Charter of the
Young Democrats of Washington, D.C.
Enacted June 25th, 2015
Organizational Structure and Statement of Purpose
Section 1-1: Organization
The name of this organization shall be The Young Democrats of Washington, D.C. hereinafter YDDC. Said organization shall be organized as a corporation recognized under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, and/or as a district nonprofit domestic corporation and may form a political action committee organized under independent bylaws as its activities and applicable law allows. YDDC is an independent organization of Democrats in Washington, D.C. under the age of 36 years. The Young Democrats of Washington D.C. shall seek to be the official unit of the Young Democrats of America (YDA) of Washington, D.C.
Section 1-2: Statement of Purpose
YDDC is an umbrella organization for young Democrats in Washington, D.C. Its purpose is:
To encourage young people to become involved in the democratic process;
To advocate for public policy changes that benefit the needs of young people in Washington, D.C. and America;
To recruit young people into the Democratic Party by presenting the ideas and beliefs of the Party in an open and public manner;
To provide training and workshops to its members and other democrats, so that they might be better able to involve themselves in electoral politics and the political process;
To stimulate discussion of important issues facing the nation’s capital and the nation;
To support the electoral efforts of democrats, particularly those who are young and those who share the values and beliefs of YDDC; and
To initiate and assist legislation and ballot initiatives which further the policy objectives of YDDC.
Section 1-3: Organizational Structure
YDDC shall consist of the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, ward chapters, chartered caucuses, a political action committee, and general YDDC membership.
Section 2-1: Membership
Membership in the Young Democrats of Washington, D.C. shall be open to every person who resides, works, or goes to school in Washington, D.C. who is 13 to 35 years old and who believes in the principles of the Democratic Party. No person shall be denied membership on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, or expression, color, creed, age (with exception to the age restrictions on section 2-1), religion, socioeconomic status, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, or disability.
Section 2-2: Honoraria
The YDDC Executive Committee or the annual Convention may by majority vote elect non-voting honorary membership status to a person not eligible for membership. Honorary members shall have none of the obligations of membership in the organization, but shall be entitled to all of the privileges except those of making motions, of voting, and of holding office. The Executive Committee shall annually vote on the determination of two awards that grant honorary membership status, the Young Democrat of the Year Award, and Rising Star Award.
Section 2-3: Dues
Membership dues shall be solicited and are $25 a year, with the following conditions and restrictions: no person otherwise eligible for YDDC membership shall be denied membership on the basis of their ability to pay dues.
Section 2-4: Participation
YDDC voting eligibility shall be conferred after a member has participated in two YDDC events and paid hers or his annual dues. The President may waive the dues requirement if a person petitions for a waiver on financial hardship grounds at least one month in advance of the annual Convention. The membership participation requirement shall be suspended until YDDC’s next convention in March 2016.
Chapters and Caucuses
Section 3-1: Authority
Section 3-1.1 Ward Committees
YDDC may allow the organization of affiliated committees by city wards of the District of Columbia. Formal recognition of these committees is contingent upon approval by majority vote of the Board of Directors. The authority on the part of YDDC to recognize such chapters shall in no way interfere with the authority of the College Democrats to establish campus chapters.
Section 3-1.2 Caucuses
YDDC may allow the organization of affiliated caucuses, as outlined by YDA. Formal recognition of these caucuses and designation of a caucus chair shall be granted by the President of YDDC. The chair of each recognized caucus shall have a vote on the Board of Directors.
Section 3-2: Affiliation with YDDC
Chartered committees and caucuses shall coordinate all fundraising, media, political, policy, and membership activities with YDDC. Ward chapters and caucuses shall not violate this Charter or the Bylaws of YDDC.
Section 3-3: Organization
Each ward committee shall elect its own officers and promulgate a charter under the authority of this Charter and send notice thereof to the Executive Committee of YDDC. Members of committees and caucuses shall be considered members of YDDC. All members of YDDC who reside in a ward will be served by a committee, and will also be considered members of that committee. No person shall claim membership in more than one ward committee. Committees must resubmit their charters to the Secretary within 30 days following a YDDC Convention to remain a recognized ward chapter.
Officers of YDDC
Section 4-1: Eligibility
Any person serving in an elected or appointed position of YDDC must fit the qualifications of voting membership. No person shall hold more than one position on the Executive Committee.
Section 4-2: Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall be made up of the President, Executive Vice President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Political Director, Membership Director, Communications Director, and two YDA National Committee Representatives. The Executive Committee of YDDC is charged with carrying out the Charter of the organization, executing the Platform and policy statements of the membership of YDDC, and performing the duties of their respective offices.
