Article 1: Organizational Structure and Statement of Purpose
Section 1-1: Organization
The name of this organization shall be Young Democrats of Massachusetts, hereinafter YDMA. Said organization shall be organized as a corporation recognized under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, and/or as a state or federal political action committee organized under independent bylaws as its activities and applicable law allows. YDMA is an independent organization of Democrats in Massachusetts under the age of 36 years. The Young Democrats of Massachusetts is the official chartered unit of the Young Democrats of America (YDA) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Section 1-2: Statement of Purpose
YDMA is the official umbrella organization for young Democrats in Massachusetts. Its purpose is to:
- Engage young people across Massachusetts to become involved in the democratic process,
- Elect Democrats across Massachusetts in municipal, state, and federal elections
- Advocate progressive values in legislation and ballot initiatives
- Train the next generation of leaders in the Democratic party
Section 1-3: Organizational Structure
YDMA shall consist of the Board of Directors, regional chapters, chartered caucuses, and general YDMA membership.
Article 2: Membership
Section 2-1: Eligibility
All persons under the age of 36 years are eligible to be members of YDMA if they:
- Reside in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- Are registered to vote within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- Are a registered Democrat (if eligible to vote)
These conditions should not exclude permanent residents and undocumented immigrants who are not eligible to register to vote within the United States, temporary residents who choose to remain registered in another state, or Democrats not old enough to register to vote.
Section 2-2: Termination of Membership/Ineligibility
Any YDMA member changing their registration to that of another party or unenrolled (no party) or, after becoming a member, fails to register in the Democratic Party shall cease to be a member of YDMA. Members who temporarily leave Massachusetts for military service, education, political activity, or other endeavors of limited duration, may choose to remain members of YDMA, so long as they continue to be registered in the Democratic Party, where possible.
Section 2-3: Dues
Membership dues may be solicited, with the following conditions and restrictions:
- Any such requirement must be included as part of the Bylaws of YDMA
- No person otherwise eligible for YDMA membership shall be denied membership on the basis of their ability to pay dues.
Section 2-4: Participation
YDMA members may be required to register in the organization no more than 30 days in advance of organizational meetings and open conventions to participate in a voting capacity at those events. Once a YDMA member has registered in the organization, they need not register again to participate in organizational meetings or open conventions, so long as they does not cease to be a member as described in Section 2-2 of this Article. Registration shall be defined in the bylaws. All YDMA members are required to have participated in a least two meetings or other gatherings of the organization.
Article 3: Chartered Regional Chapters and Caucuses
Section 3-1: Authority
- Chartered Regional Chapters
YDMA may allow the organization of affiliated chapters in selected geographic regions of Massachusetts. Formal recognition of these chapters is contingent upon approval by majority vote of the Board of Directors. Approval entitles the chair of the Regional Chapter or their designee to a vote on the Board of Directors. The authority on the part of YDMA to recognize such chapters shall in no way interfere with the authority of the College Democrats of Massachusetts to establish campus chapters. Board members of chapters who have served at least one year on their respective boards, who become ineligible due to age shall be eligible to become exofficio nonvoting members of said chapter board until the individual reaches their 40th birthday.
- Chartered Caucuses
YDMA may allow the organization of affiliated caucuses. Formal recognition of these caucuses must be approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. Approval entitles the chair of the caucus or their designee to a vote on the Board of Directors.
Section 3-2: Affiliation with YDMA
Chartered regional chapters and caucuses shall coordinate all fundraising, media, political, policy, and membership activities with YDMA. Regional chapters may be required to pay dues to YDMA if proscribed in the bylaws. Regional chapters and caucuses shall not violate this Charter or the Bylaws of YDMA.
Section 3-3: Organization
Each regional chapter and caucus shall elect its own officers and promulgate a charter under the authority of this Charter and send notice thereof to the board of YDMA. Members of regional chapters and caucuses shall be considered members of YDMA. All members of YDMA who reside in a region served by a chapter shall also be considered members of that chapter. Regional chapters and caucuses must re-submit their charters to the Secretary within 30 days following the YDMA Annual Convention to remain a recognized regional chapter or caucus.
