Bylaws

BYLAWS of the 36th DISTRICT DEMOCRATS

PREAMBLE/MISSION

The mission of the 36th District Democrats is to increase political participation and civic involvement in the District by educating residents about the principles of the Democratic Party and empowering residents to support campaigns that reflect Democratic values.  We endorse candidates, and ballot measures, and develop a legislative agenda that reflects the priorities of the District and the platform, policies, and values of the Democratic Party. Our goal is to provide funds and organizational support to advance Democratic campaigns and candidates that support our values through Get Out The Vote (GOTV) organizing, voter registration and education.

ARTICLE I – NAME 

The name of this organization shall be the “36th District Democrats.” 

ARTICLE II – POLICY 

Section 1. This organization shall function continuously and shall otherwise operate according to state law and the applicable Bylaws and rules of the King County Democratic Central Committee and the State and National Democratic Charters and rules. 

Section 2. It shall be the policy of this organization to contribute to the growth, development, and influence of the Democratic Party; and to increase Party responsibility by guaranteeing maximum participation, equal representation and equal treatment of all. 

Section 3. This organization shall support the goals and principles of the Democratic Party and those candidates who, by their records and reputations, are in general agreement with adopted Party platforms, and who have been endorsed by this organization. 

ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP 

Section 1. All 36th District Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs), whether Elected, Appointed, or Acting, shall be voting members of this organization. 

  1. Elected PCOs are PCOs elected pursuant to RCW 29A.80.051.
  2. Appointed PCOs are PCOs appointed by the 36th District Democratic PCOs to represent the precinct in which they are registered to vote.
  3. Acting PCOs are PCOs appointed by the 36th District Democratic PCOs to represent a 36th District precinct in which they are not registered to vote.

Section 2. Any registered voter in the 36th District who declares that he or she is a Democrat, who agrees to have his or her name published as a Democrat, and who pays dues to the 36th District Democrats shall be a voting member in this organization. Any other person who declares that he or she is a Democrat and pays dues to the 36th District Democrats shall be a non-voting member in this organization. 

Section 3. Dues. 

  1. Annual dues for members shall be: (1) $5.00 for those who are low income. (2) $36.00 for families 

    (3) $25.00 for other members. 

    (4) Other membership categories may be established by majority vote of the membership to acknowledge additional levels of financial support.

  2. Membership under Section 2 shall expire on December 31st of the calendar year in which dues are received.
  3. Voting privileges at a meeting will be extended to voting members whose dues were received either 25 days prior to the meeting or by the date of the previous District meeting. This requirement for advance payment of dues is waived (i.e. an eligible person may pay dues at that meeting and be immediately eligible to vote) under either of the following circumstances: (1)  At any meeting, for those who were members in good standing during the previous calendar year under either Section 1 or 2; or

    (2)  At the biennial reorganization meeting, for everyone.

  4. The Executive Board may exercise the option of waiving dues and extending annual membership status to any person for whom the payment of dues would constitute a hardship.

Section 4. PCOs shall be encouraged to pay dues, but retain voting privileges regardless of dues status. For matters for which only Elected and Appointed PCOs can vote under Article VI, Sections 2 and 3, the Elected and Appointed PCOs attain these voting rights per the rules of the King County Democratic Central Committee. For matters for which all 36th members can vote under Article VI, Section 1, Appointed and Acting PCOs attain voting rights at the next meeting following the meeting at which the PCO is appointed (unless the PCO is already a member by paying dues under Section 3(c), above); except for Reorganization meetings held in January of every odd-numbered year pursuant to RCW 29A.80.061, at which Appointed and Acting PCOs can vote as members immediately upon appointment.  Elected PCOs attain membership rights upon taking office on December 1st of an even-number year.

ARTICLE IV – PRECINCT COMMITTEE OFFICERS 

The procedures of the rules of the King County Democratic Central Committee shall govern the appointment of PCOs. 

ARTICLE V – MEETINGS 

Section 1. A District meeting may be a regular or a special meeting. 

Section 2. Meetings shall be held monthly; November and December meetings shall be at the discretion of the Executive Board.

Section 3. Special meetings may be called by the Chair or a majority of the Executive Board. 

Section 4. District Meetings will serve as a forum, where free and open discussion of all political ideas and issues will be encouraged. If necessary, the Chair may impose rules for formal debate on important issues. 

Section 5. District meetings, except as otherwise specifically provided for by rules adopted, shall be held pursuant to and in conformity with Robert’s Rules of Order, as most recently revised. 

