AYD Constitution

Dear Arlington Young Democrats:

As with many other Democratic organizations, the Arlington Young Democrats operate under the agreed rules and policies set out in our constitution. Initially chartered in November 1978, the Arlington Young Democrats periodically review the AYD Constitution to determine whether or not it reflects the procedures and processes to best serve the AYD membership. Last updated in 2009, the 2017 AYD Executive board has spent the past year reviewing and considering the current AYD constitution.

First with a small working group, AYD leadership reviewed the Constitution and Bylaws for internal consistency. In that review we identified some inconsistent definitions of membership, payment of dues, and other items.

Second, the working group reviewed the document with an eye toward the overall operation of the organization. In that review, the group recommended to diversify several appointments so that the elected officer most closely aligned with the appointed officer duties was the individual to appoint (subject to confirmation of the elected board).

Lastly, the working group reviewed the document to ensure that it enables AYD to live its values. In this view, the committee made its biggest recommendation to the constitution–we are recommending the implementation of Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) and the development of an absentee voting method for our internal elections.

After some additional conversation and revisions by the entire Executive Board, the board voted to advance the revised constitution for consideration of the entire membership. As per the existing Constitution, any changes must be presented in writing to you 20 days before our vote. I am calling for a vote on the proposed Constitution, below, at our AYD September Meeting on September 20, 2017.

As you are well aware, AYD has strongly advocated for making all elections open and accessible. From our strong opposition to the ACDC decision to hold a County Board Caucus instead of a primary earlier this year to our internal organization, we feel that it is imperative that we live our values in making sure that our membership is able to choose the best leadership team moving forward. Should the proposed AYD Constitution pass at our September meeting, the new IRV rules will apply to our internal elections that are scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.

It is for these reasons that I hope you can attend our September 20th meeting to ratify the 2017 revisions to the AYD constitution.

Democratically yours,
Maggie Davis
President, Arlington Young Democrats

 

Constitution of the Arlington Young Democrats

Adopted on MM, DD, YYYY

Preamble

We, the Young Democrats of Arlington County, Virginia, in order to further and advance the ideals and principles of the Democratic Party, to promote the election of Democratic Party candidates for public office at all levels, to foster and encourage the involvement of young people in civic and political affairs, and to promote harmony and fellowship with one another, do establish this Constitution of the Arlington Young Democrats.

Article I: Name and Objectives

Section 1: The name of this organization shall be “Arlington Young Democrats” and may be abbreviated to “AYD.”
Section 2: The objectives of AYD shall be:
  • To further advance the ideals and principles of the Democratic Party;
  • To support and elect Democratic Party candidates for public office;
  • To develop, strengthen, and expand young people’s interest, knowledge, and participation in government and the political process and to promote civic involvement generally;
  • To provide a forum in which young people may freely and openly discuss, debate, and educate one another about ideas and policies affecting the Democratic Party, the local community, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the United States of America, and the world;
  • To provide opportunities and resources to young people so that they may grow and develop skills for positions of leadership;
  • To provide opportunities for young people to network and socialize.

Article II: Policy

Section 1: AYD shall contribute to the activities, growth, and influence of the Democratic Party.
Section 2: In a general election, AYD shall support and endorse only those candidates for public office who have been nominated or endorsed by the Democratic Party.
Section 3: AYD shall not endorse candidates in any contest in which candidates are seeking the nomination or endorsement of the Democratic Party, and shall maintain its neutrality until after such contests are settled. AYD shall provide an equitable forum, in a manner determined by the Executive Committee, for all candidates seeking the nomination or endorsement of the Democratic Party to solicit its members’ support.  However, nothing in this article shall be interpreted to preclude individual members of AYD from endorsing candidates seeking the nomination or endorsement of the Democratic Party in his or her individual capacity, provided that no Officer of AYD shall cause his or her affiliation or title with AYD to be used in connection with such an endorsement.
Section 4: AYD shall actively support the candidates and the platform of the Democratic Party at all levels.  However, nothing in this Constitution shall be interpreted to preclude AYD or its members from advocating for amendments to the Democratic Party platform at any level,or from taking a position on any issue affecting the Democratic Party.
Section 5: AYD shall act in a manner consistent with this Constitution, and shall endeavor to act with consideration of the Virginia Young Democrats, the Young Democrats of America, the Arlington County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, and the Democratic National Committee.

