Our Bylaws


As amended effective December 13, 2020

1.  National Affiliation

Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter “MDCDSA”) is a local chapter of the national organization Democratic Socialists of America.

2. Members 

2.1 Definition

Any person who pays dues to Democratic Socialists of America and who lives in, works in, or is otherwise able to attend meetings in the jurisdiction of MDCDSA as defined by the national organization, is not a member of any other chapter of DSA, and who supports the mission and values of the chapter shall be a member of the chapter. Members are entitled to participate in any campaigns, committees, and groups organized within the MDCDSA, except as otherwise set forth herein. Furthermore, any member in good standing may hold an elected or appointed position within MDCDSA.

2.2 Code of Conduct

MDC DSA members are expected to conduct themselves with civility and respect toward all other members. Unacceptable member behavior includes: creating an intimidating, offensive, and/or abusive environment for other members; engaging in undemocratic or disruptive behavior; and engaging in any actions detrimental to the purpose or values of the organization.

2.3 Suspension and Expulsion

If a member’s conduct is found to be in substantial disagreement with the principles or policies of the organization or in violation of the aforementioned code of conduct of the organization, they will be subject to disciplinary action by the Steering Committee that may include suspension and/or expulsion from MDC DSA. Members facing suspension or expulsion must receive written notice of the charges against them and must be given the opportunity to be heard before the Steering Committee. For a member to be suspended or expelled from MDC DSA, a two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee shall be necessary. Decisions on expulsion by the Steering Committee may be appealed to the national convention.

2.4 Donations and Dues

Chapter members may set up a pledge system, whereby anyone may make regular donations, which shall be separate from dues determined by the national organization. All donations collected by the chapter shall be retained by the chapter.

2.5 Electronic Communications

Unless members indicate otherwise to the Steering Committee, all communication with members required in these bylaws, including meeting notices, may be sent electronically.

3. Chapter Meetings

Public meetings of the members shall be held on a regular basis, at least once per month, and the meeting shall be run according to the adopted parliamentary authority and other procedures approved by the members. A meeting of the members shall be defined as a general body meeting, informational meeting, special meeting, or local convention.

The general body shall convene in a meeting of the members at least once per month at a regularly scheduled time and place, unless determined otherwise by the members. For the purposes of this section, “place” may include exclusively online meetings if this is deemed to be necessary for an extended period of time due to health and safety concerns.

3.1 General Body Meetings

In the absence of a local convention, the members present and assembled at a general body meeting represent the general body membership and are the highest decision-making authority in the chapter. The general body membership shall allow for the democratic introduction of proposals through a resolution process. Resolutions can be introduced by any member at a general body meeting (see section titled “Resolution Process”).

3.1.1 Resolution Process

Resolutions may be adopted by the general body at any scheduled general body meeting. Resolutions shall require a rationale, a statement of purpose in the form of “whereas” clauses, and the action(s) to be taken by the chapter in the form of “be it resolved” clauses.
All resolutions considered by the general body shall be put to the following process:

First Read – The Steering Committee shall debate the resolution and may propose amendments in an open meeting. Non-steering members present may debate and propose amendments as well. The Steering Committee is not empowered to place a resolution on hold and prevent a resolution from being sent to the second read.

Second Read – Final debate, amendment(s), and vote: The purpose of the second read is to take a final vote on any resolution. Resolutions in the second read shall be put to a formal debate and final vote. Rules regarding deliberation shall follow the standard rules of order and any special rules of order adopted by the general body.

Exceptions to the Two-Reader Process – Any resolution may bypass the first read if it is considered an emergency resolution. In order to be considered an emergency resolution, the content and purpose of the resolution must be time-sensitive and of crucial importance to warrant the skipping of a two-week consideration period for a resolution. A two-thirds vote of the Steering Committee or three-fourths vote of a general body is required to deem a resolution an emergency resolution. Emergency resolutions will follow the regular rules of order required for adoption by the general body: a majority vote or two-thirds vote depending on the type of resolution.

This process only applies to general body meetings. The process for resolutions at the local convention will be set by the convention rules.

3.1.2 Electronic Voting and Participation

The Steering Committee, with the assistance of the Administrative Committee, will be responsible for ensuring that members may electronically attend in-person general body meetings and exercise their membership rights to the greatest extent that is logistically possible through electronic participation, without compromising members’ security.

