Knox County Democratic Party
Constitution and By-Laws
Adopted March 26, 2013, and amended April 23, 2013
The mission of the Knox County Democratic Party is to support the election of Democrats to public office. In doing so, the Knox County Democratic Party shall identify issues that affect the health, welfare, and wellbeing of the citizens of Knox County and develop Democratic positions on these issues. It shall aim to preserve the constitutional rights of all persons and to provide an environment that ensures our political institutions are responsive and accountable to the citizens they serve.
The Knox County Democratic Party Principles adopted August 23, 2011
As the Knox County Democratic Party, we are proud to adopt these principles based on our belief that values opportunity and equality for all its citizens, and respects both the self-reliance of individuals and the benefits of teamwork, to meet the challenges of a fair and just society.
To that end:
- We believe that the best government is one that is efficient, yet understanding—a government that is based not on systems or bureaucracies, but on people, ideas, and values.
- We believe there is no substitute for fair and equal representation and strong public participation in a government chosen by election.
- We believe in a government that stands on the side of Ohio’s families—that listens, understands, and addresses their concerns.
- We believe all Ohioans reap benefits when we, as a state, meet our challenges together.
- We believe in the equality of all Ohio citizens and condemn any discrimination.
- We believe in a society that strengthens Ohio’s families and protects our children.
- We believe in the rights of all Ohioans to achieve economic security and find affordable housing; to seek good jobs at a livable wage; and to protect our workers in a growing robust economy.
- We believe in a society that puts the health, safety, and prosperity of its citizens first, one that promotes excellence in education, quality healthcare and a healthy environment for all Ohio citizens.
We, the members of the Knox County Democratic Party, in order to organize and perpetuate a representative, effective, and responsible party organization at all levels in Knox County, Ohio, affiliate with and advance the interest of the Democratic Party of the State of Ohio and Democratic Party nationally, sustain and advance the principles of democracy, and uphold human and civil rights and constitutional government, do establish this constitution.
Name, Membership, and Eligibility for Office
Section 1. Name
- The name of this organization shall be the Knox County Democratic Party.
Section 2. Membership
- Membership in this party shall be open to all residents of Knox County, in the State of Ohio, who support the Constitution of the United States of America, the Constitution of the State of Ohio, and the Constitution, By-laws, and principles of the Knox County Democratic Party. No person may be a member or may vote on any motion, resolution, nomination, or election at any caucus, convention, meeting, or conference of the Knox County Democratic Party, who does not meet the aforesaid qualifications or who is a member of any other political party at that time.
Section 3. Eligibility for Party Office
- Any person who meets the membership requirements of Article One, Section 2, is eligible for election to party office, except as hereinafter limited. There shall be no minimum age requirement for party office save where prescribed by Ohio law.
Section 4. Qualifications
- In the event that any person’s qualifications as a member of the Knox County Democratic Party or eligibility for party office must be determined, the same challenge procedure shall be followed to determine his or her qualifications as provided by the elections laws of the State of Ohio.
Constitution and Laws
Nothing herein shall conflict with the Constitution of the United States of America, the law of the United States of America, the Constitution of the State of Ohio, and the Ohio Democratic Party Constitution and By-laws. Any matter that conflicts with any of the aforesaid shall be of no force and effect. All constitutional provisions and laws of the United States and the State of Ohio are hereby incorporated by reference and made a part hereof. Each clause of this Constitution and By-laws shall be considered separately, and the illegality or unenforceability of any one clause shall not affect any other clause.
Central Committee and Executive Committee Organization
Section 1. Central Committee
- The controlling committee of the Knox County Democratic Party shall be the county Central Committee, consisting of such membership as shall be elected in each precinct, one per precinct, according to the laws of the State of Ohio. The county Central Committee shall elect a county Executive Committee, which shall have such powers as are granted to it by the county Central Committee as provided by law and by the Knox County Democratic Party.
