2023 MDC DSA National Convention & Member Meeting Rules

Standing Rules for Internal Elections

Approved [date]

Internal Elections Department

  1. The Steering Committee shall appoint a temporary three-person Internal Elections Department within the Administrative Committee, intended to serve as an unbiased and impartial group to carry out the work required for chapter-wide candidate elections only (e.g., not ballot questions originating at meetings of the members, working group or branch candidate elections, etc). The Steering Committees appointments to the Internal Elections Department are subject to amendment by the GBM. This working group shall be vested with the authority to arbitrate any disputes that may arise in the course of the election, regarding procedure, implementation of election rules, or any other procedural decisions that require a ruling in the course of their business. The Internal Elections Department shall not include candidates for any incoming leadership positions. The Internal Elections Department shall be dissolved after they certify the results of the election. The Internal Elections Department may enlist volunteers to assist them with their work.
  2. The Steering Committee and all relevant communication bodies shall inform the membership of the proper election date, voting method, and requirements for candidacy and voting in a timely manner.
  3. Nominations for the elected positions within the local shall be collected via a publicly accessible Google Form. Timelines for nominations will be determined by the Internal Elections Department for specific elections, with the advice and consent of the Steering Committee.
  4. The Steering Committee and Administrative Committee shall provide a Metro DC DSA voter list to the Internal Elections Department prior to the General Body Meeting in order to verify that ballots are only provided to members. The Internal Elections Department will handle and mediate any disputes over questions of membership.

Leadership Elections

  1. In order to be included on the ballot for Leadership Elections:

  2. Nominees must receive five nominations from individual members.

  3. Nominees must accept their nomination.

  4. Nominees must not be members of Democratic Centralist organizations.

  5. The winners of leadership elections will be determined by using the approval voting method. Members will be provided the option of marking next to each candidate as to whether they “approve” of that candidate. These marks will be tallied up and the candidate or candidates with the highest approval counts win their elections, provided that the elected offices comply with the diversity requirements.

  6. Nominees running for secretary or treasurer may be automatically included in the ballot lines for at-large steering committee seats if they so choose. If candidates that have opted-in to the at-large race win their seat for treasurer or secretary, they are automatically removed from consideration for an At-Large seat.

  7. The newly-elected Steering Committee shall determine its chairperson and any additional officers required in the bylaws prior to the next General Body Meeting.

  8. For Steering Committee elections the Internal Elections Department shall:

  9. Create a Candidate questionnaire with answers to be publicly available to the membership.

  10. Plan a candidate forum where all members running for leadership positions are invited and given equal opportunity to address the membership.

  11. Create an Election Slack Channel, particular to that election, where candidates and voters can ask questions of the candidates. This space may also be used by the candidates for the purposes of electioneering.

  12. Create a section on the member portal dedicated to the election where each candidate will be listed along with their answers to the questionnaire. Candidates may opt out of being included on the website.

  13. In the case of a vacancy on the Steering Committee due to the resignation or removal of a member of steering, a temporary elections working group will be formed to organize a special election as soon as possible. The candidate forum will be forgone and instead all qualifying candidates who accept their nomination will be given two minutes to speak at the GBM before the vote. Questionnaires will be sent out to all qualifying candidates and a section of the MDC DSA website for the election will host these questionnaires along with information about the special election.

  14. In the event of leadership elections for an elected leadership team of a working group or section, the Secretary shall be empowered to administer the election. Any disputes arising from such elections may be appealed to the Steering Committee.

  15. In the event when the number of candidates for a leadership position—whether it be for the Steering Committee, or an elected leadership team of a working group, section, or Branch Steering Committee—does not exceed the number of available seats making the election noncompetitive, the election shall be declared by acclamation and a ballot shall not be necessary.

National Convention Delegate Elections

  1. Nominations for ‘delegate’ to the DSA national convention will be collected via a publicly accessible online form (e.g., Google Form, Airtable, etc). Candidates must fulfill the requirements for nomination outlined in Section 5 of these standing rules and confirm that they will be able to attend the convention in order to be eligible for delegate election.
  2. Winners of delegate elections will be determined using the approval voting method. In this method, each member can cast a vote for as many candidates as they approve of, without ranking them. The candidates with the highest number of total votes will be elected as delegates.
  3. Each candidate will be permitted only to list a slate or caucus designation on the ballot next to their candidate name (e.g., Jane Janeston, DSA United Slate). Candidates without a slate or caucus may choose to include Independent in lieu of a slate or caucus designation.
  4. At least 50% of the total local delegation to the total DSA National Delegationshall be women, non-binary folks, or persons of color. The total local delegation includes both primary and alternate delegates.

Business at Membership Meetings

  1. All resolutions or amendments to resolutions for consideration by the full chapter membership must be submitted in writing in advance of a meeting of the members. The deadline for resolutions or amendments shall be determined by the Steering Committee.The Secretary of the Steering Committee shall provide notice of resolutions or amendments to all members in advance.

  2. Amendments must be contained to a single motion. Only primary amendments that directly modify the original motion or resolution will be considered. Secondary amendments, which propose changes to primary amendments, will not be allowed.

  3. Privileged points of order may be considered out of order at the discretion of the chairperson of the chapter Steering Committee. The chairperson will rule on the point of order promptly, providing a brief explanation for the decision.

  4. If a member disagrees with the chairperson’s ruling, they may appeal the decision, but must do so immediately following the ruling. The appeal will require a second from at least a quarter of the members present at the meeting. If the appeal of the chairperson’s ruling receives the required threshold of support, then the chairperson shall allot a maximum of six minutes of debate and up to one minute for each member to speak. The chair shall recognize members to speak in a way that balances members speaking in favor and against overturning the chair’s ruling. However, if there are more speakers for one side than the other, the chair may choose to recognize all speakers at the chair’s discretion until debate time expires.

  5. Following debate, the members at the meeting shall vote. If the votes in favor of overturning the ruling of the chair total more than two-thirds of members present at the meeting, then the chair’s ruling shall be overturned.

Prohibitions on Electioneering

  1. Electioneering is defined as working, in the opinion of the Internal Elections Department, for the success of a particular candidate or candidates in an election.

  2. Prohibited electioneering practices include:

  3. Slack electioneering outside of the specific Election channel, to include:

1. Mass adding of members to Slack channels for the purposes of electioneering.
2. Use of the announcement channel for electioneering.
  1. Taking advantage of official MDC DSA resources, to include:
1. The use of membership lists for the purposes of electioneering.
2. Promoting candidates at Working Group or Committee meetings.
3. Use of administrative privileges on MDC DSA web resources for electioneering purposes.
4. Use of email listservs that serve MDC DSA chapter formations.
  1. The Internal Elections Department shall moderate, adjudicate, and resolve any potential infractions of the Standing Election Rules. Potential infractions should be reported to the Election Working Group. Candidates should be given “two strikes,” with first time infractions receiving a censure statement announced in the Election Slack channel. Second offenses may warrant being removed from the ballot.