Article 4: Officers of YDMA
Section 4-1: Eligibility
Any person serving on the Board of Directors must fit the qualifications of voting YDMA membership.
Section 4-2: Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall consist of officers holding the positions of the President, Vice President, the Treasurer, the Secretary, and the Membership and Outreach Director. The Executive Committee of YDMA is charged with carrying out the Charter and Bylaws of the organization, executing the Platform and policy statements of the membership of YDMA, and performing the duties of their respective offices.
Section 4-3: Board of Directors
The Board of Directors shall consist of Officers holding the following positions:
- Members of Executive Committee;
- the immediate past President or ‘President Emeritus’, providing they held the office of President for the previous full term, may choose to serve as President Emeritus for a single term of no longer than one year;
- the Chairperson of each Chartered Regional Chapters;
- the Chairperson of each Chartered Caucus;
- the College Democrats of Massachusetts President as defined by their charter and bylaws or a designated proxy will serve a one-year term;
- the High School Democrats of Massachusetts President as defined by their charter and bylaws or a designated proxy will serve a one-year term;
- the YDMA Democratic State Committeepersons (male-identifying and female-identifying);
- the YDA National Committeepersons (male-identifying and female-identifying);
- Communications Director;
- Political Director;
- Public Policy Director;
- Fundraising Director;
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director;
- Technical Director;
The Board of Directors may also choose to appoint an Executive Director, who shall be considered an officer for purposes of the restrictions placed on the activities of officers, but who shall not be a voting member of the Board of Directors and whose contract duration shall not exceed one (1) year, but may be renewed annually by a majority vote of the Executive Committee.
Section 4-4: Elections
- The officers of the Executive Committee shall be elected at YDMA’s annual organizational meeting by a simple majority vote of secret ballots cast by eligible participating YDMA members. If a majority is not achieved on the first ballot, the candidate with the least number of votes shall be dropped from the balloting, and another round of ballots shall be cast until one person receives a majority of the vote.
- The Political, Public Policy, Fundraising, Equity Diversity and Inclusion, Technical, and Communications Director shall be elected by a majority vote of eligible participating YDMA membership at the Annual Convention. Voting procedures shall follow those provided for in this charter and associated bylaws.
- Chairs of Regional Chapters shall be elected during a meeting of the members of the Regional Chapter in accordance to the rules in that regional chapter’s charter.
- Chairs of chartered caucuses shall be elected during a meeting of the members of the Caucus in accordance to the rules in that caucus’ charter.
- The YDMA Democratic State Committeeman and YDMA Democratic State Committeewoman shall be elected at a special election, within 30 days after the end of the 2 year term of service held by the previous representative, by a simple majority of vote of the Board of Directors. If a majority is not achieved on the first ballot, the candidate with the least number of votes shall be dropped from the balloting, and another round of ballots shall be cast until one person receives a majority of the vote.
- Charter changes to the terms of elected positions take effect at the next regularly scheduled election.
Section 4-5: Term
All elected members of the Board of Directors shall serve a term of one year, except the YDMA State Committeepersons, whose term is defined by the Democratic State Committee. In the event that an officer or director ceases to hold his/her office, that vacancy shall be filled by temporary appointment of the Board of Directors until the next Annual Convention, except in the case of the vacancy of the office of YDMA President, in which case the office of President shall fall to the next officer in the following order of succession, with the ascending officer vacating their former office:
- Vice President
- Membership and Outreach Director
- YDA National Committeeperson, whichever person’s birthday falls earlier in the year.
Section 4-6: Duties and Responsibilities
- Chairing the meetings of the Board of Directors,
- Overseeing the operations of YDMA,
- Ensuring compliance with all state and federal laws, including filing all necessary documents,
- Acting as the official spokesperson for YDMA,
- Sending official Board Meeting notices pursuant to Section 7-3.
- Supervising the Executive Director and any other staff/consultants retained by YDMA,
- Serving as a representative to YDMA on the YDA National Committee by attending all three National YDA Committee meetings, or appointing a proxy to serve in their place.
- Co-chair the YDMA PAC Committee.
