Note that these bylaws are meant to be a localized addition to Maricopa County Democratic Party and Arizona Democratic Party bylaws and not a supplement
General Voting Rules
Types of Majorities
- Formal Majority – a majority of elected positons (board seats, elected PCs, etc.), regardless of amount in attendance
- Simple Majority – a majority of eligible voters in the room, regardless of seats or elected capacity
Types of Votes
Votes can generally be voice vote, but there are instances where written votes would be needed/required and those are (Note: voice vote in this case is a general term for voting either by spoken or by raising of hands):
- A voice vote is too close to accurately count
- More than one candidate is running for a board position
- Reorg elections (as long as there are multiple candidates)
- State committee elections
The executive board votes exclusively on these following things, thus not requiring a full district vote:
- Agenda (strategy, budget, events, etc.)
- Subcommittee creation
- Granting non-boardmember subcommittee leadership status
- By-law changes
- Monetary expenditures
- Creating new board seat (non-voting)
- Granting a PC official status in the district (heading subcommittee for example)
- Preliminary board member removal (vote to send to district floor)
Most of the items that do not require a floor vote can be voted on by email (email must have all voting board members included in it). If an issue is put up for a vote by email and it is not a type of vote with specific requirements (financial, removal, bylaw, etc.) but is under time constraints does not have a sufficient majority within two days (48 hours), the chair may proceed as the chair sees fit.
Board removal must be voted on in person, but does not have to be in the presence of the person who the vote is about or during official meeting. If for any reason multiple board members are simultaneously up for a removal vote, a simple majority of members not up for a vote would suffice as sufficient to proceed. A simple majority vote for the board is a majority of current boardmembers (this does not take vacant seats into account), a formal majority is a majority that counts all seats, regardless if they are vacant (for example, if a vote requires a formal majority, and there are seven board seats but there are only six boardmembers, then a four-vote majority is still required).
When voting on any official business for the district, only LD 24 PCs can vote.
The following items require a vote of LD 24 PCs (District Floor)
- Election to board
- Election to State Committee
- Final board member removal vote (following executive board majority vote)
- Creating new board seat and granting new board seat voting status
- Any issue called on for a special floor vote by board procedures
Elected, Appointed, and Associate PCs all have the same voting rights in the district except for the following circumstances:
- LD 24 Reorganization Elections – (only Elected PCs)
- Any vote during County Party-wide reorganization period [generally mid-November –January 1st] (Only Elected PCs)
Any other items not specified here can be require by either board or floor vote at the chairperson’s and/or board’s discretion.
These are votes that the board may either call to the floor, or just to subcommittees, in addition to the board. These votes are non-binding, and only serve to give the board further insight.
Removing and Replacing Board Members and Precinct Committeepersons
Precinct Committeeperson Removal
As per the Maricopa County Democratic Party bylaws, a precinct committeeperson can be removed at the sole discretion of the county chair and/or at the explicit recommendation of the legislative district chair. This also applies if said PC violates MCDP code of conduct.
Additionally, LD 24 will deem a precinct committeeperson automatically up for removal for the following instances:
- If a PC does not vote in an election (local, county, state, federal, etc.) that they are eligible to vote (note: this does not apply to if a PC votes on an election, but leaves some offices on the ballot blank)
- The PC does not participate in the position or refuses to meet minimum standards and expectations laid out by the board without sufficient cause. This can include, canvassing, donations, communications, event help, etc.
Each instance will be dealt with on a case by case basis and at the discretion of the board.
Board Member Removal
The reasons that the board may vote to remove a member could be (but not limited to):
- Actions of board member undermine the efforts of the board, or actively work against the efforts of the board
- An arrest and/or conviction of a serious or violent criminal offense
- Purposeful mismanagement of district resources
Each instance will be dealt with on a case by case basis and at the discretion of the board.
The process for removal is all boardmembers who are not the subject of possible removal face two votes. First the board itself must come to a formal majority vote on whether or not to proceed with removing a board member. The boardmember who the vote is concerning, if present, may also vote. If this vote occurs at an Executive board meeting the person under consideration, if present, must then leave the meeting.
The majority must consist of 50 +1 of all board seats, not members. Currently our board is seven seats, so no matter vacancies, four votes must be cast in favor in order to proceed. This four-vote majority can only change in two ways, if more board seats are created and given voting power (non-voting board seats, if they exist, do not count towards the vote total needed), if the amount of people up for removal consideration simultaneously make four votes untenable then it is simple majority.
If the board majority votes in favor then it goes to the next district meeting. The member in question will be informed of the board vote (if unaware) before the next district meeting.
