North NJ DSA

Chapter By-laws

NORTH NEW JERSEY DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA (NNJDSA)

Drafted by Natasha Abner and Gregory Giacobe, based on Mark S. Alper and Russell Weiss-Irwin;

Amended February 2023

ARTICLE I: NAME

The name of this organization shall be North New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America (NNJDSA), a local affiliate (“local”) of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The jurisdiction of NNJDSA shall consist of the following counties: Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Hudson, Union, Morris, Sussex and Warren.

 

ARTICLE II: PURPOSE

North New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter referred to as NNJDSA) establishes the following as its primary goals and objectives:

a) Providing a means by which members and supporters of the Democratic Socialists of America can participate in the life of our organization;

b) Openly educate and advocate for democratic socialism in our geographic area;

c) Actively engage in progressive movements and struggles in North New Jersey which are consistent with our values and vision for a humane society free from repression and exploitation and organized according to democratic principles both politically and economically;

d) Support other DSA locals and organizing committees in New Jersey and surrounding areas, to the greatest extent possible;

e) Participate in the campaigns and projects of the national DSA.

DSA as an organization is proud of our diversity, commitment to democracy, and the pluralism, which is at the heart of our organization. We are not a political party, nor do we have a “party line.” We are united by our belief that capitalism is detrimental to living a genuinely free, authentic and dignified life, just as it is destructive of our health, wellbeing and environment.

Differences between members are respected and, when discussed, a spirit of fraternity and comradeship is maintained. We believe socialism represents the fullest extension of democracy, and that includes the right of all to express their views in an atmosphere that promotes participation and peace of mind.

the central point of contact for all NNJDSA-related activities at high schools, Universities, or other youth-oriented locales and shall engage in regular outreach designed to foster active participation of young members of the organization.

Section 7. Branch Chairs

Branch chairs shall be members of the Executive Committee, ex-officio. Co-chairs of a single branch will each receive a single vote in any executive committee votes.

Section B. Term Length

The term of service on the Executive Committee shall be one (1) year.

Section C. Seat Vacancy

In the event of a vacancy on the executive committee, members on the executive committee may appoint a replacement to serve in an acting capacity for the remainder of the term.

Section D. Executive Committee Meetings

If a majority of the members of the Executive Committee will be holding a meeting for the purpose of conducting chapter business, then notice of such a meeting must be given to all members with at least 7 days notice through email and other electronic means (e.g., Facebook).

Executive Committee meetings shall be open to all members of the chapter. However, the Executive Committee may hold executive sessions if 2/3rds of its members vote to do so in order to discuss personnel as a body or with the Chapter’s Grievance Committee. If the topics discussed in the executive session fall back to topics of chapter business, the executive session must be ended and the meeting reopened.

Section E. Executive Committee Recall

Section 1. Recall Petition

The Executive Committee is nominated and elected by the NNJDSA members, and is responsible to the membership. A vote to recall a member of the executive committee shall be initiated upon petition by one-tenth of chapter membership, or branches representing one-third of chapter membership, within 15 days of its receipt by the executive committee.

Section 2. Recall Voting

Members shall vote on the matter of the recall by secret ballot. The executive committee will administer an electronic vote for members unable to attend the in-person meeting, to be closed within 24 hours of the in-person vote. The vote must be completed within 45 days of its initiation. The executive committee will make final vote totals available to chapter membership.

Section 3. Recall Requirements

A majority of those voting in favor of recall with a quorum of at least 20% of chapter membership shall immediately remove the executive committee member.

 

 

ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP

Section A. Membership Entitlement

Membership is extended to any DSA member who has paid dues to the national office, or has requested a hardship waiver, and resides in the geographic area served by the local.

Members are encouraged to participate actively in activities of the national, local, and applicable branch organization, but are not required to do so.

Section B. Membership Removal

A member may be removed from membership by submitting a letter of resignation, or for the following reasons:

a) Non-payment of dues (unless a hardship waiver has been requested);

b) Engaging in the harassment or violating the civil rights of another member(s);

c) Advocating violence or terrorism;

d) Disrupting meetings;

e) Being primarily under the motives of another organization; and/or

f) Interfering with the democratic structure of the organization.

Section C. Membership Expulsion

Section 1. Notification of Expulsion Proceedings

If a member is to be removed from membership for any reason other than their resignation, the member shall be notified by the Executive Committee after a majority of the Executive Committee votes to remove the member.

Section 2. Expulsion Rights

The member shall have the right to defend themselves in front of an open meeting of the organization. The member shall have at least 14 days between being notified of the Executive Committee’s vote and presenting their defense. The member shall only be removed following a two-thirds vote of all members present at their defense.