- Vice President
- Overseeing the Public Policy and Political Directors
- Assisting the President in the performance of their duties,
- Overseeing special projects, including the Annual Convention, and
- Overseeing the activities of the regional chapters.
- Maintaining clear and accurate records of YDMA income and expenditures,
- Filing all required campaign finance, tax, and other fiscal information forms,
- Reporting to the Board of Directors on the fiscal status of YDMA, and
- Serving as Co-Chair of the YDMA Political Action Committee.
- Overseeing the Fundraising Director
- Maintaining clear and accurate records of YDMA meetings and activities, and organization documents,
- Contacting YDMA members concerning upcoming meetings, conventions, and other events in consultation with the Communications and Membership and Outreach Director,
- Making all appropriate filings with the State Committee and government offices not the responsibility of the YDMA Treasurer, and
- Maintaining a record of all YDMA members and their eligibility to vote in YDMA elections as stated in Section 2-4.
- Assisting the President in ensuring compliance with all state and federal laws, including filing all necessary documents, and
- Overseeing the Communications and Technical Director.
- Membership and Outreach Director
- Work to increase YDMA active membership and reaching out to new constituent groups
- Overseeing the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director
- Overseeing the activities of the chartered caucuses
- National Committeepersons (male-identifying and female-identifying)
- Serving as a representative to YDMA on the YDA National Committee by attending all three National YDA Committee Meetings, or appointing a proxy to serve in their place.
- Representing YDMA on all YDA National Committee conference calls,
- Serving as a liaison between YDMA and YDA.
- Chairs of Chartered Regional Chapters
- Facilitating communication between the Board of Directors and their regional chapters, and
- Serving as a member on the Board of Directors of YDMA, unless the Chapter Chair chooses a different representative by proxy.
- Chairs of Charted Caucuses
- Facilitating communication between the Board of Directors and their caucus. and
- Serving as a member on the Board of Directors of YDMA, unless the Caucus Chair chooses a different representative by proxy.
- State Committee Representatives
Recognizing the allotment of two seats on the Democratic State Committee (DSC), YDMA shall elect one male-identifying and one female-identifying representative, who served on the Board of Directors for at least one year and been a member of YDMA for at least two years, to serve under the terms of the Charter of the Massachusetts Democratic Party,
- Attending DSC meetings as well as DSC Youth Services Sub-committee meetings, and
- Reporting at each YDMA meeting any updates or correspondences from the Democratic State Party.
YDMA shall recognize seven Directors. Each director shall form an ad-hoc committee to carry out the duties laid out below.
- Political Director, who will coordinate electoral activities, facilitate endorsements of candidates, provide support to Young Democrats running for public office, and maintain relationships with elected officials of the Democratic Party. They are the chair of the political committee.
- Public Policy Director, who will advocate for the policies set forth in the Platform. They are the chair of the public policy committee.
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director, who will coordinate the inclusion of vulnerable and underrepresented populations through the support and development of policy, programs, and protocols.
- Communications Director, who will serve as coordinating external facing communications, work with the Secretary to send out regular communications with the YDMA membership, maintain the YDMA press packet, and maintain the official image of YDMA through communications and branding. They are the chair of the communications committee.
- Fundraising Director, who shall serve as coordinating and planning fundraising for YDMA. They are the chair of the fundraising committee.
- Technical Director, who shall serve as the managing all technology, particularly software-related, aspects of YDMA including the website and email accounts.
Section 4-7: Removal of Officers
Grounds for Removal shall include:
- Failing to meet the qualifications of membership.
- Use of the position of YDMA officer, or the YDMA name to oppose the nominees of the Democratic Party for elective office.
- Publicly endorsed or supported any candidate whose announced intention is to oppose the nominee of the Democratic Party which nominee publicly supports the majority of the platform of the Democratic Party as adopted at the most recent state and national Democratic conventions. A member for whom a long and deeply held belief would be violated by support of the nominee shall not be removed under this section.
- Failure to attend three meetings without an excused absence. An excused absence is one that is conveyed to the President or Vice President prior to the meeting. In this case, the officer in question shall have twenty-one days to explain the absences in writing and the motion to remove shall automatically be placed on the agenda of the next board meeting.