Section 4-3: The Board of Directors
All members of the Board of Directors must meet requirements for YDDC membership. The Board of Directors shall consist of Officers holding the following positions:
Members of the Executive Committee;
The Fundraising Committee Chair;
The Policy Committee Chair;
The immediate past President or ‘President Emeritus’;
The Chairperson of each Caucus;
A representative from the College Democrats of Washington, D.C.;
One representative from each District ward.
Section 4-4: Appointed Positions
The President may appoint an Executive Director, Parliamentarian, Legislative Coordinator, and may create additional appointed positions and temporary committees as needed. Appointed position holders must meet the voting eligibility requirements. These appointed positions will not have a vote on the Board of Directors.
Section 4-5: Election of Officers
Section 4-5.1: Election of the Presidents
The President, Executive Vice President, and Vice President shall each be elected by a simply majority at annual Convention. These three members will serve a one-year term.
Section 4-5.2: Election of the Board of Directors
The Treasurer, Secretary, Communications Director, Membership Director, Fundraising Committee Chair, Policy Committee Chair, YDA National Committee Persons, and at-large board members shall be elected at each annual Convention, by a simply majority vote of the membership. The District ward representatives shall be elected at the Convention by a simple majority of YDDC members residing in each District ward. These members shall serve for one year.
Section 4-6: Oath of Office
Before entering upon the performance of his or her duties, the President and Executive Vice President shall take or subscribe to the following oath or affirmation: “I (name) do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the laws of the District of Columbia, the Charter of the Young Democrats of Washington, D.C. and uphold the beliefs of the Democratic Party. I swear to be an advocate for our generation within the Democratic Party and in the public. I swear to faithfully and impartially discharge my duties as President (or Executive Vice President) of the Young Democrats of Washington, D.C. to the best of my abilities.” The oath shall be taken the evening after the convention and shall be administered by a person of the President-elect’s choosing, and on a item of the President-elect’s choosing.
Section 4-7: Duties and Responsibilities
The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Young Democrats of Washington, D.C. and its affiliates, along with supervise any and all appointed positions, staff and interns. The President shall serve as the official spokesperson of YDDC. The President shall chair all Executive Committee meetings and meetings of the Board of Directors, and shall supervise the affairs of YDDC between meetings of the Executive Committee. The President shall set the agenda at all Executive Committee meetings and meetings of the Board of Directors. The President shall also oversee the Executive Vice President, Vice President, and rules committee. Any and all powers not outlined in this charter shall be within the realm of the President, unless an Annual Convention is in session, then said powers go to the general membership.
Executive Vice President of Administration and Finance
The Executive Vice President of Administration and Finance, also referred to as the Executive Vice President, shall be the chief financial officer of the Young Democrats of Washington, D.C. and head of operations and logistics. The Executive Vice President shall work with the President and Board of Directors to develop and implement an annual budget and fundraising plan. The Executive Vice President shall oversee the Treasurer, Secretary, and Fundraising Committee, and present to the Board of Directors at each meeting an overview of all financial activity of YDDC. The Executive Vice President shall also serve as Chair of the Political Action Committee.
Vice President of Programming and Policy
The Vice President of Programming and Policy, also referred to as the Vice President, shall be a top policy advisor and campaign strategist for the Young Democrats of Washington, D.C. The Vice President shall be responsible for outlining the YDDC Platform, and legislative agenda. The Vice President shall work with the President and Board of Directors to identify our legislative and electoral priorities and develop an annual campaign plan. The Vice President shall supervise the Membership Director, Political Director, and Policy Committee.
The Treasurer shall maintain clear typed and accurate records of YDDC income, and expenditures. The Treasurer shall file all campaign finance, tax and other fiscal forms required by the Board of Directors and/or by law. The Treasurer shall report to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors at each meeting the fiscal status of YDDC.
The Secretary shall maintain clear and accurate records of YDDC meetings, activities, and organization documents. The Secretary shall contact YDDC members concerning upcoming meetings, conventions, and other events. The Secretary shall make all appropriate filings with the District Committee, YDA, and government offices that is not the responsibility of the YDDC Treasurer, and maintain a record of all YDDC members and their eligibility to vote in YDDC elections.
National Committeewoman and Committeeman
The National Committee Members shall serve as a representative to YDDC on the YDA National Committee by attending all three National YDA Committee Meetings, or appointing a proxy to serve in their place. Representing YDDC on all YDA National Committee conference calls and serve as a liaison between YDDC and YDA.
The Communications Director shall work with the President and Vice President in outlining YDDC’s message and strategy on getting YDDC’s message out. The Communications Director will manage YDDC’s print media and new media presence, including, but not limited to, press releases, website content, social media content, email contact, and newsletters.
The Political Director shall direct implementing the policy and political goals of YDDC, via organizing political action, campaigns, and recruiting young candidates for office.
