(As Amended, May, 2019)
ARTICLE I – NAME AND PURPOSE
Section 1. Name
The name of this organization shall be Cleveland Heights Democrats.
Section 2. Purpose
The purpose of this organization shall be to provide a means by which residents of Cleveland Heights can organize to promote and develop the highest principles of the Democratic Party, to improve the administration of government, and to work for the good of all citizens. This organization shall endorse and support for public office all candidates whose election will, in the judgment of the membership, best advance the Purpose. In pursuing its Purpose, this organization may also cooperate with the National, State, and County Democratic Committees, and pursue other programs of benefit to the community.
Section 3. Amendment and Restatement. This Constitution is the amended and restated version of the Constitution as previously amended in March 2014. It is effective as of January 1, 2019.
ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Qualifications
Any person who is a resident of Cleveland Heights; agrees with the Purpose of the organization; and either is a registered Democrat or has signed and filed with the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party a party affiliation affidavit may become a member of Cleveland Heights Democrats upon the payment of one year’s dues, and shall be deemed in good standing so long as annual dues continue to be paid. “Registered Democrat” means that the person voted a Democratic ballot in the last primary election in which the person voted. Any person who has qualified for membership pursuant to the requirements of this Section 1, and is current in payment of dues, is “in good standing”.
Section 2. Voting Members
Any member who is in good standing and on the official membership roster for thirty or more consecutive days prior to a vote may vote on any issues, resolutions, endorsements and candidacies placed before meetings of the organization. Any renewing member, who was in good standing for the previous year, shall remain in good standing for the current year until their membership is suspended pursuant to Section 1 of the By-Laws, and may vote on any issues, resolutions, endorsements and candidacies placed before meetings of the organization, so long as renewal dues are paid to the Treasurer prior to the respective vote. Any person who qualifies to vote as set forth in Section 2 is called a “Voting Member”.
Section 3. Affiliate Members
Any Registered Democrat who lives outside Cleveland Heights and agrees with the Purpose may become an Affiliate Member of the organization upon meeting all the requirements of a member in good standing. An Affiliate Member shall not be entitled to vote, except that, upon meeting all the requirements of a Voting Member, and (a) if that Member resides in the city of University Heights, but within the boundaries of the Cleveland Heights – University Heights City School District, and (b) so long as no other Democratic club exists for University Heights residents or such other club does not make endorsements for the Cleveland Heights – University Heights Board of Education, then such Affiliate Member may vote on Cleveland Heights Democrats’ endorsements for the Cleveland Heights – University Heights Board of Education.
Section 4. Disqualification Any member may be suspended or expelled for misconduct in office or for conduct detrimental to the Purpose of this organization by a majority vote of its Board, provided that notice is given to all members of the Board and the member in question in the same manner and with the same notice as permitted for the notice of a membership meeting. The decision of the Board may be reversed by a vote of a majority of the Voting Members at a membership meeting, provided that the member in question has requested that the matter be presented for a vote.
ARTICLE III – OFFICERS, THEIR TERMS AND DUTIES
Section 1. Qualification, Terms, and Duties
The Officers of this organization shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, to be elected at the Election Meeting.
All Officers shall hold office for one year from the date of their election or until their successors are duly elected.
The duties of all Officers shall be those specified in this Constitution or the Bylaws and those usually pertaining to such offices.
Section 2. Disqualification
Proceedings for the removal of any Officer may be initiated by written petition, addressed to the Board and signed by a minimum of ten (10) percent of the Voting Members, proposing the recall of an officer. The Board shall thereupon present the petition at a Special Meeting of the organization called upon notice, in the same manner as permitted for the notice of a membership meeting, of not fewer than ten (10) or more than fifteen (15) days. If the petition is approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the Voting Members present and voting at said meeting, the petition is approved.
ARTICLE IV – THE BOARD
Section 1. Duties
The Board shall be responsible for the management and Program of the organization between membership meetings, in accordance with the Constitution and the By-laws.
Section 2. Composition
The Board shall be composed of the Officers, serving one (1)-year terms; eight (8) Trustees, serving two-year terms (four (4) to be elected each year); and the Democratic Ward Leader-At-Large.
Section 3. Board Meetings
Meetings of the Board shall be called by the President or by a majority of the Board. A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum at Board Meetings.
ARTICLE V – ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND TRUSTEES
Section 1. Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee shall consist of the Secretary as Chair, or Treasurer, if the Secretary cannot serve in that capacity, and five (5) Voting Members, no more than two (2) of whom are Board members. The Nominating Committee shall be subject to approval by the Voting Members at a membership meeting within three (3) calendar months prior to the membership meeting at which election of officers shall be on the agenda (the “Election Meeting”). Notice of election of the Nominating Committee shall be incorporated into the notice of such meeting at which said election is planned. A simple majority of the Nominating Committee shall select one (1) or more candidates for each Office and Trustee position to be elected. The Chair of the Nominating Committee shall not vote except to break a tie.
