By-laws

 

BY-LAWS

17th WARD DEMOCRATS

PREAMBLE

We, the residents and voters of the 17th Ward, believing that the vitality of a democratic government depends upon the fullest participation of its citizens in the political process, hereby adopt these by-laws to provide a means by which that participation is encouraged and ensured.

ARTICLE I

The name of the organization shall be the 17th Ward Democrats.

ARTICLE II

PURPOSE STATEMENT

The purposes for which this organization have been formed are as follows:

1. To inform the residents of the 17th Ward on political, social, educational, and economic issues affecting them.

2. To encourage the active and effective participation by citizens in the 17th Ward in the political processes of a democratic government.

3. To provide the citizens of the 17th Ward with a viable means to participate in the selection, nomination, and support of Democratic candidates who will represent their interest in the City, Congressional District, State, and Nation.

ARTICLE III

MEMBERSHIP

A. Voting Member – Any person who (1) is a Democrat, (2) is registered to vote in the 17th Ward, (3) has completed and submitted to the Corresponding Secretary, or their designate of the organization, an application for membership accompanied by the annual dues as may be fixed by a majority vote of the voting members (4) has not during the 12-month period preceding the submission of his/her application for membership allowed his/her name to appear in campaign literature, press releases or other published material as supporting or endorsing a candidate of a party other than the Democratic Party and (5) is not a member of any other ward organization in the 17th Ward.

An application for membership may be submitted in person or to a member of the Executive Committee (as defined). The only exception shall be when a person is permanently physically disabled. That person may apply for membership in writing to the Executive Committee. Any and all dues paid are non-refundable.

B. A voting member in good standing shall have the right to vote on all questions at all meetings, regular and special which shall also be governed by Article VII(I) of these By-Laws. A voting membership shall expire immediately before the first regular meeting in October in each year. If so renewed, a voting membership shall not be deemed to have lapsed during the period preceding the renewal. The member serving as President shall not have voting privileges while serving in said office except as provided in Article IV(E).

C. Upon application and acceptance of membership by a new member he/she shall receive a copy of the current By-Laws. A voting member may request an additional or replacement copy at a cost to be determined by the Executive Committee.

D. Honorary Member – Any Democrat who has submitted an application for membership and paid dues in accordance with these By-Laws, but is not eligible to be a voting member.

ARTICLE IV

OFFICERS

A. The officers of the Organization in order of rank shall be: President Vice President Treasurer Corresponding Secretary Recording Secretary

B. Officers must be voting members of the Organization at the time of their election and throughout their respective terms of office. They shall be elected by secret ballot majority vote of the eligible members in good standing in attendance or via absentee ballot at the first regular meeting held in October of each year and shall serve a one year term or until their successors are elected. All officers can be reelected.

C. If, during his/her terms of office, an officer resigns, dies or is found by a majority vote of voting members in good standing by secret ballot at a regular or special meeting to have ceased to meet the Article III(A) requirements for voting members, his/her office shall automatically become vacant and shall be filled for the un-expired term by election by majority vote of the eligible members in good standing by secret ballot at the next regular or special meeting.

D. Within 30 days after the election of officers in each year, the President, with the consent of the Executive Committee may appoint a Sergeant At Arms, who must be a voting member of the Organization, and who shall serve until his/her successor is appointed. The Sergeant at Arms shall insure and maintain the security of meeting places, shall insure and maintain the orderly conduct of meetings as directed by the presiding officer, and shall perform such other duties as are incidental to those tasks.

E. The officers shall perform such duties as are customarily incumbent upon their respective offices and additionally:

President – It shall be the duty of the President to preside at all meetings, to enforce the By-Laws, Rules, Ritual and Customs of the organization; to cast the deciding vote in the case of a tie; to appoint all committees unless otherwise provided for; to examine qualification of any member; and to perform such other duties as pertain to his/her office or which may from time to time be delegated to him/her by action of the organization.

Vice President – The Vice President shall assist the President in the discharge of his/her office, fill his/her place in his/her absence and have such other duties as are customarily incident to his/her office or provided for in these By-Laws.

Treasurer – The Treasurer shall be the custodian of all Organization moneys, and shall keep accurate and complete financial records. At each regular and special meeting, the Treasurer shall submit a written report to the Executive Committee of the amounts and sources of money paid into the treasury since the last report, the amounts and purposes of each expenditure since the last report, the ending balance according the last report, and the ending balance as of the report being given. The Treasurer shall sign all checks; checks shall also require the signature of either the President or Corresponding Secretary, both of whom shall be eligible to sign checks. The Treasurer shall make no disbursement in excess of $100.00 without the approval of a majority of the Executive Committee. (Review of said written report will be made available to any voting member, upon request). The Treasurer shall be responsible for obtaining and maintaining an account at a local bank approved of by the Executive Committee for the purposes of depositing and withdrawing funds for the 17th Ward Democrats and said account shall be used for no other purpose.

