The Democratic National Committee issued its first formal warning on Wednesday regarding recent bylaws changes implemented by the Alabama Democratic Party.
In a letter, first reported by the Alabama Reflector, DNC Rules and Bylaws co-chairs James Roosevelt Jr. and Minyon Moore wrote that the new bylaws have the appearance of “unequal treatment of minority groups” and that it could cost ADP its delegates at the party’s presidential convention.
The letter also raises questions about the voting process that led to the new bylaws, noting that numerous members of the State Democratic Executive Committee have leveled serious allegations that call into question the meeting’s validity.
The new bylaws, which were approved at a chaotic meeting on May 6, in Montgomery, essentially removed the Hispanic, LGBTQ, disabled, Native American and Asian caucuses and instead turned them all into “committees.”
Under the new bylaws, committees would have far less power than caucuses, and the vice president of minority affairs for ADP – currently, Joe Reed – would have authority to determine how many new members of each committee would be required at each SDEC meeting and who would fill those seats. Caucus leadership makes both decisions independently.
During a recent interview on the Alabama Politics This Week podcast, ADP chairman Randy Kelley said the new bylaws didn’t remove voting power from any group and that moving the caucuses to committees actually was a good thing, because it is “incentive for them to grow their membership.”
The changes implemented at the May 6 meeting were long-awaited retribution for Reed, who saw his power stripped away when former Sen. Doug Jones and others, with the backing of the DNC, pushed through bylaws changes in 2019. Those changes, the DNC said at the time, brought ADP more in line with the national party’s stance on diversity and the definition of “minority.”
Those bylaws expanded access to several groups, giving Youth, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, Native Americans, Asians and Disabled people their own caucus, greatly expanding the power of several groups and limiting the vast power held by the Black Caucus, the Alabama Democratic Conference, and its chairman, Reed. The May 6 changes restored that power.
The DNC letter said the national party is still in the midst of its review of the matter.