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Chapter Rules and Policies
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Maine DSA Chapter Rules and Policies

Chapter Rules and Policies

Table of Contents

Table of Contents        1

Revision History        2

Introduction        3

Communication Channels Primer        4

Maine DSA Code of Conduct        9

Code of Conduct Appendix        14

Harassment & Grievance Policy        17

Fiscal Policy        29

Local Pass-the-Hat Program        32

Data Security Policy        34

Membership List Policy        37

Recording        38

Dues Waiver Program        39

Priority Campaign Model Policy        40

Coalition Policy        42

Community Building Policy        44

Mask Policy        47

Limitations on Portland Electoral Campaign 2023        50

Electoral Strategy        51

Digital Voting Results Policy        52

Merch Policy        54

Standing Rules        56

Revision History






Combined existing policy documents into one handbook for reference



12/16 GM approved updates to Branch Dues Share policy to remove payment method



Dues Waiver program adopted by SC and added to handbook



Branch Dues share changed from shares to 70%/30% split with branches sharing a bank account.



Added introduction (Wes P)



Harassment and Grievance Policy amended. Community Building policy added. (Aaron B)



Data Security Policy added, Comms policy and Press release policy removed. (Aaron B)



Code of Conduct added (Aaron B)



Fiscal Policy added, expense policy and branch dues share removed, Slack Policy updated (Aaron B) (minutes)



SC statement rule added (Aaron B)



Coalition Policy amended (Aaron B)



Mask Policy, Limitations on Portland Electoral Campaign 2023, Electoral Strategy, Merch Policy, and Convention Delegation Support and Accountability Policy added and Priority Campaign Model removed (Wil T)



Mask Policy replaced, Fiscal Policy amended, Digital Voting Results Policy added (Wil T)



Update Communications Channel Primer (Wil T)



Update Chapter Accessibility & Mask Policy (Wes P)


This handbook is a collection of Maine DSA’s policies, ratified by the chapter, that guide how the chapter operates. These are different from our bylaws in that they can be suspended by a membership vote and do not require the same amount of time before ratification.

Basically, they’re a bit easier to change as the need arises.

Communication Channels Primer

This primer is maintained by the Communications Working Group, and will be updated as needed to reflect current practices.

Chapter Chat Channels

Member Slack Server

This Slack server will be available to any member who has attended two (2) committee or working group meetings in the past year. This server is not a place to discuss contentious issues at length. Discussion should be held and moderated by the Communications Co-chairs and those they appoint through a regular audio space for discussion of topics as defined below. This Slack will not have a general channel, and all new default channels (those that are visible by default) will need to be voted on and approved by the Communications Working Group aside from:

Campaign Chat Server

These are spaces separate to those described above to discuss and coordinate campaign logistics, and are largely managed by the organizing committee. They are created by the Chapter Communications Working Group upon request by the organizing committee, must adhere to Chapter norms, and must have an agreed archiving condition, aligning with the campaign, at which point the channel will be archived and all member posting permissions removed. The server can also be archived by vote by either the organizing committee or Chapter.


Organizing Channels

Active members who want to work on projects will need to familiarize themselves with some of these channels

Digital Infrastructure

These tools are open to committee chairs or members who have been granted access.

Digital Platforms

Largely controlled by the Communications Working Group

Related Documents

Community Building

Data Security

Membership List Policy

DSA Chapter Tech Tools Guidelines

Maine DSA Code of Conduct

Ratified by General Membership on 2021-09-13

Maine DSA aims to build an organization where political disagreements serve as productive contributions to our collective discourse and are a source of learning, not strife. Some strategies for learning across differences include: emphasizing our common values and goals, asking before making assumptions, and seeking feedback from those you don’t agree with. Socialists should hold themselves and one another to high standards of decency and understanding.

In that vein, all Maine DSA members are expected to adhere to a certain minimal standard of comradely behavior, both online and in person. The Code of Conduct is intended to create guidelines for situations when Maine DSA leadership, moderators, etc. must remove people from those spaces until they can take accountability.

This code of conduct applies to all:

  1. Maine DSA virtual spaces including email listservs, Slack workspaces, Discord, WhatsApp groups, Signal groups, or other methods of virtual communication.
  2. Maine DSA meetings / events including branches, working groups or other bodies with elected leadership recognized by the Steering Committee
  3. External forums such as Twitter
  4. Direct messages (text, WhatsApp, Signal, etc)
  5. Other in person activities

Expected Behavior

Unacceptable Behavior


Harassment and abusive behavior can be in-person, physical, verbal, online, or via any form of communication. Harassment includes and is not limited to slurs, hate speech, unwanted sexual advances, doxxing, intimidation, stalking, and inappropriate physical contact.

Harassment will not be tolerated and will be grounds for serious and immediate action as laid out in Maine DSA Grievance procedure and Article III, Section 2 of our Constitution.

Disrupting internal discussion spaces

We ask our membership to refrain from intentional or repeated disruption of internal discussion spaces. Examples may include, interrupting a meeting multiple times, raising issues outside of the scope of the discussion after being asked to refrain, or obstructing meaningful discussion.


Ask everybody in the picture if they agree to be photographed or filmed.

For group shots, ask if anyone wants to opt-out before taking the photo.

