Constitution of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County
Freedom, equity, security, peace and prosperity throughout the world; these are our high aims. To achieve these aims, we seek to promote and to preserve liberal democratic government everywhere — abroad, in America, in Wisconsin. To promote and to preserve liberal government, we seek to build and to develop a liberal Democratic Party.
A political party is a means to an end. Means shape ends. To be a force for democracy, a political party must be a democracy. Its members must have equal voice, one with another. Its leaders must be freely chosen by its members and must answer to them. Its program must arise from the free and full competition of ideas among its members.
In recognition of these plain truths, we adopt this Constitution. Through it we shall fashion and maintain a democratic party.
Taken From the Constitution Of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin
Article I. Name
The name of this organization shall be the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County (hereinafter, Party).
Article II. Objectives
The objectives of this organization are: 1. to develop the fullest possible membership in the county, 2. to hold regularly scheduled meetings, 3. to encourage Democratic candidates for elective office, 4. to form and maintain an effective campaign organization, 5. to make recommendations for the Party platform, and 6. to promote the general interests of the Democratic Party.
Article III. Membership
Section 1 - Any resident of Milwaukee County at least 14 years of age who subscribes to the principles of the Democratic Party shall be eligible for membership. No application for membership shall be rejected; however , membership may be challenged in accordance with the provisions of Article VIII.
Section 2 - Membership shall be accomplished by payment of dues and receipt of such dues.
Section 3 - A member whose dues are not paid for the current year shall be considered delinquent. A delinquent member is automatically reinstated with all rights and privileges of membership upon payment of dues prior to the end of the calendar year.
Section 4 - Every member, except full-time, paid staff is eligible to hold an office in this organization but if at any time a member is delinquent or is otherwise unable to fulfill his/her duties, as determined by the executive board the office may be declared vacant and shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of Article IV, Section 5(d).
Section 5 - In no case will dues be accepted after the close of the calendar year for which they are offered.
Section 6 - Every member has the right to be heard by the Party, Executive Board or any other body or committee of this organization upon due request in accordance with the rules of procedure established by such body.
Article IV. County Party
Section 1 - Party Membership and Responsibilities
1. The Party shall be composed of all members of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin who reside in Milwaukee County and who have paid dues for the current year.
2. The Party shall have the power and duty to review all matters of policy and as such may ratify or reject all actions and appointments of the Executive Board and the County Chair.
3. The Party shall permanently elect the county officers and fill vacancies in these offices under the provisions of Article IV, Section 5.
4. The elected officers of this organization shall be the county chair, the vice chair, the recording secretary, the corresponding secretary, the membership secretary, and the treasurer, all of who shall be elected by a vote of the entire Party.
5. The duties of the officers shall be those listed below and other such duties as may be imposed upon them by this constitution or the acts of the Executive Board which are not in conflict with the provisions of this constitution.
6. The county chair shall preside at meetings of the Executive board and of the Party. He/she shall appoint all committees with the approval of the Executive Board.
7. The vice chair shall preside at meetings in the absence of the chair. in the event of a vacancy in the position of chair, the vice chair shall serve as chair temporarily until the position is filled in accordance with the provisions of Article IV, Section 5(c).
8. The recording secretary shall be responsible for keeping a true and accurate record of all proceedings of the Executive Board and of the Party.
9. The corresponding secretary shall be responsible for issuing meeting notices, and for maintaining the correspondence of this organization, and shall chair the communications committee.
10. The membership secretary shall be responsible for keeping an accurate record of all paid memberships and for providing lists to county party subunits at their request and shall chair the membership committee. The membership secretary shall chair the membership committee.
11. The treasurer shall be the custodian of the funds of this organization and shall expend these funds only in accordance with the directives of the Executive Board. He/she shall make financial reports in writing at each Executive Board and Party meeting. He/she shall be responsible for preparing such financial statements as are required by law and for forwarding them to the proper authorities. His/her financial records shall be audited as determined by the Executive Board.
Section 2 - County Party Officers & Duties
1. The elected officers of this organization shall be the county chair, the vice chair, the recording secretary the corresponding secretary, the membership secretary, and the treasurer, all of who shall be elected by a vote of the entire Party.
2. The duties of the officers shall be those listed below and other such duties as may be imposed upon them by this constitution or the acts of the Executive Board which are not in conflict with the provisions of this constitution.
3. The county chair shall preside at meetings of the Executive board and of the Party. He/she shall appoint all committees with the approval of the Executive Board.
4. The vice chair shall preside at meetings in the absence of the chair. in the event of a vacancy in the position of chair, the vice chair shall serve as chair temporarily until the position is filled in accordance with the provisions of Article IV, Section 5(c).
