North Dakota

Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party

By-Laws of the Party


Adopted January 22, 1972

Amended January 19, 1974
Amended May 5, 1974
Amended April 19, 1975
Amended November 13, 1977
Amended February 13, 1982
Amended September 12, 1987
Amended November 5, 1987
Amended September 14, 1991
Amended November 20, 1993
Amended December 6, 1997
Amended February 26, 2000
Amended March 3, 2002
Amended July 19, 2003
Amended August 12, 2006
Amended September 19, 2009
Amended September 11, 2010
Amended December 28,2011

Amended January 23, 2016

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ARTICLE I - NAME

The name of the organization is “North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party.”

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ARTICLE II - PURPOSE

The North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party at all levels, exists for the following purposes:

Sec. 1 - To develop and enact public policy that is beneficial to the people of the State of North Dakota and the nation;

Sec. 2 - To promote the election of candidates of integrity to hold public office who are dedicated to serve the people;

Sec. 3 - To inform the citizens of matters of public concern so the people are able to make decisions on the basis of fact;

Sec. 4 - To encourage the participation, without discrimination, of as many people as possible in the political process.

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ARTICLE III – PRINCIPLES

The North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party at all levels, adheres to the following principles:

Sec. 1 - All meetings of the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party at all levels are open to all interested persons, except when in executive sessions;

Sec. 2 - Only those persons who voted or affiliated with the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party at the last general election or intend to vote or affiliate with the North Dakota-Nonpartisan League at the next general election may participate fully in all Party Procedures and be elected to any Party office as provided for in these By-laws;

Sec. 3 - No test of membership in, nor any oath of loyalty to, the Party shall be required or used;

Sec. 4 - No mandatory dues or fees may be required of anyone in the delegate selection process;

Sec. 5 - The time and place for all meetings of the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party, on all levels, shall be publicized fully and in such a manner as to assure timely notice to all interested persons.  The meetings shall be held in places accessible and large enough to accommodate all interested persons, and the meetings shall be scheduled to begin and end at reasonable hours;

Sec. 6 - The North Dakota-Nonpartisan League Party has the responsibility of publicizing fully and in such a manner as to assure notice to all interested parties a full description of the legal and practical procedures for selection of Party officers and representatives on all levels. Publication of these procedures shall be done in such a fashion that all interested parties will be fully and adequately informed of the pertinent procedures in time to participate in each selection procedure at all levels of the Party organization;

Sec. 7 - The North Dakota-Nonpartisan League Party has the responsibility of publicizing fully, and in such manner as to assure notice to all interested parties, a complete description of the legal and practical qualifications for all officers and representatives of the Party.  The publication shall be done in a timely fashion so that all prospective candidates or applicants for any elected or appointed position within the State will have full and adequate opportunity to compete for office;

Sec. 8 - Although the Party vigorously encourages direct participation of all people, including protected classes and protected categories, in all Party affairs, until such time as this becomes a reality, the Party strongly urges the following:  If representation is not otherwise provided on the District and State committees, the District and State Committees must make every effort to hear and consider, through the avenues of special advisory committees or solicited testimony, the voice of protected classes and protected categories on issues of concern;

Sec. 9 - At all levels of Party structure, attention must be given to proportional representation of young people, women and minority groups;

Sec. 10 - General meetings of the Party at the District level shall meet at least biannually for the purpose of informing the public on current issues, defining local party policy and organizing district political activities.  All participants in the meetings shall have equal voice and vote.

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ARTICLE IV - STATE DEMOCRATIC-NONPARTISAN LEAGUE ORGANIZATION

SUB-ARTICLE A.  PRECINCT ORGANIZATION.

Sec. A-1.  Purpose:  The precinct meets to elect its precinct committeepersons and its precinct chair.  During election years, it also meets to elect district convention delegates and take precinct positions on candidates and issues.  It can serve other functions as determined by its district party, such as fundraising and campaigning.