Handling Chapter Resources and Info

Chapter, branch, or campaign funds, member lists or any other chapter resources should not be used in ways that are not authorized by the relevant body. Examples include unauthorized use of chapter member lists, websites, social media accounts, or funds to promote a cause or project that has not been authorized by leaders responsible for maintaining that list or funds.

A one-off social media post that has not been authorized does not amount to misuse of chapter resources. Repeated use of social media to promote a personal cause, or use of email lists or chapter funds to promote a project that has not been authorized by the relevant body would be a misuse of chapter resources.

Misrepresenting the Chapter

Speaking on behalf of the chapter, a branch, or a campaign without first consulting the relevant leadership body can damage the reputation of Maine DSA and our campaigns. An example of a violation would be to suggest that a candidate or issue campaign has been endorsed by the chapter when it has not been endorsed.

Conflicts of Interests

I will disclose any financial, personal, family, or close intimate relationship interest in matters of official DSA business which may impact on the work of DSA.

If I wish to keep any personal relationship private, I will not participate in any DSA committee, working group, or other DSA-related interaction or work where my private relationship, if known, would give the appearance that I was favoring (or disfavoring) the person with whom I am in a relationship.

Code of Conduct Violations & Taking Accountability

When Code of Conduct violations arise on the committee or campaign level, elected leaders of each space are encouraged to reach out to the disruptive member directly, have a conversation in good faith around what their issues are, propose better alternatives to achieving those goals, and ask them to refrain from continued disruptions. If the behavior does not stop, it is within the rights of elected leaders to take action up to temporary or permanent removal from that space.

Return to the space is either at the moderators’ / leaders’ discretion or by the member completing an accountability process facilitated by the Steering Committee. If the member believes they were treated unfairly in the process, they may file a grievance.

For conduct happening outside of DSA spaces a full grievance procedure is required, and may be initiated by the Steering Committee. If the member believes they were treated unfairly in the process, they may appeal to the National Harassment and Grievance Officer.

Code of Conduct Appendix

This section is non-enforceable, and does not need to be ratified by membership.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between “Code of Conduct” and “Community Agreements”?

Community Agreements are tailored to a given space. For example some meetings might have language interpreters, and there could be a community agreement about slowing down, and looking to the interpreter for setting the pace. Or a group could have a community agreement not to discuss zoning law. The point of community agreements is to set expectations for how the discussion will proceed. Different discussions may require different agreements or expectations.

A Code of Conduct is a set of expectations for members of our organization, and guests in our spaces. It applies outside of any given discussion space, and therefore needs to be more broadly understood.

Why a Code of Conduct?

We would prefer to live in a society where we do not need Codes of Conduct. However, Codes of Conduct are essential to establish spaces that are different from – and more inclusive than – general society. If you don’t set up your own rules, you implicitly endorse those prevalent in society – including the unwritten ones – many of which we recognize as unfair to many people. When privileges are not explicitly addressed by the ethos of a space, the burden of education will often be placed upon the people who are living the oppressions. Moreover, since we still perform – consciously or unconsciously – behaviors that have oppressive potential (i.e.patriarchal, racist, sexist, capitalist, (neo)colonialist, etc.), it is essential to reflect on our privileges and on the ways in which they have an impact on our lives and the lives of others.

A code of conduct can help do just that: to bring awareness, consciousness, reflexivity and ultimately change.

Suggestions for Productive Debate

DSA is a space for learning and growing. An onboarding ramp for radical politics. We are a fast growing organization with a membership at different levels of political development. While we want to be welcoming we must also develop our skills at principled discussion and debate to succeed as a democratic organization. Bettering our conduct in how we treat each other in debate will help grow and strengthen our organization.

Harassment & Grievance Policy

Ratified by the General Membership on 2019-07-15

Amended by General Membership on 2021-1-24

Article I: Mission Statement

Maine Democratic Socialists of America (Maine DSA) is working to win a socialist world. To build it, we need to create systems and center values vastly unlike those that exist today. A key part of this project will be a justice system that can provide a restorative alternative to the state.

It must clearly detail a democratic process to resolve conflict. The goal of such a process is to help make Maine DSA a safe and just space. We must be thorough and firm in response to all risks to member safety. However, we don't aim to simply punish those who transgress. We aim to engage in a larger process that builds trust, fosters good faith, and strengthens our community.

This process will be long and may produce new outcomes as we learn what does or does not work. This code is not meant as a rigid set of rules, but as a living agreement open to trial and revision.

Article II: Overview

Maine DSA is a community built out of relationships. By keeping those relationships open and accountable we are a stronger community. As a democratic organization, it's imperative to be able to work through conflict with each other in a comradely way. Few of us have experience for what it means to be in relationship with each other in this way. The hope is the Harassment and Grievance Policy (HGP) will help you navigate these new relationships and find accountability for harm done. The HGP provides steps for setting up mediated conversations if you feel safe doing so. There are times, however, when communication fails, when the harm is too great, or a member fears for their safety. For these moments a grievance should be filed that requires no meeting of the accused. We must always work towards providing a safe space for our membership, as well as hold ourselves accountable to others.

The Harassment and Grievance Officers (HGO’s) act as neutral investigators. They start their investigation once a grievance is submitted, collect statements from involved parties, and make an assessment of the credibility of the grievance. They then submit a report, recommending a remedy if necessary, to the Steering Committee (SC). The Steering Committee acts as judge of the grievance and has final say on the remedy or relief chosen.

