What is the Democratic National Committee (DNC)?

The Democratic National Committee is the governing body of the Democratic Party, with general responsibility for the affairs of the Democratic Party between National Conventions. Over 150 years old, the DNC is the oldest continuing National Party committee in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to electing Democrats up and down the ballot, supporting Democratic candidates, legislation and elected officials, the DNC administers the affairs of the Party (such as the presidential nominating process).

How does the DNC elect its Officers?

The officers of the Party are elected by the National Committee members. Under the Party’s Charter and Bylaws, the DNC has nine officers. In addition to the Chair, the DNC has five Vice Chairs (including the President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, elected by that body), a Treasurer, a Secretary, and a National Finance Chair. 

Pursuant to the Party’s Charter and Bylaws, the next slate of officers will be elected at the Winter DNC Meeting held prior to March 1, 2017. Also per the Party’s Rules and prior to that meeting, there will be procedures in place to govern how the election is conducted.  The Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) will meet December 2-3 2016, to promulgate these Rules.  In accordance with the practice for past elections, these rules and information about the process will be made available to the press and public.   

What is the Charter and Bylaws? 

The Charter and Bylaws is the constitution of the Democratic Party. It outlines the structure of the Party organization, and the relationship among the National Convention, the National Committee, and other Party organizations or operations.

What is the structure of the DNC? 

Approximately 447 members serve on the National Committee. The membership is composed of the following general categories:

  • State-elected Members: Most DNC members are elected by a Democratic Party process held in each state and territory. Two hundred members are apportioned among the states (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) based on population and Democratic voting strength – with each state receiving at least two members. (The allocations range from two members in a number of states to 19 in California.) Additional members are apportioned to Democrats Abroad, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Democrats Abroad.
  • State Chairs and Vice Chairs: Each State Party’s Chair and Vice Chair (technically, the highest ranking officer of the opposite sex of the Chair) are automatically recognized as DNC members.
  • Representatives of Democratic Elected Officials and Affiliated Organizations: The National Committee includes representative Democratic officials from various levels of elected office including: U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, Governors, Mayors, State Legislators, Municipal and County Officials, etc. In addition, Democratic organizations such as the College Democrats, Young Democrats, and National Federation of Democratic Women have representatives on the DNC.
  • At-Large Members: To help ensure Democratic constituencies have appropriate representation within the Party organization, the National Committee members elect an additional group of members (75) who serve in an “At-Large” capacity.

You can request a DNC Roster at secretaryoffice@dnc.org.  

How are members of the Democratic National Committee selected? 

Each state Democratic Party has its own rules for selecting its DNC members. Some members are elected on the ballot as part of the state’s Democratic primary, and in other states the members are elected by the State Democratic Committee or the State Convention. 

How long is a DNC member’s term of office? 

Democratic National Committee members from the states and territories are elected every four years during the presidential election year. They begin serving upon the adjournment of the National Convention, and serve until the adjournment of the next National Convention.

What is the role and responsibility of a DNC member?

DNC members are Party leaders and activists within their communities and at various levels of the Party. As such, they serve as an important liaison between the National Party, its constituencies, and state and local Democrats. Members attend and participate at DNC meetings and share their political expertise with the National organization and each other. Members also play an important role in recruiting and training other Democratic activists to work on behalf of Democratic candidates and Democratic legislative proposals. 

How can someone find out more about the Democratic Party? 

The DNC’s website at www.democrats.org contains information about the Democratic Party, the DNC, the National Convention, State Parties, the National Platform, and current issues. 

Official Website of the Democratic Party