Section 6. Quorum. A quorum shall consist of 20 members at all District meetings. At least 15 PCOs must be present for consideration of any matter on which only PCO’s may vote, except that only 10 PCO’s must be present to consider the approval of PCO applications. 

Section 7. Notice of meetings. At least ten days in advance of the meeting date, a written notice stating the time and place of the meeting shall be mailed to each member, either by electronic mail or regular mail. To the extent practical, every effort will be made to accommodate the members as to preferences for either e-mail or regular mail. 

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ARTICLE VI – VOTING PROCEDURES 

Section 1. Voting privileges on all business that comes before the organization will be extended to all voting members in good standing, except as provided in Sections 2 and 3.

Section 2. During a Reorganization meeting held in January of every odd-numbered year pursuant to RCW 29A.80.061, only Elected PCOs may vote on the following:

  1. Election of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Delegates to the King County Democratic Central Committee, and Delegates to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
  2. Adoption or amendment of the organization’s Bylaws.

Section 3.  During any meeting other than a Reorganization meeting under Section 2, only Elected or Appointed PCOs may vote on the following:

  1. Election of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Delegates to the King County Democratic Central Committee, and Delegates to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
  2. Filling of legislative vacancies.
  3. Approval of PCO applications.
  4. Adoption or amendment of the organization’s Bylaws.

Section 4. Formal nominations shall be made from the floor by any member for any race. A person who is unable to attend an election meeting must announce their candidacy with a written statement. 

Section 5. In a contested election, voting shall be by show of hands or signed ballot. 

Section 6. Proxies shall not be allowed. 

Section 7. The nominations and elections for each office shall be held one at a time. Nominating speeches shall be limited in time. 

Section 8. All officers shall be elected by a majority of those eligible to vote for the office present and voting. In the event that no person receives a majority on the first ballot cast, the person receiving the fewest votes shall be eliminated. On each succeeding vote the same rule shall apply until one person receives the majority of votes for the position.

ARTICLE VII -OFFICERS AND DUTIES 

Section 1. Only Elected, Appointed, or Acting PCOs, or those willing to be appointed as an Appointed or Acting PCO at the earliest opportunity, may be elected to the following offices: 

  1. Chair – The Chair shall serve as the executive officer of the organization and chair meetings of the membership and the Executive Board.
  2. Vice-Chair – The Vice-Chair shall serve in the absence of the Chair and shall serve as the chair of the Administration and Finance Committee.

Section 2. Voting members in good standing may be elected to the following offices: 

  1. Treasurer: The Treasurer shall receive and disburse funds of the organization, prepare a financial report for each regular meeting of the organization, and file such public disclosure reports as are required by law.  The Treasurer shall serve on the Administration and Finance Committee.
  2. Secretary: The Secretary shall keep minutes of all meetings and all records of the organization except as assigned to other officers. The Secretary shall serve on the Administration and Finance Committee.
  3. Political Director: The Political Director shall be responsible for the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) organizing, voter registration, and precinct organization.  The Political Director shall work with the Neighborhood Committee Officers (“NCOs”) to oversee PCO recruitment and management, literature distribution, precinct caucus management, and shall perform other duties as directed by the Chair.  The Political Director shall serve as chair of the Political Committee.
  4. Policy Director: The Policy Director shall be responsible for educating the membership about relevant local, state, and national policy and political issues;, developing a draft platform prior to the legislative district caucus; and other duties as assigned by the Chair.  The Policy Director shall serve as chair of the Policy Committee.
  5. Communications Director: The Communications Director shall be responsible for communications between the organization, the membership, and the public, including the newsletter, website, social media, and press releases.  The Communications Committee shall also be responsible for the organization’s information technology systems, voter database and membership list; and other functions as assigned by the Chair.  The Communications Director shall serve as chair of the Communications Committee.
  6. Washington State Democratic Central Committee Representatives:  Two representatives of different genders shall represent the organization at State Democratic Central Committee meetings and report to the membership at regular meetings.  These representatives are members of the Executive Board . 
  7. King County Democratic Central Committee Representatives: Two representatives of different genders shall represent the organization at King County Democratic Central Committee meetings and report to the membership at regular meetings.  These representatives are members of the Executive Board.
  8. Neighborhood Committee Officers (“NCOs”):  There shall be at least three NCOs elected to help organize the precincts, including membership recruitment, literature distribution, and precinct caucus management.  Additional NCO positions may be created under Section 3.  The NCOs shall serve on the Political Committee.  The Political Committee shall divide the precincts of the district between the NCOs from time to time based on the needs of the organization and the resources available.  The NCOs will be responsible for organizing their assigned precincts and representing the PCOs in their assigned precincts on the Political Committee and the Executive Board.