5. The recording secretary shall be responsible for keeping a true and accurate record of all proceedings of the Executive Board and of the Party.
6. The corresponding secretary shall be responsible for issuing meeting notices, and for maintaining the correspondence of this organization, and shall chair the communications committee.
7. The membership secretary shall be responsible for keeping an accurate record of all paid memberships and for providing lists to county party subunits at their request and shall chair the membership committee. The membership secretary shall chair the membership committee.
8. The treasurer shall be the custodian of the funds of this organization and shall expend these funds only in accordance with the directives of the Executive Board. He/she shall make financial reports in writing at each Executive Board and Party meeting. He/she shall be responsible for preparing such financial statements as are required by law and for forwarding them to the proper authorities. His/her financial records shall be audited as determined by the Executive Board.
9. The chair shall appoint a parliamentarian.
Section 3 - Executive Board
1. The Executive Board shall be composed of:
a. Duly elected county officers, as identified in Section 2 above.
b. All Regional Chairs elected by their geographic regions as identified in Article V.
c. Caucus representatives from Caucuses that meet the qualifications of Article VI.
d. Any Congressional District chairs who reside in Milwaukee County,
e. The immediate past county chair,
f. The statutory committee chair,
g. Any member of the State Administrative Committee who resides in Milwaukee County,
h. Five (5) members at large appointed by the County Chair to achieve gender and ethnic balance on the Executive Board.
i. A representative of the College Democrats.
j. Any standing committee chairs not enumerated in Section 3(a)(i-ix).
2. The elected vice-chairs of the regions and caucuses and the elected statutory committee vice-chair shall serve on the Executive Board in the absence of the representative chair. No person shall hold two (2) positions on the Executive Board at anyone time. If, due to an election, anyone is holding two Executive Board positions, he/she must resign one position within fifteen days. In the event the seat vacated is that of chair (statutory, region or caucus) the vice-chair shall take the seat and serve in their stead. In the event the seat vacated is that of a duly elected county officer, Article IV, Section 5(d) shall apply.
3. The Executive Board shall establish and implement all programs and operating procedures and policies of this organization.
4. The Executive Board shall approve or reject by a majority vote all appointments made by the county chair. It shall have the authority to appoint when the county chair does not act within a reasonable period of time.
5. The Executive Board shall make decisions on endorsement of candidates in non-partisan races and shall make recommendations on contributions to partisan and nonpartisan candidates. Endorsements and recommendations shall be ratified by the membership by a majority of those present and voting at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Party. Should a member of the Executive Board be running for office and seeking an endorsement or contribution, he/she shall recuse him/herself from any decision-making in this process.
6. The Executive Board shall meet at least once every three months.
7. Any responsibility given to the Executive Board herein may be exercised by the Party at any general membership meeting.
Section 4 - Meetings
1. The Party shall establish a regular meeting date. This date may be changed by a majority of members in attendance at any regularly scheduled meeting.
2. Special meetings of the Party and of the Executive Board may be called by the County Chair or by either body while in session.
3. Upon written request to the corresponding secretary by 25% of the members of the Executive Board indicating the reason for a meeting, the corresponding secretary shall call a special meeting and shall send out notice of such meeting within three days after receipt of the request.
4. Upon written request to the corresponding secretary by 10% of the members of the Party indicating the reason for a meeting, the corresponding secretary shall call a special meeting and shall send out notice of the meeting within three days after receipt of the request.
5. Notice of all special meetings of the Party and of the Executive Board must be given at least five days and not more than fourteen days prior to the date of the special meeting.
6. Quorum for conducting business for the Executive Board shall be 50% of its members. Quorum for conducting business for general Party meetings shall be 5% of all Party members.
Section 5 - Elections
1. All officers elected by the Party shall be elected for a term of two years.
2. Elections of County officers shall be held in November of each odd-numbered year. The corresponding secretary shall give written notice to all Members of the Party and to the State Headquarters at least ten days prior to the election meeting. The majority of members voting shall be sufficient to elect. The officers elected shall assume office at the conclusion of the Novemberelection meeting.
3. In the event the office of county chair becomes vacant prior to the expiration of the term, the vice-chair, shall assume the duties of the chair until such time as a special election, called by the corresponding secretary, is held to fill the vacancy. Such special election shall be held within 45 days after the vacancy occurs. Written notice shall be given to all County Party members and to State Headquarters at least ten days prior to the special election. The officers elected shall assume office at the first meeting subsequent to their election and shall hold office until their successors are elected.