Article III: Definitions

For purposes of this policy:

Member refers to anyone on the membership lists received from National DSA. Paying dues is not required for protection from harassment.

Grievance refers to a complaint submitted to this process.

Grievant refers to those who submit or are seeking to submit a grievance.

Accused refers to those whom the grievance is about.

Harassment will refer to all harassment, discrimination, misconduct, and abuse.

Mediated Conversation is a voluntary conversation between the grievant and the accused with one (1) or more 3rd-party mediators guiding the conversation. The goal being a working agreement that both parties consent to. This video lays out the format for such conversations.

Article IV: Prohibited Behavior

This policy covers all harassment between Maine DSA members, wherever it may take place. It also covers all harassment in Maine DSA spaces. These spaces may be physical or virtual, public or private, formal or informal.

Harassment will not be tolerated. Any member who believes this code has been broken may submit a grievance through the process defined below.

Section 1: Harassment is meant to include:

  1. Any harassment based on identity. This includes sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, class, age, profession, immigration status, mental illness, or neurotypicality.
  2. Any conduct or pattern of behavior that makes others feel unsafe or unwell. This includes unwelcome attention; inappropriate or offensive remarks, slurs, jokes, or presentation of images; violence; threats of violence; stalking; intimidation; sustained disruptions after requests to stop.
  3. Any misconduct that implies submission to or acceptance of harassing behavior is required to be a member of Maine DSA.
  4. Any conduct that creates a hostile setting that harms a person’s capacity to organize within Maine DSA.
  5. Any other conduct that negatively affects a person’s experience with Maine DSA.

Article V: Grievant

Section 1: Right of Conversation

The recommended procedure is that the grievant should have a conversation with an HGO before filing a grievance. Filing a grievance involves a fair bit of writing. We hope a conversation will allow members to process how they’re feeling, and have clear expectations of what the Harassment & Grievance Process (HGP) entails.

  1. Initiating Contact. The grievant may request contact with HGO’s using the form found here. Grievant should expect a response from HGO’s in seven (7) days, though the actual scheduled conversation may be farther out than that.
  2. Conversation Guidance.
  1. Grievant will provide the name of the person conducting harassment.
  2. Grievant will detail the events that have led to the conversation to the detail of their choosing.
  3. Grievant may describe what they would like to see happen.
  4. Grievant may ask what options there are within and outside of HGP.
  5. Grievant may ask for the grievance process to be explained to them to set expectations.
  6. Grievant may ask what helps prove credibility.
  7. Grievant will decide on next steps.
  1. Next Steps. The grievant decides on the next steps to take following the conversation. The actions may include:
  1. The grievant will commit to having a conversation with the accused.
  2. Ask the HGO or an HGO not present to talk to the accused.
  3. Ask the HGO to arrange a mediated conversation between the grievant and the accused.
  4. Ask the HGO for help in finding another member to support the grievant with filing a grievance.
  5. The grievant will commit to filing a grievance.
  1. Reporting Requirements. During the conversation the HGO shall take notes, which can be finalized afterwards. These notes will include the following:
  1. A description of the incident or conduct that spurred the conversation.
  2. The questions the grievant asked, and the answers provided.
  3. The next steps decided by the grievant.

The report must first be submitted to the grievant for review and any necessary correction. The grievant has fourteen (14) days to do so, before the report is then submitted to the other HGO’s.

  1. Repeated Visits. These conversations are meant to organize thoughts, and lay out options available. These conversations should lead to a commitment of action or change. They are not meant to be just a venting session. If a grievant is seeking a second conversation about the same subject they should provide details about actions taken to fulfill their next steps.

Section 2: Mediated Conversation

If a mediated conversation or accountability process is requested then the HGO’s may ask SC members for assistance in gathering, as needed: facilitators, community members, and support people to move the process forward. The HGO’s will not be responsible for facilitating community accountability processes themselves, unless they truly are the best person for that role and have the capacity.

  1. Mediated conversations are voluntary. They only work if both the grievant and the accused agree to meet, feel safe in doing so, and commit to finding a workable agreement.
  2. While voluntary, the only recourse after a refusal to meet is filing a grievance. A responsibility of a democratic organization and community is allowing ourselves to be held accountable to others, especially to other members within.

Section 3: Filing Grievance

The grievant may file a grievance using this form here.

  1. Support Partner. It is recommended that the grievant find another member to support them through the grievance process. If the grievant selects a support partner, they will be included in all communication with HGO’s or SC. If the grievant has trouble in finding a support partner, they may ask the HGO’s or SC for assistance in selecting one.
  2. Criteria for Immediate Relief. A grievant may request immediate relief if one of the following criteria is met:
  1. The accused is alleged a danger to the grievant or other members when at chapter social events.
  2. The accused is alleged to hamper democracy or open discussion within general meeting or committee work.
  1. Process for Immediate Relief. When a grievant requests immediate relief, either the HGO’s or the SC must reach unanimous consensus to approve the immediate relief. Grievances marked for immediate relief will be sent on to the SC when received. HGO’s or SC have seven (7) days to decide. Each body will provide a written reason to both the grievant and accused upon deciding.
  2. Forms of Immediate Relief. Each criteria only allows for specific relief.
  1. An accused found to be a possible danger at chapter social events will refrain from attending chapter social events until the grievance is resolved.
  2. An accused found to be possibly hampering democracy will refrain from attending said general meeting or committee where conduct occurred until the grievance is resolved. If the accused is the chair, a SC member will act as interim chair.

