Synchronizing Committee Elections

Lead Contact: Steering Committee

ARTICLE V. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Section 7. Local Subgroup Officer Elections

All Local Subgroup Officers shall be elected by the membership of the Local Subgroup every January and serve for a term of one year. All Local Subgroup Officer elections shall be conducted by the Nominations Committee outlined in Article VII. Section 1. The Nominations Committee is responsible for facilitating synchronized elections for every Local Subgroup During local subgroup officer elections, subgroups shall facilitate election and ensure ensuring candidates and voting members are in good standing. The quorum for a Local Subgroup election shall be 25 Group Members. Voting periods must be at least one (1) week, and no longer than three (3) weeks.

In the event of a vacancy, whether due to recall or resignation, the empty seat shall be filled by the following procedure:

(a) If the vacancy occurs within the first six (6) months of the term, the seat will be filled by a member in good standing according to the results of the previous election, with votes for the recalled officer being transferred according to the regular voting process.

(b) If the vacancy occurs after the first six (6) months of the term, or if there are no eligible candidates that ran during the previous election for the vacant seat, the Local Steering Committee will appoint a replacement member in good standing for the remainder of the term.

ARTICLE VII. LOCAL OFFICER ELECTIONS

Section 1. Nominations Committee

A three-person Nominations Committee shall be established at least one month prior to every Local Officer election by vote of the Local membership. The Nominations Committee shall conduct the Local Officer election in November. It shall solicit and receive nominations for the positions to be elected. The Nominations Committee shall also conduct the Local Subgroup Officer elections in January, as detailed in Article V. Section 7.

Section 2. Elections

Election for Local Officers shall be held with voting closing at least two weeks prior to the end of the previous Officers’ terms in November. Elections shall be run by secret ballot. If a position is uncontested, the nominee will be declared elected by acclamation.

The term of office for any Local Officer shall be one year.

Explanation

Given the policy-setting power of Committees and Working Groups in DSA-LA, their elected leadership positions are critically important. Ensuring a well-publicized,  standardized election period across all Committees and Working Groups is an important step to increase transparency, participation, and competitiveness in these elections.

Currently, Chairs and Coordinators serve 1-year terms beginning at any point during the calendar year — making it difficult for rank-and-file members (and even other chapter leaders) to stay up-to-date on the composition of chapter leadership. Synchronizing Committee and Working Group elections in January (following the November election of Local Officers and Branch Coordinators) will increase transparency and accountability of leadership and ensure all members know how and when they have the opportunity to participate in these important elections. Conducting these elections through an experienced, impartial body in the form of a Nominations Committee will most efficiently facilitate synchronized elections across a dozen Committees and Working Groups.

ORGANIZATIONAL PRIORITIES THAT SUPPORT THIS AMENDMENT PROPOSAL

  • Maintain transparent decision-making processes which allows all members to democratically shape and engage in chapter decisions, avoiding top-heavy hierarchies and “gatekeeping”.

  • Commit to accountability and transparency for leadership in DSA-LA.

Note on implementation:

  • All Committees and Working Groups shall hold elections in January 2020

  • For Committees and Working Group leaders  whose terms expire before January 2020: Each Local Subgroup is charged with making a decision around whether or not to extend Subgroup leaders’ terms through, but not beyond, January 2020 or hold an interim leadership election for a term running through, but not beyond, January 2020.

  • For Committees and Working Group leaders  whose terms expire after January 2020: Current terms would end in January 2020, before the completion of a 1-year term.

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