The Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee is the official governing body of the Democratic Party in Wicomico County.
The Central Committee consists of eight members, four males and four females, elected at-large in the primary of gubernatorial election years. The winners of the election are the four males and four females receiving the highest number of votes. Term of office is four years. All members must be registered Democrats and reside in Wicomico County. The next primary election is in June 26, 2018.
The purpose of the Central Committee is to build the Democratic Party’s organizational capabilities in the county, promote Democratic principles, and elect Democratic candidates. Members of the committee are members of the Democratic State Central Committee of Maryland. The committee is also responsible for making nominations for certain local boards and commissions to the Governor of Maryland.
Five associate members may be appointed by the Central Committee to provide support to the committee.
The Central Committee represents ALL Democrats in the county, so if you have questions or suggestions, or would like to volunteer, please do not hesitate to contact a member.
Mark L. Bowen, Chair
Lee Whaley, Vice-Chair
Connie H. Strott, Secretary
Harry Basehart, Treasurer
WCDCC Facebook -
Democratic Club of Wicomico County -
Maryland Democratic Party-www.mddems.org
Democratic National Committee-www.democrats.org
Primary Election Day, Tuesday, June 26
at your precinct polling place (7:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.)
Early Voting Thursday, June 14 - Thursday June 21 at Wicomico Youth & Civic Center (10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.)
The State Board of Elections has easily accessible and individualized information such as your polling place, your county council and state legislative districts, Democratic candidates on your ballot and Facebook links. Please copy the link below into your web browser:
Warning: You will have to enter your name, birthdate and zip.
Local Board of Elections member requirements
Tue, March 13, 2018
1. Wicomico County has a 5-member board (3 of the party of the current Governor, 2 of the other major party). Each member is a “full” member with voting privileges. The Board President receives a salary of $ 4,500; the other members receive $ 4,000.
2. The board meets on the third Wednesday each month at 9 a.m. Meetings last for between 1 – 3 hours, depending on the proximity to an election.
3. The board delegates the operations of the office to its Director, who reports to the board at the monthly meeting, so the board can provide oversight of the Director.
4. The board approves the annual budget request, which then goes to the County Executive for approval.
5. Election related responsibilities, tasks include:
a. Most board members attend at least one Election Judge training session (approx 4 hours).
b. At least 2 members are required by regulation to check and confirm the polling place supplies prior to election day (approx 4 hours).
c. Board members usually come in and observe the testing of the voting equipment prior to each election.
d. The board is required to perform 2 non-scheduled inspections of the Early Voting Center while it is open during an 8-day period.
e. The board is asked to be there on the final night of Early Voting to help ensure the voting equipment, with the results, is securely returned to the Election Office.
f. The board is required to be at the Election Office the morning of each Election Day to receive their packets, then go out and inspect polling places throughout the day. They are also sent out, sometimes with the board attorney, to investigate any polling place incidents during the day.
g. The board is asked to be at the election office on Election Night to observe the processing of the unofficial election results, return of the supplies, etc.
h. The board serves as the local board of canvassers for each election. They are required to preside over the absentee canvass (usually 2 days after each election; approx. all day), the provisional canvass (usually 8 days after each election; approx. all day) and the absentee 2 canvass (usually 10 days after each election; approx. 4 – 6 hours). They also sign the election certification documents.
i. The board is prohibited by their by-laws from being involved in the day-to-day activities of the election office. Their role is to attend exclusively to top-level policies and plans and shall ensure compliance with mandatory requirements. They also create local policies regarding the conduct of elections as they specifically pertain to the Wicomico County election office.
j. Board members “shall put the interests of the board ahead of partisan interests, personal interests, or loyalties to other organizations in an effort to ensure the successful execution of the duties of the board.
k. When a member fails to attend 50% of the meetings in a 12-month period, they shall have been considered to have resigned.
l. Every 2 years, board members are legally required to attend the Biennial Meeting. In addition, each year the members attend a 2-day election officials’ conference.
State central committees, county central committees and local political clubs of the Democratic and Republican parties are all part of a bewildering landscape of political party organization in Maryland. A few distinctions will provide a clearer picture.
Political parties are defined in Maryland law and state central committees are designated as their governing bodies; as governing bodies they write their own constitutions and bylaws. Maryland law also creates county central committees, specifying, among other things, that the Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee (WCDCC) has seven members elected to four-year terms during primary elections in gubernatorial election years. Further, how central committees raise money and what it is spent on is regulated by law; regular financial reports are made to the State Board of Elections.