Section 4: Grievance Timeline

The grievance timeline will be as follows:

  1. The grievant will fill out the form on the website or email
  2. Within seven (7) days of receiving a grievance, an HGO will contact the grievant in writing to acknowledge receipt of the grievance. The HGO will also contact the accused in writing to request their response.
  3. The accused will have seven (7) days after notification to respond in writing.
  4. The grievant will have the option to respond to the accused. If they decide to, they will have seven (7) days to complete the response.
  5. HGOs will have fourteen (14) days to complete the investigation and make a recommendation to the Steering Committee.
  6. The Steering Committee will resolve the grievance within seven (7) days of receiving a recommendation from the HGOs.
  7. The Steering Committee will inform the grievant and the accused of their decision within seven (7) days of the decision.

Section 5: Extensions

When working on a grievance not marked for immediate relief, the HGO’s or SC may request an extension of time only with the approval of the other body. SC approves the HGO’s extension, and the HGO’s approves the SC extension.

Section 6: Process

All parties are urged to refrain from discussing the process on social media, Discord, or with others.

Section 7: Recusal

HGOs shall recuse themselves from any grievance in which they do not feel they can remain impartial.

Section 8: Removal

If either the grievant or the accused feel that an HGO may not be impartial, they may request that the HGO be removed from the grievance. The other HGOs will review the request and decide whether to remove the HGO from the grievance or not. If there is a request to remove all HGOs from a grievance, the Steering Committee will review the request and decide. If either the grievant or the accused is a member of the Steering Committee or an HGO, they will automatically be removed from the grievance.

Section 9: Retaliation

This policy prohibits retaliation against any individual involved in the grievance process in any way, including the grievant and the accused. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, or other adverse actions. If any individual believes there has been retaliation, they may inform the HGOs. The HGOs will decide whether to factor this information into the original grievance or treat it as a new grievance.

Article VI: Harassment & Grievance Officers

Section 1: Elections

Maine DSA shall elect three (3) HGO’s. HGO seats will cover one (1) year, be elected annually, and observe no term limits. HGOs shall not also be members of the Steering Committee.

The election process for HGOs will be as follows:

  1. Members may be nominated by other members or may nominate themselves. Accepting a nomination makes the member a candidate.
  2. Candidates must be published to members at least thirty (30) days prior to election.
  3. Prior to election, members may communicate concerns about a candidate in writing to either the Steering Committee or the incumbent HGOs at their discretion. The identity of members who raise concerns will remain confidential. If the concerns are determined to be serious enough, the member’s candidacy may be revoked.
  4. For the election, members will vote to approve each candidate individually. Candidates must receive at least ninety percent (90%) approval to continue.
  5. If after the approval round there are more candidates than vacancies, there will be a run-off ranked-choice election. Otherwise, all candidates will be seated.

Section 2: Substitute HGO’s

If when a grievance is filed and there are less than three HGO’s seated, or an HGO is unavailable to work on a given grievance then a substitute HGO may be appointed by the Steering Committee for the duration of the grievance. Candidates for Substitute HGO’s must be Standing Committee chairs or Steering Committee Members. If a Steering Committee member is appointed they may not vote on the remedy. Rights to removal still stand.

Section 3: HGO Responsibilities

  1. Follow up on requests for conversation and schedule promptly said conversations. Only one (1) need to attend these conversations, though more may attend if they wish.
  2. Receive, acknowledge receipt of, and archive grievances;
  3. Notify the SC of the grievance when initially filed.
  4. Contact the accused to notify them of the accusations, request their written response, and archive any written response;
  5. Notify the grievant of the accused response, provide them an opportunity to respond, and archive any written response;
  6. Conduct any necessary investigation of the claim; and
  7. Present their findings to the Steering Committee with a written report and, if necessary, a recommendation for disciplinary action.
  8. If necessary, HGO(s) may recommend that parties do not contact each other for the duration of the investigative process.
  9. Maintain and edit the Harassment & Grievance Appendix as they see fit.
  10. With the help of the SC, the HGO’s may plan and organize workshops about conflict resolution or harassment during their term.
  11. Compile a yearly report made available to membership that details:
  1. How many conversations were requested
  2. How many grievances were filed
  3. How many were found credible
  4. How many remedies are still ongoing
  5. Have any remedies failed
  6. Any recommended changes for making the reporting system more effective

Section 4: Standard of Credibility

HGO’s and SC will find the factual allegation in a report is “credible” if it more-likely-than-not occurred.

Section 5: Remedies & Relief

The HGOs may decide that a grievance is not credible. In this event, they may recommend either no action or a voluntary, informal conflict resolution process. A majority of all seated members of the Steering Committee must also decide if a grievance is credible. If a grievance is credible, the Steering Committee may take some or all of the HGOs’ recommendations for remedies and relief. The Steering Committee may also add remedies or relief of their own accord.