Sec. A-2.  Organization:  In every odd-numbered year, on or before March 31, a party caucus shall be held by each election precinct at a site within or reasonably close to the precinct.  The District Chair shall issue the call for the caucus, as provided in Article V - Sec. 3 of these By-Laws, at least twenty (20) days before the time set for holding the caucus and provide ten (10) days published notice in the official newspaper in circulation within each precinct in the district.

Sec. A-3.  Authority to Elect Precinct Committeeperson:  No political organization shall be entitled to elect a precinct committeeperson at its precinct caucus unless:

A.  The political organization nominated and had printed on the ballot at the last preceding presidential election the names of a set of presidential electors pledged to the election of the party’s candidates for president and vice president; or a candidate for
governor; and

B.  The candidates provided for in Sec. A-3(A) above received at least five percent of the total vote cast for presidential electors or governor within this state at the election.

Sec. A-4.  Officers:  Each precinct caucus shall elect a chair and precinct committeepersons as provided by these bylaws. The precinct chair shall be one of the duly elected precinct committeepersons.  The precinct chair and committeepersons shall hold office for a two-year term.  The caucus may also discuss party policies, candidates and any other business as prescribed by party rules.  The caucus chair shall notify the District Chair and county auditor of the names of those elected.

Each precinct committeeperson must be an elector in the precinct in which the committeeperson resides.  Duly elected precinct committeepersons (one for every 250 votes or fraction thereof for the party’s candidate for president in the last presidential election) shall serve as the precinct’s representatives on the district committee.  Each precinct shall be entitled to at least one precinct committeeperson.

Sec. A-5.  Other Duties:  Other duties as may be determined by the District Party.

Sec. A-6.  Qualification and Challenges:  Only those persons who either voted or affiliated with the Democratic-Nonpartisan League at the last general election or intend to vote or affiliate with the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League at the next general election may vote at the precinct caucus or be elected as a committeeperson or officer at the precinct caucus. If the right of a person to participate at the caucus is challenged, the right to participate shall be decided by a vote of the whole caucus.  A person so challenged may not vote on that person’s right to participate.  A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the whole caucus shall be required for exclusion.  No person may vote or participate in more than one precinct caucus in any one year

Sec. A-7.  Vacancies:  Vacancies occurring in the office of precinct committeeperson may be filled by the district executive committee.  An appointee shall be a resident of the precinct. Notice of the appointment must be given to staff at the State Party and the appropriate county auditor(s). The precinct may make recommendations to fill such vacancies.

Sec. A-8. Meetings:  The precinct chair shall call and hold precinct meetings as required by the District Party.

The precinct chair may call and hold such meetings as needed to carry out functions designated by the District Party.

SUB-ARTICLE B.   DISTRICT COMMITTEE:  Membership – Organizing – Executive Committee – Membership on State Policy Committee.

Sec. B-1.  District Committee Membership:  The precinct committeepersons of the Party, along with the Party’s nominees for and the members of the legislative assembly, and the officers of the District Committee constitute the District Committee.  The District Committee, upon a majority vote of its members, may appoint any former member of the legislative assembly as an ex-officio or voting member of the District Committee.   The district committee must be organized to coincide with the geographical boundary lines of state legislative districts. Each member of the district committee must be a qualified elector within the district.  A person may hold more than one position on the district committee, but no person shall be allowed more than one vote even if they hold multiple positions.

Sec. B-2.  District Committee Organization:  No later than March 31, in every odd numbered year, the District Committee in each legislative district shall meet for the purpose of organizing.  The day, hour, and site of the meeting will be set by the incumbent District Chair.  The District Committee will organize by:

A.  Electing a chair, vice chairperson(s), secretary, treasurer and a second representative to the State Policy Committee whose gender is opposite that of the District Chair.  The District Committee may elect other officers as provided by the district by-laws, if any.  The officers selected need not be precinct committeepersons; however, all the officers are voting members of the District Committee.  The officers shall be elected for two years and until a successor is elected and qualified.

