Hey OC Dems: Request Your ADEM Ballot Before midnight Monday Jan. 11!




Here’s the executive summary of this post!

[Originally posted 7:30 a.m., Jan. 9]


  • The California Democratic Party is holding ADEM elections again.  (“ADEM” is for Assembly District Delegate meetings.)
  • This year, voting will be entirely by mail.
  • You can request a ballot at the ADEM site (or see way down below on the CDP’s FAQ page for requesting one by phone)
  • You can vote in the ADEMs if you’re a registered Democrat, but you have very little time left!
  • After you register, you will receive an email telling you where to click to vote and giving you a code to do so — or you can get a mailed copy
  • Voting has already begun and will continue until Jan. 27, which is the RECEIPT deadline for ballots
  • The Assembly District delegates (“ADD”s) elected at the ADEMS comprise about a third of the governing board of the Democratic Party State Central Committee (DSCC) which is the legislative branch of the state party.
    • If you hear talk about people rather than the meeting being “ADEMs,” they actually mean “ADEM-chosen delegates,” but even a lot of ADD’s don’t get this
  • OJB will be endorsing candidates — and we might even use the DPOC seal to do it, given that it gave up its trademark rights in the past DPOC election — so don’t cast your vote until you’ve read that post, coming this next week!

Those are the basics. If you want a deep dive, let’s go!

What?  What the hell is going on here?

Some of you may not have realized this (that’s a joke) but Vern and I take a strong Berniecrat perspective to party governance.  So we’ll hand over the floor to Norman Birnbaum, a prominent party Berniecrat from up LA.

Many but maybe not all of you may be aware that the California Democratic Party holds assembly district based intraparty delegate elections in odd years in January ie right now. Normally an in-person affair, the  ADEM (Assembly District Election Meeting) process is a vote-by-mail this time because of the pandemic.

That makes it easier to participate in than usual but also ups the stakes for reaching a lot more people.  People have to register to get a vote-by-mail by Jan 11th (Monday) and then ballots have to be received by Jan 27th.  People still vote for 14 candidates as in the past.   Some of us (not me) are running, and we really need to support those who are.

This is an arena in which we can continue our work of pushing the California Democratic party Bernieward.

Here is what I wanted to ask you:

1)  Please register yourself (if still in CA and still a Dem or willing to register as one for the purpose); you have to do this to get the VBM ballot.

2) Please help promote Berniecratic leftist candidates.  Here is an example of a slate in my area that I have been organizing with; statewide, check out the Progressive Delegates Network site which is trying to identify good and like-minded candidates in every AD and get them elected.  This is is how I would go about figuring out whom to support where you live.

But what’s all this party governance stuff about?

ADEM delegates comprise 1/3 of the leadership of the DSCC, or Democratic State Central Committee  (similar to a Congress or Board of Directors), which nominally governs the party.

  • Another third is composed of delegates appointed by county party central committees, like DPOC
  • Finally, 1/3 are appointed by Party Leaders and Electoral Candidates.  The former includes the state party chair and executive officers, state executive officers, legislative members, and “top vote getters” — Democrat who got the most votes in the most recent races for state elected office where no Democrat was elected.  Each of those people are then allowed to appoint a number of delegates besides themselves.

If you want to know why the California Democratic Party is so insular and anti-grassroots, and why it often seems like the party is “fixed” to support incumbents and moderates, this is where it starts!  The state party and its candidates get to appoint a large portion of the delegates, and their electeds get to appoint another large portion.

  • Party officials generally want to preserve their own power, including the financial benefits that come with being able to get paid to lobby others within the party or to worth as campaign consultants or to be able to steer business to such consultants for their own interests — such as securing personal loyalty from them and delivering their votes for national, state, and local candidates whom they favor.
  • Elected officials generally have an interest in insulating themselves from grassroots and leftist influence, so that they can raise funds and equivocate more easily, and their appointments usually reflect that.  Often, the local county party secures their agreement to appoint the sorts of loyal people that they want — who repay the county officials with loyalty and steered voted — with an expected payout coming at endorsement time.
  • So the minority of the party that even theoretically reflects the influence and opinions of regular grassroots voters is elected in the ADEMs!