  1. Remedies and relief may include:
  1. A formal discussion between the accused and the Steering Committee to develop a plan to change the harassing behavior(s)
  2. Suspension from committee meetings and other chapter or organizational events
  3. Removal from chapter committee(s)
  4. Removal from holding leadership positions
  5. Removal from Maine DSA
  1. Remedies and relief may be informed by, among other things:
  1. The request of the grievant
  2. The severity of the grievance
  3. The response of the accused
  4. The relevant behavioral history of the accused

Section 6: Consensus

HGOs will strive for consensus in determining a grievance's credibility and remedy. Where consensus cannot be found, each HGO will prepare their own recommendations for the Steering Committee, who may use or adapt those to create their decision.

Article VII: Steering Committee

Section 1: SC Responsibilities

  1. If a SC member, upon reviewing a grievance, wishes to provide additional evidence, they must first recuse themselves from voting or deliberating the grievance. Any evidence they provide must be submitted to the accused for an additional written response.
  2. If the SC decides to act against the HGO’s recommendation a written reason must be provided to both the grievant and the accused.
  3. Within thirty (30) days of the new term the SC will schedule a meeting with HGO’s to discuss the following:
  1. If any remedy or relief remain ongoing;
  2. The facts of said remedies or relief;
  3. What has been done so far; and
  4. What remains to be done.

Section 2: Appeals Process

There is no local appeals process.

  1. Any appeal will go directly to National and will follow their procedures.
  2. Until such time that National renders a decision, all previous decisions regarding the grievance will remain in effect.

Section 3: Commitment to The Credibly Accused

If the credibly accused is found not to be in major disagreement with the principles of our organization, and they wish to continue with their membership of Maine DSA; the SC has a responsibility to plan for possible rehabilitation. The credibly accused may request a meeting with the SC to discuss their ongoing remedy or relief. Any accountability plan or modifications to the remedy or relief must be approved by the grievant.


This document is maintained by the Harassment & Grievance Officers within the bounds of the Harassment & Grievance Policy.

(WIP) Forms

Conversation with HGO

Filing a Grievance

Accused Response

Grievant Response

Filing an Appeal

Frequently Asked Questions

Fiscal Policy

Ratified by General Membership on 2022-05-08

Amended by General Membership on 2023-05-21

Planning and Budgeting

Maine DSA Finance Working Group shall prepare an operating budget to project anticipated income and expenses no later than two month’s prior to the start of each fiscal year. Once the budget has been prepared, it will be circulated, well in advance of, and approved by majority vote by General Membership at the Winter Semi-Annual Meeting. This provides Maine DSA sufficient time to evaluate and vote on the budget.

Fiscal Year

The fiscal year for Maine DSA shall begin on January 1st of each year, and end on December 31st of the same year. This aligns with DSA National’s fiscal year.

Monitoring and Adjusting the Budget

The Finance Working Group shall monitor actual expenses and income in comparison to the budget on a semi-annual basis. If there are significant differences between the projected and actual expenditures and/or revenue, the budget may need to be adjusted. Any changes to the budget shall be approved by majority vote by General Membership.

Campaign Finance Reporting Guidelines

If a Campaign Committee’s proposal requires reporting expenses to city or state officials it is recommended to set up a separate account at a bank or credit union. In addition to having a Finance Liaison, the campaign committee should also appoint one of its members Campaign Treasurer. These positions may not be filled by the same committee member. Both the Finance Liaison, and Campaign Treasurer are expected to coordinate with the Finance Working Group.

Left Over Funds

At the end of the fiscal year unspent appropriated funds return to the general chapter fund to be redistributed under the new budget.

Handling Expenses

Payment Authorization

Committees and working groups may be appropriated funds from the budgeting process. When this is done a Working Group Coordinator, or Committee Member should be designated Finance Liaison. Finance Liaison may NOT also be a Finance Co-Chair. The Agenda Co-chairs shall be the Finance Liaison for the Steering Committee. Spending/expense appropriations must be authorized by Finance Liaison, and a Finance Co-Chair. Anyone authorizing an appropriation must review the supporting invoice or other documentation and state their approval, including the date of approval, in writing. Individuals may not authorize any purchases payable to themselves.

Approved Reimbursements

Reimbursements occur when a chapter member pays for a chapter program good or service out of their own pocket, and the chapter later reimburses them for the expense. Maine DSA should avoid reimbursements as much as possible. If Maine DSA does need to reimburse members for any reason, the member must submit a reimbursement form. Maine DSA shall implement a reimbursement form that collects the member name, member contact information, name of individual who approved the reimbursement, preferred method of reimbursement, detailed description and amount of the expenses being reimbursed, and a place to upload a clear copy of the receipt.

Extraordinary Expense Authorization

The Steering Committee may approve extraordinary expenses beyond what is budgeted with a 2/3rds vote. A report should be sent out to the General Membership within 10 days of approval. This report should include details of the expense, roll call of vote, and a rationale for its approval. The report of the extraordinary expense will also be given out at the next Voting General Meeting.

Handling Income

All income will be deposited into the chapter’s bank account in a timely manner—ideally within the same month of receiving the income. If chapter fundraising is linked to Venmo or Paypal, monthly transfers to the bank account must be made.