- Failure to perform the duties described in Section 4-6.
- Any other behavior or action unbecoming of an officer of YDMA.
Article 5: Charter Amendments
Section 5-1: Notice
Charter Convention may be called by the board of directors or by petition to the board bearing the signatures of at least 8 YDMA members who are otherwise eligible to vote at such a convention. Notice of such convention should be distributed to the YDMA membership at least 30 days prior to the Charter Convention.
Section 5-2: Consideration
Proposed amendments to this Charter must be submitted no less than twenty-one days prior to a Charter Convention and must be distributed to membership, unless the rules are suspended by a 3/4 vote of those members present and voting to consider a Charter amendment not previously before the convention.
Section 5-3: Quorum
A minimum of eight eligible voting members of YDMA shall constitute a quorum for holding a charter convention.
Section 5-4: Passage
Charter changes must be approved by 2/3 of those YDMA members present and voting at a Charter Convention.
Article 6: Platform
Section 6-1: Function
The Platform will serve as the official position of YDMA on policy matters, and may be supplemented, but not contradicted by other YDMA policy statements.
Section 6-2: Structure
The YDMA Platform shall be the product of research and discussion at YDMA conventions.
Section 6-3: Amendments
YDMA’s Platform can only be amended by vote of a convention open to the entire membership of YDMA or representatives of the membership elected at regional caucuses. Amendments can only be considered on the convention floor if a petition to do so has been signed by ten (10) YDMA members.
Section 6-4: Policy Statements
Policy statements on timely matters may be adopted by vote of the Board of Directors, so long as they are in agreement with YDMA’s Platform and the standing positions of YDMA, as voted at its conventions.
Article 7: Conventions; Organizational Meetings; Board Meetings
Section 7-1: Conventions
YDMA shall hold a convention annually, to be organized and planned by the Board of Directors. Conventions may be of two varieties: open or representational. YDMA conventions shall be open to all YDMA members, unless specified otherwise in the Bylaws. Representational conventions shall require a fair and open delegate selection process in which all YDMA members are invited to participate on a regional level. Conventions shall be publicized no less than 30 days in advance and notice to a regional caucus or the convention itself must be sent to all YDMA members, such that no less than 30 days is allowed for the submission of items for discussion prior to the sending of a detailed agenda. Conventions are empowered to amend the YDMA Platform, Charter, and Bylaws, as specified herein, as well as to author policy statements.
Section 7-2: Annual Convention
An Annual Convention must be held to elect those positions on the Board of Directors that are elected by general membership if the current term is set to expire, the position is vacant, or is occupied by an interim appointee. These meetings must be publicized at least 30 days in advance, at which time all YDMA members must be notified of their time and location. Organizational meetings may be combined with conventions, workshops and/or social gatherings. Special organizational meetings may be called to fill vacancies that occur during an officer’s term, except during the 30 days previous to the annual organizational meeting.
Section 7-3: Board Meetings
The YDMA Board of Directors shall meet on a regular schedule to be specified in the Bylaws. Board meetings shall be open to all YDMA members, unless reasons of collective bargaining, privacy, or other considerations similar to those in the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law require the Board of Directors to vote to hold an Executive Session. All votes of the Board of Directors shall be recorded; no secret ballots shall be permitted, except when filling vacancies on the Executive Committee.
Section 7-4: Other Gatherings
YDMA may hold whatever workshops, parties, fundraisers, single-issue policy discussions, or other events the Board of Directors sees fit within the bounds of this Charter and the Bylaws.
Article 8: Bylaws
Section 8-1: Purpose and Scope
YDMA’s Bylaws shall serve to supplement this Charter, but shall in no way contradict its substance or intent. The Bylaws are intended to address issues of process not stated in this Charter, but may not address policy questions.
Section 8-2: Passage and Amendment
Amendments to YDMA’s Bylaws may be made by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Directors or by simple majority vote at a convention of YDMA members.
Article 9: Endorsing
Section 9-1: Structure
Neither YDMA nor related entities may endorse in contested Democratic primaries.