Section 3.  In an addition to the elected officer positions specified in Sections 1 and 2 of this Article, other elected officer positions may be created through the following procedure:

  1. The membership recommends the creation of a new elected officer position and job description by majority vote;
  2. The recommended position and job description are published in the notice of the meeting, including notice of a vote on creating the position at the next membership meeting; and
  3. The membership approves the creation of the position by a two-thirds vote at the membership meeting following publication in the newsletter.

Section 4.  A vacant elected officer position created under Section 3 may be eliminated following the same procedure in Section 3.  Elected positions specified in Sections 1 and 2 can only be eliminated by amending these bylaws.

Section 5.  An individual may concurrently serve in more than one elected officer position, except that an individual shall not concurrently serve in more than one of the following elected officer positions:  Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Political Director, Policy Director, and Communications Director.  A person serving in more than one officer position shall retain only one vote on the Executive Board.

Section 6. The Chair may appoint the following non-voting officers: Parliamentarian and Sergeant-at-Arms.

Section 7. All positions shall perform such other functions as may from time to time be delegated by the Chair. 

ARTICLE VIII – ELECTION OF OFFICERS, TERM OF OFFICE, VACANCIES 

Section 1. All officers specified in Article VII, Sections 1 and 2, shall be elected at the District reorganization meeting held in January of each odd-numbered year and shall serve until their successors are elected at the next reorganization meeting two years later. 

Section 2. In the event of a vacancy occurring after the District reorganization meeting in any of the elected offices specified in Article VII, Sections 1 and 2, an election shall be held to fill such vacancy at the next meeting of the organization, provided that notice of the election shall have been published in the notice of the meeting. 

Section 3.  In the event of a vacancy occurring after the District reorganization meeting in any of the elected officer positions created under Article VII, Section 3, or upon the creation of the position, an election may be called by a majority vote of the membership.  Such election shall be held at the next meeting of the organization, provided that notice of the election shall have been published in the notice of the meeting.

Section 4.  Upon the call of an election for a position created under Article VII, Section 3, the floor shall be open for nominations from the membership and the position shall be filled by majority vote.

Section 5.  At a reorganization meeting, advance notice is not required for a vote to create a position under Article VII, Section 3, or the election of an officer to that position.  

ARTICLE IX – REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

At any regular meeting, by a two-thirds vote of the members eligible to vote for the office present and voting, the organization may remove any elected officer who has failed to carry out the duties of the office; except that the Chair may be removed by a majority of the Elected PCOs pursuant to RCW 29A.80.061. 

ARTICLE X – EXECUTIVE BOARD 

Section 1. The Executive Board shall consist of all elected officers of this organization, including officers specified in Article VII, Sections 1 and 2 and officers filling positions created under Article VII, Section 3. It may also include as non-voting officers the other officers appointed by the Chair.

Section 2. The Executive Board shall meet every month or as necessary at the call of the Chair. Notice of such meeting shall be published on the organization website.  In urgent situations, special meetings may be called by the Chair or by a majority of the Executive Board officers. Executive Board meetings shall be open to the membership. 

Section 3.  The Executive Board shall be responsible for setting policy direction for the organization, and shall have sole authority to release funds unless that authority is delegated to a committee, except as provided in Article XV.

Section 4. A quorum of the Executive Board shall be 40% of the voting officers. 

Section 5.  If necessary, the Executive Board may conduct brief meetings and make decisions via email or other electronic communication.  When making decisions by email, a motion shall require a majority vote of the total number of elected officers.

ARTICLE XI – COMMITTEES

Section 1. The Chair shall establish four standing committees: Administration and Finance, Political, Policy, and Communications. The Chair may establish additional ad hoc committees and designate the chair and members thereof.

Section 2.  Administration and Finance Committee:  The Administration and Finance Committee shall be chaired by the Vice-Chair of the organization and shall include the Secretary, the Treasurer, and may include other officers in positions created under Article VII, Section 3.  The Administration and Finance Committee shall be responsible for organization finances, record-keeping, organizing events, fundraising, coordinating membership recruitment and retention, community service activities, and other functions as assigned by the Chair.

Section 3. Political Committee: The Political Committee shall be chaired by the Political Director and shall include the NCOs and may include other in positions created under Article VII, Section 3.  The Political Committee shall be responsible for Get Out The Vote (GOTV) organizing and voter registration. The Political Committee will organize the precincts, including PCO recruitment and management, literature distribution, precinct caucus organization, and other functions as assigned by the Chair.