Committees and Working Groups may raise additional funds for their projects with approval from a Finance Co-Chair. The Finance Liaison shall provide documentation of funds raised, and activity they are earmarked for. Documentation should include names of donors and amounts. Language on the fundraising page needs final approval from Finance Co-Chairs to ensure compliance with state & federal law.

Authority to Amend or Replace

Although this policy was enacted by the General Membership, the Steering Committee may amend its contents. Any changes to the fiscal policy will be reported to the General Membership at the next general meeting.

Local Pass-the-Hat Program

Ratified by the Steering Committee on 2019-09-03


Maine DSA receives 20% of the monthly dues our members pay to our national organization. Maine DSA receives 0% of the annual dues our members send. Our dues share for the first quarter of 2019 was $488 which averages out to about $162 a month.

There are many problems with this system. The national DSA dues share program is inconsistent and unpredictable. We currently have a member list of about 450 members, 250 with active dues, with less than 100 paying monthly dues. As an estimate, we only receive 8% of the dues money members in our state are sending to National. This isn’t funding our local.

Local Pass-the-Hat would provide the chapter with a consistent income base which would allow for consistent project spending and a stronger infrastructure. Local Pass-the-Hat would also give financial supporters flexibility to better decide how much they give to National and how much they give to their Local.

This is in compliance with both the National and Local Bylaws under which we operate.

The Local Dues Program

Maine DSA will begin a program to collect monthly local funds in excess of National Dues. Paying local funds through Pass-the-Hat does not put an individual on the national membership list, and as such, this will not replace the need to pay National dues in whatever denomination or method individuals so choose.

With the passage of this program, we will:

Data Security Policy

Ratified by General Membership on 2021-02-08

Article I: Overview

Data security is best when practices are unified across the organization. This policy aims to be simple to create a foundation of best practices that can be built upon in the future.

Article II: Definitions

Public Folder - This folder is for documents cleared to be shared publicly. Intended for governance documents, new member orientation materials, or committee minutes. Documents must be approved to be placed in the public folder. Public folder is not meant to be an archive and out of date documents will be removed.

Items initially cleared for the Public Folder are:

  1. Chapter Bylaws
  2. List of extant committee names, descriptions, and current and past projects
  3. Welcome to the Chapter/Considering membership introductory info

Chapter Folder - This folder is meant for all other documents. It is meant to be an archive as well as where most chapter work is done. Access is controlled through permission levels. Requests for specific documents may be granted outside of permission levels.

Officer Permission - Officers include all Committee Co-Chairs, Branch Leadership, and Harassment & Grievance Officers. They have access to the Chapter Folder, and Membership List.

Subcommittee Permission - Members of the Steering Committee Subcommittees have access to the chapter folder, but not the Membership List.

Committee Permission - Members of other committees have access to their individual committee folder.

Committee Documents - Minutes from meetings, and any document that is presented at a committee meeting.

Article III: Administration

Section 1. Responsible Party

The work of administering the Data Security Policy falls to the Steering Committee, but may be delegated to a standing committee by Steering Committee vote.

Section 2. Public Folder Criteria

Future documents added to the public folder will follow along these guidelines.

  1. No personal identifying information
  2. No financial information
  3. Focuses on chapter wide activities

Section 3. Responsibilities

  1. Conduct audits every 6 months of the chapter’s data storage to make sure files are in compliance.
  2. Retrieve copies of minutes for members upon request.

Article IV: Committees

Section 1. Committees

The committee rules apply to all committees, including Subcommittees and the Steering Committee itself.

Section 2. Committee Membership

Membership on committees is all that’s required for Committee Permissions.

  1. Joining a Committee. To join a committee a person must attend at least one committee meeting and request to join. DSA membership is not required for joining a committee, but is required to vote on committee matters. In order to close committees to new membership, a motion must be brought to a general meeting.
  2. Expiration of Membership. If a person has not attended a committee meeting in more than a year, then their committee membership expires. Once they attend another meeting, they are free to request to rejoin a committee.

Section 3. Minutes

  1. Purpose. The purpose of minutes is to hold knowledge collectively. A record of discussion helps both those who did and did not attend the meeting. It allows our members to step back when they need to, and make sure those who step up have all the information they need to succeed. It helps us avoid rehashing old arguments, and instead focus on new ideas.
  2. Best Practices.
  1. Disclaimer - At the start of a meeting let people know you’re taking minutes and where they’ll be held.
  2. Use first name and initial of last name by default. Offer pseudonyms if people are worried about being on record.

Section 4. Other Responsibilities

  1. Committee documents. Documents shared in meetings must have a copy available in the chapter folder.
  2. Online votes. There must be a record of online votes taken over email.

Related Policy

Chapter Bylaws Article VIII Committees

Membership List Policy

Forms Used

Frequently Asked Questions

Membership List Policy

Ratified by the Chapter on 2019-10-14

Maine DSA’s membership list includes every DSA member in the state of Maine. This list includes sensitive information such as their addresses, contact information, and even names of family members and children. Many members wish to keep their membership information private for professional or personal reasons. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the chapter to keep this list as secure as possible. To this end, the chapter Steering Committee has developed the following parameters around using our official membership list, herein referred to as “the list”.

The list shall only be available to the members of the Steering Committee (Officers and the elected Chairs of Committees and Branches). The list may be made available to other parties, but only with the express consent of the Steering Committee.