Corresponding Secretary – The Corresponding Secretary or his/her designee shall be available at all meetings for the purpose of receiving or renewing membership applications in the organization. The Corresponding Secretary shall have custody of all applications for membership and all other membership records including member attendance at meetings, all of which shall be maintained in alphabetical order. The Corresponding Secretary or designee shall remit to the Treasurer all moneys tendered with application or renewal of membership after recording such information on the membership records. The Corresponding Secretary or designee shall make said records available, excluding telephone numbers, for members in good standing, for inspection and copying upon two weeks advance notice to the Corresponding Secretary or designee. The cost of duplicating the membership list, excluding phone numbers, shall be borne by the member requesting the list at a cost to be determined by the Executive Committee. The Corresponding Secretary or designee shall report at each meeting the number of persons holding voting membership. The Corresponding Secretary or designee shall be responsible for the preparation and sending of all meeting notices, which may include a brief agenda of the meeting, including endorsements or speaker(s) to be invited.

Recording Secretary – The Recording Secretary shall keep accurate minutes of all meetings, regular and special and Executive Committee meetings. The minutes of any previous meeting shall be available to any member in good standing for inspection upon request and at a time convenient to both the Recording Secretary and the requesting member. The member in good standing shall pay a reasonable sum, set by the Executive Committee, to the Recording Secretary should a copy be requested.

ARTICLE V

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

A.                  The Executive Committee shall consist of the Officers as outlined in Article IV. Upon written notification of self-nomination submitted to the Corresponding Secretary within sufficient time for said notification of self-nomination to be included in the notice for the first regular meeting in October, the Democratic Committeeman, Democratic Committeewoman, and/or Alderman (if Democratic) shall each be made Executive Officers provided each receives a majority vote, by secret ballot, of the eligible members in good standing present at the first regular meeting in October and satisfies the Voting Member requirements of Article III (A). Failure to timely make written notification of self- nomination is a bar to the Executive Officer position for the Democratic Committeeman, Democratic Committeewoman, and/or Alderman. The Democratic Committeeman, Democratic Committeewoman, and/or Alderman can make such written notification of self-nomination the following October. If made an Executive Officer the Democratic Committeeman, Democratic Committeewoman, and/or Alderman shall have a one (1) year term and may be re-elected pursuant to this Article.

B. The Executive Committee shall have the right to define the membership and voting privileges and obligations of the Democratic Committeeman and Democratic Committeewoman and the Alderman each time there is a change in one of these positions provided such definition is not inconsistent with these By-Laws.

C. The Executive Committee shall manage the business and the day-to-day affairs of the organization except insofar as such powers are reserved to the voting membership.

ARTICLE VI

MEETINGS

A. There shall be two classes of general meetings, regular and special. All general meetings shall be open to the public.

B. There shall be at least four regular meetings each year, one of which shall be held in October. Special meetings may be called as deemed necessary by a majority decision of the Executive Committee, or by written request signed by one third of the voting members in good standing, or 50 voting members in good standing, whichever is less, and submitted to the President or Corresponding Secretary.

C. There shall be a meeting, regular or special, prior to endorsement procedures to allow Candidates or spokespersons to make their presentations pursuant to Article VII of these by-laws.

D. The date, time and location of each regular and special meeting shall be determined by a majority decision of the Executive Committee, except that if a special meeting pursuant to written request signed by 1/3 of the voting members in good standing or 50 voting members in good standing, whichever is less, is not held within 15 calendar days after the submission as herein provided of a written request for a special meeting, then the voting members who submitted that request may themselves determine that date, time and place of the special meeting, and they shall give notice there of compliance with the requirements of the next paragraph.

E. Notice of date, time and place of each meeting, regular or special, shall be given in writing by United States mail, postage prepaid, addressed to each member at his/her home address appearing on the books of the organization or by e-mail at the e-mail address appearing on the books of the organization, or by hand delivery, or by fax at any fax number provided to the organization by the member. It shall be the responsibility of each member to keep his/her address, e-mail address, and/or fax number current on the membership list. The notice of a regular meeting shall be mailed, e-mailed, delivered or faxed at least 10 calendar days and not more than 20 calendar days before the meeting, and a notice of a special meeting shall be mailed, e-mailed, delivered or faxed at least 5 calendar days and not more than 20 calendar days before the meeting.

F. Twenty Five voting members in good standing or one third (1/3) of voting members in good standing, whichever is less, shall constitute a quorum for any meeting, regular or special.

G. Meetings shall be chaired by the President, or in his/her absence, the ranking officer present.

ARTICLE VII

ENDORSEMENT MEETINGS

A. Before each municipal, state, or federal primary election involving precincts in the 17th Ward, there shall be a candidates meeting or meetings in order to make endorsements for public or party office. A vote, by secret ballot, for endorsement shall be taken at the final candidates meeting or another meeting called the “endorsement meeting” defined in subsection B of this Article. All eligible members in good standing who meet the requirements of subsection (I) of this Article shall have the right to cast one vote per office or other matter being voted on as defined in subsection (E) of this Article. The candidate or issue that receives a majority vote shall win the endorsement of the 17th Ward Democrats.