Section 2. Organization Meeting
- The members-elect of the Central Committee shall meet not earlier than six (6) nor later than fifteen (15) days following the date of the declaration by the Knox County Board of Elections of the official results of the even-year primary election. The retiring chair of the Central Committee shall designate the time and place in Mount Vernon, Ohio, for this meeting. Notice of such meeting, indicating the date, time, and place, shall be sent to each member-elect by the retiring secretary of the Central Committee by United States mail, and a copy of the notice shall be posted in the office of the Knox County Board of Elections at least five (5) days prior to any such meeting. If the retiring secretary does not issue the call within the time designated by law, any five (5) members-elect may do so. The meeting shall be called to order by the retiring chair or secretary or, if such an officer is absent, then by a member of the Central Committee designated by the Democratic members of the Knox County Board of Elections. A temporary chair and secretary shall be chosen and the Committee shall proceed to organize by election to a two-year term of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, treasurer, secretary and such other officers as the committee may desire.
- The elected members of the Central Committee may proceed to fill Central Committee vacancies in precincts where no persons were elected, upon presentation of signed statements of interest by eligible prospective appointees and motions duly made, seconded and approved a majority of the membership. Once the Central Committee has conferred authority to the Executive Committee, the responsibility for filling Central Committee vacancies will be transferred to the Executive Committee. All such appointeed persons should meet the membership requirements of Article One, Section 2 a.
- The elected and appointed members of the county Central Committee shall then elect themselves to the county Executive Committee and confer upon the county Executive Committee all power and authority of the county Central Committee, except for those responsibilities specifically reserved by the Central Committee (see By-Laws, Chapter 2, Section 2) and the county Executive Committee shall be authorized to act for the county Central Committee in all things pertaining to the welfare, business, operation and organization of the county Central Committee and the Knox County Democratic Party during the period of its existence, which shall continue until the sixth (6th) day after the certification of the next election of the next county Central Committee at the succeeding even-year primary election.
- The Central Committee shall be adjourned sine die.
- The newly created Executive Committee shall include all Democrats elected to partisan office; the current president of the Knox County Democratic Women; and the current president of the Knox County Young Democrats. If one of the aforementioned individuals should vacate his or her position prior to the expiration of the current Executive Committee, that individual may remain a member of the Executive Committee if he or she desires. Individuals ascending to an ex officio position during the term of the Executive Committee shall immediately be named to the Executive Committee.
- Following the adjournment of the Central Committee, the newly created Executive Committee shall convene immediately to select a temporary chairperson and secretary, and to set a date for the election of officers and at-large members of the Executive Committee.
- The Executive Committee shall then be adjourned.
Section 3. Election of the Executive Committee Officers
- The Executive Committee shall meet within ten (10) days of their authorization as the Executive Committee of the Knox County Democratic Party. The Executive Committee may then proceed to fill still existing vacancies in precincts where no one was elected to the Central Committee, using the same procedures described in Article Three, Section 2 b. Those selected to the Central Committee will also become members of the Executive Committee with full rights and privileges.
- The county Executive Committee shall then proceed to elect its chairperson, designated as the County Chair, who need not be a member of the county Executive Committee and must not have voted or been a candidate in any other political party primary in the previous five (5) years. The chairperson will automatically become a member of the county Executive Committee. The chairperson may be elected to five (5) consecutive terms of two years each (ten (10) years).
- The chairperson of the Knox County Democratic Party may nominate up to 12 additional at-large members of the Executive Committee, said nomination to be duly seconded and approved by a majority of the Executive Committee.
- The county Executive Committee shall then proceed to nominate and elect a vice chairperson of the opposite gender of the chairperson, a secretary, a treasurer, and a deputy treasurer. These persons must be members of said committee. These officers may be elected to five (5) consecutive terms of two years each (ten (10) years).
This constitution can be amended by a majority of the members of the Knox County Democratic Party Executive Committee present at a meeting called for that purpose.