 

ARTICLE IV: FINANCES

Section A. Membership Dues

Annual dues shall be paid to the DSA national office. Members may also choose to contribute funds directly to the local.

Section B. Expenses

Members of the executive committee shall be permitted to approve up to $500 a month in spending with a majority vote of the committee.

All expenses greater than this limit per month must be approved by majority vote at a general chapter meeting.

ARTICLE V: CHAPTER FORMATIONS

Section A. Definition

Formations in NNJDSA are formations include but are not limited to: Branches (defined in Section B), Identity Based Sections (defined in Section C), Standing Committees (defined in Section D), and Working Groups (defined in Section E) . These exist as formations of dues paying members of NNJDSA underneath the overall Chapter.

 

Section B. Branches

Section 1. Purpose

Branches may be established within the chapter, focused around advancing socialism in a geographical location. Branches will generally cover a specific county within the territory covering NNJDSA, though a branch may cover any appropriate geographical territory, delineated by zip code. Membership in any branch established within the chapter shall be automatic to every member of the chapter residing within the geographical territory covering the branch.

Section 2. Recognized Branches

The following branches are established as part of NNJDSA: Essex County and Hudson County.

Section 3. Process to Propose a Branches

In order to establish a branch, members must submit a formal, written petition to the Executive Committee. The proposal must be accompanied by at least 15% members residing within the geographical territory covering the proposed branch, with a minimum of five members residing there.

Upon receipt of a written proposal to establish a branch within the chapter, the Executive Committee shall at the next Chapter meeting and provide at least 30 days for review and comment on the proposal. If a proposal is rejected by Chapter membership, the proposing members may resubmit a revised proposal, at the next Chapter meeting.

Section 4. Notice of a Vote to Establish a Branch

If a proposal is advanced the chapter’s general membership, a vote shall be taken at the next general chapter meeting to consider the establishment of the branch, provided that chapter members are given notice, at least 30 days in advance, that such a vote will take place at the next general chapter meeting. If such notice of a vote to establish a branch is provided to the chapter’s general membership less than 30 days before the next general chapter meeting, the vote to establish the branch shall be held at the following general chapter meeting.

Section 5. Voting to Establish a Branch

A vote to establish a proposed branch shall be held at a general chapter meeting. Any member present in good standing present at the meeting may vote on the establishment of the branch. A vote in favor of establishing the proposed branch by a simple majority of the voting members in good standing shall establish the branch along with amending Section 2 to include the new Branch.

Section 6. Branch Leadership

Branch leadership will consist of two co-chairs elected by members of the branch, and will be open to all members residing within the branch area as determined by zip code. Gender and racial diversity shall be the goal in electing the co-chairs. Branch elections will take place at the Chapter’s Convention each year.

Branch co-chair responsibilities will mimic the Chapter co-chair and Chapter Secretary roles as outlined in Article VII: Executive Committee. During Branch meetings, Branch co-chairs will rotate between preparing and scheduling Branch meetings, facilitating Branch meetings and being its designated note-taker and records keeper. Branch co-chairs will also be elected ex-officio to the Chapter’s Executive committee, and will be tasked with representing the respective members of their branch.

Branches may choose to establish and elect additional leadership roles to assist with Branch functions if the branch chooses to define these roles in their bylaws, however these roles will not be ex-officio members of the Chapter’s Executive Committee.

Section 7. Responsibilities and Entitlements

Section a. Bylaws

Following a vote to establish a branch, the Branch will immediately utilize the Chapter’s bylaws as its own. If Branch leadership wishes to adopt their own bylaws for its members, they must be presented to both Branch membership and the Chapter executive committee and approved with a 2/3rds majority of both bodies. In the event of Branches adopting separate bylaws, these will only be binding in Branch events, actions, or spaces, and Branch members will still be held to Chapter bylaws in Chapter events, actions, or spaces, including any digital spaces operated by the chapter.

Section b. Responsibilities

Branches are required to meet at least once every 60 days while the larger Chapter is meeting monthly. If the overall Chapter is meeting on a less frequent basis, Branches will be required to schedule and meet monthly.

At least one member of the branch will provide report backs to the chapter through general chapter meetings.

Branch leadership will be responsible for coordinating with the Chapter Secretary for ensuring any and all records of Branch meetings or events are kept with all Chapter records.

In addition, branch leadership will be responsible for sharing membership information with the Executive Committee, to assist in serving the needs of the greater chapter membership and their respective projects and priorities.