Article 10: Affirmative Action
Section 10-1: Principles
YDMA is committed to equality of opportunity for everyone, and is dedicated to working actively to involve people of all backgrounds in YDMA, the Democratic Party, and the political process.
Section 10-2: Hiring Policy
YDMA shall be an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and will hire employees in accordance with the Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity policy described in state law.
The criteria that YDMA uses for endorsing candidates are as follows:
- The candidate’s views must be consistent, but need not be exact, with the YDMA Platform;
- The candidacy must be a viable one, meaning the candidate must have the ability and resources to win;
- The candidate must be a registered Democrat in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Municipal, Federal, and State Endorsements
The candidate must receive a two-thirds vote of the YDMA Board of Directors to receive a YDMA endorsement.
The candidate must receive a vote in accordance with the YDMA regional chapter charter and/or bylaws to receive a YDMA Chapter endorsement.
Ballot Initiatives, Legislation, Events
The criteria that YDMA uses for endorsing ballot initiatives, legislation, and events are as follows:
- The views must be consistent, but need not be exact, with the YDMA Platform;
- Must receive a two-thirds vote of the YDMA Board of Directors to receive a YDMA endorsement.
Board Members & Endorsements
When a YDMA board member disagrees with a YDMA endorsement,
- The disagreeing individual cannot prevent the organization from supporting the endorsement (i.e. events, social media, etc.).
- The disagreeing individual cannot post their dissent on YDMA-related social media.
- The disagreeing individual cannot represent YDMA while expressing opposition to the endorsement.
- YDMA will not compel the disagreeing individual to show support of the endorsement.
- YDMA will not prevent the individual from expressing their view on their personal social media, as long as the social media message makes no mention of YDMA.
Failure to adhere to this may result in removal from the disagreeing individuals elected or appointed post.
The Young Democrats of Massachusetts maintains two (2) types of operating accounts. A nonprofit 501c4 account and the Young Democrats of Massachusetts Political Action Committee. Both of these accounts are managed by the YDMA Treasurer. Currently, the funds for these accounts are both kept with Citizens Bank. Below is proposed protocol for maintaining these accounts accurately and to provide further transparency to the Young Democrats of Massachusetts Board of Directors.
- The Treasurer will read OCPF’s Campaign Finance Guide for Political Action Committees and People’s Committees (http://www.ocpf.net/guides/guide_pac_2010.pdf) immediately after the April Board elections.
- Monthly Statements will be received electronically and reviewed monthly by the Treasurer.
- A monthly balance sheet of receipts and expenditures will be kept online by the Treasurer and will be reviewed by the President.
- Any irregularities to the monthly balance should be reconciled by the Treasurer and immediately reported to the President of YDMA. This includes erroneous charges, uncashed checks, reimbursements, etc.
- The reconciled monthly balance sheet for the PAC and the c4 account will be distributed to the YDMA Board for every monthly board meeting.
- All received checks will be copied prior to being deposited in the bank account and kept on file. Digital copies of checks will be kept if a scanner is available. The Massachusetts Democratic Party will provide a location to file all YDMA documents, if necessary. It is the Treasurer’s responsibility to keep these copies.
- All itemized receipts for YDMA expenditures will be copied and kept on file. Each copy should also note the recipient, the reason for the expenditures (e.g. food for Convention Party, t-shirts for volunteers, invitations for fundraiser, etc.) as well as the corresponding check number used to pay for item. It is the Treasurer’s responsibility to keep these copies.
- All check stubs will contain the following information: Date, the recipient, reason for check (memo), and the exact amount of the check.
- Donor information will be sent to the Fundraising Director monthly for follow-up thank you cards.
- All information will be maintained for a period of 6 years as required by state law.
- All new PAC treasurers for YDMA and Chapters shall attend at least one of the OCPF PAC trainings.
- All reimbursements over $50 must be approved by the Board of Directors.
- All requests for YDMA funds shall include an itemized budget.
YDMA will register as the Massachusetts Chapter of the Young Democrats of America before each YDA National Convention. At YDMA’s annual organizational meeting, the membership will elect a YDA National Committeeperson (male-identifying) and a YDA National Committeeperson (female-identiying). At YDA regional and national conventions, each member of the Massachusetts delegation will have an equal share of YDMA’s total allotment of votes.