This Constitution supersedes any and all other Constitutions of the Knox County Democratic Party and shall take effect immediately upon adoption by the county Executive Committee.
Chapter 1: Officers
Section 1. County Chair
- The County Chair’s duties shall be those of chief executive officer, and he or she shall be subject to the direction of, and responsible to, the county Executive Committee. The chair may nominate an executive committee director and other personnel as is deemed necessary, subject to confirmation by the Knox County Executive Committee. The chair may appoint members and chairs of the committees described in Chapter 3. All said appointments shall serve at the pleasure of the chair of the Executive Committee, except the budget and audit chairperson and committee, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Executive Committee.
Section 2. Vice-Chair
- The Vice-Chair shall act as Chair in case of the death, resignation, incapacity, removal, or absence of the Chair and shall, in such event, have the same powers, duties, and responsibilities as the Chair. Should the Chair die, resign, or be removed from office, the county Executive Committee shall elect a new chair at the first meeting following notification of the death, resignation, or removal of the chairperson.
Section 3. Secretary
- The Secretary shall be in charge of all official documents, including attendance records, of the Executive Committee and the preparation of the necessary notices, minutes, and other documents.
- The Secretary shall preserve such files and records and open them for examination and, at appropriate times, at the request of any duly elected member of the county Executive Committee, under such rules and regulations as are prescribed by said Executive Committee. All minutes of the preceding term and all minutes of meetings shall be preserved in perpetuity and submitted to the newly-elected secretary at the reorganization meeting.
Section 4. Treasurer
- The Treasurer shall have custody of the funds of the party.
- The Treasurer shall prepare and present to the Executive Committee the current month and year-to-date written reports of all income and expenses.
- If the Executive Committee maintains a central office then the treasurer must pay all recurring bills for expenses (including rent, telephone, Internet, and other utilities as required) that the Executive Committee deems necessary to maintain functionality in a timely manner as they become due.
- Expenses of $100 or more that do not fall into the category above must have approval by the County Chair and the chair of the budget and audit committee, if one is designated, prior to purchase or commitment. These items will not be paid by the Treasurer without proper prior approval.
- Purchases of less than $100 do not need prior approval but must be approved by either the county chairperson or the audit and budget committee chair before payment by the treasurer.
- A list of paid bills shall be shared by the Treasurer at each executive committee meeting.
- The Treasurer’s books shall be audited with every change of Treasurer, and at the end of an Executive Committee term by the budget and audit committee at the beginning of each term.
- A Deputy Treasurer shall be appointed to work with the Treasurer at their convenience to become familiar with the requirements of the office as stated above and the statutory reporting requirements required of the party. This would include knowledge of schedule dates as required by the Ohio Secretary of State and the Knox County Board of Elections, correct forms to use, where forms are obtained, and where to go for reference material for clearance on these issues.
- The Public Funds account will be kept separate from all other accounts. Reports on Public Funds activity will be filed, as required. The Treasurer will meet with state auditors annually and furnish any information required by them until the audit is completed to their satisfaction.
Section 5. Vacancies
- In the event of the extended absence of an officer, members of the Executive Committee may declare the office vacant by a motion, duly seconded and approved by a two-thirds majority of the members present. The Executive Committee shall then proceed to fill the vacancy.
Chapter 2: Coordination
Section 1. Coordination of Affairs
The chairperson of the Knox County Democratic Party Executive Committee shall cooperate with the State of Ohio’s eighty-eight (88) county parties and all political subdivisions of the Democratic Party. Also, the chair should work closely with, and coordinate affairs with, precinct representatives and all recognized Democratic Party organizations in Knox County.
Section 2. Duties of the Central Committee Members
It is the responsibility of Central Committee members to:
- Elect members to fill vacancies on the Central Committee, prior to conferring this authority to the Executive Committee.
- Meet as necessary to appoint persons to fill vacancies in elective public offices as prescribed by the Ohio Revised Code.