You’d probably understand this better with a diagram.  Luckily, our local Berniecrat Emma Jensen created one.  I’ll publish it below, both alone (for legibility) and in tandem with a colored version with commentary that I created myself.

It’s called “The Stool.”

Here’s the original black-and-white version, which should allow you to read the text more clearly.

The original black and white stool, with more legible text!

I realize that the type is pretty small, so here is what it says:

Party Leaders, Elected Officials, [Top Vote-Getters], and Their Appointments:  All officers and state and party elected officials are THEMSELVES delegates, and also get anywhere from 5 to 10 [note: I think that it’s actually more like 3 to 40] delegate appointments each.  They get 1/3 of the “voice” within the state party.”

County Central Committees consist of members who are democratically elected every 4 years during the Democratic Presidential primary (on the same ballot) ALONG WITH the federal and state officials residing in that county.  They get one delegate appointment per every 10,000 registered Democrats in the county.

Assembly District Delegates [ADDs or (informally) ADEMs] are elected at districtwide meetings every 2 years by YOU, the voters!   They are community leaders and organizers (like YOU!) meant to give the community a DIRECT VOICE in the California Democratic Party!  They are the “direct democracy leg” of the DSCC, and serve to maintain accessibility to the party on a local level.

OK — that’s the theory (straight from the CDP itself) — but there’s more to know!  CDP officials and CA electeds are not actually satisfied with their own leg of the stool, so they pressure county party leaders (if not already sold out themselves) to appoint members who will support state leaders and electeds.  And, when it comes to ADEMs, there was rampant cheating two years ago to get delegates acceptable to incumbents and big donors (including trade unions) elected and to exclude others.

Other efforts aren’t cheating, but are still inimical to the above theory supposedly underlying theory of this “stool.”  Elected officials endorse slates of delegates that will be loyal to them and not push them to the left.  (Rep. Katie Porter and former Rep. Harley Rouda were two big offenders in this regard in 2019.  In Rouda’s case, have poor ties with the grassroots people who could tell him if he was about the step on a landmine was a likely factor in his loss to Michelle Steele.)

Accordingly, I’ve colored in and expanded upon Emma’s drawing because … well, that’s the sort of thing I do.  I’ll reprint the text on the right below the graphic.

What happens when politicians control ADEM elections?

  • COUNTY PARTIES: Their power is unchanged

Why is the Democratic Party internally corrupt and mealy-mouthed when it comes to issue?  THIS IS A BIG REASON WHY!


Want a nice fact-sheet from the CDP?  Here you go!


1. What is the purpose of the ADEM Election meetings?
The California Democratic Party (“CADEM”) Bylaws (Article VI) provide that an Assembly District Elections Meeting (“ADEM”) shall be held in each of the 80 Assembly Districts in January of each odd-numbered year to elect representatives (referred to herein as “Assembly District Delegates” or “ADDs”) to the California Democratic Party State Central Committee (referred to in the Bylaws as “This Committee” or DSCC) and a representative to the CDP Executive Board (referred to herein as “E-Board representatives”).

However, in response to the health concerns about in-person voting, during the November 2020 Executive Board meeting, the Rules Committee recommended to the CADEM Executive Board that instead of holding ADEMs throughout California, a system of registration and voting by mail only be implemented.
Through this process, 14 people* (7 “self-identified female” / 7 “other than self-identified female”) will be elected and represent their Assembly District Delegation (ADD) at the 2021 and 2022 State Conventions. Every AD will elect one representative from among the ADD to represent the district on the State Party’s Executive Board.