Section c. Entitlements

All recognized branches will have access to any and all digital tools and physical inventory in use in the chapter.

Branches will be required to utilize any digital tooling already adopted by the larger chapter, to reduce redundancy and continue to encourage larger chapter-wide collaboration.

Section 8. Dissolution of a Branch

A branch may be dissolved if either:

  1. the branch fails to meet for at least three months, fails to adhere to National and/or NNJDSA by-laws, or promotes views contrary to DSA; or
  2. a petition by 30% of the branch membership is presented to the Executive Committee to dissolve the branch.

In either of the above situations, the Executive Committee may vote to dissolve the branch. An affirmative vote by the Executive Committee to dissolve shall result in a motion to dissolve the branch to be presented to the general membership of the chapter at the next chapter meeting.

Notice of any vote to dissolve a branch must be provided to the general membership in accordance with the same 30 day advance notice requirement set forth in V.B.5. A vote in favor of dissolving the branch by a two-thirds majority of the voting members in good standing shall dissolve the branch.

Section 9. Determining DSA Convention Delegates

For purposes of determining delegate elections for DSA conventions or other events based on proportional membership, branches must be established at least two months prior to chapter delegate elections to be eligible. Branches are entitled to a number of delegates commensurate with their size relative to the full local membership and rounded down to the nearest whole number. Branches may hold separate delegate elections unless otherwise determined by majority vote of both a branch and the chapter. In the event a branch’s membership or time of establishment does not entitle it to at least

one delegate, branch members may stand for election with the full chapter.

Section 10. Priorities, Political Endorsements

Branches should act in accordance with the priorities set out by the chapter. Any political endorsements must be brought to a chapter-wide vote, and cannot be made by a branch alone.

In the absence of a formal branch, members are empowered and encouraged to create working groups on local issues with the expectation that leadership of such groups should also maintain racial and gender parity and should be democratically elected.

 

Section C. Identity Based Sections

Section 1. Purpose

Sections are formations in the chapter for the purpose of creating a shared space for members of a common identity, but unlike working groups are not dedicated to a specific campaign or policy issue. “Common identities” may include, but are not necessarily limited to, protected classes under federal law such as gender, race, ethnicity, or national identity.

Section 2. Recognition

Sections may petition for recognition by submitting an application to the Executive Committee including no less than five North New Jersey DSA members, a mission statement, and bylaws. Sections have the same rights and expectations as Working Groups as outlined in these bylaws, except where it may be inconsistent with this article, such as in the approval process.

Section 3. Responsibilities

Sections are entitled to have criteria for which chapter members are eligible to join, which must be enumerated in their bylaws. Sections will communicate to an Executive Committee liaison who are their contact points and what is the leadership structure of the section upon their formal recognition so that the section may be included in communications and have a direct line for requesting support.

 

Section D. Standing Committees

Section 1. Purpose

Standing Committees are subcommittees of the Executive Committee. The Committees shall be composed of volunteers from amongst chapter members and operate according to democratic principals, shall elect their own leadership, and construct their own by-laws in accordance with the autonomy provided to other groups within the chapter (branches and working groups)

The Executive Committee may form new chapter-wide Standing Committees or ad-hoc committees. The Executive Committee may also disband existing ad-hoc committees but not Standing Committtees. Two initial co-chairs of each committee shall be elected by the Executive Committee in order to establish the newly formed committee. Committees shall carry out specific functions or advance the political or organizational goals of the chapter as defined by the convention chapter priorities or the Executive Committee. Committees shall make reports to the Executive Committee monthly and to the regular monthly meetings of the chapter as appropriate.

Section 2. Standing Committees

  •  A. Fundraising Committee

The purpose of the Fundraising Committee is to administer ongoing fundraiser events for Chapter priority campaigns, resolutions adopted by the chapter that require financial support, and to set up and administer local Chapter dues payments.

The Fundraising Committee will consist of two co-chairs, one of whom shall be the Treasurer ex-officio, and another shall be elected by the membership of the committee according to the bylaws of the committee in question.

  • B. Media & Communications Committee

The purpose of the Media & Communications Committee is to build and maintain the various lines of communication, both external and internal, of NNJ DSA. The Communications Committee shall have two co-chairs, one of whom shall be the Engagement Coordinator ex-officio, and the other shall be elected by the membership of the committee, according to the by-laws of the committee in question.