- Recommend poll workers for the Board of Elections, especially in their precinct.
- Perform any and all such other duties as may be prescribed by the Ohio Revised Code.
- Organize Democrats in their respective precincts.
Section 3. Duties of the Executive Committee Members
It is the responsibility of the Executive Committee members to:
- Elect members to fill vacancies on the Central Committee, upon receiving this authority from the Central Committee; and elect additional members of the Executive Committee.
- Recommend poll workers.
- To assist in any and all tasks deemed necessary within their precinct during a political campaign (may include assisting in door-to-door canvass, telephone work, registering voters, helping disabled voters to the polls, and assisting in the raising of funds).
- Attend committee meetings and assist in any and all tasks assigned by their respective committee chairs.
Chapter 3: Committees
Section 1. Standing committees
- All Executive Committee members must belong to at least one committee.
- The standing committees of the Knox County Democratic Party are the Events, Promotions, and Fundraising Committee, which is responsible for all fundraising activities and community and promotional event planning and staffing; the Candidates and Volunteers Committee, which is responsible for recruiting volunteers, candidates, and precinct captains; training candidates; evaluating candidates’ funding requests; and reviewing candidates’ requests for endorsement and recommending an action to the Executive Committee the By-Laws Committee, which conducts five-year reviews of the by-laws and considers amendments; and the Budget and Audit Committee, which is responsible for drafting an annual budget, approving expenditures, and performing audits.
- Committees may organize into subcommittees for the purpose of carrying out specific tasks.
- Committee chairs shall call periodic meetings of their respective committees and report their committees’ progress at the monthly Executive Committee meetings.
Section 2. Ad hoc committees
- The County Chair may organize ad-hoc committees for specific purposes.
Chapter 4: Meetings
Section 1. County Central Committee
- The County Central Committee shall meet after it is elected as required by law, and thereafter as necessary.
Section 2. Executive Committee
- The county Executive Committee shall meet within ten (10) days of being elected by the county Central Committee. The Executive Committee must have a minimum of eight (8) monthly meetings in each year. A regular meeting of the Executive Committee may be cancelled only by a vote of the members, with the exception of a county weather emergency and the December monthly meeting. The Executive Committee may also be called to a special meeting by the Chair or by a minimum of one-third (1/3) of the Executive Committee, whose signatures shall appear on an agenda stating the reason for such a meeting. Any such special meeting must meet the requirements of the following section.
Section 3. Meeting Announcement
- Notice of every meeting, specifying date, time, and place, shall be sent in writing through the United States mail to all members of the Central and Executive Committees, not less than five (5) days in advance of the meeting, unless provided by law. Members of the aforesaid committees may choose to be notified via electronic mail in lieu of United States mail by notifying the secretary.
Section 4. Meeting Attendance
- The secretary shall call the roll at the beginning of each Executive Committee meeting. Attendance at regular meetings is expected of all Executive Committee members. Executive Committee members with three consecutive unexcused absences shall be suspended from the Committee, and will not be included in the quorum requirement. Reinstatement to active membership, with full voting privileges, will occur after attending three consecutive meetings. Members may request in writing an extended leave of absence, during which time they will not be included in the quorum requirement.
- Executive Committee members requiring an extended absence from meetings may be excused without penalty by notifying the secretary of the duration of the absence. During an extended leave, the member will be suspended and will not be included in the quorum requirement. The suspension shall end, and full voting privileges shall be restored, immediately upon the member’s return from the extended leave.
Section 5. Quorum Requirement
- One-third of the membership of the Executive Committee, excluding members under suspension, shall constitute a quorum for conducting any business to come before the meeting. No business may be conducted without a quorum.
Section 6. Vote
- Voting shall be done by a voice vote of the yeas and nays, or by roll call vote or signed ballot if requested by majority vote of the members present. Secret ballots are not permitted. Members who are unable to attend a meeting may vote during that meeting by telephone or online conference service by advance arrangement with the chair or secretary.