4. In the event of a vacancy in any position on the Executive Board ordinarily filled by Party election, except that of county chair, the Executive Board shall elect a successor to serve until the vacancy is permanently filled by special election as provided in Section 3 of this Article.
5. The rules for election of the county officers shall be created by the Constitution and Election Rules Committee and adopted by the Party at the regular meeting immediately prior to the election meeting. The adopted rules shall be made available to each member of the Party prior to the day of the election meeting.
Section 6 - Committee Structure and Duties
1. Where not otherwise provided for, the County chair, in accordance with the provisions of Article VI, Section 4 shall appoint a chair of all standing committees at or before the first regular meeting of the newly elected Executive Board. The term of office of standing committee chairs shall coincide with the term of the county chair and they shall serve at the Chair’s pleasure with Executive Board approval.
2. Standing Committees shall be:
a. Development – responsible for developing fundraising projects and events to advance the Party
b. Membership – responsible for developing and implementing a plan for membership recruitment and expansion that reflects the community.
c. Communications – responsible for developing materials to promote the Party and for maintaining the county party website and other public relations and communication vehicles.
d. Political Action – responsible for recruiting candidates, working with Democratic candidates for partisan or non-partisan electoral offices, and for the development of campaign volunteers.
e. Constitution and Elections Rules – responsible for maintaining and interpreting the Constitution of the Party and for developing and presenting the rules for Party officer elections.
f. Platform, Resolutions & Issues – responsible for developing vehicles to give voice to members’ views on issues, through events; speakers; on- and off-line activism; and issue discussion. In addition, the committee will work with the state party Platform and Resolutions Committee through development and consideration of platform items and resolutions. the members of the state party Platform and Resolutions Committee from Milwaukee County will serve ex-officio on this committee.
3. The county chair may appoint special committees, with executive board approval.
4. Committees shall be responsible for developing programs in their area of operation with the approval of the Executive Board, and for submitting reports to the Executive Board and the Party.
5. The Executive Board shall approve or reject by a majority vote all appointments made by the county chair. It shall have the authority to appoint when the county chair does not act within a reasonable period of time.
Article V. Regional Organizations
Section 1 – The County shall be subdivided into 5 geographic regions whose primary work is for the purposes of electing regional officers, selecting delegates to the Congressional District/State Party Conventions, providing for dialogue and discussion of issues relevant to the region, and to promulgate resolutions to the Party in preparation for the Congressional District conventions. The regions are based upon the following zip codes and municipalities:
Region 1 (West Central) –Those parts of the City of Milwaukee in 53213,53222,53224,53225,53226 and the entire City of Wauwatosa;
Region 2 (Milwaukee Central)–53203,53205,53206,53208,53210,53216,53218,53233;
Region 3 (North East) — 53202, 53209, 53211,53212, 53217, 53223;
Region 4 (South East) — 53110, 53154,53172, 53204, 53207, 53215, 53235, and the part of the City of Milwaukee in 53221;
Region 5 (South West) — 53129,53130,53132,53214,53219,53220,53227,53228, the part of the City of Greenfield in 53221 and the entire Village of West Milwaukee.
Section 2 - Each geographic region shall hold an annual meeting between January 1 and February 15, prior to the annual Congressional District Convention. The region chair shall set the time and place of the Regional Annual Meeting. Members of the region shall be given at least 30 days written notice. The regional annual meeting shall be held within the boundaries of the region. Voting privileges are open to any current paid member of the region. Immediately following the Regional Annual Meeting a list of delegates selected shall be sent to the Membership Secretary of the County Party.
Section 3 - Unless the regions constitution shall provide for additional members, the officers of the regional organization shall be the regional chairperson, the regional vice chair, the regional secretary/treasurer, and the chair of any caucuses within the region. The executive committee shall meet at least every three months to consider and act upon matters of concern to the region. The time and place for such meetings are to be determined by the chairperson. At least ten days written notice of every meeting shall be given by the chairperson to members of the executive committee.
Section 4 - In the event of a vacancy in the office of regional chairperson, the vice-chairperson shall serve as his/her successor until the next regional annual meeting. In the event the vice-chairperson declines to accept the office of regional chairperson within ten days after notification by the county chairperson, the regional executive committee shall elect a successor at a meeting called by the county chairperson. In the event of a vacancy in any regional officer other than regional chairperson, the regional executive committee shall elect a successor to serve until the next annual meeting.
Section 5 - A region, in its constitution, may provide for funding for operating expenses and campaign expenses. Where required by election law, the secretary/treasurer shall file the appropriate reports.