B.  Adopting legislative district by-laws not in conflict wit these By-Laws. Any legislative district bylaw that conflicts with these bylaws is void.  The legislative district by-laws, if any, are not effective until filed with the Democratic-Nonpartisan League State Policy Committee at Party headquarters.  Legislative districts must file any by-law changes with the State Policy Committee at its headquarters in order for the amendments to be effective.  Notice of any meeting of the district committee at which proposed legislative district bylaws or an amendment is to be considered must be given by mail or electronically to members of the district committee at least thirty (30) days prior to such meeting.  In the absence of legislative district bylaws, these Bylaws shall operate as the bylaws of the district committee.

C.  Filling any vacancy of district officers. 

The newly elected District Chair shall notify the Secretary of State, appropriate county auditor(s) and state Party staff, of the names of the party officers selected.  If the office of chair becomes vacant, the vice chairperson shall hold the office until the next regular election for the office or until a new chair is selected by the District Committee for the remainder of the term, whichever shall first occur.  The Secretary of State and county auditor(s) must be notified by the District Chair of any changes in membership of the districts' committee officers.

D.  Filling Legislative Vacancy:  For purposes of filling a vacancy existing in the office of member of the legislative assembly:

(1).  The district committee shall consist of those committee members holding office on the district committee on the date of the legislator’s resignation.  No vacancy in a position on the district committee may be filled between the date of the legislator’s resignation and the time when the vacancy in the office of member of the legislative assembly is filled by the district committee.

(2).  The meetin
g of the district committee to fill the vacancy in the office of member of the legislative assembly shall be called by the District Chair within the time required by the Party's rules and by-laws. Notice of a meeting during which the district committee is filling a vacancy in the office of member of the legislative assembly shall be given to all members of the district committee by mail or electronically.

Sec. B-3.  Executive Committee of the District:  The Executive Committee of the District shall consist of five or more persons chosen from the District Committee and chosen by the District Committee at the reorganizational meeting.  The chair, vice chairperson(s), treasurer, secretary and second representative on the State Policy Committee of the District Committee shall be members and the officers of the Executive Committee of the District.  The Party’s nominees for and members of the legislative assembly shall also be members of the Executive Committee of the District.

Sec. B-4.  District Membership on State Policy Committee:  Any person elected to the office of Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party District Chair or second representative will be a member of the State Policy Committee so long as the person remains in office as District Chair or second representative.

SUB-ARTICLE C.    STATE POLICY COMMITTEE:  Membership – Organization – Executive Committee – Vacancies – Committee Responsibilities – State Chair.

Sec. C-1.  MEETINGS:  All meetings of the North Dakota Democratic State Policy Committee, Executive Committee, and all other Official Party Committees and bodies shall be open to the public, and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot, except when in executive sessions.

Sec. C-2.  MEMBERSHIP – Qualification:  The Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party State Policy Committee consists of:

A.  The chair of each of the district committees of the State Party;

B.  The second representative from each district committee, whose gender shall be opposite that of the District Chair;

C.  The National Committeeman;

D.  The National Committeewoman;

E.  The State Policy Committee elected officers;

F.  All statewide and federal elected Democratic-Nonpartisan League Officials (including those who receive Democratic-Nonpartisan League Letters of Support) and the Democratic- Nonpartisan League floor leaders of the State Legislature;

G.  The chairperson of any State Policy Committee recognized association of young Democrats can be a member of the State Policy Committee.

H. Regional Representatives who are not already members of the State Policy Committee;

I.   A representative from the North Dakota Native American community, as recommended by the Executive Committee for approval by the Policy Committee, following consultation with North Dakota Native American community leaders;

J.  Three members of the North Dakota State Senate Democratic-Nonpartisan League Caucus, as appointed by the Senate Caucus floor leader;

K.  Three members of the North Dakota State House Democratic-Nonpartisan Leagues Caucus, as appointed by the House Caucus floor leader;

L.  A representative from the North Dakota LGBTQ community, as recommended by the Executive Committee for approval by the State Policy Committee following consultation with North Dakota LGBTQ community leaders.