  • C. Member Organizing and Engagement Committee

The Member Organizing Committee shall be responsible for:

(a) the oversight and implementation of a mobilizer system for purposes of on-boarding new members;

(b) engaging membership with the projects and priorities of the Chapter, and;

(c) other initiatives that engage membership with each other.

The Member Organizing Committee shall be composed of at least one Branch Representative from each territorial Branch as well as volunteers from among the general membership. The Member Organizing Committee shall have two co-chairs, one of whom shall be the Membership Coordinator ex officio, and the other shall be elected by the membership of the committee, according to the by-laws of the committee in question. At least one of the co-chairs should be a member of, or upon election make commitments to join, the DSA National Growth and Development Committee to ensure NNJDSA has access to any and all National resources.

  • D. Political Education Committee

The Political Education Committee shall be responsible for the political education of the chapter and organizing educational events.

This Committee shall have two co-chairs, elected by the membership of the committee, according to the by-laws of the committee in  question. At least one of the co-chairs should be a current member of, or upon election make commitments to apply to, the DSA National Political Education Committee to ensure NNJDSA has access to any and all National education resources.

  • E. Tech Committee

The Tech Committee shall keep the chapter’s data secure and make sure that the regular functions of the chapter, including but not limited to: email, data, the events calendar, and event sign-ins, work smoothly. The Tech Committee will also be tasked with developing Chapter-wide tech and security policies and work to ensure compliance to them with the overall Chapter membership, to be submitted to and ratified annually by the Executive Committee.

The Tech Committee shall have two co-chairs, one of whom shall be the chapter Secretary ex-officio, and the other shall be elected by the Executive Committee. At least one of the co-chairs should be a current member of, or upon election make commitments to apply to, the DSA National Tech Committee to ensure NNJDSA has access to any and all National tech resources.

Section 3. Ad Hoc Committees

The Executive Committee may create and appoint members to ad-hoc committees to handle specific administrative tasks of each committee. Ad-Hoc Committees shall have at least two (2) and no more than nine (9) members. The Executive Committee shall set the specific purpose and duration of the ad hoc committees in a written statement or in the motion which creates the ad hoc committee, except that in no case shall an ad hoc committee operate for more than four months.

Section E. Working Groups

Section 1. Purpose

Working groups may be established within the chapter by members to focus on specific organizing issues. Working groups are groups whose structure is determined internally by members of that working group and should make its best efforts to maintain a parity of members from marginalized communities and identities (i.e.: BIPOC, queer, sexual preference, sex workers, immigration status, et al.). Working groups shall be governed by their own by-laws, as adopted by the chapter members who choose to be a part of the working group. Membership in any working group established within the chapter shall be open to every member of the chapter. Working groups may be established to focus on specific local issues that a minority group of members deem relevant to the chapter’s goals or purpose.

Section 2. Process to Propose a Working Group

In order to establish a working group, members must submit a formal, written proposal regarding the proposed working group’s purpose and goals, to the entire chapter for a vote. The proposal can be proposed in any form that explains the working group’s purpose and goals. The proposal must be accompanied by the names of any members of good standing of the chapter who endorse the establishment of the proposed working group. A vote by the chapter’s general membership shall be taken to either accept or reject the working group. If rejected, the working group may submit a revised proposal to the entire chapter, given that membership is allotted at least 30 days for a comment and review period ahead of the next chapter meeting where a vote will take place on the revised proposal as described below in V.E.3.

Section 3. Notice of a Vote to Establish a Working Group

If members would like to establish a working group, general membership should be notified at least one general membership meeting in advance in order to allow for time consideration of all general members. The vote shall be taken at the second general membership meeting. The initial notice of the proposed working group must include a formal, written proposal submitted by the proposed working group during the general membership meeting and a list of the members in good standing of the chapter that endorsed the establishment of the proposed working group, followed by an email followup to all general members.

Section 4. Voting to Establish a Working Group

A vote to establish a proposed working group will be held decided at the second general chapter meeting from the initial notice given at the first general chapter meeting. A vote in favor of establishing the proposed working group by a majority of voting members in good standing during the open voting period shall establish the working group.

Section 5. Working Group By-Laws and Responsibilities

Following a vote to establish a working group, the working group shall adopt by-laws under which the working group will operate within 60 days. Failure to adopt by-laws within 60 days may result in a vote at the following general chapter meeting to dissolve the working group.

At least one member of the branch will provide report backs to the chapter through quarterly updates at chapter meetings. In addition, working group leadership will be responsible for sharing membership information with the Executive Committee and any proposed Steering Committee, to assist these Committees in serving the needs of the greater chapter membership and their respective projects and priorities.