Delegates to the State Party (DSCC) vote and conduct Party business at the yearly State Convention, including:

• Election of CADEM Officers: Chairman, two Vice-Chairs, Secretary and Controller (in odd-numbered years after presidential elections)

• Election of 16-25 Regional Directors who function as liaisons between the California Democratic Party, County Central Committees, and Democratic Clubs in regions comprised of 3 to 5 Assembly Districts (in odd-numbered years)
• Endorsements by the California Democratic Party for partisan legislative and statewide offices in California
• Positions on Ballot Propositions (as needed)
• Establishment of the official California Democratic State Party Platform (in even-numbered years)
• CADEM Resolutions (in all odd-numbered years)

Executive Board (E-Board) Representatives of the DSCC, the Executive Board members, meet at least two additional times each year to conduct business that comes up between
conventions. This business may include Standing Committee and Caucus meetings and electing members to the Democratic National Committee (in presidential election years).

2. What is new about the 2021 ADEM process?

The new system will incorporate the following features:

● Elimination of all in-person voting for the 2021 ADEMs.
● A deadline to request a vote-by-mail application – Monday, January 11, 2021 at 11:59 pm PST.
● All Voters MUST apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by registering to vote or applying to run via an online form.
○ NOTE: If a person does not have the ability to request a vote-by-mail ballot online, they can request a ballot by emailing (adem@cadem.org) or by an
ADEM election call-in phone line (#TBD) that will be managed by the Regional Director.
● The vote-by-mail ballot will be mailed to the residential address or the voter’s mailing address that is listed on their voting record.
○ NOTE: If you have a mailing address listed on your voter registration record different from the address you are registered at, we will automatically mail your ballot to the mailing address listed on your voting record. We cannot change your voting record to reflect another mailing address outside of your voting
● All participants must be verified as a California Democrat registered in the Assembly District before receiving a vote-by-mail ballot.
● An alternative method to request a vote-by-mail ballot will be included for unhoused individuals in this process.

3. Who May Run for Assembly District Delegate?

ALL California Democrats interested can run to be an Assembly District Delegate and must file and submit their candidacy with the State Party by 5 pm PST on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

The filing fee is $30.00 to run as an ADEM Candidate, which may be completed online and can be waived if the candidate declares hardship (email adem@cadem.org to request an application fee waiver). The filing period for the 2021 ADEM opens on Tuesday, November 15, 2020, and closes at 5 pm PST on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

Candidates must be registered to vote as a Democrat in the Assembly District by November 3, 2020, unless the candidate turned 18 or was naturalized after the deadline and is registered to vote at the time of candidacy filing.

Prospective candidates should use the form on the CADEM website to apply to be a candidate. https://adem.cadem.org/

NOTE: Gender: (In keeping with CADEM Policy, Gender shall mean one being either “selfidentified female” or “other than self-identified female”).

4. Who is eligible to run for the ADEM Executive Board Representative?

The position of AD Representative to the Executive Board shall be offered to the highest finishing ADD who has indicated their willingness to serve if elected at the time of filing their
application to run.

All prospective candidates must file as an assembly district delegate candidate and indicate their willingness to serve as the Executive Board Representative if elected at the time of filing theirapplication to run.

NOTE: The ballot and the listing of candidates on adem.cadem.org will identify those who have indicated their willingness to serve as E-Board Rep if elected by (*) next to the candidate’s name.

5. Do I have to submit a Candidate Statement?

A candidate can choose (but is not required) to submit a candidate statement and a link to a 1 minute video statement of their candidacy.

All delegate (ADD) candidate names (to be updated no less than once per week starting the week of November 30, 2020 ) and will be posted on the adem.cadem.org, along with statements by the
candidates, with the proviso that such statements be no longer than 2,400 characters (about 416 words including spaces) and shall not mention the name of any other candidate….

CADEM staff will post all candidates and their statements on adem.cadem.org.

6. Who may vote in Assembly District Election Meetings?

Any registered Democrat resident in California is eligible to vote in the Assembly District in which they reside and must file an online application to register to vote in the 2021 ADEM

7. What is the process to Receive a Vote-By-Mail Ballot?

Each registered voter who wishes to participate in the 2021 ADEM in the Assembly District in which they reside may obtain a vote-by-mail ballot by completing a 2021 ADEM Candidate
application form or the online application to register to vote in the 2021 ADEM on adem.cadem.org.

