San Francisco Berniecrats Bylaws .
Table of Contents
ARTICLE I. NAME
SECTION A. Organization Name
ARTICLE II. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
SECTION A. Purpose & Goals of the Organization
SECTION B. Coalition Building
ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP, DUES, AND VOTING
SECTION A. Membership and Dues
SECTION B. Voting Privileges
ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS
SECTION A. Executive Board Members, Duties and Responsibilities
SECTION B. Nomination
SECTION C. Elections of Officers
SECTION D. Term Limits
SECTION E. Vacancies
SECTION F. Dismissal
ARTICLE V. COMMITTEES
SECTION A. General Committee Membership
SECTION B. The Executive Committee
SECTION C. The Endorsement Committee
SECTION D. The Outreach Committee
SECTION E. The Events & Fundraising Committee
SECTION F. Actions by Committees
ARTICLE VI. MEETINGS
SECTION A. Regular Meetings
SECTION B. Special Meetings
SECTION C. Rules
SECTION D. Motions
SECTION E. Endorsement Election Procedures
ARTICLE VII. PROCEDURE
SECTION A. Civility
SECTION B. Violations of Civility
ARTICLE VIII. ENDORSEMENTS
SECTION A. Rules and Process
SECTION B. Methodology
SECTION C. Endorsed Candidates
SECTION D. Violations
ARTICLE IX. AMENDMENTS
SECTION A. Procedure
- The name of the organization shall be: The San Francisco Berniecrats
- STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
- The purpose of this club is to further the goals of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign platform. Issues we will focus on include, but are not limited to:
- Getting big money/dark money out of politics and repeal Citizens United;
- Increasing the current federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, eventually to a living wage, and addressing income inequality;
- Closing tax loopholes and fighting for the Robin Hood tax;
- Fighting for Medicare for all, under a single-payer system;
- Improving veteran care, expanding and increasing Social Security, care for people with disabilities;
- Demanding universal higher education and pre-K, eliminate student debt;
- Paid medical and family leave;
- Building more low income and middle income, housing and ensuring rent stabilization;
- Strengthen and support trade union movements as bastions of negotiating power for working people;
- Ban fracking and move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources, and institute a tax on carbon;
- Implementing GMO labeling;
- Improving nutrition and sustainable agriculture;
- Ensuring civil rights and civil liberties for: LGBTQAI, women, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Native Americans, Latino/a Americans, and Muslim Americans, amongst other diverse populations;
- Reforming our broken criminal justice system, ending the school to prison pipeline, banning for-profit prisons, and ending the death penalty;
- Enacting commonsense gun control and a banning on automatic weapons;
- Ending unnecessary wars and policy of regime change, and reinvesting military spending into social programs;
- Preventing/rewriting hazardous trade agreements, such as NAFTA and TPP;
- Promoting digital privacy rights;
- Ensuring Net Neutrality;
- Decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana on a state and federal level;
- Reforming our electoral process, including open source voting, transparent ballot counting, open primaries, ending election fraud and voter suppression;
- Comprehensive immigration reform and a path towards citizenship;
- Reinstate Glass-Steagall and break up the largest Wall Street Banks.
- We shall form coalitions designed to solve problems of joint concern with racial, ethnic, LGBTQ, unions, environmental groups and others who understand the interconnectedness of all struggles for equality.
- MEMBERSHIP, DUES, AND VOTING
- Membership and Dues
- All memberships shall be renewed annually on the first general membership meeting of February. If dues are not paid on or after that date, the Member shall become inactive until they have renewed. Inactive members shall not have membership privileges, including privileges to run for elected office or vote on club business, endorsements, or officer elections. Members who renew may resume all of their club privileges. Dues are based on a sliding scale according to each member’s financial situation. If a person wishing to become a member has financial hardship or is otherwise unable to contribute monetarily to the Club, they may contact the Treasurer for sliding scale dues or to have their dues waived.