Article VI. Caucuses
Section 1 – Caucuses of the Party representing traditionally underrepresented people may be formed. Caucuses shall be responsible for developing membership among their designated group, developing programming to increase Democratic participation, and present resolutions to the Resolutions Committee of issues of concern to the group.
Section 2 – Upon attainment of at least 15 members, the caucus may, in convention, adopt a constitution and by-laws, subject to the Party and State Party constitution. Such constitution and by-laws and amendments thereto must be approved by the Party Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
Section 3 – Upon meeting the criteria identified in Section 2, a Caucus shall select one voting member to serve on the Party Executive Board. The Executive Board, subject to the approval of the Party membership, may in its discretion take such action it deems appropriate to assure the caucus and its officers are functioning in a manner consistent with the Caucus constitution and the policies of the Party.
Section 4 – Membership in the Party Caucuses shall be open to any person otherwise eligible for membership in the Party. Caucuses may add a $5 membership fee in addition to the regular Party membership to assist in paying for the programs of the caucus.
Article VII. Statutory Responsibilities
Section 1 – Wisconsin Election and Campaign Laws Section 154. 8. 17(5)(b) make the County Party responsible for selecting committeemen and women (the County Statutory Committee) who in turn are responsible for recruiting potential poll inspectors.
1. Committeemen and women shall be elected at a combined meeting of the County Statutory Committee and members in good standing of the County Party. This meeting is to be held no sooner than 15 days after the September primary and no later than April 1 of the following year. Each member of the Party is entitled to one vote.
2. A meeting of the committee people shall be called within 30 days of the above election at which time the committee members shall elect their own chair.
3. The Statutory Committee shall appoint election inspectors in compliance with state statute.
Section 2 – County Elections Commission – On or before June 1 each year following a presidential election the Milwaukee County Party shall submit three names to the County Executive for consideration for appointment to the County Elections Commission. If the Democratic candidate for governor prevailed in the November election in Milwaukee County, the County Executive shall choose to appoint two of the three individuals. If the Republican candidate for governor prevailed, one individual will be appointed. The three recommendations shall be elected by the membership of the Party at its May meeting.
Section 3 – City Elections Commission – On or before June 1 each year following a presidential election the Milwaukee County Party shall submit three names to the Mayor of Milwaukee for consideration for appointment to the City Elections Commission. If the Democratic candidate for governor prevailed in the November election in the City of Milwaukee, the Mayor shall choose to appoint two of the three individuals. If the Republican candidate for president prevailed, one individual will be appointed. The three recommendations shall be elected by the membership of the Party at its May meeting.
Article VIII. Expulsion
Any paid up member of this organization may file a challenge in writing with the Executive Board alleging that a member has disavowed this Constitution or the principles of this organization. The Executive Board is empowered to determine the merits of the charges; and after a hearing, upon reasonable notice to the person charged, shall vote to recommend expulsion or censure on the one hand, or rejection of the charges on the other. If the Executive Board recommends expulsion or censure, the findings will be forwarded to the State Headquarters of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin for final determination.
Article IX. Constitution Priority
In the event of a conflict between the State Constitution and this constitution, the State Constitution shall take precedence.
Article X. Endorsements Of Candidates In Primary Elections
The Party and any other subdivisions are prohibited from endorsing or supporting any candidate in a Democratic presidential preference election or any partisan primary election which will determine the candidate of the Democratic Party for the ensuing election to office.
Article XI. Parliamentary Authority
Robert's Rules of Order, current edition, shall be the parliamentary authority for the organization except as it may conflict with this constitution.
Article XIII. Amendments
The constitution may be amended in the following manner:
1. An amendment shall be introduced in writing to the Executive Board by any member or any subdivision of this organization.
2. The amendment shall be automatically referred by the Executive Board to the constitution and by-laws committee.
3. The constitution and by-laws committee shall report findings and recommendations to the Executive Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
4. The Executive Board shall discuss the proposed amendment/s and make a recommendation to the Party.
5. The proposed amendment(s) read at the first meeting following the Executive Board meeting. No debate shall take place at this time. The amendment will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the Party for a second reading and action. All amendments shall require a two-thirds vote of all eligible members present and voting for approval. As soon as the amendment(s) have been approved, it shall be adopted, subject to approval by the State Administrative Committee.
6. Re-introduction of an amendment which has failed to receive the necessary 2/3 vote may occur after 6 months have passed since the amendment was initially introduced.
Article XIV. Effective Date
Upon adoption, this constitution shall become effective upon approval by the State Administrative Committee.
Revised March 1974, November 1982, November 1987, October 2002, September 2005.