Photo: Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) —Democratic National Committee leaders on Saturday agreed to probe a complaint over the operations of the Alabama Democratic Party, including the elimination of several diversity caucuses.
The Democratic National Committee’s Executive Committee voted to refer the complaint to its Rules and Bylaws Committee, according to an approved resolution. The move came a day after members expressed alarm about the actions of the state party.
The comments at a meeting of the Democratic National Convention’s Rules and Bylaws Committee come amid an ongoing feud over state party leadership and the possibility that national officials might again intervene in the state party as they did four years ago.
The Democratic National Committee in 2019 had directed the Alabama Democratic Party to update bylaws to provide representation of more minorities, not just African Americans, in party affairs. That led to the creation of minority caucuses to ensure representation of young voters, LTBTQ community members and others. But the state party in May abolished some of those caucuses with proponents arguing they were unneeded.
“We’re equally alarmed by the bylaws and the operational allegations which seem to prevent the full participation of members, if true,” said Minyon Moore, co-chair of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee.
Yvette Lewis, a member of the Democratic National Convention’s Rules and Bylaws Committee who urged the 2019 changes, said she had a “broken heart” over the recent actions in Alabama because it is “as if we did nothing.”
“Diversity and expanding the party works,” Lewis said. She said there is opportunity for Democrats in Alabama after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower-court ruling requiring the state to draw new congressional districts and create a second district where Black voters comprise a significant portion of the electorate.
“We can break that stronghold in the South. … There are people down there that so share our values, that so much want to be a part of the Democratic Party. We owe it to them,” Lewis said.
Randy Kelley, the chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, asserted that the new bylaws did not cut representation. He argued youth and LGBTQ voters in the state are proportionately represented.
“No one lost any representation,” Kelley said. “We want to grow the party.”
He said if the DNC attempts to intervene in Alabama that they are prepared to go to the hearings and “plead our case.”