Section 6. – Dissolving a Working Group

A working group may vote to dissolve itself at any of its regularly scheduled meetings of its members. Notice provision as above with notice at least one regularly scheduled meeting of the working group that a vote to dissolve will take place at the next meeting. A vote to dissolve shall require a majority, two-thirds of the working group’s voting members in good standing during the open voting period.

Section 7. List of Working Groups

A list of all working groups established within the chapter shall be maintained in an Appendix to these by-laws, and shall be amended throughout the year by the Executive Committee upon the establishment or dissolution of working groups

ARTICLE VI: MEETINGS

Section A. Meeting Frequency

Meetings of the NNJDSA shall be held on a monthly basis, and are open to both members and non-members of the organization.

If the event that the entirety of NNJDSA membership is represented by a Branch as outlined in Article V that is meeting monthly, NNJDSA’s Executive Committee may elect to hold chapter meetings on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis after consultation with Chapter membership at a meeting.

Section B. Voting Rights

Only members of DSA shall have the right to vote on motions and proposals. Non-members will be invited to give a consultative vote.

Section C. Meeting Locations

All general meetings of NNJDSA, including those of Branches, shall be held in accessible locations and provide virtual dial-in or “hybrid” attendance options utilizing NNJDSA equipment to ensure all members are able to attend.

ARTICLE VII: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section A. Executive Committee Seats

The Executive Committee is responsible for providing leadership to the Chapter. The Executive Committee shall consist of the following elected officers:

Section 1. Co-Chair

The two Co-Chairs shall be the democratically elected lead representatives of NNJDSA. The Co-Chairs shall serve as liaisons between the National Office, other DSA locals, the NNJDSA Executive Committee, and the general membership of the organization. The Co-Chairs shall coordinate and preside over meetings of the general membership and Executive Committee and are responsible for ensuring that the policies and procedures of the organization are appropriately followed.

Section 2. Engagement Coordinator

The Engagement Coordinator is tasked with maximizing the public presence and engagement of the organization. The Engagement Coordinator shall coordinate with the Executive Committee and general membership to ensure that NNJDSA is an active partner to like-minded organizations in Northern New Jersey and the surrounding areas and that NNJDSA members are aware of local events and actions in line with the purpose of the organization. The Engagement Coordinator shall also administer the social media presence of the organization.

Additionally, chapter members may be appointed by the Co-Chairs to ad hoc leadership positions on an as-needed basis. Gender and racial diversity shall be the goal in electing the Executive Committee.

Section 3. Membership Coordinator

The Membership Coordinator shall preside over the membership records of the organization and shall serve as a communicative liaison between the Executive Committee and the general membership. The Membership Coordinator shall engage in regular outreach to group members and, in conjunction with the Secretary, shall be responsible for ensuring that members are notified of upcoming meetings and are in receipt of meeting materials.

Section 4. Secretary

The Secretary shall be responsible for taking minutes of the meetings of the general membership and the Executive Committee. The Secretary shall coordinate with the Co-Chairs to oversee the operations administration of these meetings, including the coordination of meeting space, the distribution of meeting materials, and the maintenance of organization records.

Section 5. Treasurer

The Treasurer shall be responsible for establishing a bank account, maintaining records of funds collected and disbursed, and providing regular (at least quarterly) updates on fund balances and expenditures to the membership.

Section 6. YDSA Coordinator

The YDSA Coordinator shall be the central point of contact for all NNJDSA-related activities at high schools, Universities, or other youth-oriented locales and shall engage in regular outreach designed to foster active participation of young members of the organization.

Section 7. Branch Chairs

Branch chairs shall be members of the Executive Committee, ex-officio. Co-chairs of a single branch will each receive a single vote in any executive committee votes.

Section B. Term Length

The term of service on the Executive Committee shall be one (1) year.

Section C. Seat Vacancy

In the event of a vacancy on the executive committee, members on the executive committee may appoint a replacement to serve in an acting capacity for the remainder of the term.

Section D. Executive Committee Meetings

If a majority of the members of the Executive Committee will be holding a meeting for the purpose of conducting chapter business, then notice of such a meeting must be given to all members with at least 7 days notice through email and other electronic means (e.g., Facebook).

Executive Committee meetings shall be open to all members of the chapter. However, the Executive Committee may hold executive sessions if 2/3rds of its members vote to do so in order to discuss personnel as a body or with the Chapter’s Grievance Committee. If the topics discussed in the executive session fall back to topics of chapter business, the executive session must be ended and the meeting reopened.

