By-Laws

Part One: PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES

I. NAME

The name of this organization shall be Chaffee County Democrats, hereafter called the “Party.”

II. PURPOSE

The purpose of this Party shall be to elect Democrats to public office; identify issues that affect the health, welfare and happiness of present and future citizens of Chaffee County and develop Democratic positions on these issues; enhance an understanding of the political process and of the Democratic party organization; sustain the human and constitutional rights of all persons; provide a mechanism for making our political institutions responsive and accountable to the aims and needs of our citizens; promote individual freedom in a framework of a just society; and political freedom in the framework of meaningful participation by all citizens.

III. MEMBERS

Party membership shall be open to all who desire to support the party, who wish to be know as Democrats, and who are not members of any other political party.

IV. AUTHORITY

While it is in session the County Assembly shall exercise all statutory powers given the Party. At all other times, the governing body of the Party shall be the Central Committee, with full powers of the County Assembly. The Central Committee may delegate authority to the Executive Committee. The Chair shall
carry out the mandate of the Central Committee and/or the Executive Committee.

V. PRINCIPLES

A. Affirmative Action/Outreach. In order to create full participation by all Democrats in the Party, the Party shall adopt and uphold an affirmative action program. All Party members shall be encouraged to participate in the delegate selection process, in all levels of the party organization, and as candidates. The Party values the participation of diverse members and recognizes that diversity is our strength as Democrats.

B. Non-Discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, color, national origin, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, or economic status in the conduct of party activities is prohibited.

C. Open Meetings. All meetings of any Party Committee shall be open to any interested person. To this end, all meetings of any party committee or district at which official party business will be discussed and acted upon shall be held in a location which is accessible to everyone. Such meetings shall include caucuses, assemblies, conventions, and meetings of the committees outlined in these Rules. To effect this policy, notification of meetings shall include a request for special needs accommodations. The County Party office shall maintain a list of accessible locations and services, and shall, when requested, pay a reasonable fee.

D. Fair Reflection. Delegates and Alternates to all party assemblies and conventions shall be chosen in a manner which fairly reflects the division of candidate preference, including uncommitted, expressed by those participating in the nominating process.

E. Ethical Standards. The Party shall promote ethical guidelines for public officials, party officials, and candidates for public office. All candidates shall submit a Fair Campaign Practices Code affirmation with the letter of intent to seek the Party nomination.

F. Gender. Written documents issued from the Party shall eliminate the presumption on any one gender. Any referral in these rules shall include both genders.

G. Assessments. No delegate to any assembly or convention, nor any candidate for party or public office shall be required to pay any assessment or to make a financial contribution as a condition of becoming or serving as a delegate or office holder.

VI. POLICIES

A. Relationship to State Rules and Election Laws. These by-laws are intended to supplement and summarize the Plan of Organization and Rules of the Democratic Party of Colorado as they relate to County Parties. The Election Laws and the State Rules shall take precedence in the case of any discrepancies.

B. Partisan Elections. The non-monetary resources of the Party, including, but not limited to, use of the office facilities and equipment, mailing lists and other information, shall be made available to all nominees of the Party in a fair and equitable manner. Non-monetary, as well as monetary support, will be limited to the general election. Financial contributions shall be awarded at the discretion of the Executive Committee, upon the recommendation of the Candidate/Campaign Funding Committee.

Part Two: ORGANIZATION

I. CENTRAL COMMITTEE

A. Composition. The precinct committee people, the officers of the Central Committee, the chairpersons of the affiliated committees, and all Democrats elected to office at the county, state and national levels who are registered Democrats in Chaffee County and reside in the county shall constitute the membership of the Central Committee. No person is entitled to more than one vote.

B. Organization Meeting. Between the first and fifteenth days of February of odd-numbered years, the Central Committee shall meet at the call of the Chair, who shall give at least ten days notice to all those entitled to attend. The incumbent chair shall call the meeting to order and preside until a new chair has been elected. The first order of business after the roll call shall be the election of the Chair, followed by the election of the other officers.