In order to be eligible for electronic voting, members must have joined DSA more than 30 days prior to the in-person meeting of the members or have attended the relevant in-person meeting of the members. This restriction does not apply to voting in person and does not apply to attendance or speaking rights.

Ballots on general body meeting proposals up for vote will be issued electronically to members. Position statements on votes will be accepted by the Administrative Committee beginning three days prior to the general body meeting, posted publicly, and be included along with the electronic ballots sent to members if received with enough time to be included according to policies set by the Secretary.

Exceptions to Electronic Participation Rights

In exceptional circumstances, the Steering Committee may by two-thirds vote:

  • Shorten the online voting period
  • Hold a general body meeting entirely in person
  • Put a proposal held at an entirely in-person meeting to in-person voting alone
  • If the Steering Committee votes to restrict a given vote to in-person voting only, members present at the in-person vote may, with a two-thirds majority, override the Steering Committee and allow for a three-day electronic voting period following the meeting.

In consultation with the Administrative Committee, the Steering Committee may, by a two-thirds majority, postpone electronic voting should a credible security threat be discovered.

The Steering Committee will update the membership to the best of its ability, consistent with safeguarding and legal obligations, as to the rationale for invoking any of these exceptions as soon as is practicable.

3.1.3 Quorum

A quorum of 5 percent of the local membership is required for a general body meeting to transact business. If applicable, votes cast electronically shall count towards attaining quorum of the business to which it pertains.

3.2 Informational Meetings

The Steering Committee may set chapterwide informational meetings at which voting business will not be conducted and policies will not be set. For the purposes of these bylaws, chapterwide informational meetings should not be considered general body meetings. Informational meetings can serve as a first read for the resolutions process.

3.3 Special Meetings

By majority vote of the Steering Committee or a petition by 5 percent of the membership submitted to the Administrative Committee, the chapter may call a special meeting on at least seven days’ notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation. No matters other than those listed in the meeting notice may be brought to or raised from the floor at a special meeting. Voting may be conducted at a special meeting on those matters listed in the meeting notice.

3.4 Local Conventions

The metro D.C. chapter of DSA (“MDC DSA”) will hold a local convention each year.
The local convention will debate an annual budget introduced by the Treasurer and approved by the Steering Committee; priorities resolutions introduced by members; amendments to the chapter bylaws; and other such resolutions as may be introduced. The Steering Committee will also be elected during the local convention under the rules set out in section 7.

To be eligible to vote as a delegate in the MDC DSA local convention, individuals must be (and remain) a member of MDC DSA in good standing for 30 days before the convention. All processes for voting, introducing resolutions, and other administrative affairs pertinent to a local convention not specified in these bylaws shall be governed by the convention rules approved for that convention.

Bylaws amendments passed at the local convention will become binding on all chapter bodies as of 90 days following the date of the local convention. This language is not intended to preclude earlier implementation of amendments by the Steering Committee.
All priority resolutions expire at the local convention. New priority resolutions may be passed by two-thirds vote at the local convention or at a general body meeting. No more than five priority resolutions may be in effect at once.

3.5 Urgent Matters

Urgent matters that would regularly require a general body meeting vote may be voted on by the Steering Committee and, if adopted, be put to a ratification vote by a majority or two-thirds vote as the bylaws require at the next voting meeting. This section will not apply to electoral endorsements.

4. Endorsements

The Steering Committee, in consultation with the Political Engagement Committee, will set two general body meetings per year, on a regular schedule, in which a resolution to endorse an electoral candidate within the jurisdiction of MDC DSA may be debated and voted on.

Endorsement resolutions may be introduced for a first read at the monthly meeting of the members immediately prior to this meeting and require a sponsor and four co-sponsors.

The Political Engagement Committee may set requirements, which must apply to all candidates equally, before an endorsement resolution may be introduced and/or voted on, such as filling out chapterwide and jurisdiction-specific questionnaires and attending chapterwide or jurisdiction-specific forums.

An endorsement resolution will require a two-thirds vote in favor to pass.

A resolution to unendorse or censure an endorsed candidate may be debated through the ordinary resolutions process. A simple majority vote is required to censure a candidate, and a two-thirds vote is required to unendorse a candidate.