The procedure in the meeting will be as follows:
Someone as neutral as possible will be asked to run the removal election (preferably someone who is unable to vote due to bylaw conflict but in attendance) and that person, no matter their status, would be ineligible to vote (even if otherwise normally eligible). Each side must appoint a designated witness for the purpose of acting as secretaries, witnesses can be appointed if no one volunteers, and both witnesses can vote. Voting will be done on paper ballots, and they will be distributed after someone is selected to run the vote and secretaries are designated. A designated spokesperson that is in favor of removal (it can be the person up for removal or someone else) will address the body and the board. Everyone will be present during testimony, but cannot interfere with testimony. Next, the process will be reversed, with designated spokesperson not in favor of removal addressing the body. The designated spokesperson can be either a board member or someone else.
After both sides speak there will be a call for any objections. An objection in this case allows the testimonies to be questioned and cross examined. If someone raises an objection (only PCs not elected to the board and not involved with the defense or prosecution can do so) then questions will be answered. Once all questions are answered, or no objections raised, the vote commences. The body vote, if in favor of removal, is immediately binding once the voting gets to a 50%+1 majority of PCs in LD 24 (not PCs present).
LD 24 will institute, in addition to applicable laws, their own additional rules regarding when a board member, or a PC given an official role in the district, must resign. These are:
- If a board member or PC with an official capacity is elected to a position in another executive board in the Democratic Party (i.e. MCDP). The resignation must be immediately following successful election to other board within Democratic Party. This includes leadership roles in any recognized county or state party caucuses.
- When running for public office board members or PCs with an official capacity must resign the day after the primary election, if they are successful. This applies differently if the primary election is the deciding factor in if the candidate will serve. If that is case the board member must resign the June before the primary.
- If a board member or PC with an official capacity will take a leave of absence that will require them to be gone any time longer than four consecutive months (more details following)
- If a board member, without sufficient notice or reason, misses a succession of two district meetings and an executive board meeting. Their post comes up for immediate replacement. These absences MUST be concurrent.
- If a board member publicly endorses and/or works to support a primary candidate running for a District 24 district-wide office (more details following)
Leave of Absences
Board members may take necessary leaves of absence from their duties to attend to any issues that may come up and interfere with their ability to do perform their duties.
If a leave of absence takes longer than four consecutive months, the board member must resign their seat and allow it to be filled.
If a board member takes a leave of absence there are three scenarios regarding their vote as a board member that can be taken:
- Board member can vote on anything that is a simple board vote and can be done by email, text, etc. Otherwise, if their presence is needed they must attend only for a vote call. In such a situation that they cannot attend in person for a vote that requires them to be present, they cannot vote.
- Board member temporarily refrains from all votes for the duration of the leave time.
- Long-term Proxy: A board member can select someone to serve as their proxy and vote on the board for any type of vote in their behalf. Requirements for this proxy voter are that they must be a PC within the district in good standing. When a person is selected for a proxy vote, that person is then subject to a simple board vote to approve them as a proxy voter. If the Chairperson is the one taking a leave of absence, they can submit a proxy vote, but that proxy’s vote would be equal to a board member at large, as 1st Vice-chair would be the interim chair.
All outgoing spending must be approved by executive board majority vote. In this case, since spending is one of the vital functions of the board, the majority only needs to be a majority of members on the board, not of board seats (in case of a vacancy).
If the board deems it necessary, expenditures can be put to a floor vote but this is not required. Overall, spending can be put to a vote by a simple board majority.
No boardmember can pledge money without a board vote, but they can pledge to try and procure money for a specific purpose (for example, a boardmember cannot say “I am gonna give you $600” but they can say “I am going to get a vote for you to get $600” or “I will try and raise $600 for this”). Any overt promise of money without a vote is automatically voided.
Any money given out without a board vote will prompt immediate board inquiry and repayment of funds (either by the receiver of the money repaying or equal compensation repayment from boardmember who gave away the money). This would also call an automatic executive board preliminary removal vote against any and all offending boardmembers.
When asking for funds, the board may just ask for funds for the general board agenda. If the board does this, any funds raised for that can be used for any board activity or event.
If funds are raised for a specific purpose (single items), but there is a need or want at a later date to use the funds for a different purpose that is allowed but only after the District body is informed. An overall floor vote is not required if the funds being used for a new purpose all came from a small group of people and the specific donors are consulted and consent given.
If specific donors do not consent to the change, the funds must either be used for their initially stated purpose or returned to the donor.
Any donations by boardmembers are regarded as general donations and not subject to these rules and can be used as needed.
Subcommittees are non-permanent groups of PCs and volunteers that focus on a specialty portion of District 24’s operations (Fundraising, Field, for example). Subcommittees can only be created by a simple majority vote from Executive Board, and can only be disbanded the same way. There is no membership limit for subcommittees, and anyone who wants to help can be a subcommittee member regardless of status within District 24 (or outside district). Subcommittees will either be headed by an executive board member, or a PC granted leadership capacity by board. District Subcommittee Chairs, if not an elected board member, does not have a vote for the board. As long as there is no relevant vacancy on the Executive Board, the District Chairperson will not personally oversee a subcommittee as the Chairperson oversees the District.