Article III: Membership and Dues

Section 1: General membership in AYD is open to anyone who is at least thirteen (13) years old and is under the age of thirty-six (36) years old, and who believes in the principles of the Democratic Party. No person will be denied membership on the basis of race, gender, religion, economic status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or disability.
Section 2: No person will be considered an active Member of AYD until a membership form, as approved by the Executive Committee, has been completed in writing or online, and annual dues of $25 have been paid (or waived by the President because of economic hardship or any other compelling reason(s)). Membership renewal and collection of appropriate dues will occur as established in the Bylaws.

 Article IV: Officers

Section 1: The elected officers of the Arlington Young Democrats (AYD) shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Director, Community Service Director, Outreach Director, Partry Representative, and Campaign Director. The appointed officers shall be Finance Director, Publicity Director, Programming Director, Digital Director, Recruitment Director, Retention Director. There is also a President Emeritus. These officers shall perform the duties prescribed by this Constitution and the Bylaws adopted by Arlington Young Democrats (AYD). No person may hold more than one office at a time. The collective of officers is known as the “Executive Committee.”  Only elected officers shall be voting members of the Executive Committee, with the President Emeritus able to cast a tie-breaking vote if needed.
Section 2: The duties of the officers of the Arlington Young Democrats (AYD) are as follows:
President –
  • Presides over meetings of the Executive Committee and the general membership;
  • Exercises general managerial tasks with respect to the operation of the organization;
  • Establishes and terminates special committees as needed, appoints a chair to such special committees, and shall be notified of each committee meeting;
  • Serves as official liaison to the Arlington County Democratic Committee, of which they are a voting member of the Steering Committee;
  • Appoints and removes Finance Director and Publicity Director, subject to the approval of a majority of the elected AYD Officers; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of President by other provisions of the Constitution and under the Bylaws.
Vice President –
  • Presides over the organization in the absence of the President;
  • Oversees the schedule and the presentations of meetings of the general membership and programs outside of regular general membership meetings;
  • Appoints and removes Programming Director and Digital Director, subject to the approval of a majority of the elected AYD’s Officers;
  • Shall become President in case of the removal of the President from office or of his or her death or resignation; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Vice President by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Secretary –
  • Prepares and disseminates a written report of meetings of the Executive Committee and the general membership;
  • Prepares and disseminates AYD weekly membership newsletter; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Secretary by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Treasurer –
  • Drafts proposed AYD yearly budget;
  • Establishes procedures to handle disbursements and expenditures;
  • Tracks and reports all receipts and disbursements;
  • Maintains all financial records;
  • Prepares filing reports to the State Board of Elections;
  • Ensures financial records are open to inspection by any active Member at any reasonable time; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Treasurer by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Membership Director –
  • Appoints, oversees, and works with the Recruitment and Retention Directors;
  • Plans and coordinates recruitment, retention, and renewal of members; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Membership Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Community Service Director –
  • Coordinates outreach and service to volunteer and charitable organizations;
  • Supports planning for any AYD fundraiser with a charity partner by proposing charity partners, managing the relationship with that partner, and other duties as needed; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Community Service Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Outreach Director-
  • Organizes outreach to people and organizations in order to fulfill the objectives of AYD;
  • Appoints and removes caucus chairs, subject to the approval of a majority of the elected AYD Officers;
  • Supervises the activities of caucuses created pursuant to Article VI, Section 3; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Outreach Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Party Representative –
  • Serves as official liaison to the Arlington County Democratic Committee, of which they are a voting member of the Steering Committee;
  • Coordinates relationships with other recognized Democratic organizations;
  • Manages the AYD resolution process; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Party Representative by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Campaign Director –
  • Oversees political activity of the organization, including voter registration;
  • Coordinates efforts with the campaigns of local, state, and federal Democratic candidates;
  • Prepares AYD general election campaign strategy; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Campaign Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Appointments
Appointed by the President:
Finance Director-
  • Oversees planning and implementation of all fundraising activities; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Finance Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Publicity Director –
  • Coordinates the dissemination of information regarding AYD;  and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Publicity Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Appointed by the Vice President:
Programming Director –
  • Facilitates and coordinates logistics for the monthly meetings of AYD; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Programming Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President or Vice President.
Digital Director –
  • Oversees the construction, editing, and regular updating of the website of AYD;
  • Manages AYD’s presence in, and marketing through, electronic media; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Digital Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President or Vice President.
Appointed by the Membership Director:
Recruitment Director –
  • Coordinates the execution of membership drives and recruitment;
  • Collects membership forms and dues in accordance with Article III, Section 2; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Recruitment Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
Retention Director –
  • Coordinates activities related to the retention and renewal of members;
  • Maintains the official membership list; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of Recruitment Director by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.
President Emeritus –
  • Advises and assists the President and other officers as needed and requested in the exercise of their duties; and
  • Shall exercise such other powers and duties as may be assigned to the office of President Emeritus by other provisions of the Constitution, under the Bylaws, and as delegated by the President.