Candidates for positions defined in the YDMA Charter or Bylaws and elected at the Annual Organizational Meeting may be entitled to a candidate statement in the Final Call to Convention that will be sent by the Board of Directors to the YDMA membership no later than ten days prior to the election.
Basic membership dues shall be set at $35.00 per year running from Convention to Convention. Comprehensive membership dues, which shall include free admission to all YDMA events for which a fee is charged, shall be set at $125.00 per the same year. While all members shall be encouraged to pay dues, inability to pay shall not be grounds for denial of membership or participation in YDMA.
Bylaws and Charter Oversight
The Secretary shall be empowered to make grammatical and technical changes to the wording of the Action Agenda, Platform, and Charter, so long as the changes are not substantive.
YDMA Annual Conventions and Organizational Meetings shall be permitted to be held on the same day.
Section 1: Notice
The time, date, and place of the annual convention shall be determined by the Board, and this decision shall be publicized not later than thirty days prior to the date set for said convention. Official notice shall be given in the form of an Initial Call to Convention drafted and attested by the YDMA Secretary to be posted on the website, distributed to members, and published in any other forum as determined by the Board. This Call shall state the deadline for early statements of candidacy, proposals for amendments to the charter, bylaws, and platform of YDM, as well as any resolutions to be considered at the convention, along with the submission requirements thereof, all to be submitted to the Secretary in a manner stated in the Call. Such deadline shall not be more than twenty days prior to the date fixed for convention. This Call shall also state the requirements necessary to vote and seek office relative to age, residency/matriculation, party affiliation, and attendance. The Secretary shall notify any declared candidate for YDMA office of his or her ineligibility if such applies.
The Final Call to Convention shall be issued by the Secretary not later than ten days prior to the date fixed for the convention and not before the deadline fixed by the Board for amendments, resolutions, and statements of candidacy as provided for above. This Call shall restate the time, place, and eligibility requirements and state the requirements for consideration under suspension of the rules. This Call shall also include the texts of any documents to be considered of which the Secretary is in receipt and a list of declared candidates for the several offices, along with their statements.
Section 2: Credentialing
Throughout the year attendance shall be recorded at all YDMA meetings and events conducted. For Board meetings, the attendance shall be as recorded in the minutes, and for other events sign-in sheets shall be used as the official record. Care shall be taken that records accurately reflect actual attendance in cases wherein pre-registration is permitted. Events co-hosted with other organizations shall be counted toward this attendance requirement at the discretion of the Executive Committee. As soon as possible following the last scheduled meeting or event prior to the convention the Secretary shall compile attendance data and cross reference the names of those who meet the attendance requirement with the other eligibility criteria. The Secretary shall transmit to the President the list of names of those persons eligible to vote and seek office.
Section 3: Quorum
Upon calling the convention to order the President shall read the list of names provided by the Secretary as being credentialed to vote. Any eight of those so named shall constitute a quorum for conducting the business of the convention. If quorum is not achieved the Board shall fix a new time, date, and place for the convention to be held not less than seven nor more than thirty days following the original date. The Secretary shall reissue the Final Call with the new information regarding time, date, and place, but this shall not be construed to extend any deadlines provided for in the Initial Call.
Section 4: Amendments and Resolutions
Matters before the convention shall be considered in the following order: amendments to the YDMA charter, amendments to the YDMA bylaws, amendments to the YDMA platform, other resolutions. Per the charter, amendments to the charter not already before the convention require the votes of the three-fourths of the members present and voting to suspend the rules for consideration. All other documents not already before the convention require the votes of two-thirds of the members present and voting to suspend the rules for consideration. Documents included with the Final Call take precedence in each category over those which require a suspension of the rules. Proposers of documents subject to suspension of the rules are responsible for providing copies to the members. Documents considered under this paragraph shall take effect at the adjournment of the convention unless otherwise provided in the enacting clause thereof, but any amendments affecting the election of officers shall be considered valid when executing section five of this bylaw at the same convention.