While central committees are the legal face of parties in Maryland, local political clubs, such as the Democratic Club of Wicomico County, are not based in Maryland law and membership is open to all registered Democrats. Both central committees and clubs sponsor fund raisers, organize volunteers and work to elect Democrats in the general election. In fact, in some counties clubs have more influence than central committees.
A dilemma faced by party organizations, particularly central committees, is their role in primary elections and the selection of nominees for the general election. Many political scientists believe that parties should actively recruit the best candidate and help that person win the primary. Other researchers say that parties should be neutral because supporting one candidate will anger competing candidates and their supporters and cause dissension within the party, hurting the party’s chances in the general election. WCDCC follows the second option and does not endorse candidates in the Democratic primary, but will advise equally all Democrats who seek the party’s nomination.
In the upcoming 2018 election year, outstanding citizens are needed to run for elected offices, especially at the county level; please consider becoming a candidate. Elected office is not for everyone, but it’s where we need our best citizens. Candidate filing deadline is February 28, 2018 and the primary election is June 26.
*This essay by Harry Basehart originally appeared in “Politically Correct?” published in The Daily Times, September 22, 2013. It was revised February 28, 2017.
The Daily Times has ended its Politically Correct commentary. Discussing a different topic each month, Gains Hawkins wrote from a Democratic Party perspective while Mark Edney took the Republican point of view. The demise of the series is traced to a complaint to the Times by Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver about a column Hawkins authored on the topic, “Black Lives Matter.”
Following Culver’s complaint—for which the Times found no factual basis--Times Executive Editor Ted Shockley advised Hawkins that he could no longer mention Culver in his column. This directive to censor speech about an elected public official in a political column was unacceptable to Hawkins. The Times then decided to cancel the series altogether.
For a detailed account please go to the Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee web site at wicomicodems.com.
By Gains Hawkins
The Daily Times has killed the monthly Politically Correct column—I was the liberal contributor and one of my columns was the impetus for the demise of the series.
In my February column on the topic, “Black Lives Matter,” toward the end of the piece I wrote: “The first administrative action Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver took was to fire a black staffer; his transition team had no African Americans; and his first major decision was try to defund new school construction for a majority black elementary school. “ The sentence was preceded by examples nationally of the obliviousness of white America to prejudices faced by African Americans.
Culver responded by sending the Times a letter to the editor refuting my contention he fired the African American public information officer. In his letter, he said his predecessor, Rick Pollitt, had dismissed the press officer the day before Culver took the oath of office.
Here’s what happened: Culver sent Director of Administration Wayne Strasburg to meet with the press officer the day before Culver took office to tell her she was fired, putting the decision on Pollitt’s tenure. Pollitt said he had nothing to do with the decision, it was all Culver.
On December 10, 2014, the Times published a story headlined: Wicomico Exec Culver fires press officer. In that article, Culver is quoted: “I decided the money could be better used in other parts of county government.” At no place in the article does Culver offer a different interpretation of the public information officer’s dismissal.
When the Times refused to print Culver’s letter to the editor, he advised the Times it would no long receive county press releases.
Ted Shockley, executive editor of the Delmarva Media Group which includes the Times (in effect the paper’s editor), and Culver discussed the impasse. Shockley’s decision: the Times would not print Culver’s letter to the editor and I could no longer write about Culver, but my column could continue. While the Times acknowledged I had not written anything that was inaccurate, I had engaged in “personal attacks” on Culver and the Politically Correct series had devolved into “sniping” from both left and right. (I seem to recall the character assassination then Del. Norm Conway endured on the op-ed pages of the Times.)
My response: I had commented on Culver’s political decisions and certainly engaged in passionate political discourse; it was after all a political column. To place an elected official off limits from my commentary was an affront to me and would perpetuate a fraud upon my readership. The Times either wants to provide a robust independent opinion page that challenges government policies and policymakers, or a pseudo opinion section that elected officials can serve as de facto gatekeepers.
Additionally, Shockley now reviews all Times content that includes Culver prior to publication.
In a year Spotlight won the Oscar for best movie and All the President’s Men celebrates its 40-year anniversary as an iconic film celebrating the importance of a free press, the Times succumbs to political pressure with self-imposed limitations on speech and commentary about an elected official.
A free press is intended to act as a check and balance against government. The Times has failed in a test to meet that expectation. In Salisbury, the sword is more powerful than the pen.