Bylaws of the 35th Legislative District

Preamble

The 35th Legislative District Democrats, in order to support the principles and ideals of the Democratic Party, establish an open forum of respectful debate, encourage informed citizen participation in the political process, and elect Democrats to public office, establish these bylaws under the Charter and Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the State of Washington.

Article 1: Name

The name of this organization shall be the 35th Legislative District Democrats, hereafter referred to as the 35th Dems.

Article 2: Participation In All Party Affairs

The 35th Dems is an organization of inclusion, encouraging the fullest participation of all Democrats, regardless of status[1].

Article 3: Organizational Structure

Section 3.1: Membership

All members must reside in the 35th Legislative District (35th LD). Membership shall consist of:

  1. The Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) of precincts within the 35th LD.
  2. The officers of the 35th Dems.
  3. Dues-paying members who are current in their annual dues.
  4. Further, all publicly elected Democratic officials residing in the 35th LD shall be honorary, non-voting members of the 35th Dems, with floor privileges.

Section 3.2: Executive Board:

  1. The Executive Board shall consist of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, State Committeeman, State Committeewoman, and the Immediate Past Chair of the 35th Dems. Additionally, there will be one member from each of the Democratic Central Committees of those counties with one or more precincts in the 35th LD. The county’s representative member will be its Chair or its Chair’s designee.
  2. The Executive Board shall meet at the call of the Chair. All members of the Executive Board must be notified at least seven (7) days in advance of a regular Executive Board meeting. A quorum shall consist of five (5) members of the Executive Board, of which three (3) must be elected 35th Dem officers.
  3. The function of the Executive Board shall be to:
    1. Perform such specific functions and duties as are authorized or required by these bylaws or by the 35th Dems.
    2. Make recommendations to the 35th Dems upon matters of concern to the members.
    3. Conduct any necessary, timely business of the 35th Dems during intervals between regular meetings.

Article 4: Officers

Section 4.1: Elected Officers

Elected officers are:

  1. Chair
  2. Vice-Chair
  3. Secretary
  4. Treasurer
  5. State Committeeman
  6. State Committeewoman

Section 4.2: Eligibility For Elected Officers

  1. Must be registered voters in the 35th LD.
  2. Must be members of the 35th Dems.
  3. The Chair and Vice Chair shall be of different genders.

Section 4.3: Terms Of Office For Elected Officers

Elected officers of the 35th Dems shall be elected for a two (2) year term. Terms begin upon their election at the biennial re-organizational meeting. Their terms expire at the next biennial re-organizational meeting with either their re-election or the election of their successors. The following exceptions apply:

  1. Resignation or death of officer.
  2. Removal from office by the PCOs.
  3. Vacancy created by conflict of interest defined in Section 4.5: C “Conflict of Interest” (p 4).
  4. An officer elected to fill a vacancy between re-organizational meetings shall serve until the following re-organizational meeting.

Section 4.4: Election Of Officers At Re-Organizational Meeting

  1. Election shall occur at each biennial re-organizational meeting.
  2. Election shall be conducted by secret ballot.
  3. Only elected PCOs within the 35th LD are eligible to vote in the election of officers at the re-organizational meeting.

Section 4.5: Resignation And Removal From Office

  1. Any officer or member of the Executive Board may resign from office by submitting a written resignation to the Executive Board.
  2. Any officer or member of the Executive Board may be removed from office for failure to discharge the duties of the office to the satisfaction of the membership, provided:
    1. The charges for removal are in writing and signed by at least five (5) elected PCOs.
    2. The officer so charged and all members receive written notice of the charges at least seven (7) days before the meeting of the 35th Dems at which the charges are to be addressed.
    3. The officer charged has the opportunity to address the membership.
    4. A majority of the elected PCOs in the 35th LD must vote in favor of removal of the Chair.
    5. Two-thirds (2/3) of the elected PCOs present and voting must vote in favor of removal for any officer other than Chair.
  3. Conflict of Interest: No candidate for partisan office, with the exception of PCO, may simultaneously be a candidate and a member of the 35th Dem Executive Board during the calendar year of the election. Within two (2) weeks of becoming a candidate, the candidate’s 35th Dem Executive Board position will be considered vacant. The same holds true for any declared candidate for appointment to a vacancy in an elective partisan office.