Article V: Elections

Section 1: Election Procedure (IRV)
Officer elections shall be conducted annually using ranked-choice instant runoff voting (IRV) and each officer shall be elected by a majority of the vote of active AYD members, present and voting, and by those voting by absentee ballot.  Each officer shall serve a period of one year (unless elected between annual elections to fill a vacancy) and each officer’s term shall begin upon the adjournment of the meeting at which s/he was elected and shall conclude upon the adjournment of the meeting during which annual elections are held.
The President, in consultation with the Executive Board, shall make necessary arrangements for active AYD members to vote in any election by absentee ballot.  Such arrangements shall include, but is not limited to, timely sharing information with active AYD members about how they may cast an absentee ballot.
Section 2: Voter Eligibility
Members who have completed their membership form fully and who have paid their dues online or paid in person to any member of the Executive Committee prior to start of the meeting at which an election is being held shall be eligible to vote in an election and run for office.
Section 3: Vacancies
In the event of a vacancy of an officer, the Executive Board may temporarily choose a replacement until an election is held.  A meeting to elect and fill any vacancy shall occur no later than fifty (50) days after the position becomes available.  However, no interim election shall be necessary if the next annual election will take place within ninety (90) days from when the position became available.
Section 4: President Emeritus
The position of President Emeritus shall be occupied by the person to have most recently served as President before the current President.

Article VI: Meetings

Section 1: A minimum 48-hours notice must be given to the Executive Committee and the general membership of each regular and special meeting.  A minimum 48-hours notice must be given to all Executive Committee members prior to any Executive Committee meeting.
Section 2: The regular meetings of AYD will be held at least once a month unless otherwise ordered. Special meetings of AYD’s general membership may be called by the President, a majority of the Executive Committee, or by the written request to the President and the Secretary of ten percent (10%) of AYD’s active members.
Section 3: Regular and special meetings of the general membership may be cancelled, postponed, or adjourned by the President with approval of a majority of the Executive Committee.
Section 4: Ten percent (10%) of AYD active members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting business. A quorum shall be assumed unless challenged by a member in attendance.

Article VII: Committees and Caucuses

Section 1: There will be an Executive Committee, the voting members of which shall be the officers of AYD as defined in Article IV, Section 1. The Executive Committee meets at the call of the President or of any three members of the Executive Committee. Notice of the meeting shall be given to each member of the Executive Committee. Fifty percent (50%) of the voting officers shall constitute a quorum for the purposes of conducting business.
Section 2: Standing committees are as established in this section. All committees develop policy and recommend passage or non-passage to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee considers the policy and recommends passage or non-passage to the general membership as required by this Constitution or in the Bylaws.
Resolutions Committee – Considers and votes whether to forward resolutions to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee then considers all resolutions sent by the Resolutions Committee and recommends adoption or non-adoption to the general membership. Resolutions of AYD are adopted by the vote of the general membership. Resolutions may be proposed to the Committee by any member of the AYD. The Party Representative, as elected, serves as the chair of the Committee. Voting members of the Committee include the Committee chair and any other member of AYD present at the meeting.
Outreach Committee – Plans and coordinates involvement of underrepresented people in the AYD; and with the Outreach Director, supervises the activities of the caucuses created pursuant to Section 3 of this Article. The Outreach Director, as elected, serves as the chair of the Committee. Voting members of the Committee include the Committee chair and the AYD caucus chairs.
Membership Committee – Plans and coordinates recruitment, retention, and renewal of members. The  Membership Director, as elected,  shall serve as chair of the committee and the Recruitment and Retention Directors, as appointed, shall serve as the vice chairs of the Committee. Voting members of the Committee include the Committee co-chairs and any other member of AYD present at the meeting.
Communications Committee – Plans and coordinates the dissemination of information regarding AYD and the maintenance of organization media. The Secretary, as elected, serves as the chair of the Committee, and the Publicity Director and Digital Director, as appointed, serve as vice-chairs of the Committee. Voting members of the Committee include the Committee chair, Committee vice-chairs, and any other member of AYD present at the meeting.
Section 3: Any group of 5 active members of AYD may form a caucus to forward ideas, advance an issue or propose resolutions.
Section 4: There will be those special committees as established by the President who will also appoint the chair. The special committee shall meet at the call of its chair, and its meetings shall be publicized to the general membership. As with standing committees, voting members of any special committee, other than those created pursuant to Article VI, Section 2, include the Committee chair and any other members of AYD present at the meeting.