C. Duties.

1. The Central Committee shall be the supreme governing body of the party except during sessions of the County Assembly.

2. The Central Committee shall meet at least twice a year at the call of the Chair. Special meetings may be called at the written request of ten percent of the members of the Central Committee. Ten days notice of all meetings shall be provided.

3. The Central Committee shall designate the time and place of all assemblies and conventions, and shall adopt a delegate selection plan for assemblies and conventions.

4. The Central Committee shall have the ultimate authority to decide all disputes under its jurisdiction.

5. The Central Committee may suspend these rules for a specific purpose, except for removal of officers, by a two-thirds vote of those in attendance.

6. The Central Committee shall elect officers in accordance with these rules, and shall have the right to ratify the actions of all committees, appointed or elected.

II. PRECINCT COMMITTEE PEOPLE

A. Election and Term of Office. Two Precinct committee people shall be elected at each biennial precinct caucus. All people eligible by statute to vote at the caucus are eligible as candidates for this office. All disputes regarding election of Precinct committee people shall be resolved by the Credentials Committee of the County Party Assembly. Precinct committee people shall serve for two years, until the subsequent caucus, unless removed for cause.

B. Duties and Responsibilities.

1. Representatives of the Party. As duly elected officers of the Party, precinct committee people are the representatives of the Democratic Party within their precincts, and have the right and privilege of representing the Democrats in their precincts at meetings of the Central Committee.

2. Responsibilities. Rights and privileges carry equivalent responsibilities, namely, to:

a. Attend all Central Committee Meetings, or designate a proxy.
b. Recruit party workers within the precinct and supervise their activities, as directed by the Executive Committee.
c. Notify registered Democrats in the precinct of the time and place of the caucus.
d. Support all nominees of the Party. Financial contributions are not required.

III. OFFICERS OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE

A. Elections and Term of Office. Any registered Democrat in Chaffee County is eligible for election as an officer. Officers shall be elected at the biennial organizational meeting, and serve until the next such meeting, unless removed for cause.

B. Offices.

1. Chair. The Chair shall be the chief executive officer of the Party, and shall carry out the mandate of the Central and Executive Committees, issue the call to and preside at all meetings of the Central and Executive Committees, serve as an ex-officio member of all committees, supervise the business and financial affairs of the Party, oversee all campaigns within the county, act as public spokesman for the Party, and carry out the duties prescribed in the State Party Rules.

2. First Vice Chair. The First Vice-Chair shall perform such tasks as assigned by the Chair necessary to carry out the duties of the Chair. In the absence of the Chair, the First Vice-Chair shall preside at all meetings and exercise all authority of the Chair.

3. Second Vice Chair. The Second Vice-Chair shall perform such tasks as assigned by the Chair necessary to carry out the duties of the Chair. In the absence of the Chair and the First Vice-Chair, the second Vice-Chair shall preside at all meetings and exercise all authority of the Chair.

4. Secretary. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the Central and Executive Committees, maintain the files and records of the Party, oversee the operation the Headquarters, provide any information requested by the County Clerk or Secretary of State, and perform other duties as requested by the Chair.

5. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall have custody of the funds of the Party, and shall make all payments mandated by the Party, provide written accounts of receipts and disbursements at each meeting of the Central and Executive Committees, prepare and file all financial reports required under State and Federal election laws, participate in the writing of each fiscal year’s budget, and serve on the Finance and Audit Committee.

C. Order of Succession. In the event of the resignation, absence, or disability of any officer, the responsibility for carrying out the functions of the party shall devolve upon the officers in the order listed above, until such time as the vacancy is filled, as provided for elsewhere in these by-laws.

IV. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

A. Composition.

1. Elected members. The officers of the Central Committee shall be members of the Executive Committee.

2. Ex-Officio members. All elected Democratic public officials who by these rules are members of the Central Committee shall be members of the Executive Committee.

B. Terms of Office. Elected members shall serve until the next biennial organizational meeting, or until removed for cause, as provided for elsewhere in these rules. Appointed members serve at the pleasure of the Chair.