B. The endorsement meeting shall be held between 20 and 150 days prior to the election on such date during that period as to be selected by a majority of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall also set the date for all additional candidates meeting(s) as may be required. Ample notice of said candidates meetings and subsequent endorsement meetings and of any other required candidates meeting(s) shall be as outlined in Article VI.

C. All filed Democratic candidates (or their designated representatives) shall be invited to speak at the candidate meeting(s).

D. Democratic candidates and only Democratic candidates shall be eligible for endorsement in partisan elections for public or party office.

E. Before each municipal, state, or federal primary, general or special election involving precincts in the 17th Ward, the Executive Committee may also call for and provide ample written notice (as outlined in Article VI) that endorsements are to be made in certain non-partisan offices or for ballot proposals such as state or federal constitutional amendments, propositions, referendums, or any other matter that is subject to a municipal, state or federal general election.

F. This candidates/speakers meeting(s) (as may be called by the Executive Committee) shall be called after the filing deadline, but before the endorsement meeting. If such endorsements are to be made, all candidates for non-partisan offices (or their designated representatives) shall be invited and reasonable effort shall be made to invite official spokespersons for opposing sides of view on ballot proposals.

G. The voting members shall never be required to vote on a slate of candidates for various public or party office and/or ballot proposals. The secret ballot endorsement vote referred to in sub-section (A) above shall always be only for a single public or party office or ballot proposal.

H. Notice shall be sent for each endorsement election to the membership. The notice shall comply with the requirements for a notice of a regular or special meeting. I. To be eligible to vote at an endorsement election, a voting member must have been a member of the organization for a minimum of 90 days prior to the endorsement meeting; attended 3 meetings within the previous 12 months (not including the current endorsement meeting); and must be in compliance of the meeting requirements specified in the first paragraph of Article III(A) for becoming a voting member at the current endorsement meeting. The Corresponding Secretary shall maintain records of member meeting attendance pursuant to Article IV(E).

J. A candidate or ballot referendum shall be endorsed by receiving more votes in an endorsement election than any of his/her opponents, unless a plurality votes to endorse no candidate or ballot proposal.

K. Voting shall take place at an endorsement meeting. The election shall be conducted by the President, and two other members of the Executive Committee (excluding the Committeeman, Committeewoman and Alderman). Immediately after voting is closed, the President and the two other Executive Committee members conducting said election, shall, in the same place where the endorsement election has been held, publicly count the ballots (including absentee ballots) and announce the results of the election which shall be recorded and certified by the Recording Secretary.

L. Any eligible voting member who for good reason cannot attend a meeting, may apply to the President or Corresponding Secretary for an absentee ballot. Reason for absence must be stated in the request. The request must be received before the endorsement meeting. If a majority of the Executive Committee agrees that the request is valid, an absentee ballot will be delivered upon said request. The ballot must be returned before the endorsement election. The ballot shall be folded and placed in a sealed envelope. The sealed envelope must be signed on the envelope flap by the voting member.

ARTICLE VIII

VOTING RIGHTS

A. Any voting member wishing to challenge the right of another voting member to participate in an endorsement election must file a challenge in writing to either the President or Corresponding Secretary.

B. The same procedure shall be followed for challenges to the eligibility of a member to participate in matters other than endorsement elections. The challenge must be made at a regular or special meeting; the meeting shall immediately recess, at which time the challenger shall present his/her reason for such a challenge to the Executive Committee (in private). The Executive Committee shall hold a hearing and make a decision upon the challenge. Their decision is final.

ARTICLE IX

MASS MEETINGS

At mass meetings called for the election of delegates to a district or state convention, all registered voters of the 17th Ward who are Democrats shall be eligible to vote.

ARTICLE X

STANDING COMMITTEES

The organization shall have the following standing committees, Legislation, Outreach & Recruitment, each of which shall select its own chair and vice-chair, unless otherwise stated in the By-Laws. Executive Committee President Vice President Treasurer Corresponding Secretary Recording Secretary

ARTICLE XI

 A. These By-Laws may be amended or repealed at any regular or special meeting, but not at an endorsement meeting. The notice of the meeting must include notice of the proposed amendment or repeal specifically designating articles proposed to be amended or repealed and including a general statement of the proposed change. The articles which may be amended or repealed at such meetings shall be limited to those described in the notice. Amendment or repeal of these By-Laws shall require approval of 2/3 of the voting members present.

B. It is the duty of the Executive Committee to review or appoint a committee to review and update these By-Laws as deemed necessary.

ARTICLE XII

If you are a voting member of the 17th Ward Democrats when redistricting occurs and you thereby no longer meet the requirements for membership pursuant to Article III(A), you immediately lose voting member status and shall lose the right to renew voting membership pursuant to Article III(A) unless and until you again reside within the boundaries of the 17th Ward and make application for membership pursuant to these By-Laws.

ARTICLE XIII

ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER

Any procedural or policy matter not specifically governed by these By-Laws shall be governed by the latest edition of Roberts Rules of Order.