Want To Change The Democratic Platform? You Can. (Seriously, Here's How)
The formation of the 2016 Democratic Party platform will be anything but business as usual. Party leaders made the unprecedented decision to allow Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sec. Hillary Clinton to select 11 of the committee's 15 members; usually, the Democratic National Committee chair (currently Debbie Wasserman Schultz) selects them all. In addition to this big change, the Democratic Party announced on Wednesday that it will be reviewing and discussing ideas from the public for possible inclusion in the platform. So you'll want to know how to submit testimony for the Democratic platform, since, well ... you can!
The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) website explains the decision to open up the platform process thus:
Our goal is to make this year's platform process the most representative and inclusive in history. With that aim, we announced a series of events across the country in the hopes of increasing participation. We are also encouraging people to submit their ideas online.
There are several ways you can get your ideas — or, as they're calling it, your "testimony" — to the platform committee. Likely the simplest one is to submit them online through the DNCC website's form. You'll fill out some basic contact information, state the topic of your testimony, then upload a document containing your testimony to the submission form.
If you're feeling a bit more ambitious, you can submit video testimony via Skype to the handle "demconvention" (without the quotation marks). In Skype, there's a button for recording a video message. Simply record and send it off. All written and video testimony must be submitted to the DNCC by June 18.
There will also be opportunities to make your voice heard in person, either at a platform hearing or at a regional forum. The hearings will be held "across the country," according to the DNCC website, although it doesn't state exactly where. If you want to learn more, you fill out an online form which is basically the same as the testimony submission form, except without the part where you upload your testimony. Presumably, the DNCC will be in touch with you to let you know where your nearest hearing is and when.
Finally, you can RSVP to attend one of the platform committee's regional forums, which will take place in Washington, D.C., on June 8 and 9, Phoenix, Arizona, on June 17 and 18, St. Louis, Missouri, on June 24 and 25, and Orlando, Florida, on July 8 and 9. Submitting an RSVP won't guarantee you a spot if the forums are packed, but it'll make it more likely that you'll get in.
The Democratic Party's decision to open the platform formation process up to the public is one of many historic features the 2016 primary season has brought us. Now that you know how to submit your ideas, get in on the action.