Aparna R. opposition to Bylaw Amendment 2022-05-BA01: Expand the Political Engagement Committee


I’m writing against Bylaw Amendment 2022-05-BA01: Expand the Political Engagement Committee and I urge chapter members to vote “no” on it.

I am opposing this Bylaw Amendment on a few grounds:

  • This Bylaw Amendment is not a solution to any existing problem and will delay the timeline for filling PEC seats during the busiest time of electoral campaigns
  • The change to have representatives from each branch does not solve an existing problem, as jurisdictions are already represented on the PEC, and instead will only exacerbate an existing recruitment problem.
  • Changing the composition of the PEC so that a majority is unelected would make the PEC less accountable to the general body.

First, with only a week left until the DC primary, and 5 weeks left until the Maryland primary, we need a full capacity PEC as soon as possible to support and help coordinate these campaigns—as is stipulated in our bylaws. This Bylaw Amendment was not proposed to try to solve the issue of fulfilling the vacancies on the PEC—we are already in the process of filling the two vacant seats, and the PEC will have full representation of members from DC, Maryland, and Virginia again soon. Instead, if this Bylaw Amendment passes, the PEC will have to spend their time filling an additional vacant seat instead of being able to dedicate time to our campaigns in DC and MD when they are needed the most.

Additionally, the Bylaw Amendment’s requirement to have representation from each branch exacerbates already-existing recruitment issues. We would not have been able to fill the PEC at the beginning of this term if these branch requirements were in place. When we were appointing PEC members at the beginning of the year, we only had 10 or 11 applications, with only 1 application from Virginia and none from PG County. The issue isn’t that people from branches aren’t being represented, it’s that not enough members are applying. The lack of recruitment is a genuine concern, and one I hope we can address through the development of a bylaw amendment leading up to our local convention in December. That will give us space for discussion and feedback when our electoral organizers aren’t in the busiest part of the year, and when we have time to have a more thorough feedback process that engages the entire chapter.

Additionally, I am opposed to the proposal in the Bylaw Amendment that would change the composition of the PEC from 3 Steering Committee members and 2 non-Steering members to being 2 Steering members and 4 non-Steering members. This would make it so that the majority of the PEC is unelected, effectively making it a body that would not be accountable to the general membership. The PEC is majority elected to ensure that there is some level of accountability for our endorsement process and external political decisions. The PEC is a body that has substantial responsibility within the chapter, and should be held accountable to the general body the same way that the Steering Committee is.

I think that there is room to improve the PEC (especially around recruitment), but this Bylaw Amendment does not solve any existing problem and instead creates more issues with the PEC. I recommend that our chapter fully discuss and vote on changes to the PEC during our chapter’s local convention at the end of the year. I encourage everyone to vote no on this Bylaw Amendment.