- Fees will go to:
- Renting meeting locations in San Francisco;
- Printing materials;
- Organizers Club sponsored events (one-time cover fee may apply to certain events).
- Voting Privileges
- A new Member’s voting privileges related to matters covering election endorsements, club officers, and bylaw amendments or suspensions go into effect at the third regularly-scheduled general membership meeting. A Voting Member would need to have attended two out of three sequential general body meetings to gain membership. The Member must maintain their membership by attending one meeting every three months, or have shown commitment as approved by the Membership Coordinator.
- Executive Board Officers, Duties and Responsibilities
- Chair or Co-Chair
- Can run alone or with a partner, one co-chair must not identify as a cisgender male;
- Manage the agenda during the meetings of the Club;
- Secure meeting spaces;
- Oversee meeting logistics;
- Set proposed agenda for next meeting after receiving comments from voting members;
- Coordinate with other members of the Executive Board to ensure events of the club are run successfully;
- Summarize meeting minutes (as provided by Recorder) from general body and committee meetings, attach links to mentioned materials and send newsletter to members after each meeting;
- Coordinate with a graphic designer for public materials, as needed.
- Manage finances collected from dues/events, oversee budget and expenses;
- Provide estimates for future operating costs;
- Provide suggestions for potential changes to required membership dues;
- File regular financial reports to the San Francisco Ethics Commission.
- Membership Coordinator
- Track memberships and dues;
- Administer membership database;
- Collect dues and report to Treasurer;
- Check in members at the beginning of each meeting;
- Distribute ballots to members as applicable;
- Maintain committee member databases.
- Keep track of time and ensure that the meeting moves through the agenda in a timely manner;
- Keep discussions focused on the appropriate topic according to the agenda item;
- During virtual meetings, monitor conversations in the chat box;
- Remove people who violate the code of conduct within the chatbox (after providing written warnings).
- Record, type, and distribute meeting minutes to Members / upload to shared drive;
- Maintain data on the shared drive.
- Communications Coordinator
- Promote both internal and external events, endorsements and activity by the Club on Social Media;
- Respond to questions on social media, collect opinions or suggestions and report these to Executive Committee;
- Increase community participation and engagement through solicitation via social media;
- Compose letters and statements on behalf of the group to elected officials;
- Gathers suggestions from members regarding content and tone of written letters or statements;
- Assist Chair or Co-Chairs in producing email newsletters;
- Serve as media contact, receive and respond to press inquiries, direct these to appropriate member as needed;
- For statements that do not fall completely within positions previously voted on by the club Membership or the Executive Committee, confer with at least 2 other officers before posting. If the club or Executive Board has not taken a position on this issue previously, approval from a majority of the Executive Board is required.
- Community Outreach Coordinator
- Coordinate the recruitment of new members in different communities, particularly among students, LGBTQ communities, Women, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Native Americans, Latino/a Americans, and Muslim Americans, Unions, low-income families, amongst other diverse populations not well-represented by our membership body, as well as the different neighborhoods of San Francisco;
- Coordinate Community Outreach Committee and Working Groups, ensuring representatives of the Club regularly show up to support the work of allied organizations in above-mentioned communities;
- Collecting updates, call-for-actions, events, concerns and feedback from allied organizations and reporting to the Executive Committee so they may be addressed during General Membership Meetings.
- Events & Fundraising Coordinator
- Organize both internal events for members and at least 4 external (public) events annually for the club;
- Manage volunteers at events;
- Book venues and equipment;
- Organize fundraisers in coordination with the Treasurer.
- Election and Endorsement Coordinator
- Coordinate all internal voting efforts, including officer elections and endorsements;
- Lead the Endorsement Committee in monitoring local, state and national political campaigns;
- Oversee the compilation information on candidates for local, state and federal offices;
- Facilitate the endorsement process by preparing ballots;
- Oversee committee to count ballots;
- Draft endorsement handouts with a graphic designer.