C. Meetings. At least two meetings shall be called each year by the Chair, who shall give at least ten days notice.

D. Duties. The Executive Committee shall have any such duties as specifically delegated to it by the Central Committee.

1. The Executive Committee shall set the time and place of assemblies and conventions.

2. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to approve and amend the budget presented each year by the Finance and Audit Committee; make decisions for financial contributions to candidates in partisan elections upon recommendation of the Candidate/Campaign Funding Committee; and approve the bi-annual report of the Audit Committee.

3. The Executive Committee shall assist the precinct committee people in their recruitment and support of Party workers.

4. The Executive Committee shall advise on recommendations for appointments by elected officials; recommend individuals to fill vacancies as precinct committee people to the Central Committee for ratification; and appoint persons to fill vacancies in affiliated committees upon the recommendation of the committees.

V. AFFILIATED COMMITTEES OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE

A. Communication and Outreach Committee.

1. Purpose. The committee shall develop a positive and consistent presence in Chaffee County, north and south.

2. Composition. Committee membership is open to any interested registered Democrat in Chaffee County.

3. Duties. The committee shall (2) develop and maintain internal communications systems, mainly through e-mail, (2) initiate and make public external communications through local media and visibility at community events, and (3) work to increase membership and member diversity through the internal and external communications.

B. Candidate/Campaign Funding Committee.

1. Purpose. The committee shall oversee the fund raising and fund distribution activities of the Party.

2. Composition. Committee membership is open to any interested registered Democrat in Chaffee County.

3. Duties. The committee shall recommend allocation of Party funds to candidates.

C. Issues Committee.

1. Purpose. The committee serves as one source of issues upon which the party may take a formal position.

2. Composition. Committee membership is open to any interested citizen in Chaffee County.

3. Duties. The committee will review, research and make recommendations to the Central Committee.

D. Finance and Audit Committee.

1. Purpose. The committee shall develop a positive and consistent presence in Chaffee County, north and south.

2. Composition. The Treasurer, elected county officials not up for re-election, any interested registered Democrat in Chaffee County shall serve on this committee.

3. Duties. The committee shall (1) perform an audit of the financial reports for the previous two-year term within 90 days of the election of officers, (2) assist the Treasurer in preparing the annual budget, (3) advise the Treasurer regarding the financial policies of the Party, and (4) oversee the fundraising activities of the Party.

E. Candidate Recruitment Committee.

1. Purpose.

2. Composition. Committee membership is open to any interested registered Democrat in Chaffee County.

3. Duties.

F. Liaison, Rules and Affirmative Action Committee.

1. Purpose.

2. Composition. Committee membership is open to any interested registered Democrat in Chaffee County.

3. Duties.

G. Other Committees. The Chair shall appoint other committees as may be necessary from time to time.

VI. VACANCIES

A vacancy shall exist when an incumbent resigns, moves from her or his jurisdiction, dies, or is removed for cause.

A. Precinct committee people. The Executive Committee shall appoint a person residing within the precinct to fill a vacancy no less than thirty days prior to the next meeting of the Central Committee. The Central Committee shall then ratify all such appointments.

B. Officers.

1. Chair. A vacancy shall be filled within thirty days by the Central Committee on the call of the First Vice-Chair, or in the absence of the First Vice-Chair, by the Second Vice-Chair. The call shall be issued within ten days of the occurrence of the vacancy.

2. Other Officers. The office shall be filled by election at the first meeting of the Central Committee after the vacancy occurs. The Executive Committee may make an interim appointment at its discretion.

C. Members of Affiliated Committees. Such vacancies shall be filled at the discretion of the person who made the appointment.

VII. RESIGNATIONS AND REMOVALS

A. Resignations. Resignations of Precinct committee people, members of the Central Committee, or any standing committees of the Party shall be made in writing to the County Chair. Resignation of the County Chair shall be made in writing to the State Party Chair. The Party Secretary shall request in writing a written statement of resignation from anyone whose resignation has been verbal. If no reply is received within ten days of this request, the position shall be considered vacant.

B. Removals.

1. Causes.

a. Officers and Precinct committee people may be removed for the following.