Section 4. Policy Committee: The Policy Committee shall be chaired by the Policy Director and shall include the four elected State and County delegates and may include other officers in positions created under Article VII, Section 3.  The Policy Committee shall be responsible for educating the membership about relevant local, state, and national policy and political issues; maintaining open communication with other Democratic organizations, advocacy organizations, and constituencies; coordinating lobbying activity; researching ballot measures and propositions; developing a draft platform prior to the legislative district caucus; and other functions as assigned by the Chair.

Section 5. Communications Committee:  The Communications Committee shall be chaired by the Communications Director and may include other officers in positions created under Article VII, Section 3.  The Communications Committee shall be responsible for communications between the organization, the membership, and the public, including the newsletter, website, social media, press releases, and the creation of voter literature.  The Communications Committee shall also be responsible for the organization’s information technology systems, voter database and membership list, and other functions as assigned by the Chair.

ARTICLE XII – RESOLUTIONS

All resolutions and motions not pertaining to the organizational business of the organization shall be published in full or in summary by electronic notification prior to the consideration at the next District meeting. However, if the subject is timely, and in the best interest of the organization, this rule may be suspended by a two-thirds vote of those present and voting. 

ARTICLE XIII – ENDORSEMENT PROCEDURE 

Section 1. At any District meeting at which endorsements have been given as an item for the Agenda, the membership may endorse candidates for elective office, and any ballot measure. 

Section 2. Only self-identified Democrats may be endorsed by the membership, except candidates for judicial positions. 

Section 3. The Executive Board may make recommendations to the membership for endorsements, based on a two-thirds vote of the Executive Board officers present and voting. Any such recommendation shall be considered prior to any other motions to endorse. 

  1. The Executive Board may adopt by a two-thirds vote an Endorsement Recommendation Policy consistent with these bylaws that establishes requirements that candidates and ballot measure representatives must follow to be considered for the Executive Board’s recommendation (e.g. participate in an endorsement interview, submit the KCDCC questionnaire, etc.)  If adopted, the Policy is binding unless suspended by a three-fourths vote of the Executive Board during the meeting at which an endorsement recommendation would be considered.  Any such Policy does not affect motions to endorse by the membership.  The Policy expires after the election for which candidates were considered for endorsement.
  2. When the Executive Board considers or votes on an endorsement recommendation concerning a particular office or ballot proposition, financially interested officers of the Executive Board must recuse himself or herself from such vote. For purposes of this subsection, the term “financially interested officers” includes only persons who are or expect to be: 

(1)  A candidate for the particular office concerned. 

(2)  A campaign manager or any other employee of such candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee.

(3)  A campaign consultant or any other person compensated by such candidate or the candidate’s committee.

(4)  A campaign manager or employee of, or consultant or other person compensated by, a committee for or against the particular ballot proposition.

Section 4

  1. Primary elections.(1) Endorsements shall require a vote of 55% of the members present and voting.  More than one candidate for the same office may be endorsed.

    Endorsements prior to the close of the candidate filing period shall be very rare and shall require both an Executive Board recommendation and a 75 per cent vote of the members present and voting.

    (2) A motion to endorse an additional candidate or candidates is not in order following passage of an endorsement motion.

  2. General Elections.

(1) A candidate who was endorsed by the District in the primary election shall be the endorsee of the District in the General Election, except as provided in Section 4(b)(2).

(2) A candidate for office on the General Election ballot who was not previously endorsed may be endorsed as a co-endorsee if that candidate receives a two-thirds vote of the Executive Board recommending a dual General Election endorsement, and a 75 per cent vote of the membership.

If no candidate endorsed by the District advances to the General Election ballot, the endorsement of a candidate for the General Election shall follow the procedures and requirements of Section 4a(1 and 2). 

Section 5. Sections 1 through 4 of this article also apply to revocation of endorsements, except that a revocation requires 2/3 of members present and voting.  Abstentions shall not count in any endorsement voting. 

Section 6. Any nominations made by a 36th district nominating convention held under the rules of the Washington State Democratic Party shall not affect the 36th District Democrats endorsement process.

Section 7. The 36th District literature distribution system may be used only for endorsed candidates or ballot measures. 

ARTICLE XIV – RESOURCE POLICY 

Section 1. District resources subject to this policy shall include maps, lists of members or voters, and copies of such materials in any form. 

Section 2. This organization uses, creates and enhances resources to manage and distribute District materials to its members, foster community and working cooperation among its members, and perform political outreach, organization and mobilization for residents of the District. Every attempt is made to support all NCOs, PCOs, and  volunteers in recruiting new members and performing grassroots political organizing. 