If multiple candidates running for the same elected office seek MDC DSA’s endorsement, then the chapter shall vote to endorse one of these candidates in two phases.

In the first phase, the chapter shall vote on one candidate among the candidates for whom a chapter member has introduced an endorsement resolution.

In the case of two candidates, this contest shall be a head-to-head vote with a plurality winner (i.e., the candidate with 50 percent+1 wins). In the case of more than two candidates, this contest shall be a ranked choice vote counted using the single transferable vote method.
In the second phase, the chapter shall take an approval vote on the endorsement of the candidate that wins the contest in phase one. In accordance with the first paragraph of this section, if the winner of phase one receives two-thirds of the approval votes of those members present and voting, then that candidate receives a chapter endorsement.

The two-phase endorsement process shall not take place if there are more than or an equal number of seats available for one elected office as there are candidates running and seeking the chapter’s endorsement for that office.

The Political Engagement Committee shall be permitted to issue a recommendation and rationale as a body, to be delivered by its chair or their designee, before or during debates on electoral endorsements and will be allotted additional speaking time if requested to deliver findings from their engagement with the candidate. This recommendation and rationale will be included along with ballots sent to members.

By a two-thirds majority of the Steering Committee, additional meetings of the members may be designated in which endorsement business may be transacted.

4.1 Nonendorsed Candidates 

Chapter resources, social media, and other communications platforms may not be used by members or any chapter body to solicit donations or volunteers on behalf of a nonendorsed candidate, publicize events hosted or sponsored by a nonendorsed candidate, or ask for other forms of support for a nonendorsed candidate.

This section will not preclude members from advocating internally for or against an endorsement, sharing newsworthy information about candidates for office, or making good-faith informational inquiries about a candidate. This section will be interpreted on a discretionary basis by the individual(s) responsible for moderating content on a particular platform.

5. Parliamentary Authority

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern MDC DSA in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order that MDC DSA may adopt. The parliamentary authority of MDC DSA shall be adopted by the Steering Committee and the general body.

6. Chapter Formations

6.1 Permanent Committees

6.1.1 Campaigns Council

The Campaigns Council is a comprehensive board and gathering space of working groups and priority campaigns. The Council will be responsible for providing both visibility across MDC DSA’s various campaigns and updates on campaign progress to the broader MDC DSA membership.

The Campaigns Council will be chaired by the Campaigns Coordinator. Working groups and priority campaigns will be represented by two stewards each. All members of the Steering Committee, including branch delegates, will sit on the Campaigns Council ex officio. There will be a channel for Campaigns Council members on the chapter Slack to promote interformation discussion and notification between meetings.

The Campaigns Council will assemble as either an ordinary meeting or a joint meeting with
the Steering Committee.

Joint meetings with the Steering Committee will take place once per quarter. Steering Committee resolutions and decisions can be made by majority vote of the Steering Committee members present during these meetings, which will be treated as meetings of both the Steering Committee and the Campaigns Council for the purposes of activity requirements. Stewards will have the same speaking and participation rights as branch delegates at joint meetings, including participation in closed sessions.

Ordinary meetings will comprise all other Campaigns Council meetings. The Campaigns Coordinator will set the agenda for ordinary meetings after consulting and soliciting agenda items from stewards.

The Campaigns Council will serve as a forum for discussion of working group and priority campaigns priorities, plans, opportunities for coordination, and opportunities for member mobilization. The Campaigns Council will also serve as a space to share best organizing practices and resources as well as to mediate disagreements between chapter formations.

6.1.2 Administrative Committee

The Administrative Committee shall be a permanent committee chaired by the Secretary. Any member of the general body may be nominated by the Secretary to be vetted and approved by a majority vote of the Steering Committee. All members of the Steering Committee will automatically be members of the Administrative Committee.