(1) Willful violation of these Party Rules.
(2) Aiding or supporting another party.
(3) Aiding or supporting candidates other than the nominees of the party.
(4) Conviction, while in office, of a felony or crime of moral turpitude.
(5) Failure to perform the functions of the office or to fulfill the responsibilities as outlined in these Rules.

b. Executive Committee. The executive committee may remove one of its members by majority vote for failure to attend three consecutive meetings without due cause. Such person may still hold the office which entitled him or her to a position on the Executive Committee.

2. Procedure. Notice of the time and place of the meeting at which a removal is to be considered shall be provided ten days in advance to the person being considered for removal, along with written explanation of the causes to be considered. Every person shall have the right to appear at such a meeting to answer the charges.

a. County Party Officers. A majority of the Central Committee members may call a special meeting of the Central Committee for the purpose of removing an officer for cause. Such action may also be considered at any regular meeting of the Central Committee, provided due notice is given to the person being considered for removal. Two-thirds of those present and voting may remove an officer for cause.

b. Precinct committee people. Precinct committee people may be removed by a two-thirds vote of those present at a meeting of the Central Committee.

3. Right of appeal. Anyone who has been removed from office may appeal the removal at the next meeting of the Central Committee. A two-thirds majority of members present may vote to reinstate such person.

Part Three: NOMINATING SYSTEM

I. PRECINCT CAUCUS

A. Call to Order. At the time and place set by the Central Committee for the holding of the precinct caucuses, one of the incumbent precinct committee people shall call the caucus to order. If no committee person is present, any person eligible to vote at the caucus may call the meeting to order.

B. Reading of Rules. The person calling the caucus to order shall read a statement of caucus rules and procedures provided by the Party, and shall distribute copies of them.

C. Elections. The caucus shall then select a chair and a secretary and proceed to elect the allotted number of delegates to the County Assembly in a manner provided for in the rules, and elect two Precinct committee people.

D. Certification. The officers of the caucus shall prepare a certified list of the names of the delegates to the County Assembly and the Precinct committee people from the precinct on the forms supplied by the Party and shall submit them to the Chair at Headquarters as soon as possible, and no late than noon of the following day.

E. Qualifications for Participating in Caucuses. Any interested person may attend a caucus, but those eligible to vote and be elected as delegates and Precinct committee people are limited by Colorado law, which shall be explained in plain language in the rules provided by the Party for the conduct of the caucuses.

II. COUNTY ASSEMBLIES AND CONVENTIONS

A. Agendas for Assemblies and Conventions: The following items must be included, but the order shall be recommended by the committee on Permanent Organization.

1. Call to order by the Chairman of the Central Committee.

2. Selection of temporary officers.

3. Roll call.

4. Reports of committees on Credentials and Permanent Organization.

5. Recess.

6. Action on reports of committees on credentials and permanent organization.

7. Election of a permanent chair, secretary and other officers.

8. A specific time for the conduct of preference polls, if such is mandated by the delegate selection plan.

9. Report of Resolutions Committee.

10. Designation of candidates for direct primary election.

11. Selection of delegates to the State Assembly and/or Convention.

12. Establishment of a committee to fill vacancies in nominations for public office.

13. Other business.

14. Adjournment.

B. Assemblies.

1. Purpose. Assemblies shall be held in each even-numbered year to designate candidates for public office, elect delegates to the State Assembly, and conduct other business as determined by these rules and the call. Candidates shall be designated for each of the following offices which is designated for election that year: County Commissioner, Clerk and Recorder, Sheriff, Coroner, Treasurer, Surveyor, and Assessor.

2. Date, Time and Place. The Central Committee shall fix a date not less than ten days nor more than thirty days after precinct caucuses. It may delegate its authority to set the date, time and place. The Assembly shall be at least one week before the State Assembly, and shall be in Chaffee County. It is the duty of the Chair to issue a call to all those entitled to attend the Assembly at least ten days beforehand.