- Tech Manager
- Build, design and maintain website and other internet resources such as fundraising pages and discussion boards;
- Provide consultation to other e-board members as needed.
- Legal Adviser(s):
- Give legal advice about filing status and other issues.
- Nominations of officers shall be held at the regular meeting of the Membership in February of each year. An eligible voting member seeking office must be nominated by any voting member of the Club, themselves included, at the January meeting. Additional names may be placed in nomination by voting members at the February meeting prior to voting. Newly elected officers shall take office immediately upon election.
- Neither the Executive Board, nor any other member of the Club, shall discourage any voting members of the Club from seeking Club office.
- Elections of Officers
- Elections of Officers will take place in the first meeting of February, through ranked choice voting. The candidate with the highest point will take the position. Candidates for each position will be given an opportunity to speak briefly to the Membership about their suitability for the role. One person can run for more than one officer position, but can hold only one position at a time. If a candidate wins more than one office in a given election, that person will be granted the right to choose which position they desire.
- Term Limits
- Term limits for all officers are two consecutive terms, with the opportunity for an officer to run again after one year. Term limits can be waived if the candidate seeking a third consecutive term is uncontested, and is elected by a two-thirds majority vote of the general membership.
- In the event of vacancies in the office of Chair, the Membership Coordinator, then an elected officer as designated by the Executive Committee can take the responsibilities of the Chair until an election can be held. Such an election shall be held at the next membership meeting, not to exceed one month’s time, provided the membership has two weeks written notice of the pending election. Vacancies in the offices of Membership Coordinator, Recorder, Correspondent, and Treasurer may be filled at any regular membership meeting, if such two weeks notice is given.
- Should any member move for the dismissal of an officer of the Club, and a second is made, that motion shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting for the review of all members and shall be voted on at the next meeting. The Correspondent Chair shall notify all voting members in advance via email or regular mail, whichever is the preferred form of communication, unless the Correspondent Chair is the officer in question, wherein the Recorder Membership Coordinator will notify all voting members. The person accused will be notified by registered mail. Dismissal of any officer shall require a two-thirds affirmative vote of the members voting in attendance, and shall not occur without quorum.
- Refer to procedure to remove a member in Article VII Section D.
- Any committee not listed in these bylaws may be created by a majority vote by either the Executive Committee, or the general membership.
- With the exception of the Executive Committee, any member can choose to take part in any committee by notifying the Membership Coordinator. Any member choosing to leave a committee must notify the Membership Coordinator.
- The Executive Committee
- The Executive Committee shall consist of all elected officers and committee chairs. Each officer shall have one vote, and committee chairs may become voting members in the Executive Committee if approved by a majority vote;
- The Executive Committee shall meet once a month. Any elected Executive Committee member must not have two or more consecutive unexcused absences to Executive Committee meetings, and must not have more than 3 unexcused absences during each one-year term. An unexcused meeting is one where no prior notice with a supporting reason has been given to the Chair or Co-Chairs in anticipation of an absence;
- It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to plan the agendas of the general membership meetings; to invite special speakers covering topics of interest to club members; to act on behalf of the Club on routine matters and in emergency situations; and to oversee the standing of Club committees and to ensure they function on a timely basis;
- A quorum of the Executive Committee shall be a majority of its members.
- Special meetings of the Executive Committee may be called at the request of the Chair, or upon the request of any four of its members. Reasonable attempts such as email and phone contact shall be made to notify each member of the Executive Committee of a special meeting.
- The Endorsement Committee
- The chair of the Endorsement Committee shall be the Endorsement Coordinator.
- It shall be the duty of the Endorsement Committee to monitor the local, state and national political climates; to initiate club action on issues; to investigate and conduct impartial hearings on issues confronting the Club and then make recommendations to the general membership; to organize and conduct the endorsement process for all local non-partisan, Democratic primary and general elections, including candidates and propositions; and to coordinate voter registration efforts.