Section 2. The Slate
The slate of the candidates for Officers and Trustees shall consist of those Voting Members proposed by the Nominating Committee and those Voting Members nominated from the floor at the Election Meeting. With such member’s permission, any Voting Member may qualify as a candidate for Officer or Trustee by being nominated from the floor at the Election Meeting by at least three (3) other Voting Members (one nominating and two seconding).
Section 3. Notice of Nominations
Notice of the entire slate of candidates proposed by the Nominating Committee shall be incorporated into the notice of Election Meeting, which notice shall be given at least two (2) weeks in advance of said meeting, in the same manner as permitted for the notice of a membership meeting.
Section 4. Vacancies
Within thirty (30) days of a vacancy occurring in any Officer or Trustee position, the Board shall choose an Officer or Trustee to serve for the remainder of the term.
ARTICLE VI – COMMITTEES
Section 1. Standing Committees
Standing Committees may be formed as deemed necessary for the Program of this organization. All Committee Chairs, except the Chair of the Nominating Committee, shall be appointed by the President with the approval of the majority of the Board.
Section 2. Ad Hoc Committees
Ad Hoc Committees may be appointed at any time by the President in accordance with specific objectives of the organization.
ARTICLE VII – MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS
Section 1. Quorum; Treatment of Remote Voting Members
At membership meetings, a quorum shall consist of ten percent (10 %) of all Voting Members.
Section 2. Frequency
There shall be at least four (4) regular meetings of the organization each year (referred to as “General Meetings”) called by a meeting notice issued by the Board, one (1) of which General Meetings shall be the Election Meeting held in October/November; provided however, that such Election Meeting may be postponed or rescheduled to a later time if the Board determines that the circumstances so require. In addition, there shall be General Meetings at such other times as may be considered appropriate by the Board, and meetings for specified purposes (“Special Meetings”) when requested by ten (10) percent of the Voting Members. (The term “membership meeting” refers to General Meetings, Election Meetings and Special Meetings.)
Section 3. Notice
Notice of any membership meeting shall be sent to each Voting Member at least two (2) weeks in advance of such meeting. Notice of meetings, including membership meetings, special meetings, and election meetings, may be given by regular U.S. mail or by electronic delivery. Electronic delivery shall mean e-mail, facsimile, social media or other electronic or other means reasonably calculated to give notice of the meeting. Any delivery by U.S. Mail or electronically (other than by social media) shall be effective if addressed to the address provided by a member upon joining the organization or otherwise given by the member to the Secretary. Delivery by social media shall be effective if posted on the organization’s website or other electronic message board or network which the organization has designated for communications.
ARTICLE VIII – PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
Robert’s Rules of Order Revised shall be the Parliamentary authority for this organization in all cases in which they are applicable, so long as such Rules are not inconsistent with this Constitution.
In considering parliamentary questions not provided for by this Constitution and the By-laws, the Vice President shall be empowered to rule.
ARTICLE IX – AMENDMENTS
The Constitution may be amended at any membership meeting of the organization by two-thirds (2/3) of the Voting Members present and voting, provided that notice of the proposed amendment has been sent to all Voting Members at least four (4) weeks in advance of the meeting in the same manner as permitted for the notice of a membership meeting.
A Constitution and By-laws Review Committee shall be constituted at least every five (5) years to review the Constitution and recommend amendments, if any are deemed necessary.
The By-laws of the Cleveland Heights Democrats (sometimes referred to as the “Club”) are set forth below. Any term defined in the Constitution of the Club is used in the By- laws as defined in the Constitution, unless otherwise defined in the By-laws.
Section 1. Dues
The annual dues for each member of shall be as determined by the Board and ratified by a majority vote of the Voting Members present and voting at the next General Meeting. The Club Secretary shall send notice to the membership regarding annual dues payments on or before December 1st, payable by January 31st. Failure to pay dues within sixty (60) days after January 31st may result in suspension of membership, subject to correction of such failure as provided in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. The Treasurer may, in the exercise of discretion, accept as full payment of dues the payment of a lesser sum upon the request of any individual to the Treasurer. There are no free or gratis memberships in this organization.
Section 2. Treasury
No money shall be paid from the funds of this organization except by check signed by the Treasurer or the President, or as authorized or directed by the Board.
Section 3. Proxies
Proxies (in name or in fact) shall not be valid under any circumstances.
Section 4. Amendments
These By-laws may be amended at any membership meeting of the organization by a simple majority of the Voting Members present and voting, provided that notice of the proposed amendment has been sent to all Voting Members at least four (4) weeks in advance of the meeting in the same manner as permitted for the notice of a membership meeting.