The Administrative Committee shall be responsible for the following duties:

  • Maintaining a register of all binding and nonbinding policies passed by a vote of the Steering Committee, a general body meeting, or a local convention
  • Maintaining a full list of all members of MDC DSA (member list) as defined by the bylaws
  • Assisting in the function of and maintaining minutes of all general body and Steering Committee meetings of MDC DSA, in a fashion accessible to the general body membership
  • Facilitating communications between MDC DSA and parties external to MDC DSA, subject to the discretion of the Steering Committee and the general body
  • Assisting chapter formations in planning events, actions and other activities

The Steering Committee or general body may direct the Administrative Committee to assume more duties on their behalf. The Steering Committee may delegate oversight of certain Administrative Committee responsibilities to portfolios held by at-large members.

6.1.3 Finance Committee

The Finance Committee shall be a permanent committee chaired by the Treasurer. Any member of the general body may be nominated by the Treasurer to be vetted and approved by a majority vote of the Steering Committee. All members of the Steering Committee will automatically be members of the Finance Committee.

The Finance Committee is responsible for the financial organization of the chapter, including but not limited to fundraising activities for the chapter, compliance with any financial regulations the chapter is subject to, and maintenance of transparent financial reports, available to the entire membership upon request.

The Finance Committee will assist the Treasurer in the preparation of the Treasurer’s budget proposal, which will be submitted to the Steering Committee for amendment and approval before it is introduced and debated at the local convention.
At the end of each fiscal year, the Finance Committee will present a report and analysis to the Steering Committee of expenditures and revenues, including a brief forecast for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Steering Committee may, at its discretion, delegate responsibility for overseeing the Finance Committee’s fundraising activities to a member of the Finance Committee.

The fiscal year shall commence the first day of January in each year.

6.1.4 Political Engagement Committee

The Political Engagement Committee is chaired by an at-large member of the Steering Committee appointed by vote of the Steering Committee. Two additional members of the Steering Committee and two nonmembers of the Steering Committee will be appointed by the Steering Committee to serve as members of the Political Engagement Committee.

At least one member of the Political Engagement Committee must be resident in each of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The Political Engagement Committee will be responsible for coordinating the recruitment and vetting of candidates for chapter endorsement. When endorsement resolutions are being debated, the Political Engagement Committee shall be entitled to present a recommendation to the general body and will be granted additional speaking time where necessary to explain its rationale.

The Political Engagement Committee will distribute questionnaires approved by the general body to candidates and provide information about the chapter’s endorsement process. It will also regularly review candidate questionnaires and propose additions and changes to the general body to reflect emergent political developments and priorities.

The Political Engagement Committee will compile requirements and deadlines involved in the endorsement process into a public, reader-friendly document that will be approved by the Steering Committee. Once this is complete, the document will be updated on a regular basis to reflect any changes to the process or new dates and deadlines set for future endorsement meetings.

The Political Engagement Committee will assist the Steering Committee and priority campaigns in legislative advocacy efforts.

The Political Engagement Committee will oversee campaign activities for electoral work within the chapter. It may delegate responsibility for such activities to campaign structures it establishes, but all such structures are subject to the decisions of the Political Engagement Committee.

6.1.5 Member Engagement Committee

The Member Engagement Committee is chaired by an at-large member of the Steering Committee appointed by vote of the Steering Committee. The Member Engagement Committee shall be responsible for the following duties:

  • Oversee a Member Development Department, which would develop and implement member training and work with the Political Education Working Group to ensure proper programming is available for new me…” with an intentional focus on developing a diverse and representative layer of chapter organizers and leaders
  • Oversee a Member Mobilization Department, which would develop and implement chapter-wide mobilization and onboarding efforts. This would include mobilization for events and actions, as well as helping to fill roles and needs across MDC DSA Branches, Campaigns, Working Groups, and Sections, and ensuring new members are plugged-in to campaigns and formations that align with their skills, interests, and capacity.
  • Oversee a Member Recruitment Department, which would research, develop, and implement plans for membership recruitment, with an intentional focus on developing a diverse and representative membership in our chapter.
  • Submit periodic written reports to the Steering Committee on the Member Engagement Committee’s activities. These reports shall be made readily accessible to all MDC DSA members in good standing.

The Committee Chair shall facilitate and support the work done by the Committee’s Departments.

Department Stewards shall be nominated and approved by a majority of each respective Department’s members.

The Steering Committee or general body may direct the Member Engagement Committee to assume more duties on their behalf. The Steering Committee may delegate oversight of certain Member Engagement Committee responsibilities to portfolios held by at-large members.