3. Designating Candidates. The Assembly shall take no more than two ballots upon candidates for each office to be filled. Every candidate receiving thirty percent or more of the votes of the delegates to the Assembly shall be certified by the presiding officer and secretary of the Assembly. If no candidate receives thirty percent or more of the votes, there shall be a second ballot cast on all the candidates for that office. If on the second ballot no candidate receives thirty percent or more of the votes cast, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be certified as candidates for that office by the Assembly.

a. Tied votes. If two or more candidates receiving designation under these provisions receive an equal number of votes, the order of certification of designation shall be determined by lot drawn by the candidates.

b. Certification. The chair and secretary of the Assembly shall make such certification of designation for direct primary election and other certificates as are required by law. They shall be responsible for filing the certificates in the office of the County Clerk.

C. Conventions.

1. Purpose. Conventions are held in presidential election years to select delegates to the State Convention, which selects delegates to the National Convention.

2. The Convention shall be held in conjunction with the Assembly.

III. DELEGATES TO ASSEMBLIES AND CONVENTIONS

A. Selection. Delegates and alternates to assemblies and conventions shall be elected at the precinct caucus in accordance with a Delegate Selection Plan approved by the Central Committee. The Plan shall conform to guidelines from the State Party and the Affirmative Action Committee.

Delegates and alternates to assemblies and conventions must be registered Democrats resident in the precinct from which they are elected, and must remain registered Democrats throughout the assembly or convention process. Delegates and alternates who fail this selection test may be challenged and decertified at any time during the assembly and convention process. For the first seven days after the caucus, challenges shall be made according to Part III, Section IV, B, 3, b, 1 (Credentials challenges). If they occur more than seven days after the precinct caucus, such challenges must be made directly to the Credentials Committee.

B. Certification. The Credentials Committee shall have the responsibility of determining whether a delegate has been chosen in accordance with the Delegate Selection Plan. Final certification shall be on a vote of the Assembly or Convention to accept the report of the Credentials Committee.

C. Alternates. A caucus, assembly or convention may elect one alternate for each delegate elected.

D. Delegate/Alternate Status at County Assemblies and Conventions.

No delegate or alternate shall be elected to state or national assemblies or conventions directly from a precinct caucus.

A delegate must be present at the County Assembly and Convention to be elected a delegate to assemblies and conventions at the state or national level. A delegate not present at the County Assembly/Convention may be elected an alternate to assemblies and conventions at the state or national level. Delegates and alternates may only be elected to assemblies and conventions at all levels while the county Assembly/Convention is in session.

An alternate to the County Assembly/Convention, certified by the Credentials Committee to take the place of a delegate, may not be decertified after the Credentials Committee has declared that the cut-off time for determining delegate allocation for state or national assemblies and conventions has occurred. A precinct delegate replaced by an alternate may still be elected an alternate, but not a delegate, to subsequent assemblies and conventions.

IV. COMMITTEES OF ASSEMBLIES AND CONVENTION

A. Composition: Each House District shall elect one member of each of four committees at the Central Committee meeting immediately preceding the Assembly or Convention. The chair of each Committee shall be appointed by the County Chair.

B. Committees.

1. The Logistics Committee shall make all arrangements for the meeting, including, but not limited to, reserving the space, establishing a registration system, designating areas for all the activities of the assembly or convention, decorating, and placing directional signs.

2. The Permanent Organization Committee shall recommend to the Assembly or Convention an agenda and the order and time schedule of business; submit a list of the permanent officers of the Assembly or Convention for action by the body; recommend the composition of Legislative District and County Vacancy Committees; set time limits on speeches and debate; establish a way to complete the Platform if it is not adopted fully during the Assembly; and make any other recommendations it deems appropriate.

3. Credentials Committee.

a. Duties. The committee shall recommend the certification of delegates to assemblies and conventions, and resolve any controversies over the seating of delegates. No member shall wear any campaign material the day of the assembly or convention. This committee shall also ratify the election of Precinct committee people chosen at the caucus.

b. Procedure.

(1) Challenges. Anyone desiring to contest the qualifications of any delegate, or the conduct or result of any precinct caucus, shall file a protest with the county chair within seven days following the caucus. The person filing the protest shall have a hearing by the committee prior to the assembly or convention.

(2) Resolution of disputes.