If there is a relevant vacancy (No Communications Chair for example) then the District chairperson can act as head of a Subcommittee. The Executive Board can create a subcommittee by simple majority vote for anything it chooses.
These are groups formed solely at the discretion of the District Chairperson, mostly for single or temporary issues (for example, Chairperson’s Council on Prop 123). Membership and capacity limits (if any) are at the discretion of the District Chairperson, and councils are formed and dissolved at any time by the District Chairperson
Official District 24 Clubs
These are PC formed clubs within their precincts and they can be for just about anything (dog walking, softball club, etc.). District 24 will keep a record of all active clubs so potential volunteers and PCs can use them for outreach.
Elections & Endorsements
During elections, there will be questions of endorsements, and public support, the following are a few rules regarding board member conduct and public endorsements. These rules are partially crafted from historical precedents. The district can vote by a simple body majority to have a district endorsement when applicable.
District-Wide Offices (Arizona State House/Senate in LD 24)
Board members cannot publicly endorse or support district wide candidates during a primary.
The following two exceptions apply:
- Immediate family or spouse. It is unreasonable to expect that a board member whose spouse or immediate family runs for an LD 24 district-wide office must remain completely neutral. It is problematic though, if said boardmember uses their position to allude or create the idea that the whole board supports the candidate in question ad subject to board inquiry. Any issues or complaints in this nature will be reviewed by the board.
- Entire district does not support a candidate. If a candidate for district-wide office does not share the values of LD 24 Democrats and the district body declares it so then the board, or individual board members, may publicly endorse the candidate’s opponent but only if there is only one other opponent. Otherwise the district and board may release an “un-endorsement” said candidate thereby not interfering with other candidates.
Candidates running unopposed in one office will receive a de facto district endorsement unless that candidate is slated with other district-wide office candidates who are facing opposition in the primary.
Board members, during a primary or general election, cannot endorse or publicly support a candidate that is not a Democrat.
Any public endorsement of a non-Democratic candidate is cause for immediate removal from the board as well as removal from being a PC concurrent with Maricopa County Democratic Party bylaws.
Non-District-Wide Offices (School Board, US Congress/Senate, Governor, etc.)
Board members can publicly endorse, support, or work for candidates running for offices not specifically district wide as individuals. The exception is if the candidate endorsed is not a Democrat (see above rule).
Board members can publicly endorse people running for non-partisan offices as they see fit.
District-Wide Offices (Arizona State House/Senate) outside of District 24
Board members can endorse Democratic candidates, primary or general, in district-wide races in districts outside of district 24.
State Committeemember Elections:
State Committee members are elected by PCs and consist of LD 24 PCs. State Committee seats are regularly voted on every even year following all Arizona General election and immediately after each regular Executive Board election (The date for both the State Committee election and LD 24 Executive Board election is set in the fall of the election year).
State Committee Vacancies:
If there is seat vacancy that occurs between normal reorganization elections, said vacancy is filled by the current elected Chairperson of district 24 at their discretion. If a vacancy in State Committee occurs while the Chairperson is on a leave of absence, but will return and resume the duties of Chairperson, then that vacancy will remain until the Chairperson has returned to active duty and cannot be filled by an interim Chair.
The only time a State Committee vacancy may be filled by an Interim Chair is if the elected Chairperson is not returning to their post and is vacating or resigning the post.
If a State Committee seat is bequeathed to an individual by virtue of having been elected to the board, but done so before general voting for State Committee seats, that person should be expected to step down from that State Committee seat if they resign their board seat.
Post- Reorganization Transition Period
Following the bi-annual Reorganization election the incumbent LD 24 chairperson, if not seeking reelection, shall serve as Chair until the 2nd of January following the election. The transition between outgoing chair and incoming chair will be automatic and not require any vote or ceremony. This is intended to allow the newly elected chair time to outline their agenda and plan for the next cycle while the previous chair handles any administrative issues that may come up.
District Resources for Campaigns
Any resources offered to district-wide campaigns will be offered equally to any viable Democratic candidate in any race on any level that wishes to take advantage. The district social media is an open forum, and we will post any events a campaign creates and hosts as long as content is not of an inflammatory nature (all posts will be decided upon case by case) District emails will only feature district business and events.
Amending or Removing Bylaws
All bylaws can be amended or replaced by the board, but must be done so with an in person vote with at least a quorum of board members in attendance. It does not have to be during an officially scheduled meeting. A formal board majority is required to change, remove, or add a bylaw.
Any Unaddressed Issues
The district board reserves the right to create any needed rules, guidelines, and bylaws for any scenario unaddressed thus far by national, state, county, or LD bylaws.
Skyler St. John