Sec. C-3.  STATE POLICY COMMITTEE – Organization:  The State Policy Committee shall meet by May 15 of each odd-numbered year for the purpose of organizing.  The Committee shall organize by selecting a chair, vice chair of the opposite sex, secretary, and treasurer and adopting rules and modes of procedure. The officers elected need not be members of the State Policy Committee, but the officers shall become voting members of the Committee after the officers’ election and shall continue as voting members until the officers’ successors are elected and qualified.  The newly elected chairperson shall notify the Secretary of State of the names of the party officers selected.  The Secretary of State must be notified of any changes in membership of the State Policy Committee officers. Notice must be given as is required by Sec. C-10.

The National Committeeman and National Committeewoman shall be elected at the state convention during the even-numbered year in which a National Democratic Convention is held.  The DNC Committee-member’s term commences on the day the National Convention adjourns and terminates the day the next National Convention adjourns.

Any officer of the State Policy Committee may be removed from office upon a vote of not less than fifty percent (50%) of the whole State Policy Committee, provided the members of the State Policy Committee are notified in writing of the proposed action at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting at which the removal action is to be considered.

Any member of the State Policy Committee shall be entitled to appoint an official voting designee in the member’s absence, provided the member has provided the designee or North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League staff with prior written authorization from a verifiable source prior to start of meeting.

Sec. C-4.  STATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – Membership:  The Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party Executive Committee of the State Policy Committee consists of:

A.  The officers of the Democratic-Nonpartisan League State Policy Committee;

B.  The Chair;

C.  The Vice Chair, whose gender shall be opposite that of the Chair;

D.  The Secretary;

E.  The Treasurer;

F.  The National Committeeman;

G.  The National Committeewoman;

H. State elected officials representative - selected by the state elected officials who are members of the State Party

I.  North Dakota House of Representatives floor leader;

J.  North Dakota Senate floor leader;

K. Congressional Delegation representative - selected by the Congressional Delegation who are members of the State Party

L.  The president of the North Dakota Chapter of Young Democrats of America

M.  Regional Representatives, as recommended by the District Chairs within each region, and elected by the State Policy Committee;

N.  A representative from the North Dakota Native American Community, as appointed by the Executive Committee, following consultation with North Dakota Native American community leaders;

O. A representative from the North Dakota LGBTQ community, as appointed by the Executive Committee, following consultation with ND LGBTQ community leaders.

P. Ex-officio members of the Executive Committee without vote shall be Chairs of Bismarck/Mandan Democrats, Souris Valley Democrats, Grand Forks Democrats and Cass County Democrats and the Executive Director of the State Party.

Any member of the State Executive Committee shall be entitled to appoint an official voting designee in the member’s absence, provided the member has provided the designee with prior written authorization from a verifiable source to Party staff prior to start of the meeting. No member of the  Executive Committee shall have more than one vote when the Executive Committee is in session.

The Regional Representatives elected to the Executive Committee shall be one from each of the State Party’s seven regions.  District Chairs from the seven regions may caucus by region prior to the election of the district’s members to the Executive Committee for the purpose of nominating candidates from the District Chair’s respective regions for the consideration of the State Policy Committee.

Following any legislative re-districting, the State Policy Committee shall determine the boundaries of the regions.

The officers of the State Policy Committee shall be the officers of the Executive Committee.

Sec. C-5.  VACANCIES – VOTING – State Policy Committee – Executive Committee:   If the office of State Chair becomes vacant, the Vice Chairperson holds the office until the next regular election for the office or until a new state chair is selected by the State Policy Committee for the remainder of the term. If a vacancy occurs in the office of the State Policy Committee treasurer, the State Chair shall appoint a person to serve as acting Treasurer.  The vacancy shall be permanently filled for the balance of the term by a majority vote of the State Policy Committee at the first meeting of the Committee following the occurrence of the vacancy.

A vacancy in any other office of the State Policy Committee, other than a Party District Chair, shall be filled upon a majority vote of the State Policy Committee.  The State Policy Committee must give at least a thirty (30) day electronic communication notice of the election to fill any vacancy.