Article VIII: Grievance and Disciplinary Proceedings

Section 1: Grievances

Any active member of AYD may petition the Executive Committee with a grievance by submitting such petition in writing (electronic or otherwise) to both the President and Secretary (or any other member of the Executive Committee if both the President and Secretary are the subject of the grievance). Upon receipt of the grievance petition, the Executive Committee shall determine what action, if any, is appropriate. Any action taken by the Executive Committee , including deciding that no action is needed, requires a simple majority of the voting members of the Executive Committee. The individual who submits a petition shall be promptly notified of the action or inaction taken by the Executive Committee . The Executive Committee shall address any grievance petition in a timely manner.

Section 2: Discipline & Removal

Any active member of AYD may petition the Executive Committee to initiate disciplinary proceedings against any other active member of AYD. Such a petition shall be submitted to both the President and Secretary (or any other member of the Executive Board if both the President and Secretary are the subject of the petition). The petition must be signed by at least 10 active members of AYD, name the active member(s) to be disciplined, and provide detailed information about why disciplinary action is necessary.

Upon receipt of a disciplinary petition, the Executive Committee shall determine what action, if any, is appropriate. Any action taken by the Executive Committee , including deciding that no action is needed, requires a simple majority of voting members of the Executive Committee. The individual who submits a petition shall be promptly notified of the action or inaction taken by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall address any disciplinary petition in a timely manner.

If the Executive Committee determines that the charges, if true, would warrant suspension or removal, then the President (or highest-ranking member of the Executive Committee not the subject of the petition) may establish and oversee a five-person tribunal to hear the case.  The tribunal shall consist of the three (3) highest-ranking members of the Executive Committee who are not the subject of the petition and two (2) active members of AYD to be agreed upon by the parties to the case. If there is no agreement among the parties, then any remaining tribunal position(s) shall be chosen by voting members of the Executive Committee who are not on the tribunal and who are not the subject of the petition.

The tribunal shall oversee a short trial lasting no more than two (2) hours. During the trial, the parties are permitted to make an opening statement, present witnesses and evidence, question one another, and make a closing statement. Following the trial, the tribunal shall decide by a majority vote whether or not the accused is guilty or not guilty.  If the tribunal finds the accused guilty, it shall present its findings and a recommendation as to what disciplinary action is appropriate to the general membership. Should the accused refuse to appear at the tribunal, the tribunal will discuss the case in their absence and make a determination. The general membership shall then vote on whether to adopt tribunal’s recommendation. A simple majority of those present and voting is needed to adopt the tribunal’s recommendation.

Section 3: Recusal

Members tasked with addressing a grievance or overseeing a disciplinary proceeding shall determine whether they can do so fairly and impartially. Such members may recuse themselves for any reason, or no reason at all, but shall recuse themselves when it is necessary to avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Article IX: Parliamentary Authority

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern AYD in all cases to which they are applicable and when they are not inconsistent with this Constitution or the Bylaws.

Article X: Amendments

This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of active members present and voting. All proposed changes must be disseminated to the general membership in writing at least twenty (20) days in advance of the vote.

Article XI: Bylaws

Bylaws further governing AYD shall be passed as needed. Bylaws may be added, deleted, or amended by a majority vote of active members present and voting, provided, however, that all proposed changes have been provided to the general membership in writing at least twenty days in advance of the vote.