- The Outreach Committee
- The chair of the Outreach Committee shall be chaired by the Community Outreach Coordinators and Advocates for Diversity, who shall comprise the membership of the Committee. The Committee will work with the Membership Committee on community outreach events designed to recruit new members from diverse groups, form alliances, attend and support meetings and actions by allied organizations, and be advocates for those communities to our group.
- The Events & Fundraising Committee
- The Events & Fundraising Coordinator shall chair the Events & Fundraising Committee. It shall be the duty of this Committee to plan and coordinate fundraising and events activities designed to give the club a solid financial base and to ensure the club’s ability to financially contribute to the interests of this group, organize social events for the Membership, as well as attract the public to external events of the Club.
- Actions by Committees
- Any use of funds by committees requires the approval of the Executive Committee. Any actions taken by the club should be reported to the Correspondent, to be distributed in the newsletter. No committee or caucus may endorse candidates or propositions, however they may provide recommendations to the Club. No committee or caucus may use the Club’s name in support of candidates or issues without the approval of the Club, or, in an emergency, the Executive Committee.
- Regular Meetings
- Regular meetings of the General Membership shall be held at least once a month on a date determined by the Executive Committee. Any motions of business may be in order. The Agenda for each meeting shall be sent out seven days prior to the meeting by the Chair. The Chair will receive any input from members and amend the agenda.
- Special Meetings
- Special General Membership meetings of the Club may be called by the Chair, by a majority of the Membership at a regular meeting, or upon written demand from ten percent of the membership roll.
- Meetings for the planning of particular events or for subcommittees can be called with the consent of 30% of committee members or by the committee chair.
- Advance written notice shall be given to the Membership for all meetings of the Club.
- A quorum for any general membership meeting shall consist of either 1/3 of the Club’s Membership, or twenty members, whichever is less.
- If a member is unable to attend a meeting, but wishes to participate in voting, the member must notify the Membership Coordinator of their anticipated absence at least seven days prior to the meeting, and cast their vote with the Elections and Endorsement Coordinator at least four days before the scheduled meeting.
- The following motions for a Membership vote shall be in order only if the matter has been published and announced to the Membership at least seven days prior to the voting meeting: the annual election of Club Officers; motions for officer dismissal; and votes to discipline Club members for violations of Club procedures, as listed in Article VII.
- The following motions for a Membership vote shall be in order only if the matter has been announced at the previous meeting and published and announced to the Membership at least seven days prior to the voting meeting: the election of club officers to fill vacancies; and motions to rescind endorsements.
- Endorsement Election Procedures
- No vote to endorse a candidate or proposition shall be allowed unless the Membership, at a prior general membership meeting, has approved holding the endorsement vote on the date such vote will take place, and notice of the endorsement vote is published at least 1 week prior to that voting meeting.
- Members are expected to treat one another with respect and maintain civility during our Club’s meetings. Every member shall have the right to expect that club meetings and functions shall be safe environments.
- No member shall make disparaging remarks about any other member in a public forum or meeting of this Club based on a member’s status, identity, age, class, ethnicity, race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, language, or religion.
- No members shall engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel uncomfortable, offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal. Examples include, but are not limited to: unwelcome physical contact, verbal or written comments of a sexual nature, repeated unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy, condescending or paternalistic remarks, or sending unwanted messages and/or images of a sexual nature.
- No member of the club shall destroy club property.
- No member shall threaten or carry out threats of bodily harm; harass members at a member’s home, workplace, in a public forum, or through excessive phone or email contact; or threaten, embezzle, or extort club finances.
- No member shall publicly misrepresent the Berniecrats or positions which the group has adopted such that the name of the group is used to further objectives that clearly contradict our platform (statement of purpose). No member shall actively and knowingly pursue an agenda which is contrary to the statement of purpose, or misrepresent their affiliations when asked.