Alternatively, a participant may register via a dedicated phone line (916-442-5707) provided by CADEM staff.

In order to qualify for a vote-by-mail ballot, the participant will be verified as a registered Democrat in the assembly district. Upon verification, a participant will be mailed a vote-bymail ballot appropriate for their Assembly District.

The ballot will be mailed to the participant’s mailing address as indicated on their voter registration record. The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot (including completing the
verification process) is January 11, 2021, at 11:59 pm PST.
After registering, each 2021 ADEM candidate or voter will receive a registration confirmation email that will include their Registration ID.

ALL candidates should confirm having received the ADEM Candidate Registration Confirmation – Registration ID xx-x-xxxxxxx email receipt of filing before the candidate filing deadline ends on December 15, 2020, at 5:00 pm PST.

All voters should confirm having received the ADEM Registration Confirmation – Registration ID xx-x-xxxxxxx email receipt to request a vote-by-mail application by Monday, January 11, 2021, at 11:59 pm PST.
Each participant must save the Registration ID number and accept responsibility to provide that number upon receiving a ballot. Candidates or voters must ensure that the Registration ID
is entered on the vote-by-mail ballot (to prevent double-voting) before mailing their ballot.

Up to the January 11, 2021 deadline, if a participant is having difficulty completing the online verification process, they may ask for assistance via email (adem@cadem.org or by the CADEM 2021 ADEM phone line, 916-442-5707). Staff will attempt to resolve the verification issue with the participant.

NOTE: The CADEM staff will not be responsible for failed, delayed, unreadable, or corrupted filings, whether by hardcopy delivery or electronic filings such as faxes or emails or the editing
of candidate statements.

NOTE: If you are running as a candidate, your application to run will also generate a Registration ID to place on the vote-by-mail ballot.

NOTE: All participants, voters, and candidates alike are encouraged to use the online application to run or vote if feasible.

The 2021 ADEM participant information that is collected from the registration process will be used for California Democratic Party outreach purposes, including the participants’ willingness to volunteer for one or more precincts within the district or to assume another specified organizational responsibility for the CADEM.

8. What is the process to Return the Vote-by-Mail Ballot?

Participants who receive their vote-by-mail ballot must fill it out and return it by mail so that it is received by the CADEM Los Angeles or Sacramento PO BOX address no later than January 27, 2021. All ballots received by that date will be counted.

Each participant who receives a vote-by-mail ballot may vote for between 1 and 14 persons and may distribute the votes as they wish between self-identified female and other than self-identified female candidates, though they may only vote once for a candidate.

Ballots must be completed by bubbling in each candidate the participant is voting for with either blue or black ink.

Ballots marked with more than 14 choices are invalid.

Ballots where the voter Registration ID is not bubbled-in or is destroyed or unreadable will be considered invalid.

9. What is the Balloting Process?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CADEM staff has contracted Scantron Assessment Solutions to assist in an all vote-by-mail process for the 2021 ADEMs.

Ballots will arrive at the voter’s address listed on their voting record between January 6 – 18, 2021. Some ballots will arrive before and after this period depending on the USPS. Each ballot shall contain the names of all qualified candidates, a place to enter the voter’s Registration ID number, whether the candidate listed identifies as a Self-Identifying Female or Other than Self-Identifying Female, and shall indicate which candidates have agreed to serve as representative to the Executive Board (*) if they are offered the position under the CADEM Bylaws (Article VI).

REMINDER: Participants can vote for up to 14 candidates, distributed as the voter wishes. If more than 14 candidates are selected, the ballot will be considered invalid.

An instruction sheet will be included with the ballot. For vote-by-mail balloting, verified participants will return the completed ballot in an envelope provided by CADEM.  The participant will mail their vote-by-mail ballot to the designated CADEM Sacramento or Los Angeles P.O. Box address. ALL ballots MUST be delivered to either the CADEM Sacramento or Los Angeles P.O. Box address no later than January 27, 2021. Ballots received
after this date will not be counted.