The list shall only be used for DSA-related work. The list shall not be used for relaying any information or event that is not directly related to, or endorsed by, National DSA, Maine DSA chapter, or any of its Maine branches.

Copies of the list shall only be made with express consent of the Steering Committee.

Anyone found to have knowingly broken any of the parameters listed above may face loss of access, recall from elected office, or removal from the chapter.


Ratified by the Chapter on 2018-12-10

The Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America ("Maine DSA") is committed to open, transparent, and accessible public discourse, while also ensuring the freedom of its members to communicate without the fear of being secretly recorded without their consent.

Therefore, NO person -- including but not limited to members, visitors, and invited guests -- may record conversations of another without their prior knowledge and consent. Recordings include audio and/or video by any means.

Prohibited recording devices include but are not limited to phones, smartphones, audio recorders, video cameras, cameras, and microphones.

Any individual requesting to record via audio or video any persons at an Maine DSA meeting or event will need to request and be granted prior authorization by Maine DSA Steering Committee. Maine DSA Steering Committee reserves the right to refuse such requests, at their sole discretion.

Maine DSA reserves the right to use cameras and recording devices for the purposes of accessibility for the benefit of members, solely with the express knowledge of those attending.

If an approved recording is in effect, individuals may still refuse to be recorded and at such time may end any conversation with the recording party.

Those who refuse to comply with this policy may be asked to leave the premises of the meeting.

Dues Waiver Program

Ratified by the Steering Committee on 2019-12-29

“From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.” - Karl Marx

DSA is a self-funded organization. We self-fund by having members pay a fee for membership, aka “dues.” Members may pay dues in whatever amount they are comfortable with.

Being self-funded is central to our mission. When organizations are funded by wealthy donors, they become influenced by that money. Sometimes that influence is direct - the wealthy donors give orders and the members or volunteers follow them. Sometimes it’s subconscious, like members being hesitant to make decisions that would upset their donors. However, by having a member-run and member-funded organization, we are accountable to only ourselves. This is people power in practice.

At the same time, we recognize that times are tough and the working class is being squeezed by every system we interact with: skyrocketing health care and housing costs, crushing student loans, unlivable wages at work, with little to no sick or vacation time to escape these chains. Our movement won’t be successful until it is a mass working-class movement. We absolutely will not exclude anyone based on their inability to pay dues. If dues are a barrier for you, our chapter will subsidize memberships with no questions asked.

It’s a pretty simple process:

  1. Tell us that you wish to become a member but need financial sponsorship.
  2. We’ll schedule a meeting with you to go through the membership signup and cover the costs for you, and answer any questions you might have about DSA, our chapter, or organizing goals you have in general.

That’s it! We look forward to organizing alongside you soon. Solidarity Forever.

Priority Campaign Model Policy

Ratified by Chapter on 2021-1-24

Reason for Policy

To create a model to select campaigns which will focus the resources of the chapter. To codify the support which has helped campaigns succeed in the past.


This policy was developed in the Steering Committee after working through the People First Portland campaign. The campaign was very large and required more support than regular committee work. After the fact it is easy to call People First Portland a priority campaign for the chapter. We wanted to formalize a process for campaigns to receive similar chapter support in the future.

Policy Statement

Any committee may bring forward a priority campaign proposal. It should list out concrete goals, and make note of how the campaign intersects with multiple chapter interests. The general membership approves a priority campaign by 2/3rd majority.

A priority campaign receives the following additional support:

Coalition Policy

Ratified by Chapter on 2021-1-24

Amended by Chapter on 2023-1-21


We hope our chapter to be part of a larger community in the locales that we work in. This policy is not meant to limit how we interact with the larger community. It is instead meant to make commitments transparent and accountable both to our members and our allies. As a membership based organization, coalitions work best when our members understand who we are working with and why, rather than it being only a relationship held amongst leadership.


A coalition is hereby defined as the coordination between two or more separate organizations for combined action. The difference between a coalition and other community building activities is the commitment of resources by our chapter, and directing our members to coalition planning meetings.

Joining or Forming a Coalition

To join a coalition a motion must be brought to a general meeting. This motion must be sponsored by a committee, or working group, or include in the motion the creation of a new committee. The coalition is approved with a simple majority vote. Under time sensitive circumstances that require it, a coalition can be approved by the steering committee or campaign committee, but must be later affirmed at the next general meeting.

The chapter will not enter into a coalition within Portland unless it is clear to all parties that DSA will participate openly as DSA, as open socialists, and that the chapter will not join any coalition otherwise.

The committee or working group that sponsored the motion must appoint at least one (1), or up to two (2) Coalition Liaisons, who is responsible for:

  1. Taking responsibility for communication between chapter and coalition
  2. Attending coalition leadership meetings.
  3. Keeping the rest of the committee or working group up to date.


The chapter’s involvement in any coalition ceases upon attainment of the coalition’s stated goal(s), or a majority vote by members to remove the chapter from said coalition.

Questions for Coalition Mission Statement

  1. What are the goals of the coalition?
  2. How will our chapter be able to add to the strategy and tactics of the coalition?
  3. Are there other benefits from joining this coalition?
  4. What are the redlines that will make you reconsider membership with the coalition?