Section 4.6: Filling Of Vacancies

  1. In the event of a vacancy in the office of the Chair, a new Chair shall be elected by the elected PCOs, and those PCOs appointed after the re-organizational meeting, at a regular or special meeting within sixty (60) days of the vacancy being announced or declared, with a minimum of two (2) weeks’ notice of the meeting to members.
  2. In the event of a vacancy in an office other than Chair, a temporary officer will be appointed within two (2) weeks by the Chair, followed by an election to be held at the next regular meeting of the 35th Dems. Both elected PCOs and those appointed after the re-organizational meeting may vote.

Section 4.7: Appointed Officers

  1. Sergeant-at-Arms
  2. Parliamentarian

Section 4.8: Terms Of Office For Appointed Officers

Appointed officers shall serve terms concurrent with the Chair who appointed them or until such time as the appointing Chair discharges them from their duties. Appointed officers serve at the pleasure of the Chair and may be dismissed by the Chair.

Article 5: Duties And Responsibilities Of Officers

Section 5.1: Chair

The Chair shall:

  1. Serve as the chief administrative officer and spokesperson for the 35th Dems.
  2. Preside over all meetings of the 35th Dems and the Executive Board.
  3. Provide for the call and proposed agenda for all meetings of the 35th Dems and its Executive Board, including the call and proposed agenda for the re-organizational meeting following the General Election in even-numbered years.
  4. Appoint all committee members and serve as ex-officio member of all committees except the Nominating Committee.
  5. Appoint a Parliamentarian and a Sergeant-at-Arms. The presiding officer may not serve in either capacity.
  6. Sign checks on the treasury when the Treasurer is not available.
  7. Provide for the call and proposed agenda for nominating and other conventions, as necessary.

Section 5.2: Vice-Chair

The Vice-Chair shall:

  1. In the event of inability or absence of the Chair, assume the duties of the Chair until the Chair can resume their duties.
  2. Assist the Chair in their duties.
  3. In the event of a vacancy of the office of Chair, the Vice-Chair will assume all duties of the Chair until such time that the vacancy is filled.

Section 5.3: Secretary

The Secretary shall:

  1. Notify all members of quarterly 35th Dem meetings, giving at least 2 weeks’ notice.
  2. Keep minutes of all 35th Dem and Executive Board meetings providing these minutes to the general membership in a timely manner.
  3. Maintain up-to-date contact lists of all Precinct Committee Officers and of all members.
  4. Maintain copies of the 35th Dem Bylaws and Policies, the Washington State Democratic Central Committee (WSDCC) Charter & Bylaws and copies of relevant portions of the Revised Code of Washington (RCWs).
  5. Keep an attendance list of all 35th Dem and Executive Board meetings.
  6. Keep and maintain copies of the formal reports generated by the officers and committees of the 35th Dems.

Section 5.4: Treasurer

The Treasurer shall:

  1. Receive all monies of the 35th Dems, issuing receipts for all monies received.
  2. Pay out funds by checks signed by the Treasurer and keep accurate records.
  3. Keep all records and submit all reports required for compliance with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.
  4. Serve as chair of the Finance Committee.
  5. With the Finance Committee, prepare a two (2) year proposed budget for adoption by the 35th Dems.
  6. Provide at each meeting, and at the request of the Executive Board or Chair of the 35th Dems, an accurate financial report.
  7. Provide the books for and cooperate fully with audits.
  8. Provide the Secretary with an up-to-date list of paid members.

Section 5.5: State Committeeman And State Committeewoman

The State Committeeman and State Committeewoman shall:

  1. Be voting members of and represent the 35th Dems at all meetings of the WSDCC.
  2. Act as liaison officers between the WSDCC and the 35th Dems.
  3. Attend all meetings of the WSDCC and report on those proceedings to the 35th Dems at regular quarterly meetings.
  4. See to it that their proxy is sent with another member of the 35th Dems to any WSCDCC meeting they are unable to attend. Failure to attend any two (2) consecutive meetings of the WSDCC in person or by proxy is grounds for removal from office.