Section E. Executive Committee Recall

Section 1. Recall Petition

The Executive Committee is nominated and elected by the NNJDSA members, and is responsible to the membership. A vote to recall a member of the executive committee shall be initiated upon petition by one-tenth of chapter membership, or branches representing one-third of chapter membership, within 15 days of its receipt by the executive committee.

Section 2. Recall Voting

Members shall vote on the matter of the recall by secret ballot. The executive committee will administer an electronic vote for members unable to attend the in-person meeting, to be closed within 24 hours of the in-person vote. The vote must be completed within 45 days of its initiation. The executive committee will make final vote totals available to chapter membership.

Section 3. Recall Requirements

A majority of those voting in favor of recall with a quorum of at least 20% of chapter membership shall immediately remove the executive committee member.

ARTICLE VIII: AMENDMENT

Section A. Proposal Process

These by-laws may be amended after the approval of two-thirds of the voting membership (either voting in person at a duly-called meeting or by absentee ballot) where a quorum of ten percent (10%) of membership in good standing has been fulfilled. No amendment may be introduced and voted on at the same meeting.

Section B. Quorum Calculation

For the purposes of calculating the required number of voters to constitute a quorum, “membership in good standing” will refer to the total number of chapter members appearing on the most recent membership list received from the national organization at the time of the vote.

Section C. Amendment Reintroduction

If a vote to amend the by-laws is approved by the required two-thirds of the voting membership but a quorum is not achieved, then the amendment may be offered for a second vote at the next meeting at a reduced quorum threshold of five percent (5%) of membership in good standing.

ARTICLE IX: CONVENTION

Section A. Convention Role

The chapter shall, when possible, hold an annual convention in January that will serve as the highest decision-making body for the chapter. All members in good standing shall be invited and encouraged to attend.

Section B. Convention Agenda

The convention will consist of:

(1) discussing and voting on amendments to the chapter’s by-laws;

(2) discussing and voting on up to 3 resolutions setting forth priorities the chapter will focus on for that year;

(3) voting to elect members to positions in the Executive Committee for that year; and

(4) any other business deemed necessary by the convention.

Section C. Convention Location

In the event the Executive Committee determines that circumstances make holding an in-person convention unfeasible, the convention may be held remotely, using appropriate tools and technologies.

Section D. Convention Scheduling

Section 1. Date

The chapter convention shall be held each January on a Saturday or Sunday to allow for maximum participation by the members.

Section 2. Convention Announcement

Notice of the date and location of the convention, along with a rough agenda, shall be communicated by the Executive Committee to the chapter membership at least 60 days before the convention.

Section E. Convention Submissions

Section 1. Convention Agenda Submissions

In addition to notice of the date and location of the convention, the following shall also be communicated to the chapter membership at least 60 days before the convention:

(1) information regarding the submission of by-laws amendments and priority resolutions;

(2) candidate questionnaires for Executive Committee positions; and

(3) procedural rules for the conduct of the convention.

Section 2. Notice to Chapter

All required notices referenced in this Article shall be disseminated by whatever means are commonly in use at the time by the chapter for communication with members.

Section F. Accessibility

Due to the importance of the convention for establishing the direction of the chapter for the year, every effort shall be made to make the convention accessible. The convention location must be accessible to members with disabilities to the fullest extent possible and accommodations for childcare should also be provided, as needed.

Section G. Absentee Voting and Remote Attendance

To ensure the fullest possible participation by members in any votes for by-laws amendments, priority resolutions and Executive Committee positions, the chapter should utilize appropriate tools and technologies to allow for the submission of absentee ballots prior to the convention for those members unable to attend, and remote participation by members on the day of the convention, including the use of secure and reliable means for remote voting.

Section H. Amendment and Resolution Proposals

Section 1. Proposals

Proposed amendments to the chapter by-laws and proposed resolutions setting forth the chapter’s priorities for the year may be submitted by any North NJ DSA member in good standing.

Section 2. Membership

For the purposes of submitting amendments and proposals, as well as submitting oneself as a candidate for any Executive Committee position, an individual will be considered a member in good standing if they appear on the most recent membership list received from the national organization immediately prior to the submission deadline of 30 days prior to the convention.

Section I. Executive Committee Nomination

Any member in good standing may submit themselves as a candidate for any Executive Committee position by completing a candidate questionnaire.

Section J. Submission Deadlines

Section 1. Due Date

All submissions shall be due no later than 30 days before the scheduled convention date.

Section 2. Proposal Dissemination

The Executive Committee shall make available to chapter members all submitted proposed amendments and resolutions, as well as submitted candidate questionnaire responses no later than 21 days before the scheduled convention date to allow for review and consideration by the membership.