Section 5: Nominations
After all documents are considered nominations for offices are in order. Nominations may be made from the floor for candidates not previously declared. Nominations shall be considered in the following order: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, YDA Committeeperson (female-identifying), YDA Committeeperson (male-identifying), Standing Committee Chairs. These nominations require seconds, and the nominee must accept the nomination, either verbally if present, or in writing if not present. Only those persons whose names are on the credentialed list are eligible for nomination. Equitable time for speaking and questions by candidates may be provided by appropriate motion. The election for each office in sequence shall be conducted before opening the floor to nominations for the next office. Contested elections shall be determined by ballot, and uncontested nominees may be elected by acclamation. Ballots shall include the preprinted names of candidates who declared before the deadline and write-in spaces for names of candidates nominated from the floor. The terms of those elected shall commence immediately upon the adjournment of convention.
Section 6: Procedural Matters
All proceedings of the convention shall be conducted in accordance to the most recent revision of Robert’s Rules of Order and the Secretary may act as parliamentarian if the need arises. Minutes of the convention shall be recorded by the Secretary, and shall include the list of attendees eligible to vote, the names of those moving and seconding any motions or nominations, and the results of any vote taken. The Secretary shall distribute the minutes to the Board for their ratification at the first Board meeting following the convention.
- The Board of Directors shall meet at least on a monthly basis.
- The Executive Committee shall meet twice a month.
- All Regional Chapter, Caucus, and Committee Chairs shall submit to the Secretary a report at least 48 hours in advance of the meetings of the Board of Directors. Such reports shall then be distributed to the board of directors and shall include action items to be included on the Board of Directors meeting agenda.
- Any item that an individual or committee wants to discuss at an YDMA Monthly Meeting, where said item’s wording is of substantial length (over two pages), must be distributed to the YDMA Board of Directors 48 hours prior to said Monthly Meeting.
- The officers of the Executive Committee shall be elected at YDMA’s Annual Convention by a simple majority vote of secret ballots cast by eligible participating YDMA members. If a majority is not achieved on the first ballot, the candidate with the least number of votes shall be dropped from the balloting, and another round of ballots shall be cast until one person receives a majority of the vote.
- The Political, Public Policy, Diversity and Inclusion, Events, Fundraising, Technical, and Communications Director shall be elected by a majority vote of eligible participating YDMA membership at the Annual Convention. Voting procedures shall follow those provided for in this charter and associated bylaws.
- The four At-Large Directors shall be elected by a simple plurality vote of the eligible participating YDMA membership at the Annual Convention.
- The College Democrats of Massachusetts shall choose their two Directors to serve one year terms, and convey their appointments to the Executive Committee.
- Chairs of Regional Chapters shall be elected during a meeting of the members of the Regional Chapter in accordance to the rules in that regional chapter’s charter. Elections shall be held within three months preceding the YDMA Annual Convention.
- Chairs of chartered caucuses shall be elected during a meeting of the members of the Caucus in accordance to the rules in that caucus’ charter. Elections shall be held within three months preceding the YDMA Annual Convention.
- The YDMA Democratic State Committeeperson (male-identifying) and YDMA Democratic State Committeeperson (female-identifying) shall be elected at a special election, within 30 days after the end of the 4-year term of service held by the previous representative, by a simple majority of vote of the Board of Directors. If a majority is not achieved on the first ballot, the candidate with the least number of votes shall be dropped from the balloting, and another round of ballots shall be cast until one person receives a majority of the vote.
Board Member Requirements
- No member of YDMA may hold more than one office of the Board of Directors simultaneously.
Board Member Removal
- Any member of YDMA may submit a notice of intent to vote to remove an officer. Notice of this intent must be issued through a Board email, at least 21 days in advance of a vote, in order to allow for due process. The notice must contain the name of the member proposing the removal, the name and title of the officer who is up for removal, and a statement describing the grounds for removal. Once the 21 advance days have passed, a vote must be taken at the next board meeting.
- A member of the Executive Committee can be removed by a majority vote of the Executive Committee, followed by a two-¬thirds vote of the Board of Directors under the rules of quorum.