Section 5.6:
Sergeant-at-Arms

The Sergeant-at-Arms shall preserve order at meetings as the Chair may direct.

Section 5.7: Parliamentarian

The Parliamentarian shall:

  1. Maintain the 35th Dem copy of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, latest edition.
  2. Advise the Chair and members on matters of parliamentary procedure and the contents of these bylaws.


Section 5.8:
All Officers

All officers shall:

  1. Perform other duties as assigned by the Chair.
  2. Provide all documents and records of the office to their successor.


Article 6:
Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs)

Section 6.1: Types Of PCOs

  1. PCOs are either duly elected PCOs or duly appointed PCOs (appointed by their county central committee chair) that reside in the precinct they serve. Appointed PCOs hold all the rights and responsibilities of the office of Precinct Committee Officer, but only elected PCOs may vote in the re-organizational meeting.
  2. Precinct Caretakers[2] are not PCOs but are appointed to act in their capacity. Precinct Caretakers hold many of the rights and responsibilities of the office of Precinct Committee Officer with the following exceptions:
    1. They may not vote on appointments to fill vacancies in elective partisan office or on matters clearly set forth in Washington State law that are restricted to resident elected or appointed PCOs of their precinct.
    2. They may not vote on the officers of the 35th Dems.
    3. They may be replaced or reassigned to another precinct by their county chair if a resident PCO is appointed to or elected in the precinct.


Section 6.2:
Duties Of Precinct Committee Officers

PCOs shall:

  1. Stay informed of the current issues and the Democratic platforms.
  2. Canvass their precincts for the purpose of identifying Democratic voters, registering new voters, and raising funds.
  3. Get out the Democratic vote prior to and through Election Day.
  4. Aid and support Democratic principles and candidates.
  5. Recommend Democrats to serve as election observers.
  6. See that their precinct caucuses are conducted in accordance with pertinent rules.
  7. Attend meetings of the 35th Dems.


Article 7:
Policies

Policies of this organization shall:

  1. Be approved by the 35th Dems with a majority vote when members are provided with advance notice of the proposed changes at the previous meeting, or with a two-thirds (⅔) vote without such advance notice.
  2. Be consistent with the bylaws, platform and policies of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
  3. Be attached to these bylaws.

Article 8: Committees

The Chair has the authority to appoint committees and committee chairs, with the exception of the Nominating Committee, whose members shall be nominated and elected at a meeting of the 35th Dems. Diversity in committee membership for each committee should reflect differences in status and of county of residence where practicable. Committees may be established as needed and remain in existence until their objectives have been met. The following are some of the committees of the 35th Dems. See “Policy 2009.3: Committees” (p 10).

  1. Audit Committee
  2. Bylaws Committee
  3. Campaign Committee
  4. Finance Committee
  5. Fundraising Committee
  6. Legislative Committee
  7. Nominating Committee
  8. Picnic Committee
  9. Publicity Committee

Article 9: Elections And Rules Of Procedure

Section 9.1: Regular Quarterly Meetings

The regular meetings of the 35th Dems shall be held at least quarterly, and within the 35th LD. At least two (2) weeks’ notice shall be given to the membership before each Regular Quarterly, Special, or Re-organizational Meeting. See “Policy 2009.2: Meeting Dates” (p 10).

Section 9.2: Special Meetings

A special meeting may be called at any time by the Chair, or in the Chair’s absence or incapacity, by the Vice-Chair, or by any other officer in the absence or incapacity of the Chair and Vice-Chair. A special meeting may be called by request of one-third (⅓) of the membership.

