that this obvious measure was not taken, instead replaced by sole focus on top-of-the-ticket candidates.
  • Same as precinct committee recruitment, candidate recruitment for elected offices must be tracked in a single, publicly available shared document to ensure that no stone is left unturned when recruiting for even the smallest of offices. If candidates cannot be promised significant financial and logistical support (once they meet certain conditions), then it will be impossible to recruit high-quality candidates (see #6).
  • In addition to flipping key seats, the party must defend incumbents from both primary and general election challenges.
  • Indiana consistently ranks among the lowest turnout states in the country. Even 65% in 2020 was below the national average of 67% and far behind Minnesota’s first-in-the nation 80% turnout. While past orthodoxy stated that “Democrats win in presidential years because of high turnout”, that is becoming a hard sell in Indiana during the Trump Era, making midterm elections more challenging and important than ever before.
  • A robust vote-by-mail and absentee ballot chase program are key to engaging sporadic Democratic voters. Educating Hoosiers that this option exists needs to be a coordinated effort by every Democrat across the state, even before election season.
  • VAN access should not be used as a revenue raising tool for the party.
  • After completing a precinct-by-precinct analysis of past election results, fundraising goals must not only be tailored to the needs of each of the high priority races, but they should also be enough for key staff, statewide polling, a statewide vote-by-mail program, and statewide mass text outreach.
  • Set a measurable standard in order for medium priority races to get bumped to high priority and receive funding from the state party, eg. a requirement that the candidate’s committee raise some multiple of their win number in order to qualify (to ensure “skin in the game”, similar to a matching contribution system).
  • There must be true coordination with caucuses, not a cannibalization of resources or turf wars. Defer to caucuses’ expertise in funding legislative candidates, after candidates meet certain requirements, as previously described.
  • Set a goal to allocate over 80% of funds raised to direct voter contact.
  • Add non-voting advisory members to the State Central Committee who will assist with fundraising.
  • County committees must be urged to hold regularly scheduled, standing monthly meetings among precinct committeepersons.
  • The party chair must speak monthly with our Members of Congress, Indiana House Democratic Caucus, Senate Democrats, Mayors, County officials, City and Town Councils.

The Team

  • Creates the precinct-by-precinct analysis to determine high priority races for 2022
  • Administers and maintains VAN, hosts trainings on VAN, MiniVAN, and Mobilize
  • Administers social media, reaches out to press, acts as an individual consultant to high priority campaigns campaigns that want assistance
  • Directly works with high priority campaigns to develop field strategies, mobilize volunteers, create universes
  • Fundraising, compliance, budgeting
  • Spearheading voter registration drives, needs to meet a quota, talking to stakeholder groups to coordinate

The Two Year Plan

  • Q2 2021 — Make staff hires; re-engage county committees and elected officials by setting up standing meeting times, heeding their suggestions for areas of improvement and critical races; fundraise (ongoing)
  • Q3/Q4 2021 — Complete precinct-by-precinct analysis and establish high/medium/low priority race designations; move office to more accessible location; commence recruitment of precinct committeepersons and candidates for elected office
  • Q1 2022 — Deadline to file to run for precinct committee and elected offices; aid incumbents in contested primaries and introduce voters to new candidates in uncontested primaries in preparation for the general election
  • Q2 2022 — Ongoing electoral efforts
  • Q3 2022 — Deadline to fill ballot vacancies; ongoing electoral efforts
  • Q4 2022 — General Election

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Former Indiana House of Representatives; Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of NWI; Columbia BSIE 2016

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Chris Chyung

Chris Chyung

Former Indiana House of Representatives; Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of NWI; Columbia BSIE 2016

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