Section 3. Proposal Amendments

Members in good standing may submit proposed amendments to any submitted chapter by-laws amendment and priority resolution. Such amendments shall be submitted no later than 14 days before the scheduled convention date.

Section K. Bylaws Amendments

Section 1. Discussion

At the convention, amendments to the chapter’s by-laws submitted by the deadlines in Section H.1 may be voted on by North NJ DSA members in good standing. A reasonable amount of time should be allotted for the discussion, debate and modification of proposed amendments prior to voting.

Section 2. Amendment Adoption

An amendment will be adopted by a successful two-thirds majority vote of members voting in-person at the convention, remotely, or by absentee ballot submitted prior to the start of the convention.

Section L. Priority Campaigns

Section 1. Definition

At the convention, priority campaigns submitted by the deadlines in Section H.1 may be voted on by North NJ DSA members in good standing. Such campaigns are intended to guide the chapter’s focus and activities following the convention. Such resolutions must detail key roles responsible for pursuing the campaign (campaign co-chairs, treasurers, field leads, etc.), campaign goals, targets, areas of focus, and date of completion as determined by the most up to date “Priority Campaign Proposal” form. The adoption of priority resolutions will not serve as a limit on the chapter’s activities or the activities of its leadership.

Section 2. Discussion

A reasonable amount of time should be allotted for the discussion, debate, and modification of proposed resolutions prior to voting. Priority resolutions will be adopted by a successful two-thirds majority vote of members voting in-person at the convention, remotely, or by absentee ballot submitted prior to the start of the convention.

Section 3. Priority Campaign Selection

The chapter shall adopt no more than 2 such campaigns at any annual convention. If more than 2 campaigns are supported by a two-thirds majority vote of members, then the 2 campaigns receiving the highest number of votes in support will be adopted by the chapter for the year. In the event of a tie, in-person and remote convention participants shall hold a second ballot limited to resolving such ties.

Section 4. Campaign Benefits

All approved priority campaigns will receive unlimited & automatic access to all chapter membership lists

All approved priority campaigns will receive priority zoom and/or location access for meetings

All approved priority campaigns will receive priority social media access for events and other mobilizing needs

All approved priority campaigns will automatically receive a presentation slot at new member orientations

All approved priority campaigns will receive priority access to stored chapter resources (tables, chairs, digital tools, etc.)

Section 5. Beyond Convention

The chapter may adopt a third priority campaign, or, if a campaign which was approved at the convention has concluded, a replacement campaign may be adopted after convention provided that the Chapter Executive Committee moves to allow a vote at a General Membership meeting following the initial proposal. Adoption of a third priority campaign will require a two-thirds vote by the general membership at said meeting, provided a quorum of 5% of membership is met.

As Campaigns reach their proposed completion date, the current priority campaign may request a timeline extension to prolong status as a Chapter Priority. This request must receive a two-thirds majority vote of members present at a General Membership meeting, provided a quorum of 5% of membership is met. If a campaign’s timeline runs through the following convention, it must be presented at convention for member approval. At convention, this campaign will be procedurally treated as any other campaign submission.

At any following General Membership meeting campaign leadership may withdraw their campaign from Chapter Priority Status. Any resolution to remove an active priority campaign must receive a super-majority of 75% of members present provided a quorum of (5%) of chapter membership is met. If a super-majority is reached but quorum is not met the proposal will fail.

If campaign leaders want to change how the campaign operates in a way that alters the original proposal approved by the membership, the leaders must formally notify members. Membership will be notified of those changes at least (2 weeks) of time prior to the General Membership meeting where the deliberation/decision making will occur. At least one (hour) of time at this General Membership meeting will be dedicated to this deliberation.

Section 6. Campaign Requirements

The leadership of adopted Priority Campaigns will meet with the Chapter Executive Committee and provide a comprehensive oral progress report on the campaign every (2 months). If the campaign’s timeline is less than (4 months) in totality, leadership will meet with the Executive Committee at the halfway point of the adopted campaign’s timeline.

Following the conclusion of a Priority campaign, Campaign leadership will present a conclusive oral & written analysis of the campaign to the Executive Committee in a meeting open to all members. This meeting may be a regularly scheduled Executive Committee meeting or General Membership Meeting.

Priority Campaigns may present a budget as part of their initial proposal to be considered. Otherwise, campaign funds will be subject to the standard monetary rules as determined by the chapter.

