Constitution and By-Laws

Knox County Democratic Party
Constitution and By-Laws
Adopted April 24, 2018

Mission Statement

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 valuesWe 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.

Constitution
Preamble
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.

ARTICLE ONE. 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 the constitution, article 1, section 2, and article 3, 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.

ARTICLE TWO. 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.

ARTICLE THREE. Central Committee and Executive Committee Organization

Section 1. Central Committee

A. 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, for two-year terms, according to the laws of the State of Ohio.

B. 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.

C. The central committee, at its organization meeting, shall confer upon the executive committee all power and authority of the 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.

Section 2. Executive Committee

A. The powers and duties conferred upon the executive committee shall continue during the period of the committee’s existence, which shall continue through the fifth day after the certification of the next election of the next county central committee at the succeeding even-year primary election.

B. The executive committee shall be led by a chairperson, who will be referred to as the county chair.

C. The executive committee shall consist of all members elected and appointed to the central committee for the duration of the current central committee. Additionally, the executive committee shall include, ex officio, all Democrats elected to partisan office in Knox County; the current president of the Knox County Democratic Women; the current president of any county-wide group of young Democrats recognized by the Knox County Democratic Party; and a representative from any student Democratic group of a college or university based in Knox County, provided that representative is chosen by the membership of the respective group and registered to vote in Knox County.

D. The executive committee chairperson may nominate up to twelve individuals to serve on the executive committee in an at-large capacity, such nomination to be duly seconded and approved by majority vote of the committee.

E. The executive committee may choose to appoint up to five additional legacy members of the committee, with a motion and second from a committee member and majority vote of the members present. Legacy members can be, but are not limited to, longtime elected officials and volunteers. Legacy members have full rights and privileges equal to all other members of the committee.

F. If an ex officio executive committee member should vacate his or her qualifying position prior to the expiration of the current executive committee, that individual may remain a member of the executive committee for the remainder of its term if he or she desires. Individuals ascending to a qualifying ex officio position during the term of the executive committee shall immediately be named to the executive committee.

G. Executive committee members may elect members to serve in vacant central committee precincts throughout the committee’s term. Those selected to the central committee will also become members of the executive committee with full rights and privileges.

Section 3. Executive Committee Residency and Party Requirements

A. All members of the executive committee shall be residents of Knox County, Ohio, and registered to vote therein.

B. If a member of the executive committee moves from Knox County or registers to vote elsewhere, that member shall automatically be removed from the committee.

C. All members of the executive committee must be registered Democrats. If a member of the executive committee swears affirmation to another party, is involved in organizing activities for any other major or minor party, runs for office as a member of another party (not including nonpartisan elections), or votes a ballot for another party in a primary election, that member shall be removed from the committee.

Section 4. Reorganization Procedures for Central Committee

A. The central committee shall be active for two year terms, such terms commencing six days following the date of the declaration by the Knox County Board of Elections of the official results of the even-year primary election.

B. The members-elect of the central committee shall meet not earlier than six nor later than fifteen 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 chair of the outgoing 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 chair or secretary of the central committee by U.S. mail, and a copy of the notice shall be posted in the office of the Knox County Board of Elections at least five days prior to any such meeting. If the retiring chair or secretary does not issue the call within the time designated by law, any five members-elect may do so.

C. 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.

D. 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 by 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 the Constitution, Article 1, Section 2 and Article 3, Section 3.

E. 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 (see Constitution, Article 3, Sections 1 and 2), except for those responsibilities specifically reserved by the central committee (see By-laws, Chapter 2, Section 2).

F. The central committee shall be adjourned sine die.

G. 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.

H. The executive committee shall then be adjourned.

Section 5. Reorganization Procedures for Executive Committee

A. The executive committee shall meet no later than ten days after their authorization as the executive committee of the Knox County Democratic Party.

B. The county executive committee shall 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 years. The chairperson will automatically become a member of the county executive committee. The chairperson may be elected to five consecutive terms of two years each (ten years).

C. The chairperson and executive committee shall nominate and approve at-large and legacy members, as described in the Constitution, Article 3, Section 2.

D. 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 consecutive terms of two years each (ten years).

ARTICLE FOUR. Previous Constitutions

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.

BY-LAWS

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 form subcommittees and appoint members and chairs of those subcommittees, as described in the By-laws, Chapter 3. All said appointments shall serve at the pleasure of the chair of the executive committee, except the audit chairperson and subcommittee, 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

A. 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.

B. 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

A. The treasurer shall have custody of the funds of the party.

B. The treasurer shall prepare and present to the executive committee the current month and year-to-date written reports of all income and expenses.

C. 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.

D. Expenses of $600 or more that do not fall into the category above must have approval by the county chair and the chair of the audit subcommittee, if one is designated, prior to purchase or commitment. These items will not be paid by the treasurer without proper prior approval.