Section 3. The District shall have a public data policy that discloses the purpose of its data collection, its uses, and its dissemination, so that people can take responsibility for their own privacy. 

Section 4. District resources may be used for District projects as authorized by the Chair, the membership, or the Executive Board. To foster community and enhance grassroots political organizing, all members are entitled to and will have access to the membership list for non-commercial use. 

Section 5. The Chair may enter into joint-use agreements with other Democratic Party organizations with regard to District resources so long as the agreement contains restrictions on further use or distribution of the resources. 

Section 6. The Chair may enter into joint-use agreements with other users with regard to District resources so long as: 

  1. The agreement contains restrictions on further use or distribution of the resources;
  2. The user is:

(1) An endorsed candidate;

(2) An incumbent 36th District legislator;

(3) An organization approved by a two-thirds vote at a District meeting for which notice of the proposed agreement has been published in the notice of the meeting; OR

(4) A candidate for District office who requires a list of those eligible to vote for the office sought.

Section 7. District resources obtained from the King County Department of Records and Elections or from a commercial source, and which do not have information added by the efforts of the District, may also be released pursuant to a policy to be adopted by the membership. 

ARTICLE XV- FINANCIAL PROCEDURES

Section 1. The Executive Board shall develop and monitor the District budget. The Executive Board shall draft an annual budget no later than its February meeting. The proposed budget shall be presented to the membership at the regular March meeting. The Treasurer shall prepare and make available regular reports showing the annual budget and year-to-date revenues and expenditures.

Section 2. Any non-budgeted expenditure which exceeds $200.00 must be reviewed by the Executive Board and reported to the membership at the District meeting. 

Section 3. Expenditures that exceed the adopted budget by more than 10 per cent in any expense category, or that are not provided for by the budget, must be approved in advance by the Executive Board or the membership. When such an expenditure is necessary and must be made before the Executive Board or membership could realistically approve it, the emergency expenditure may be made with approval of all of the following officers:  the Chair, the Treasurer, and the relevant Committee Chair. However, such emergency expenditures should be avoided and must be reported to the Executive Board with an explanation regarding why it had to be made without Executive Board approval.

Section 4. The Committee responsible for any special or fundraising event shall develop and approve a budget in advance of the event, and report to the Executive Board. 

Section 5. Contributions to endorsed candidates, ballot measures, or other state or local Democratic organizations shall be reviewed by the Executive Board and ratified by the membership at a District meeting. When the organization’s meeting schedule does not allow timely contributions within the election cycle, Executive Board approval is sufficient, followed by notice to the membership. 

Section 6.  Organization funds may be spent only by the Treasurer or Chair and only by check, debit card, or electronic transfer.

Section 7. The District shall maintain a non-exempt account to which contributions from organizations, businesses, unions or other entities shall not exceed PDC allowed limits in a calendar year. Contributions from individuals or a candidate’s surplus funds account may be accepted in any denomination. The non-exempt account shall be the primary bank account for the organization although the district may elect to establish an additional exempt account. Contributions to the exempt account may be of any denomination from any source. However, expenditures from the exempt account are limited to exempt activities only (including, but not limited to sample ballots, voter registration expenses, voter identification or other party-building activities not related to the election of a particular candidate).

Section 8. The Executive Board may require that the books be audited by an audit committee as needed, and the results of the audit shall be reported to the membership.  

ARTICLE XVI – AMENDMENTS

Section 1. These Bylaws shall function continuously. 

Section 2. These Bylaws may be amended: 

  1. By a two-thirds vote of the Elected and Appointed PCOs present and voting at any District meeting, provided that notice of such proposed amendments shall have been published in the notice of that meeting, OR
  2. At a Reorganization meeting by a simple majority of the Elected PCOs present and voting, OR
  3. At the first regular meeting following Reorganization by a simple majority of the Elected and Appointed PCOs present and voting. 

ARTICLE XVII – MEETINGS AND VOTING DURING EMERGENCIES 

During a pandemic, natural disaster, or other emergency where meeting in person is not possible or safe, these provisions apply:

Section 1.  A “meeting” in these bylaws can include live gatherings of members by electronic means, such as a conference call or video conference, where all members can participate in organization business in real time.

Section 2.  Organization business may be conducted by electronic vote without a meeting, so long as procedures are otherwise consistent with these bylaws.

Section 3.  The membership may adopt, by majority vote, rules providing procedures for decisions made under Sections 1 and 2 of this article, including under what circumstances each method is used. Such rules may be adopted by electronic meeting or electronic vote following procedures adopted by the Executive Board.

Amended January 20, 2021