Chapter 5: Finances of Knox County Democratic Party
Section 1. Members of Fundraising, Events, and Promotions Committee
- The members of the Executive Committee Fundraising, Events, and Promotions Committee must be members of the Executive Committee. They shall have the primary responsibility of soliciting all contributions and promoting all fundraising activities for the party.
Section 2. Account signatories
- The chair, treasurer, and deputy treasurer shall be listed on file as authorized signatories on all bank accounts of the Knox County Democratic Party.
Section 3. Candidate financial support
- The Candidates and Volunteers Committee shall consider requests for candidate financial support and issue recommendations to the Executive Committee after reviewing the candidates’ campaign plans. Criteria for a successful request for financial support shall include, but are not limited to, the timeliness of the candidate’s request, the formation of a campaign committee and designation of a treasurer by the candidate, a demonstrated plan for raising additional funds for the campaign, and agreement by the candidate with the principles of the Knox County Democratic Party.
- The Executive Committee may vote to grant financial support to local and non-federal district candidates following the recommendation of the Candidates and Volunteers Committee.
Chapter 6: Endorsements
Section 1. Pre-Primary Endorsements
- The Candidates and Volunteers Committee shall review local or district candidates seeking pre-primary endorsements and issue a recommendation to the Executive Committee.
- A pre-primary endorsement will be awarded following a vote of eighty percent of the members present and voting.
- Ten days’ notice must be given of Executive Committee meetings in which pre-primary endorsements will be discussed.
Section 2. General Election Endorsements
- Democratic candidates seeking office in partisan races on the general election ballot may receive an endorsement by a majority vote of the Executive Committee members present and voting.
- The Executive Committee may vote to endorse general election candidates in which party affiliation is not disclosed on the ballot. Such endorsements will be awarded following a majority vote of the members present and voting.
- In the case of two registered Democrats competing in a race in which party affiliation is not disclosed on the ballot, the Candidates and Volunteers Committee shall review the candidates in said race and issue a recommendation to the Executive Committee. An endorsement in such a race will be awarded following a vote of eighty percent of the members present and voting.
Section 3. Issue Endorsements
- The Executive Committee may offer endorsements for ballot issues, including levies, by a vote of eighty percent of the members present and voting.
Chapter 7: Oath of Office
Section 1. Oath of Office
- All officers of the county Central Committee and the county Executive Committee shall be required to take an oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States of America, the Constitution of the State of Ohio, the principles of the Ohio Democratic Party, and the Constitution and By-laws of the Knox County Democratic Party, said oath administered to be administered by an officer of the court or any other person authorized to administer oaths under Ohio law.
Chapter 8: Robert’s Rules of Order
Section 1. Roberts Rules of Order
- Any matters regarding the conduct of the affairs of the Knox County Central and Executive Committees not governed by this Constitution and By-laws or by the convention rules or by the laws of the State of Ohio shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.
Chapter 9: Amendment of Constitution and By-laws
Section 1. Proposal
- Any proposed amendment to the Constitution and By-law prior to the prescribed five-year review, must be submitted in writing to the standing by-laws committee for review and recommendations.
Section 2. Amendment
- This Constitution and By-laws may be amended by an affirmative vote of sixty percent (60%) of a quorum of the Executive Committee of the Knox County Democratic Party present at a regular meeting, or a special meeting called for that purpose. Amendments proposed under this section must be submitted in writing and copies thereof sent to each member of the said committee at least fifteen (15) days prior to said meeting.
Section 3. Review
- This Constitution and By-laws shall be reviewed at least every five (5) years by the standing By-Laws Committee of the Executive Committee. An adopted, revised copy shall be filed with the Ohio Democratic Party and the Ohio Secretary of State.
Section 4. Adoption
- This Constitution and By-laws supersedes any and all other previous Constitution and By-laws of the Knox County Democratic Party and shall take effect immediately upon its adoption.