E. Purchases of less than $600 do not need prior approval but must be approved by either the county chairperson or the auditsubcommittee chair before payment by the treasurer.

F. A list of paid bills shall be shared by the treasurer at each executive committee meeting.

G. The treasurer’s books shall be audited with every change of treasurer, and at the end of an executive committee term by the audit subcommittee at the beginning of each term.

H. The executive committee may appoint a deputy treasurer to work with the treasurer 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.

I. 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 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:

A. Elect members to fill vacancies on the central committee, prior to conferring this authority to the executive committee.

B. Meet as necessary to appoint persons to fill vacancies in elective public offices as prescribed by the Ohio Revised Code.

C. Recommend poll workers for the Knox County Board of Elections, especially in their precinct.

D. Perform any and all such other duties as may be prescribed by the Ohio Revised Code.

E. Organize Democrats in their respective precincts.

Section 3. Duties of the Executive Committee Members

It is the responsibility of the executive committee members to:

A. 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.

B. Recommend poll workers.

C. Help recruit candidates for office.

D. 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).

E. Attend committee meetings and assist in any and all tasks assigned by their respective committee chairs.

Chapter 3: Subcommittees

A. At the start of the term of the executive committee, the chairperson shall appoint an audit subcommittee to perform an audit as required.

B. The chairperson shall announce additional subcommittees to which important tasks will be assigned.

C. All executive committee members must belong to at least one subcommittee.

D. Subcommittee chairs shall call periodic meetings of their respective committees and report their committees’ progress at the monthly executive committee meetings.

Chapter 4: Meetings

Section 1. Central Committee

The central committee shall meet for reorganization as required by law, and thereafter as necessary.

Section 2. Executive Committee

The executive committee shall meet no later than ten days after being elected by the central committee. The executive committee must have a minimum of eight monthly meetings in each year. A regular meeting of the executive committee may be cancelled only by a vote of the members or on prior conference with the officers, with the exception of a county weather emergency. The executive committee shall not meet in December or July, unless a special meeting is called by the committee membership. The executive committee may also be called to a special meeting by the chair or by a minimum of one-third 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 U.S. mail to all members of the central and executive committees, not less than five 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 U.S. mail by notifying the secretary.

Section 4. Meeting Attendance

A. 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.

B. An executive committee member shall not be counted toward the quorum requirement, and his or her voting rights shall be suspended, following three consecutive unexcused absences. An absence is considered to be unexcused if a party officer was not notified of the absence prior to the meeting. That member will be counted toward the quorum requirement, and his or her voting rights shall be restored, after attending two consecutive meetings following the suspension.

C. An executive committee member with six consecutive unexcused absences shall be removed from the committee, with notice of removal to be sent by the chairperson or secretary via U.S. mail to the removed member and to the Knox County Board of Elections, and with the removal to be announced to the executive committee at the following meeting.

D. The secretary shall inform a member with three consecutive unexcused absences that his or her voting rights have been suspended. The secretary shall inform a member with five consecutive unexcused absences that he or she will be removed from the committee following one more unexcused absence.

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. Account signatories

The chair and treasurer, as well as the deputy treasurer if one has been appointed, shall be listed on file as authorized signatories on all bank accounts of the Knox County Democratic Party.

Section 2. Candidate financial support

A. The executive committee shall consider requests for candidate financial support 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.

B. The executive committee may vote to grant financial support to local and non-federal district candidates after considering these campaign plans..

Chapter 6: Endorsements

Section 1. Pre-Primary Endorsements

A. The executive committee shall refrain from making endorsements in contested primary races unless the committee membership determines that special circumstances warrant an endorsement.

B. The chairperson or secretary of the executive committee shall give ten days’ notice of a meet in which pre-primary endorsements will be voted upon. Notice shall be given to members of the committee and to all of the candidates, or candidates’ representatives, in the affected races.

C. A pre-primary endorsement will be awarded following a vote to endorse of eighty percent of the members present and voting.

Section 2. General Election Endorsements

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. In the case of two registered Democrats competing in a race in which party affiliation is not disclosed on the ballot, the executive committee should invite said candidates to present their cases for endorsement to the committee before considering an endorsement. 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, any other person authorized to administer oaths under Ohio law, or the outgoing central committee chairperson or secretary.

Chapter 8: Robert’s Rules of Order

Any matters regarding the conduct of the affairs of the Knox County Democratic Party 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-laws prior to the prescribed five-year review, must be submitted in writing to the executive committee officersmembership of the executive for review and recommendations.

Section 2. Amendment
This constitution and by-laws may be amended by an affirmative vote of sixty percent 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 days prior to said meeting.

Section 3. Review
This Constitution and By-laws shall be reviewed at least every five years by a by-laws subcommittee appointed by the executive commitee chairperson. 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.