Section 9.3: Re-organizational Meeting

  1. The re-organization meeting, including election of officers and adoption of bylaws, will take place between December 1 and 18 in even numbered years.
  2. PCOs who were elected that year must be notified at least two (2) weeks in advance of the re-organizational meeting, with the date set by the Executive Board.
  3. Only elected PCOs may vote in the re-organization.
  4. The re-organization meeting shall be convened by one of the officers present, in the following order: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer. The convening officer shall preside for the purpose of the election of a Chair pro tem. The Chair pro tem shall preside for the purpose of election of officers. Thereafter, the newly-elected Chair shall preside.
  5. The election shall be conducted by secret ballot. Ballots need not be signed when voting for officers. Officers will assume their positions immediately following the election.
  6. The first order of business following the election of officers shall be the adoption of bylaws. The 35th Dems shall operate under the old bylaws until new bylaws are adopted.

Section 9.4: Voting And Quorum

  1. Each member shall have one vote, unless a weighted vote is called for a specific reason as required and defined by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
  2. Proxy and absentee voting are prohibited.
  3. The members present shall constitute a quorum, provided two (2) weeks notice has been made.

Section 9.5: Parliamentary Authority

In all matters not expressly covered by these Bylaws, the WSDCC Charter and Bylaws, or by the Revised Code of Washington, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, latest edition, shall govern all 35th Dem meetings and all meetings of the Executive Board.

Article 10: Receipt And Disbursement Of Funds

Section 10.1: Administrative Expenses

Obligations for administrative expenses may be incurred by the 35th Dems within the limits of the budget and the funds available for payment.

Section 10.2: Audit

The Audit Committee shall audit the Treasurer’s records annually. The results of each audit shall be reported to the 35th Dems, including at the biennial re-organizational meeting prior to passing along the financial records to the new Chair or Treasurer.

Article 11: Candidate Endorsement, Approval, Opposition

The 35th Dems may take action with respect to the endorsement of, approval of, or opposition to candidates seeking elected office, with or without a request from the candidate. See “Policy 2009.4: Candidate Approval, Endorsement, Opposition” (p 11).

Article 12: Appointments To Partisan Elective Office

When a vacancy occurs in a public office and it is the responsibility of the Democrat PCOs of the 35th LD to present recommendations for appointment as provided by law, the following shall apply:

  1. All candidates shall present to the Chair of the 35th Dems a completed application form provided by the Chair.
  2. The Chair shall make the candidates’ applications available to the entire Executive Board, who shall serve as the Screening Committee and shall rule on each candidate’s eligibility by a simple majority of those present and voting.
  3. Eligibility shall be on the basis of:
  4. Good citizenship
  5. Qualifications for the position involved
  6. Past and present political affiliation
  7. Intention to seek election to the office

The Executive Board shall develop criteria to determine the above eligibility.
From the list of eligible candidates, the Executive Board shall recommend for final consideration of the Democrat PCOs of the 35th LD no less than three (3) candidates.
From the list of eligible candidates provided by the Executive Board, the Democrat PCOs of the 35th LD shall vote to recommend to the appropriate authority the names of the top three (3) candidates.

Article 13: Amendments To Bylaws

These bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting by two-thirds (2/3) of the members present, provided that written notice of such proposed action was presented at the previous regular meeting. A copy of the proposed amendment shall be available to all who request it prior to the vote.

Policies Of The 35th Legislative District Democrats

Policy 2009.1: Precinct Committee Officer Resources

Each PCO is entitled to:

  1. The PCO Handbook which is available from the Washington State Democrats or located online at http://www.wa-democrats.org/
  2. A map of their precinct.
  3. A copy of the 35th Dem Bylaws and Policies, located online at http://www.35thdemocrats.org/
  4. A copy of the current Washington State Democratic Platform, which also serves as the 35th Dem platform.
  5. Training related to their office, including access to the WSDCC voter database.

Policy 2009.2: Meeting Dates

Regular quarterly meetings are generally held the second Saturday in January, March, May, and October, however, these dates may be changed at the discretion of the Chair. Two (2) weeks’ notice must go to all members in advance of a meeting, whether on a regular date or a date chosen by the Chair. A single annual notification violates the spirit of this policy.