6.2 Working Groups

Working groups shall be formed whenever five dues-paying MDC DSA members come together around a shared vision of work, as long as its mission and activities—a proposal for which will be submitted in brief to the Administrative Committee as part of the formation process—do not violate the bylaws.

Working groups may be issue- or campaign-based and shall be responsible for keeping the Steering Committee and the membership informed of the working group’s projects, including through the stewards program and by submitting a standard report twice a year. These reports will be posted by the Administrative Committee on a public forum accessible to all members and may be discussed at the aforementioned joint meeting.

Working groups will establish their own internal structure, which should include the election or appointment of two stewards. The stewards will serve as official points of contact for internal chapter bodies and officers and representatives on the Campaigns Council, in addition to fulfilling any other duties that may be assigned to them by the working group.

If neither working group steward attends two consecutive Campaigns Council meetings, or if a standard report is not provided before a joint meeting of the Campaigns Council and Steering Committee, the Steering Committee may set temporary and discretionary limits on the working group’s access to the chapter website, social media, and resources until the situation which caused the limitations to be imposed is rectified by the submission of a report, attendance at a Campaigns Council meeting, or both.

If the Campaigns Council meets more than once in a calendar month, attendance at one such meeting will be considered sufficient for the above activity requirements. Working groups whose activity is contained exclusively within a single branch are exempt from reporting and attendance requirements but may submit reports and nominate stewards if they choose.

It is the Steering Committee’s duty to ensure assistance is provided to working groups and stewards where requested to facilitate the production of reports. Failure to provide resources and training will negate consequences for any failure of a working group to submit a report.

If the Steering Committee finds that the activities of a working group violate the mission and/or bylaws of the chapter, it shall have the authority to halt the working group’s activities until they can be approved at the next general body meeting. Any working group may be dissolved by the following mechanisms: a majority vote of its members, failure to maintain five active dues-paying members, inactivity for more than one year, or a two-thirds vote of the members present at a general body meeting.

6.3 Priority Campaigns

Priority campaigns are created by priority resolutions passed at local conventions or general body meetings through the promotion of existing chapter formations to this status and will revert to their previous status if the priority is not renewed upon expiration.

These formations will retain their existing internal structure unless they choose to restructure themselves upon becoming a priority campaign.

New members will be encouraged to join priority campaigns by member mobilizers and other representatives of the chapter. Priority campaigns are requested to regularly provide an updated list of individuals who are currently willing to provide assistance to new members in becoming active in their work.

The Treasurer will set aside no less than one-fourth of the chapter’s annual budget for a priorities budget, which may only be used by priority campaigns.

Priority campaigns may be granted preferential access to other limited chapter resources in policies established by the Administrative Committee.

Priority Campaigns are required to meet, at a minimum, the same reporting requirements as working groups, must appoint at least two stewards, and hold at least 1 meeting every 3 months that is accessible and advertised to chapter members. The Steering Committee may enhance reporting requirements for priority campaigns.

The Campaigns Coordinator may, at their discretion, hold a special meeting which is limited to priority campaign stewards and members of the Steering Committee. This will be considered equivalent to a meeting of the Campaigns Council for the purposes of attendance requirements.

6.4 Branches

A branch is a group of members in a locality who organize to perform work in their community.

6.4.1 Formation

An exploratory committee for establishment of a branch may be commissioned by a majority vote of the Steering Committee, consisting of such members as the Steering Committee shall appoint at its discretion.

An exploratory committee desiring to form a branch shall adopt a model charter approved by the Steering Committee and elect proposed officers in accordance therewith. Model charters may not be revised within the first three months of adoption. Thereafter, model charters may be amended by an exploratory committee with the approval of the chapter Steering Committee.

The branch shall be established upon ratification of the charter and the initial election of officers. Ratification of the charter shall require a two-thirds vote of members present and voting at a meeting of the members of MDC DSA, at which point the exploratory committee will be dissolved.

6.4.2 Charter and Powers

The charter of a branch shall set forth, at a minimum: the powers delegated to the branch, a defined geographic territory, the size of the branch Steering Committee, a list of officers (including a Chair or co-Chairs and a Secretary) and their responsibilities, and procedures for the election and removal of officers.