The Party’s state elected officials shall select a replacement to fill the vacancy of the state elected official’s representative and the members of each chamber of the Legislative Assembly shall vote to fill vacancies of the Legislative Assembly chambers’ respective members on the Committee.  If a Regional Representative vacates the office, the District Chairs from the region where the vacancy occurs may caucus for the purpose of nominating candidates for consideration by the State Policy Committee to fill the vacancy.   If a vacancy occurs in the role of Native American Representative or LGBTQ Representative, the State Chair shall nominate a replacement, chosen from members of the North Dakota Native American and North Dakota LGBTQ communities, for consideration by the State Policy Committee to fill the vacancy.

No member of the State Policy Committee or the Executive Committee shall have more than one vote when the respective committee is in session.  The Secretary of State must be notified of any changes in State Policy Committee officers.

Sec. C-6.  HIRING – Party Staff: The State Policy Committee may appoint an Executive Director and prescribe duties for the position.  In the event the party is acting without an Executive Director, the Executive Committee shall provide advice and consent as to the hiring of any senior staff positions. The North Dakota Democratic-NPL is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, religion, disability, citizenship, pregnancy or veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law.

Sec. C-7. The Chair of the State Policy Committee shall appoint such committees deemed necessary to implement the work of the Party.  Such appointments shall be conditional until ratified by the State Policy Committee.

Sec. C-8. Ex-officio members of the State Policy Committee without vote shall be all current Democratic-Nonpartisan League legislators, Chairs of Bismarck/Mandan Democrats, Souris Valley Democrats, Grand Forks Democrats and Cass County Democrats and the Executive Director of the State Party.

Sec. C-9.  STATE POLICY COMMITTEE – EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – Responsibilities: The State Policy Committee is responsible for the conduct of Party business.

When the State Policy Committee is not in session, the Executive Committee or the Executive Director under the direction of the Executive Committee, shall make such decisions as are necessary to implement the work of the State Policy Committee.

Sec. C-10.  STATE CHAIR – Powers – Duties:  The Chair of the State Policy Committee shall carry out the policies of the State Policy Committee and appoint such committees as deemed necessary to implement the work of the Party.  The appointments are subject to the approval of the State Policy Committee.

The Chair of the State Policy Committee has the responsibility to call meetings of the State Policy Committee at such time as deemed necessary. Twenty (20%) percent of the members of the State Policy Committee are empowered to call a meeting of the State Policy Committee’s respective committee, with the exception of the Executive Committee which shall require a majority fifty percent plus one (50% + 1).  Notices of meetings shall be given in writing to the members at least seven (7) d
ays prior to the date of the meeting, or thirty (30) days if an election will take place at the meeting pursuant to Sec. C-3.

The State Chair, or State Vice Chair if the State Chair is not available, shall preside at all meetings of the State Policy Committee and State Executive Committee.

The State Chair shall appoint a parliamentarian at each meeting of the State Policy Committee.

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ARTICLE V - DELEGATE SELECTION PROCESS and CONVENTIONS

The North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party, at all levels, shall conduct its caucuses and conventions according to the Delegate Selection Plan approved by the State Policy Committee. The Delegate Selection Plan shall be electronically communicated to Policy Committee members at least fourteen (14) days prior to the Policy Committee’s vote.

Sec. 1 - THE CALL:  The call to any precinct caucus, district convention, or state convention shall include:

A.  The name of the Party;

B.  District number or precinct number or name, as appropriate;

C.  The time, date, and place of the caucus or convention;

D.  A statement of the business to be conducted, including the election of precinct committeepersons (when applicable) and such other persons as may be provided by Party rules;

E.  Name of the District or State Chair issuing the call.

Sec. 2 - COMMITTEES (District and State):  At least ninety (90) days prior to the State Convention, each District Committee shall elect a member to the State Committee on Committees and shall name a District Committee on Committees consisting of not fewer than seven (7) residents of the District.  The State Chair and District Chair shall convene the State Chair’s and District Chair’s respective Committee on Committees.  The Committee on Committees shall appoint members to the following convention committees:

A.  COMMITTEE ON PERMANENT ORGANIZATION (State) which shall nominate the permanent chair, secretary, parliamentarian, and sergeant-at-arms of the State Convention;

B.  COMMITTEE ON CREDENTIALS which shall report on all challenges of delegates or alternates to the convention;

C.  COMMITTEE ON RULES AND PROCEDURES which shall present to the convention rules, procedures and an agenda to be followed in compliance with these By-Laws;