(a) The committee shall schedule a hearing at which all interested parties shall be heard.
(b) The committee may take any one or more of the following actions upon determination of a valid challenge:

1) Deny certification of the challenged delegate.
2) Reallocate votes among unchallenged delegates.
3) Certify alternate delegates or delegations.
4) Certify an alternate delegation.
5) Allocate fractional votes.
6) Any other action which insures fair representation of those who chose the delegate.

c. A written finding of fact shall be made after the resolution of all disputes.

4. The Resolutions Committee shall meet prior to the assembly or convention to draw up a documdnt which expresses the principles and opinions of the party. Resolutions adopted at the precinct caucuses shall be duly considered. A copy of the report (the Platform) shall be made available to each delegate prior to the convening of the assembly or convention. The report may be amended from the floor, and shall be adopted in a manner prescribed by the Permanent Organization Committee.

V. VACANCIES

A. Delegates. Absent delegates may only be replaced by alternates elected at the same time and place as the delegate.

B. Candidates. The Assembly shall create vacancy committees for the positions under its jurisdiction. These committees may designate a candidate if the Assembly fails to do so, or fill a vacancy created by the withdrawal of a candidate.

C. Elective Office. Any vacancy in designation or nomination by the party for any elective office shall be filled by majority vote of the central committee of the appropriate jurisdiction. A quorum in such a case shall be a majority of the whole number of members of the central committee.

Part Four: GENERAL PROCEDURES

I. NOTICE.

A. Calls to Central Committee meetings, Assemblies and Conventions shall be mailed to those eligible to vote at the meeting at least ten days beforehand.

B. The Party shall notify all newspapers in the County of the date, time and place of the precinct caucuses, and the rules, procedures and requirements for participation.

C. Any person wishing to be nominated by an Assembly shall make known his intent to the Chair at least ten days prior to the Assembly.

D. Any person wishing to be nominated for office in the County Party shall notify the incumbent Chair one week prior to the Central Committee meeting at which the election shall be held.

E. The Party shall make every effort to notify the public of all meetings, assemblies and conventions in order that all interested people may attend.

II. VOTING

A. Secret Ballot. Balloting must be secret at a precinct caucus if anyone requests that it be so. At other meetings, a secret ballot must be requested by a motion, and adopted by a majority in an open vote.

B. Half votes. Caucuses, assemblies and conventions may provide for one-half votes only if deemed necessary for fair reflection.

C. Proxies. A proxy is a written authorization for one person to vote on behalf of another at a meeting of a committee.

1. No person may carry more than one proxy.

2. A proxy must be given only to a person who resides in the same legislative district, or in the political subdivision from which the member was elected, and in the jurisdiction of the Central Committee involved.

3. The person giving the proxy may write instructions on it, and they shall be honored.

4. No proxy voting is permitted at any caucus, assembly, or convention, or in any meeting relating to the nominating process.

5. Proxy voting is not permitted in the consideration of recommendations for appointments by elected officials to salaried positions.

III. QUORUM

A quorum of any body is the number competent to transact business. One-third of the whole number of members of any central committee shall constitute a quorum; forty percent of the whole number of members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum; and a majority of the whole number of delegates to assemblies and conventions shall constitute a quorum.

IV. CONTROVERSIES AND COMPLAINTS

All complaints regarding non-compliance with these Rules, or with State or Federal law, and requiring action by the Party, shall be submitted in writing to the Chair. If the person complaining can submit the signatures of ten percent of the members of the Central Committee, a special meeting shall be called to consider the complaint. The Chair may appoint a committee to meet prior to the Central Committee meeting and submit a report for acceptance. Commonly recognized standards of due process shall be followed in considering and resolving the complaint.

V. PUBLICATION OF THE RULES

A copy of these Rules shall be made available at no charge for anyone requesting one.

VI. AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES

Amendments to these rules shall be as provided in Part Two, Section V, Article C (“Rules Committee”). No action on the part of the State Party or the General Assembly shall automatically change these rules. They may be changed only by amendment on a two-thirds vote of the Central Committee.

VII. ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER

Any procedure which is not prescribed in or governed by these Rules shall be governed by the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

Adopted July 19, 2001 by the Central Committee of the Chaffee County Democrats on a motion that they supersede any prior document of similar nature.

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