A charter of a branch may be amended once a branch has been in existence for six months, either by a two-thirds vote of members present at a meeting of the members or, alternatively, by application of the branch subject to ratification by a three-fifths vote of the Steering Committee.

Neither the branch nor any officer thereof shall have the power to enter into contracts, make expenditures, or assume financial obligations on behalf of the branch or MDC DSA, except as specifically authorized in accordance with the bylaws.

Branches may, in accordance with their charter, make statements, join coalitions, and offer commentary on political matters exclusively within their territorial jurisdiction (including statements on ballot initiatives but not candidate endorsements), but will clearly identify themselves as that specific branch rather than MDC DSA as a whole, unless they have received the approval of the Steering Committee, general body, or local convention of MDC DSA.

Branch Steering Committees shall be permitted to issue a recommendation and rationale on candidates running for seats exclusively within their territorial jurisdiction during endorsement general body meetings. This recommendation and rationale will be included along with ballots sent to members.

6.4.3 Membership

Any member of MDC DSA shall be eligible to be a member of a branch if they live or work within that branch’s territory. No member of MDC DSA shall be a member of more than one branch at any time.

6.4.4 Accountability

A meeting of the members of MDC DSA may, with a two-thirds vote of members present and voting, dissolve a branch, dismiss an officer of a branch, or dissolve an exploratory committee.

6.4.5 Branch Funds

If a chartered branch conducts a fundraiser for a particular purpose, it shall deposit these funds in the chapter accounts as directed by the Treasurer. The Treasurer shall keep a ledger of chartered branch deposits, and those deposits shall only be disbursed with the consent of the chartered branch leadership.

6.5 Caucuses

Members may self-organize temporary or permanent caucuses according to shared interests, affinities, and/or political goals. The objectives of a caucus may include—but are not limited to —advocating for candidates in internal MDC DSA elections, supporting the adoption of specific campaigns or initiatives for the general body to take up, or redressing grievances. Caucuses shall have the right to determine their own membership.

A caucus may choose whether or not they would like formal recognition. To gain formal status, a caucus shall submit a mission statement that includes the name and purpose of the caucus, as well as any restrictions on eligibility for membership in the caucus, signed by no fewer than five members in good standing. The Secretary will be responsible for confirming the membership status of all signatories and notifying the Steering Committee of recognition.

Formal recognition guarantees that the caucus shall be listed on the MDC DSA website, along with their name, vision statement, and a point of contact. Recognized caucuses shall have the right to publish statements and proposals in public forums for the local, subject to the moderation of that forum.

The right for a caucus of the local chapter to establish formal or informal relationships with other caucuses composed of DSA local or national members shall not be infringed upon or regulated by the Steering Committee. Caucuses shall have the right to determine their own internal structure, except where it is in violation of any bylaws or policies regarding member conduct.

6.6 Sections

Sections are formations in the chapter with the purpose of creating a shared space for members of a common identity. Unlike working groups, sections are not dedicated to a specific campaign or policy issue. “Common identities” may include, but are not necessarily limited to, protected classes under federal law such as gender, race, ethnicity, or national identity.

Sections may petition for recognition by submitting an application to the Steering Committee including no fewer than five MDC DSA members, a mission statement, and bylaws. Sections have the same rights and expectations as working groups as outlined in these bylaws, except where it may be inconsistent with this article, such as in the approval process. Sections are entitled to have criteria for which chapter members are eligible to join, which must be enumerated in their bylaws. Sections will communicate their points of contact to the Steering Campaigns Council liaison and the leadership structure of the section upon their formal recognition so that the section may be included in communications and have a direct line for requesting support.

7. Steering Committee and Officers

7.1 Collective Responsibilities

The Steering Committee is the highest elected body of MDC DSA and is the political leadership of the chapter when the membership is not assembled, subordinate to the bylaws as well as resolutions passed by members at general body meetings and local conventions which may overturn its decisions.

The Steering Committee is not permitted to overturn decisions of the general body meeting or local convention.

The Steering Committee is empowered to arbitrate any disputes between chapter formations that may arise.

In order to ensure the chapter speaks in one voice, statements or endorsements by chapter members or formations that could reasonably be interpreted as creating a new obligation or position for MDC DSA as a whole must be approved by the Steering Committee, a general body meeting, or the local convention.