Upon close of balloting, ballots will be shipped by CADEM staff to the counting facility.  At the conclusion of the counting process Scantron will provide images of all scanned ballots to CADEM staff who will post images of the ballots on the ADEM website for 30 days.

10. When will the 2021 ADEM results be posted?

Candidates will be posted weekly on adem.cadem.org after verified and will be posted in the order of when the candidate applied.

The results will be promptly posted on the CADEM website once the ballot counting process has been completed and verified.

11. How do I fix a mistake on my ballot?

Please put an “X” through mistake(s) and continue to vote for the correct candidates.

12. Do I have to pay for postage to return my ballot?

No, ballots will be sent with a prepaid Business Return Envelope.

13. Why was my ballot not counted?

Your ballot will be invalid for any of the following reasons:

1. If it is missing the voter Registration ID
2. If the ballot has an incorrect or incomplete voter Registration ID
3. If there are 15 or more votes on your ballot
4. If two or more ballots are submitted with the same voter Registration ID, ALL ballots
with that voter Registration ID will be voided
5. It was received after January 27th

14. What if there are less than 14 candidates filed in a district?

All eligible candidates who applied will be elected by acclamation, however the Assembly District will not have 14 delegates.

15. What if there aren’t enough candidates to fill the seven designated gender positions?

Timely filers of the opposite gender will fill the remaining slots.
If after all timely filers have been accommodated, and there are still slots open; these may be filled by nominations, giving priority to balancing the delegation by gender.

16. What is the process for tiebreakers?

Only ties that create a situation where more persons are tied for the last place(s) than there are slots available shall be resolved. In such cases, the tiebreaker shall be by lot. CDP staff will
provide a COVID-19-friendly method to implement such tiebreakers.

17. I am in the process of moving to another district. Can I run in that district?

In order to be an eligible candidate, you must be a registered Democrat on or before November 3, 2020, in the AD that you are running in.

18.  [no longer relevant]

19.  [no longer relevant]


  • Tuesday, November 3, 2020 GENERAL ELECTION
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2020 VETERANS DAY
  • Sunday, November 15, 2020 2021 ADEM Application Open
    2021 ADEM Voter Registration Open
  • Thursday, November 26, 2020 THANKSGIVING
  • Tuesday, December 15, 2020 2021 ADEM Candidate Application for ADD & E-Board Filing Deadline Closes @ 5:00pm
  • Friday, December 11, 2020 HANUKKAH BEGINS
    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Deadline to withdraw a candidates name from the ADEM ballot
  • Friday, December 18, 2020 Deadline to submit candidate statement, statement must be submitted by 5:00pm
  • Thursday, December 24, 2020 CHRISTMAS EVE
  • Friday, December 25, 2020 CHRISTMAS DAY
  • Saturday, December 26, 2020 KWANZAA
  • Thursday, December 31, 2020 NEW YEARS EVE
  • Friday, January 1, 2021 NEW YEARS DAY
  • Wednesday, January 6, 2021 Ballots will begin to be mailed to the voter’s address listed on their voting record. Some ballots will arrive before and after this period depending
    on the USPS
  • Monday, January 11, 2021 2021 ADEM Voter Registration to request a VoteBy-Mail Ballot Closes @ 11:59pm
  • Friday, January 15, 2021 Administrative DSCC Deadline for Elected Official, Top Dem Endorsed Candidates, and
    Democratic County Central Committee to begin
    submitting 2021-23 DSCC Delegate Member (voting body in the 2021 State Convention) to the CADEM staff
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021 Final Deadline to return 2021 ADEM Ballot – to the designated CADEM Sacramento or Los Angeles P.O. Box – NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS
  • Monday, February 8, 2021 Final DSCC Delegate Submittal Deadline for Elected Official, Top Dem, Democratic County
    Central Committee and 2021-23 ADEM DSCC Delegates to be finalized submitted to the CDP staff by 5:00 pm – NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS DEADLINE
  • April 2021 Administrative Pre-Registration to 2021 Convention; Pre-Approved 2021 Proxy Deadline
  • Monday, April 26 – Sunday, May 2, 2021 2021 California Democratic Party Virtual State Convention


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)