The Membership Director shall be responsible for membership recruitment, social events, and the founding of chapters.
Fundraising Committee Chair
The Fundraising Committee Chair shall preside over the fundraising committee. The fundraising committee shall work with the Executive Vice President and plan all fundraising activities with the approval of the Executive Committee.
Policy Committee Chair
The Policy Committee Chair shall preside over the policy committee. The policy committee shall work with the Vice President and draft all policy proposals, policy events, the YDDC platform, and propose legislative goals with the approval of the Executive Committee.
Ward District Representatives
District members shall support the activities of the Board of Directors, represent the membership of their ward to the Board of Directors, and serve on at least one of the standing committees.
The Caucus Chairs shall preside over their caucus meetings. The Caucus Chairs shall work with the President and prepare events, grow membership, and represent their caucuses at board meetings.
Section 4-8: Removal from Office
Section 4-8.1: Grounds for Removal
Grounds for Removal shall include:
Failing to meet the qualifications of membership;
Use of the position of YDDC officer, or the YDDC name to oppose the nominees of the Democratic Party for elective office;
Failure to attend three meetings without an excused absence. An excused absence is one that is conveyed to the President prior to the meeting. In this case, the officer in question shall have 21 days to explain the absences in writing and the motion to remove shall automatically be placed on the agenda of the next board meeting;
Failure to perform the duties described in Section 4-7;
Any other behavior or action unbecoming of an officer of YDDC.
Section 4-8.2: Procedure
Any member of YDDC may submit a notice of intent to vote to remove an officer. Notice of this intent must be issued in writing and handed to the President, at least 21 days in advance of a vote, in order to allow for due process. The notice must contain the name of the member proposing the removal, the name and title of the officer who is up for removal, and a statement describing the grounds for removal. Once the 21 advance days have passed, a vote must be taken at the next board meeting. A member of the Executive Committee can be removed by a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the Executive Committee, followed by a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the Board of Directors under the rules of quorum. Any other officer of the Board of Directors may be removed by a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the Board of Directors under the rules of quorum.
Section 4-9: Vacancy
In the event of a vacancy of the President, the Executive Vice President shall be sworn in as President immediately, if both positions are vacant the order of session shall pass to the Vice President of Programing and Policy. For all other vacancies other than Caucus Chairs, the Board of Directors may hold a vote on a replacement. The President must announce a vote seven days before such a vote.
Section 5-1: Two Kinds of Annual Conventions
YDDC shall hold a convention every year. There shall be two kinds of conventions, each occurring bi-annually, and convention determination will be based on odd and even years. Even-year conventions shall be called Campaign Conventions, odd-year conventions shall be called Platform Conventions. YDDC conventions shall occur during the month of March.
Section 5-2: Campaign Conventions
YDDC’s Campaign Convention shall be held for the election of the Presidents and all other board members. The convention shall have a straw poll for District Council and Mayoral Democratic primaries. The Campaign Convention elections must be chaired by an uninterested party of the Young Democrats of America selected by the Board of Directors. The Campaign Convention may be combined with workshops, presentations, and/or social gatherings.
Section 5-2: Platform Conventions
YDDC’s Platform Convention shall be held to elected board members who serve for one year, make amendments to the charter and adopt a platform. Platform Convention elections must be chaired by an uninterested party of the Young Democrats of America selected by the Board of Directors. The Platform Convention may be combined with workshops, presentations and/or social gatherings.
Section 6-1: Function
YDDC’s Platform will serve as the official position of YDDC on policy matters, and may be supplemented, but not contradicted by other YDDC policy statements.
Section 6-2: Structure and Formation
YDDC’s Platform shall be drafted by a Platform Committee. The President shall call for the formation of the Platform Committee in November of every even year. The Committee shall be chaired by the Vice President and the vice chair of the Committee shall be the Chairman of the Policy Committee. The Committee shall present a draft of the Platform to the Executive Committee in January of that following odd year. The Executive Committee may amend the Platform and then after approving a version of the Platform it shall be sent to the Board of Directors in February. The Board of Directors may amend the Platform and then shall approve a version to be sent to the Platform Convention.
Section 6-3: Platform Approval and Amendments
After the Board of Directors approves the final draft, YDDC’s Platform can only be amended by vote of a convention open to the entire membership of YDDC. Amendments can only be considered on the convention floor if a petition to do so has been signed by five (5) YDDC members. The Chair of the Convention shall call a vote on the Platform before the close of the Platform Convention. Once approved at the Platform Convention, it shall be the official Platform of YDDC.
Section 6-4: Platform Approval and Amendments
Policy statements on timely matters may be adopted by vote of the Board of Directors, so long as they are in agreement with YDDC’s Platform and the standing positions of YDDC, as voted at its conventions.