Public commentary by members and chapter formations in relation to established MDC DSA policies, campaigns, and objectives does not require Steering Committee approval.

The Steering Committee is empowered to interpret and enforce the code of conduct and such powers as are delegated to it by the bylaws.

Written internal guidance will be provided to members and formation stewards by the Steering Committee where there is any doubt as to the interpretation of the bylaws or chapter policies. Such guidance may be amended (or new guidance issued) by majority vote of the general body meeting or local convention and will be made available to all members for internal review in a timely fashion.

7.2 Elections and Terms

The voting members of the Steering Committee will be elected each year through a secret electronic ballot sent to all chapter members. Steering Committee elections shall occur in conjunction with the MDC DSA local convention. To be eligible to vote in a Steering Committee election, chapter members must have been a member in good standing at least 30 days prior to the start of the MDC DSA local convention.

No person may hold more than one office, but an individual may run for both an officer position and an at-large position; if an individual is elected to an officer position, they will be eliminated from the at-large election.

The Treasurer, Secretary, and Campaigns Coordinator will be elected separately by ranked-choice voting, and eight at-large members will be elected on a single ballot by the approval voting method.

A majority of voting members of the Steering Committee must identify as women, people of color, and/or nonbinary. If the result of an election would result in a violation of this rule, the highest-ranking individuals who fulfil one of these criteria will be elected instead of the lowest-ranking individuals who fulfil none of the criteria until it is no longer in violation.

A special election will be held to replace a Steering Committee member who resigns or is removed more than two months prior to a local convention.

Each branch is entitled to designate one nonvoting branch delegate to the Steering Committee through a procedure established in its charter. If a branch does not have a procedure established in its charter, the branch Steering Committee may select the delegate itself or establish a voting procedure. In the absence of the branch delegate, the branch Steering Committee may appoint an alternate with the speaking privileges and powers of the branch delegate for the public meetings of the chapter Steering Committee.

7.3 Size

The Steering Committee will comprise 11 voting members and a number of nonvoting branch delegates equal to the current number of branches.

7.4 Chair

The Chair shall be the chief executive officer of MDC DSA and shall ensure that all orders and resolutions of the members and the Steering Committee are carried out. The Chair shall be elected by the Steering Committee from among its members. In the event of a vacancy, whether resulting from death, resignation, or otherwise, the Steering Committee shall elect a new Chair.

The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Steering Committee and shall sign or countersign all certificates, contracts, or other instruments of MDC DSA except where otherwise designated in these bylaws. The Chair shall perform such other duties as are incident to the office required of them by the Steering Committee.

7.5 Treasurer

The Treasurer shall, as directed by the Steering Committee, have care and custody of the general funds, securities, properties, and assets of MDC DSA. The Treasurer shall ensure that the funds and securities are deposited in the bank(s), trust companies, or depositories that the Steering Committee shall designate.

At the direction of the Steering Committee, the Treasurer will ensure disbursement and disposal of the same, taking proper voucher for such disbursements.

They shall ensure that accurate books of account are kept in accordance with commonly accepted accounting principles, recording therein the amount of all monies, funds, securities, properties, and assets in their custody, wherever located, and showing the amount of disbursement made and the disposition of properties. They shall exhibit said books and records when required by the Steering Committee, Chair or co-Chairs, or government agency of appropriate regulator jurisdiction pursuant to law.

They shall prepare—in consultation with the Steering Committee—a one-year budget to be presented and voted on at the local convention. They shall prepare a yearly financial report for presentation at a chapter meeting in December.

The Treasurer will be assisted in these duties where appropriate by the Finance Committee, which they will chair.

7.6 Secretary

The Secretary shall ensure that minutes are kept of the meetings of the Steering Committee and of the general membership and shall ensure that the minutes are distributed. The Secretary shall see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws or as required by law. The Secretary shall be the custodian of all MDC DSA records. The Secretary shall keep a register of the address, phone number, and email address of each member of the Steering Committee, which shall be furnished to the Secretary by each Steering Committee member. The Secretary shall, in general, perform the duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as are from time to time assigned by the Chair or by the Steering Committee.

The Secretary will be assisted in these duties where appropriate by the Administrative Committee, which they will chair.