D.  COMMITTEE ON PARTY PLATFORM;

E.  COMMITTEE ON RESOLUTIONS;

F.  COMMITTEE ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS (State);

Sec. 3 - DISTRICT CONVENTION:  The call to the District Convention shall be publicized by notifying precinct committeepersons by electronic communication and by an appropriate news release or advertisement in the official county newspaper, the foregoing to be accomplished in a timely fashion (at least twenty (20) days before the time set for holding the caucus) and provide ten (10) days published notice in the official newspaper in circulation within each precinct in the district.

A. DISTRICT CONVENTION: The district conventions shall be at least twenty-one (21) days prior and not more than sixty (60) days before the State Convention.  The District Chair shall call a District Convention for duly elected delegates and alternates for the following purposes:

(1). Nominate legislative candidates, unless provision is made by the District Convention for such nominations at a later date;

(2). Elect to the State Convention, in accordance with provisions of the Delegate Selection Plan, the number of delegates and alternates sufficient to fill the delegates allocated as authorized by the State Policy Committee;

(3). Adopt resolutions.

B.  ENDORSEMENTS: All endorsements will be determined by majority of votes cast.  If no candidate receives fifty percent plus one (50% + 1) of the votes cast, balloting shall continue until a candidate receives a majority of votes cast.  After each ballot, the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes cast shall be dropped from further balloting.

Sec. 4 - STATE CONVENTION:  The call for the State Convention shall be publicized by notifying District Chairs by electronic communication and by appropriate news releases or advertisements in the state newspapers, the foregoing to be accomplished in a timely fashion.

A.  STATE CONVENTIONS:  The Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party will hold a State Convention in each even-numbered year not less than sixty (60) days or more than ninety (90) days prior to the State Primary Election for the following purposes:

(1).  Nominate the legal number of candidates for its party for the offices of presidential electors (Presidential election year only);

(2).  Elect the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman (Presidential election year only);

(3).  Nominate candidates for public office;

(4).  Issue Letters of Support for candidates for nonpartisan public office;

(5).  Adopt resolutions and a Party Platform.

Sec. 5 – DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION – Delegate Selection:  The delegate selection process for the Democratic National Committee Convention is governed by the Charter and By-laws of the Democratic Party of the United States of America.

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ARTICLE VI – GENERAL

Sec. 1. - CANDIDATE COOPERATION:  All candidates for public office nominated by the Democratic-Nonpartisan League State Convention are encouraged to discuss publicly the issues in the Democratic-Nonpartisan League platform and cooperate with the State Policy Committee, other candidates of the Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party, and candidate-support organizations in relation to campaign methods and procedures.

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ARTICLE VII - PROCEDURAL RULES

Unless otherwise provided for in these By-Laws, the meetings of the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party, at all levels, shall be procedurally governed by Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

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ARTICLE VIII - AMENDMENTS

These By-Laws may be amended by a vote of a quorum of the Democratic-Nonpartisan League State Policy Committee, provided, however, that the proposed amendments must be presented and read at a meeting of the State Policy Committee at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting in which they are to be considered and that the proposed amendments shall be communicated to the State Policy Committee by electronic communication at least twenty-five (25) days prior to the meeting at which the proposed amendments will have the amendment’s first reading.

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ARTICLE IX - QUORUM

For all committees at all levels, except the State Policy Committee, a majority fifty percent plus one (50% + 1) of the full membership of the Committee, present in person or by proxy, shall constitute a quorum. Forty percent (40%) of the full membership of the State Policy Committee present in person or by proxy shall constitute a quorum. Vacancies shall not be counted when determining full committee membership.

Any member of the State Executive Committee and State Policy Committee shall be allowed to appoint an official voting designee in the member’s absence, as long as the member has provided the designee with prior written authorization, which includes electronic communications.  Proxies shall not be allowed at the district or precinct level.

No member of the State Executive Committee, State Policy Committee, District Committee, Precinct Committee, or District Executive Committee shall have more than one vote on any matter before the committee.

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