Section 7. Campaign Conclusion

All Priority Campaigns will create a record (digital or otherwise) of all resources used/made/data collected throughout the campaign. This record and all associated materials (ranging from physical materials such as chairs/tables to created media such as graphics) will be transferred to the Chapter upon campaign completion.

Section M. Voting Requirements

Section 1. Attendee Voting

Any individual who is a North NJ DSA member in good standing at least 21 days before the scheduled date of the convention shall have the right to participate fully in the convention, including the right to cast votes at the convention for proposed amendments to the by-laws, priority resolutions and Executive Committee candidates.

For the purpose of determining the individuals eligible to cast votes at the convention, “member in good standing” will refer to those individuals appearing on the membership list received from the national organization immediately prior to the deadline for the submission of amendments to proposed by-laws amendments and priority resolutions 21 days before the scheduled convention date.

Section 2. Non-Voting Attendees

Individuals who become North NJ DSA members in good standing within 21 days before the scheduled date of the convention may attend the convention and participate in discussions and debates, but shall not be permitted to cast any votes.

Section 3. Quorum for By-Law and Priority Campaign Adoption

Votes during the convention to amend the chapter’s by-laws and to adopt priority campaigns shall require the approval of two-thirds of the voting membership (either voting in-person, remotely, or by absentee ballot) provided that a quorum of 5% of the chapter’s total membership in good standing is fulfilled.

For the purpose of calculating the required number of voters to constitute a quorum at the convention, “membership in good standing” will refer to the total number of chapter members appearing on the membership list received from the national organization immediately prior to the deadline for the submission of amendments to proposed by-laws amendments and priority resolutions 21 days before the scheduled convention date.

Section N. Executive Committee Elections

The chapter’s elected leadership as described in Article VII shall be elected by secret ballot at the annual chapter convention by in-person, remote and absentee ballot voting. All nominees must be North NJ DSA members in good standing by the deadline for the submission of candidate questionnaires 30 days before the scheduled convention date. No quorum is required for Executive Committee election votes. For all contested positions, the nominee that receives the most votes from in-person, remote and absentee ballot voting at the convention is elected. In the event of a tie, a runoff election will be held at the next general body meeting. Provisions should be made, to the extent possible, to allow for in-person, remote and absentee ballot voting for any runoff election.

 

ARTICLE X: Endorsements

Section A. Interview Process

Candidates for elected office seeking an endorsement of NNJDSA must submit a completed candidate questionnaire through the chapter’s Electoral Working Group (EWG). Upon completion of the candidate questionnaire, a candidate who seeks the chapter’s endorsement shall attend an Electoral Working Group meeting for a candidate interview.

Section B. Electoral Working Group Recommendation

Following the candidate’s completed questionnaire, candidate interview by the EWG, and upon consent from the EWG, candidates may be moved on to the general membership for full consideration of an endorsement at the next general chapter meeting once 30 days has passed from the formal announcement to the membership for a comment and review period.

Section C. Branch Recommendation

Candidates running in districts wholly contained within one geographic Branch of NNJDSA must also be recommended by the Branch in a separate endorsement ballot after the EWG has voted to proceed with its recommendation. Candidates running in districts that overlap more than one Branch must be first recommended by at least half of the geographic Branches in that district.

Notice must be sent to members of each relevant Branch at least a week in advance that an endorsement will be considered at a Branch meeting. No vote may commence until the endorsement has been discussed at the branch meeting.

The EWG will be tasked with ensuring the respective Branch leadership and membership have all available information collected from the Interview Process and EWG leadership will attend relevant Branch meetings to discuss the EWG’s recommendation. The candidate may attend Branch meetings but this is not a requirement for endorsement. A candidate must receive a ⅔ majority vote by Branch members in good standing during the open voting period with a quorum of 5% of all members of the Branch fulfilled.

Section D. Chapter Endorsement

After recommendation by the EWG, or EWG and relevant NNJDSA Branches, a candidate may attend a general membership meeting for consideration of an endorsement, but this is not a requirement for endorsement. A candidate must receive a ⅔ majority vote by responding members in good standing during the open voting period with a quorum of 5% of all members in good standing fulfilled.

Section E. Inactive Electoral Working Group

In the event the EWG is inactive and pending dissolution, or has been dissolved, the NNJDSA Executive Committee will directly handle candidate interviews utilizing the last known candidate questionnaire and EWG bylaws, and will function as an interim EWG solely for the endorsement process.

 

ARTICLE XI: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the organization in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the bylaws of a Chapter body (e.g. Committee, Working Group, Section) or the at-large Chapter.

 

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