Policy 2009.3: Committees

  1.  Audit Committee: The Treasurer’s books shall be audited at least annually by a committee of three or more with the cooperation of the Treasurer, who shall not be a member of the Audit Committee. This audit should include a review of income, expenditures and reports to the Public Disclosure Commission, as well as backup documentation for same.
  2. Bylaws Committee: The bylaws may be reviewed as needed by a committee of three (3) or more, bringing recommendations to the members.
  3. Campaign Committee: This committee shall recruit volunteers to help 35th LD Democratic candidates for State Representative and State Senator; communicate with those candidates regarding campaign services; and assist candidates with calendar information throughout the 35th District. Neither candidates for elective partisan office, with the exception of PCO, nor paid campaign workers may serve on the Campaign Committee, which shall have a minimum of three (3) members.
  4. Finance Committee: This committee, chaired by the Treasurer, shall propose a two (2) year budget, and oversee financial activities. The Treasurer shall be one of at least three (3) members of the Finance Committee.
  5. Fundraising Committee: This committee shall plan for raising funds during the year for the general budget, and shall recommend the amount for annual dues.
  6. Legislative Committee: The committee shall track state legislation and keep members informed in a timely fashion of pending legislation and other issues relevant to the 35th LD. This committee may not lobby on behalf of the 35th Dems.
  7. Nominating Committee: The Nominating Committee shall include a minimum of three (3) members. Those currently serving on the Executive Board may not constitute a quorum of this committee. The Nominating Committee will make recommendation of qualified candidates to serve as officers for the organization, all of whom have agreed to be considered for such service. There may be more than one candidate per office.
  8. Picnic Committee: This committee shall plan the annual summer picnic meeting.
  9. Publicity Committee: This committee shall have oversight of the newsletter, website, press releases and electronic communications, and any other publicity deemed necessary.

Policy 2009.4: Candidate Approval, Endorsement, Opposition

The 35th Dems may take action with respect to the endorsement of, approval of, or opposition to candidates seeking elected office, as outlined below. These actions may take place with or without a request from the candidate.

  1. Endorsement of a candidate with full support of the 35th Dems requires three-fourths (¾) of those present and voting. Endorsements are constrained to one candidate for the same office in a primary or general election.
  2. Approval of a candidate requires a simple majority of those present and voting. Approvals may be granted to more than one candidate for the same office in a primary election.
  3. Opposition to a candidate requires three-fourths (¾) of those present and voting.
  4. Paid Campaign workers may not vote to endorse, approve, or oppose any candidate for the same office being sought by their candidate.
  5. No action equates to no official support for or opposition to a candidate from the 35th Dems.
  6. All candidates seeking endorsement shall present to the Chair of the 35th Dems a completed application form provided by the Chair.
  7. The Chair shall make the candidates’ applications available to the entire Executive Board, who shall serve as the Screening Committee and shall rule on each candidate’s eligibility by a simple majority of those present and voting.
  8. Eligibility shall be on the basis of:
    1. Good citizenship
    2. Qualifications for the position involved
    3. Past and present political affiliation
    4. Length of service to the 35th Dems
    5. Candidate’s commitment to the race
    6. Incumbent or non-incumbent status
  9. The Executive Board shall develop criteria to determine the above eligibility.
  10. From the list of candidates, the Executive Board shall recommend candidates to the 35th Dems for Approval, Endorsement, or Opposition.
  11. Endorsements, Approvals, and Oppositions may be withdrawn from candidates by the 35th Dems with the same voting requirements that it took to endorse, approve, or oppose them, respectively.
  12. All 35th Dem Endorsements, Approvals, and Oppositions shall terminate at the end of the election cycle for which they were granted.
  13. Endorsed candidates may receive campaign funds as recommended by the Executive Board and approved by the membership.
  14. Approved candidates may receive non-financial aid.

Policy 2009.5: Use Of Personal Information

The 35th Dems may collect information, such as addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, from members and use such information to contact, provide informational materials, and to share various political communications. The 35th Dems are the sole owners of the information collected, and will not sell, share, or rent this i

 


[1] Status is used in this document as defined in the Washington State Democrats’ Delegate Selection Plan, to include “race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, economic status, philosophical persuasion, or disability.”

[2] Precinct Caretakers have previously been referred to as Caretaker PCOs, Guest PCOs, or Non-Resident PCOs.