Section 5. Elections
The Election Meeting shall be held in October/November of each year, except for good cause shown. At the Election Meeting, the Nominating Committee shall conduct the elections, distribute and collect the ballots, count the votes cast, announce the results thereof, determine ties, and establish such election procedures as are not provided for herein and are not inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution and these By- laws.
At the Election Meeting, the Nominating Committee shall first present the names of all candidates to the members present. After acceptance or rejection of the Nominating Committee Report, nominations shall be recognized from the floor for any office.
A ballot shall then be cast for election of the officers. The one (1) candidate receiving the largest number of votes on the ballot for each office shall be elected. The floor shall then be open for nominations of candidates for trustee. A ballot then shall be cast for election of the trustees. The candidates receiving the largest number of votes for the number of trustee positions to be filled shall be elected.
In case of a tie vote for any position of officer or trustee, subsequent tie-breaking ballots shall be cast then and there, as necessary, to break any tie existing between such candidates, until such ties are broken.
Election shall be by secret ballot unless there is no contest.
Section 6. Endorsements
The Board may call a membership meeting of the Club to endorse candidates, issues, or to remain neutral regarding either. Any such endorsement meeting shall occur after the candidate’s or issue’s filing deadline. (Candidate’s or issues meeting the filing deadline are referred to below as “qualified”). Notice of said endorsement meeting shall be made to all Voting Members in good standing and to each qualified Democratic candidate and to representatives of each qualified issue to be considered for endorsement at least two (2) weeks in advance of the meeting in the same manner as permitted for the notice of a membership meeting.
Endorsements for elected public office and issues shall be made if approved by a 60% majority of Voting Members present and voting at the endorsement meeting.
a. Screening Committee
The President shall appoint Screening Committee(s) to review candidates and issues seeking endorsement. Each such Screening Committees shall make its recommendations and offer brief explanations of those recommendations prior to a period of membership discussion at the endorsement meeting.
A notice of the existence of a Screening Committee shall be published in a community newspaper. Community newspaper shall include any printed publication serving the City of Cleveland Heights. This notice shall inform candidates and representatives of an issue of the means of contacting the Screening Committee. Notice of the endorsement process shall also be sent by regular mail or email to each person who has filed with the Board of Elections to run for any office for which an endorsement is to be considered, as determined by communicating with the Board of Elections on or after the deadline for filing.
Voting on Club endorsements shall be by secret ballot. A minimum of three (3) members of the Board shall be responsible for counting the votes and reporting the results to the President, who will then announce the results of the Club endorsement vote to those in attendance and thereafter take action to notify the general membership.
b. Conditions for Non-Judicial Candidate Endorsement:
1. Be a registered Democrat, or have signed and filed with the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party a party affiliation affidavit. Satisfaction of this condition shall be verified with the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party by the chair of the Screening Committee or a member of the Screening Committee designated by the chair of such committee.
a) To comply with the purpose of the Club as stated in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution.
b) Not to openly oppose any Democrat nominee in a general partisan election.
c) Not to openly support any opponent of a Democratic nominee in a general partisan election.
3. Not to have violated the above conditions during the past five (5) years.
4. A prospective candidate who does not meet conditions 2 or 3 above must explain his/her actions to the Screening Committee. The Screening Committee may require the candidate to sign an agreement to comply with those conditions during the candidate’s term in the office for which the endorsement is given.
Endorsements for more than one candidate of the same office type may occur on a single ballot (“Multi-opening Race”), permitting each Voting Member in good standing to vote for not more than the total number of open seats for such office. (For instance, this applies when 4 city council seats are open and there are more than 4 candidates.) In such a case, any candidate receiving votes totaling at least 60 percent of Voting Members present and voting shall receive the endorsement of the Club.
If endorsement is being considered in a Multi-opening Race, and the number of endorsed candidates is fewer than the number of open offices after the first ballot, immediately thereafter there shall be a single run-off election between any unendorsed candidates for said office, permitting each Voting Member to vote for not more than the total number of seats for such office that remain without an endorsement. In such a case, any candidate receiving votes totaling at least 60 percent of those Voting Members present and voting shall receive the endorsement of the Club.
5. All potential candidates and representatives of an issue will be allowed to submit one (1) weekly campaign communication to the Club Secretary for distribution by email or social media (method at the Club’s election) to the Club general membership. After the endorsement vote, only each endorsed candidate and representatives of each endorsed issue may submit one (1) weekly campaign communication for distribution by email or social media (method at the Club’s election) to the Club general membership. (As to any issue, only 1 communication in the aggregate may be submitted.) Club officers reserve the right to deny distribution of inappropriate materials. Under no circumstance will Club general membership contact information be given to any candidates or their representative, or any representative of an issue, for any reason.