- Violations of Civility
- If any Member violates the aforementioned provisions, any other member may file a complaint against that person with the Executive Committee, which shall then make recommendations to the Membership. If a violation of civility is alleged, the Chair shall notify the Member against whom the complaint is charged. That person shall be provided five days to respond to the allegations in writing. If no response is received within five days, the Elected Officers shall determine, by a majority vote, whether a violation of these provisions has taken place. If a response is received, the Executive Committee shall appoint a subcommittee to consider the evidence concerning the allegations and shall report back to the Executive Committee their findings of fact. If the accused or accuser are members of the Executive Committee, they shall not participate in the related discussion or decision. If the Executive Committee finds that the charges against the member are valid, it may recommend no action, probation, censure, or expulsion, in that order, according to the severity of the charge and whether similar conduct by the member has occurred in the past. This recommendation shall be taken up by the general membership and voted upon at the next general meeting of the Club following notice. The recommendation of the Executive Board shall require a vote by two-thirds of the members present to be sustained.
- Rules and Process
- No candidate for either public or party office or ballot proposition shall receive an endorsement from the Club unless the Membership has been notified as specified in Article VI, Section E. In order to be endorsed, candidates or propositions must receive at least 60% of the votes cast, two-thirds when making ranked choice endorsements. Multiple ballots shall be permitted if a 60% supermajority is not achieved on the first vote
- Members for the Club running for public office shall abstain from a vote pertaining to the office they are running for.
- To rescind an endorsement, a two-thirds affirmative vote shall be required.
- Single-Seat, Single-Choice Races
- For all single-seat, single-choice races (such as President, Senator, Congressperson, Governor and other statewide offices, State Senate, and State Assembly), all eligible candidates will appear on one ballot and voting members may score as many candidates as they desire by ranking any or all of the eligible candidates on a scale ranging from zero to five. All of the ballots will be counted, and that number will be multiplied by the maximum ranking of five, resulting in a maximum ballot score. Then each candidate will have his or her individual rankings summed.
- If no candidate receives a sum equivalent to or greater than 60% of the maximum ballot score, then no candidate will be endorsed. If only one candidate receives a sum equivalent to or greater than 60% of the maximum ballot score, then that candidate will be endorsed. If more than one candidate receives a sum equivalent to or greater than 60% of the maximum ballot score, then the candidate with the highest score wins the endorsement. In the case of a tie, the Executive Board is empowered to hold an emergency runoff in order for the Membership to determine one winner.
- Single-Seat, Multi-Choice Races
- For all single-seat, multi-choice races with more than one eligible candidate as outlined in SF Election Code Sec.13.102(b) (such as Mayor, District Attorney, City Attorney, Sheriff, Treasurer, Assessor-Recorder, Public Defenders and members of the Board of Supervisors), all eligible candidates will appear on one ballot and voting members may use rank choice voting to indicate their first choice, second choice and third choice.
- After all votes are counted, any candidate who obtains two-thirds or more votes of the total number of ballots cast, whether in 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice, shall be endorsed by The Club. In the case of multiple candidates winning two-thirds or greater, the Endorsement Committee will use a point system to consider the voters’ ranked choices, with 1st choice worth 3 points, 2nd choice worth 2 points, and 3rd choice worth 1 point. The candidates with the highest number of points will be endorsed as the number 1 candidate, the second highest as the number 2 candidate, etc. Only the primary endorsed candidate will receive The Club’s official organizing support and only the first place candidate will be submitted to Our Revolution. Such a rule will only apply as long as Our revolution only accepts single candidate endorsements. The other endorsed candidates will simply be featured on the Club’s voter guide. In the case of a tie, the Executive Board is empowered to hold an emergency runoff in order for the Membership to determine a winner. When more than one candidate is endorsed for the same position, endorsed candidates shall indicate the place of the endorsement in any public promotions of the endorsement.