- Any other officer of the Board of Directors may be removed by a two¬-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Directors under the rules of quorum.
- In the case of removal of a State Committeeperson (female-identifying) or State Committeeperson (male-identifying), the officer removed must submit a letter of resignation to the Democratic State Committee Chair. The Board of Directors shall also author a letter requesting the removed officer be removed from his or her DSC seat, to be signed by the remaining Executive Board members, and submitted to the Democratic State Committee Chair.
Board Member Leave of Absence
Board members who are unable to fulfil their duties for a specific period of time of less than 4 months within their term may take a leave of absence. A leave of absence longer than 4 months will be considered a resignation of the chair.
- For chapters, the interim chair will be determined by the chapter charter line of succession.
- For caucuses, the interim chair will be the caucus vice chair. If the caucus has no vice chair, the chair may nominate an interim chair to be approved by the board of directors.
- For directors, the interim director will be nominated by the director to be approved by the board of directors.
Section 1: Quorum For the Purpose of Holding Board Meetings
A notification of at least fourteen days has been given for holding a Board Meeting, no quorum attendance roll call shall be required for the purpose of holding the meeting and performing the active functions and duties of YDMA.
Section 2: Exception to Section 1
If fourteen days notice is not given, suspension of Section 1 may be obtained through a Board email notice which must be left open for 48 hours and must be completed by noon on the day of the proposed meeting. If a Board notice is not sent, then a roll call of at least half of the filled executive committee seats plus two other board members or any eight board members must be present to hold an official Board meeting.
Section 3: Quorum for the Purposes of Voting on Official Business
- Matters which require a vote of the Board of Directors shall be brought to the floor for a vote by the President, and any of the three following quorums will be deemed acceptable:
- Fifty percent roll call attendance of the entire Board of Directors, accounting only for seats which are filled, or
- A majority of the Executive Committee, three At-Large and one other Board member, or
- If the President decides to hold a vote of the Board of Directors via email, then the following guidelines shall be followed:
- A Board email must be sent out detailing the vote in question and the vote must remain open for a 96 hours.
- Email votes can only be opened on a weekday. If a weekend day falls during the 96 hour period required, the weekend hours shall not count toward the 96 hours required, but votes cast during this time shall be valid.
- Votes, in order to be counted must be sent to the President and the Secretary in one email.
- All votes taken over email are considered public. Votes requiring a secret ballot shall not be taken over email.
- Fifty percent of the board casting an online vote, accounting for only seats which are filled, considers the vote valid
- Votes must be preserved for inspection for thirty days following the close of voting.
A chapter or caucus is deemed inactive if it meets one of the following criteria:
- The chapter or caucus has no chair.
- The chapter or caucus has not held a public event within 3 months.
If a chapter or caucus has been deemed inactive and there is a chapter or caucus board, any member of the YDMA may submit a notice of intent to vote to remove members of the existing board from the chapter or caucus. Notice of this intent must be issued through a Board email, at least 21 days in advance of a vote, in order to allow for due process. The notice must contain the name of the member proposing the removal, the name and title of the officers on the board (up to and including the chair) who are up for removal, and a statement describing the grounds for removal. Once the 21 advance days have passed, a vote must be taken at the next YDMA Board of Directors meeting. Those members who have been proposed to be removed are allowed to make a statement either through email or the board meeting. If the vote is passed, the YDMA Board can organize a new election for the chapter or caucus.
Conflict of Interest
Whenever a director or chair has a financial interest (i.e. employment) in any matter coming before the board of directors, the board shall ensure that:
- The interest of such chair or director is fully disclosed to the board of directors.
- No interested chair or director may vote or lobby on the matter or be counted in determining the existence of a quorum at the meeting of the board of directors at which such matter is voted upon.
- Any transaction in which a director or chair has a financial interest shall be duly approved by members of the board of directors not so interested or connected as being in the best interests of the organization.
- The minutes of meetings at which such votes are taken shall record such disclosure, abstention, and rationale for approval.
This version of the Charter was passed unanimously at a Charter Convention on March 21, 2018 at Massachusetts Democratic Party Headquarters in Boston, MA. Bylaws last updated September 29, 2018