Section 6 - 5: In absence of platform
Whereas the organization is without a platform. The platform process may take place that year and the platform voted on at the next convention.
Section 7-1: Executive Committee Meetings
The President of YDDC shall call a monthly meeting of the Executive Committee to discuss the affairs of YDDC. An Executive Committee meeting may be combined with a Board of Directors meeting. All spending proposals must be approved in an Executive Committee meeting, any spending over $100 must then go to the Board of Directors for final approval. The Executive Committee may not approve more than $300 in expenditures per month without the approval of the Board of Directors. Executive Committee meetings may be done in person or over the phone. All votes of the Executive Committee shall be recorded; no secret ballots shall be permitted.
Section 7-2: Meetings of the Board of Directors
The President of YDDC shall call a meeting of the Board of Directors no less than once every business quarter. The meeting shall be chaired by the President and the President shall set the agenda. Meetings shall be run in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order. These meetings shall be open to the public. The Board of Directors shall meet to be informed of the work of the Executive Committee, the directors, caucus chairs, chapters, YDA, and any other matters of YDDC. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to approve all expenditures over $100. All votes of the Board of Directors shall be recorded; no secret ballots shall be permitted, except when filling vacancies.
Section 7-3: Other Gatherings
YDDC may hold whatever workshops, parties, fundraisers, policy discussions, or other events the Board of Directors sees fit within the bounds of this Charter.
Section 8-1: Times Charter Amendments May Be Considered
YDDC’s charter may be amended at a Platform Convention, or by a calling of a Charter Convention.
Section 8-2: Notice
A Charter Convention may be called by the President, the Board of Directors, or by petition to the board bearing the signatures of at least 25 YDDC members who are otherwise eligible to vote at such a convention. Notice of such convention should be distributed to the YDDC membership at least 30 days prior to the Charter Convention.
Section 8-3: Consideration at a Charter Convention
Proposed amendments to this Charter must be submitted no less than 21 days prior to a Charter Convention and must be distributed to membership, unless the rules are suspended by a three-fourths (¾) vote of those members present and voting to consider a Charter amendment not previously before the convention.
Section 8-4: Consideration at a Platform Convention
Proposed amendments to this Charter must be submitted no less than 21 days prior to a Platform Convention and must be distributed to membership, unless the rules are suspended by a three-fourths (¾) vote of those members present and voting to consider a Charter amendment not previously before the convention.
Section 8-5: Quorum
A minimum of eight (8) eligible voting members of YDDC shall constitute a quorum for holding a charter convention.
Section 8-6: Passage
Charter amendments must be approved by two-thirds (⅔) of those YDDC members present and voting at convention.
Section 9-1: Principles
YDDC is committed to equality of opportunity for everyone, and is dedicated to working actively to involve people of all backgrounds in YDDC, the Democratic Party, and the political process.
Section 9-2: Hiring Policy
YDDC shall be an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and will hire employees in accordance with the Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity policy described in law. No person shall be denied consideration on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, socioeconomic status, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
Section 10-1: Quorum for the Purpose of Holding Board Meetings and Executive Committee Meetings
If a notification of at least 14 days has been given for holding a board meeting, or Executive Committee meeting no quorum attendance roll call shall be required for the purpose of holding the meeting and performing the active functions and duties of YDDC.
Section 10-2: Exceptions to Section 10-1
If 14 days notice is not given, suspension of Section 10-1 of the charter may be obtained through a Board of Directors or Executive Committee email notice which must be left open for 48 hours and must be completed by noon on the day of the proposed meeting. If notice is not sent, then a roll call of at least half of the filled Executive Committee seats plus two (2) other board members or any eight (8) board members must be present to hold an official board meeting. For an Executive Committee meeting half of the members must be present.
Section 10-3: Quorum for the Purposes of Voting on Official Business
For Executive Committee meetings voting on official business, quorum shall constitute a majority of the Committee, and a vote shall be brought to the floor by the President. Matters which require a vote of the Board of Directors shall be brought to the floor for a vote by the President, and any of the following quorums will be deemed acceptable:
Fifty percent roll call attendance of the entire Board of Directors, accounting only for seats which are filled;
An email quorum vote.
If the President decides to hold a vote of the Board of Directors via email, then the following guidelines shall be followed:
A board email must be sent out detailing the vote in question and the vote must remain open for a 96 hours;
Email votes can only be opened on a weekday. If a weekend day falls during the 96 hour period required, the weekend hours shall not count toward the 96 hours required, but votes cast during this time shall be valid;
Votes, in order to be counted, must be sent to the President and the Secretary in one email;
All votes taken over email are considered public. Votes requiring a secret ballot shall not be taken over email;
Votes must be preserved for inspection for 30 days following the close of voting.