- Any candidate misrepresenting an endorsement may have that endorsement revoked by a majority of the Membership, or two-thirds of the Endorsements Committee should the entire Club be unable to meet in a timely manner in case of emergencies. The Club shall not endorse more candidates than allowable on the ballot for any position.
- Multi-Seat, Multi-Choice Races
- For all multi-seat, multi-choice races (such as Board of Education, Community College Board, and San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee), all eligible candidates will appear on one ballot and voting members may score as many candidates as they desire.
- Any candidate must receive a sum equivalent to or greater than 50% + 1 of the maximum ballot score to be endorsed. If the number of endorsed candidates exceeds the number of seats available, then the candidate or candidates with the fewest votes will be eliminated. In the case of a tie for last place, the Executive Board is empowered to hold an emergency runoff in order for the Membership to determine a last-place winner. The Club shall not endorse more candidates than seats available.
- Ballot Measures
- The Membership must vote in the affirmative by at least a 60% supermajority for the endorsement of a yes, a no, or a no recommendation vote to become official. If no position receives the sufficient number of votes for an endorsement, then the Club’s official recommendation on such a ballot measure will be no position.
- Endorsed Candidates
- Candidates endorsed by the Club are expected to:
- Use the name of the San Francisco Berniecrats and to include it with all candidate literature which lists organizational endorsements.
- Candidates are permitted to join the Club and pay their annual membership dues. However, any other financial contributions may not be permitted.
- Refrain from giving financial support to slate cards or other campaign materials that endorse propositions seeking to deny rights to any person on the basis of age, class, ethnicity, race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion; or that oppose propositions seeking to secure basic rights for such groups.
- Refrain from taking public positions in favor of legislation or policies that deny rights to any person on the basis of age, class, ethnicity, race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion; or that oppose propositions seeking to secure basic rights for such groups. A list of such legislation and policies shall be compiled by the Endorsement Committee and approved by the Club for distribution to candidates.
- Refrain from hiring campaign consultants known to have worked on campaigns that have used tactics appealing to prejudice against any person on the basis of age, class, ethnicity, race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion. A list of such consultants shall be compiled by the Endorsement Committee and approved by the Club for distribution to candidates. Refrain from engaging in tactics appealing to prejudice against any person on the basis of age, class, ethnicity, race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion.
- Refrain from sexually harassing any person. Sexual harassment will be defined by Article VII, section B, paragraph 3 of these Bylaws.
- Refrain from making disparaging remarks about any other person based on a person’s status, identity, age, class, ethnicity, race, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, language, or religion.
- Refrain from mistreating their staff. Mistreatment can be defined as failing to properly follow labor law,making disparaging, threatening, insulting, or derogatory remarks towards staff, withholding wages or benefits, failing to pay a liveable wage, or any other action that can lead to a toxic work environment as decided upon by the club.
- The general membership has the power to revoke an endorsement for any reason with a simple majority vote (50%+1).
- Candidates who have violated Article VIII, Section C. during a period of five years prior to the endorsement vote for the next election may be ineligible for the Club’s endorsement for that election. If a violation of Article VIII, Section B. is alleged after the Club has endorsed a candidate, the club at the discretion of the Executive Board shall notify the candidate, providing that person twenty-four hours to respond to the allegations in writing. If no response is received within twenty-four hours, the elected officers may determine, by a majority vote, whether a violation of these provisions exists. If it is determined that a candidate has violated these provisions, the endorsement may be withdrawn, and that candidate may be ineligible to receive our endorsement for a period of five years. All candidates who receive the Club’s endorsement shall be notified of these provisions.
- Any Member in good standing may move an amendment at any regular membership meeting. If a motion to amend is seconded, the Membership shall be notified as provided in Article VI, Section D. At the meeting to consider adoption, the proposed amendment must receive a two-thirds affirmative vote of members voting, in order to be incorporated into these bylaws.
These bylaws were updated in October 2021.