7.7 Campaigns Coordinator

The Campaigns Coordinator will seek to promote collaboration and coordination between chapter formations engaged in external organizing and is responsible for chairing the Campaigns Council, scheduling its meetings, and drafting its agenda in consultation with stewards.

The Campaigns Coordinator will ensure the participation of chapter bodies in the stewards program and oversee reporting requirements for working groups and priority campaigns.

7.8 Portfolios, Plan of Work, and Reporting Requirements

A portfolio is a division of responsibility that may be assigned to one or more members of the Steering Committee but is accountable to the policies and decisions of the committee as a whole. Portfolios established by each Steering Committee must be approved and appear on the chapter website within a month of the new Steering Committee taking office. This will include, at a minimum, the responsibilities of the portfolio, any chapter bodies requested to use this member as an internal point of contact, the member’s first name and last initial, and an email address and/or phone number through which they can be reached.

Portfolios may include oversight, administration, or control over existing chapter functions, as well as responsibility for establishing or promoting new initiatives as part of the Steering Committee’s plan of work.

Branch delegates are not required to take on a portfolio but may be assigned one, with their consent, by the Steering Committee. If a branch delegate takes on a portfolio, they will be held accountable to carrying it out in the same way as any other Steering Committee member.

Taking into consideration its responsibilities, portfolios, approved resolutions, and priority campaigns passed at the local convention, the Steering Committee shall draft a plan of work that will help guide its activities for its term. A plan of work established by each Steering Committee must be approved and appear on an online portal available to all members within a month of the new Steering Committee taking office.

The Chair or their designate will be responsible for delivering an update to the membership on the progress of the plan of work and the Steering Committee’s activities in a chapter-wide email, informational meeting, and/or general body meeting at least every two months.

7.9 Removal

Any officer or member of the Steering Committee may resign in writing. The Chair may resign without ceding their place on the Steering Committee.

Members of the Steering Committee will be removed for nonfeasance if they:

  • Do not maintain a minimum 50 percent participation rate in online Steering Committee votes as calculated on a three-calendar-month rolling window, or
  • Miss three consecutive meetings without an acceptable reason, or
  • Miss 10 cumulative meetings within their current term without an acceptable reason

Enforcement of the above section will take place through majority vote of the Steering Committee or by member petition as outlined below.

Members of the Steering Committee may take leaves of absence after notifying those most affected and making efforts to ensure continuity of chapter functions and will be permitted to return to their previous position afterward. Policies in this regard may be set by the Steering Committee or general body meeting. Votes or meetings missed during a leave of absence will not count toward the above criteria.

Members of the Steering Committee may be removed for reasons other than nonfeasance, including malfeasance, gross incompetence, or violations of the code of conduct, by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Steering Committee.

The next general body meeting must debate any member petition to remove a member or members of the Steering Committee signed by 10 percent of the chapter membership in good standing and submitted to the Administrative Committee, which will be responsible for verifying the membership of the signatories. A vote to remove a member will require a two-thirds vote in favor at this meeting.

7.10 Meetings

Meetings of the Steering Committee may take place either online or in person, but the option to observe and fully participate remotely must be provided for in-person meetings to all who would otherwise be eligible to do so. The Steering Committee may close a meeting by two-thirds vote. Branch delegates will have the right to participate in closed meetings.

The Steering Committee may conduct votes on matters via electronic means.

All minutes of the Steering Committee’s meetings shall be posted on a public forum accessible to all members, including records of votes taken.

8. Bylaws Changes

Members shall have the power to approve changes to the bylaws. Changes may be adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the members present. In order to amend the bylaws of MDC DSA in the absence of a local convention, language must be introduced at the monthly meeting of the members prior to the monthly meeting at which members will vote on the amendment in question.

9. Dissolution

MDC DSA may be dissolved by a motion approved by three-fifths of the Steering Committee, which is then approved by a two-thirds vote of the general membership. Any vote by the Steering Committee regarding dissolution must have all members of the Steering Committee present, and the vote total of the membership must represent at least 50 percent of the current members of MDC DSA. The Steering Committee shall ensure that an appropriate agent is designated to complete the dissolution of the organization. Said agent shall ensure that all financial and legal issues are properly resolved.