Related policies

Bylaws Article VIII: Committees

Community Building Policy


Motion to Form a Committee

Motion to Form/Join a Coalition

Community Building Policy

Ratified by chapter on 2021-1-24

Purpose of Policy

Community Building Policy is intended to make DSA, and its communication a hub for political activity. With that grand ambition stated, what it actually seeks to accomplish comes in two parts: 

  1. To develop communication and relationships with other organizations while keeping the relationship informal.
  2. Bring to the followers of DSA’s communications attention to enriching activities that can also enhance members' relationships with each other and our community.

Policy Statement

The Communications Working Group is hereby empowered to share community events on chapter digital platforms. These events may not be business or planning meetings, nor may they be events for unendorsed electoral candidates, or ballot questions. A DSA liaison will be established before publishing, and report-backs will be planned for after the event.


Digital Platforms - As described in our Communication Channels Primer, this includes social media, calendar, and our weekly Forecast.

Community Events - These are non-dsa events approved by the Communications Working Group. Likely to be social activities or mutual aid.

Unendorsed electoral candidates, or ballot questions - Chapter endorsement is required to promote electoral candidates or ballot questions.

Business / Planning Meetings - These are meetings where organizational planning takes place. Notes are taken and someone is perhaps running stack.

DSA Liaison - This is the DSA point person involved with the community event. They are listed in the Forecast as the contact person for people who want to get involved. They are expected to help facilitate people's attendance at the community event, and report-back afterwards.


If a DSA member would like to broadcast a Community Event on our digital platforms they should fill out this form. It is also possible to bring a Community Event proposal to the Communications Working Group regularly scheduled meeting. The submitter of the Community Event Application should be the person who intends to be the DSA liaison for the event.

The criteria of the Community Event will be as follows: It should be an event that is approachable to newcomers with a low barrier to entry. Mutual aid or social events are ideal here. The event can’t be a planning or business meeting. That sort of activity with another organization should only occur after a coalition is approved. If it is a recurring event then a reliable sign-up form or contact email for someone involved with running the event must be provided. If the contact email is a member’s personal account and shouldn’t be shared, an email address redirect can be created by the Communications Working Group using the Maine DSA domain (ie “”) to forward emails.

Approval of community events is by 2/3rds vote by the Communications Working Group. If an applicant is denied a reasoning will be provided.

The report-back date is flexible and can be worked out after approval of the event. The report-back should focus on identifying people who came because of the Forecast. If they’re interested in more DSA activity they should be referred to the Membership Working Group. For recurring events report-backs can be grouped up into monthly reports. If a recurring event proves unpopular and no one can be identified as coming because of the Forecast, then the event will be removed from the Forecast.

Social media platforms are permitted to post about Community Events included in the Weekly Forecast.


Community Event Form

Related Documents

Communication Channel Primer

Accessibility & Mask Policy

Replaced and reaffirmed by General Membership on 2023-05-21
Amended by General Membership on 2023-11-12


We strive to be a worker-led movement, which means we have members across the state who are immunocompromised and/or may not have health insurance, paid sick leave, or the savings to cover a prolonged illness. We also have members that can not feasibly physically attend chapter business due to disability and/or distance. We must ensure that all members are able to participate in the business of the chapter at the same level as any other member despite these barriers, and work to create infrastructure that will create thoughtful social spaces that are accessible remotely.


Chapter business is events listed on a chapter calendar or sent to the mailing list in which decisions are being made and recorded by a Chapter body, including committees and working groups.

Effective Masks are NIOSH-approved N95 Respirators and ASTM F3502-21 Barrier Face Coverings rated at >90% filtration.

Policy Statement

General Meetings and Chapter Semi-Annual Workshops will have a face mask requirement.

The Steering Committee will appoint up to two (2) Accessibility and Health officers whose duties are defined as:

All Chapter business listed on the calendar must have an available virtual attendance option, and the facilitator must strive to make the meeting legible and accessible for those participating– i.e not be set up in a bar.

Chapter bodies may include in their charter a masking policy.

If someone attending an in-person chapter business meeting that is not covered by this policy makes a request to the convening body that said meeting be masked, the convener should work with the Accessibility officer(s) to ensure that masks are available and are worn by attendees.

Maine DSA’s Chapter-Run Events held completely outdoors will have at least a face mask recommendation.

All in-person attendees to events covered by this or a working group masking policy are required to follow this said policy, regardless of position or membership status.

Indoor Chapter-Run Events should refrain from serving food and/or encouraging eating at the event – unless the event is principally organized around food (ie a potluck) with no business being attended to. It is impossible to be masked while eating or drinking (in permitted areas), receiving first aid, or other common sense situations; during these situations, masks can be temporarily removed as needed

If food is served indoors at a General Meeting or Semi-Annual event hosted in a non-public venue, organizers must discuss and record a decision about serving and eating food in a separate room from the socializing space so that immunocompromised members can opt-out of exposure.

Organizers of official post-event social gatherings should seriously consider spaces that reduce risk of transmission (i.e. outdoor venues and/or well ventilated venues).

 If, during the course of an event covered by this or a working group masking policy, an attendee refuses to abide by said policy even after a comradely reminder, a convener, or an appointee thereof shall ask the attendee to leave.

All events covered by this or a working group mask-related accessibility policy must include notice of said policy.

The chapter will set Proper Mask Usage, as described in the appendix, as a community norm for all mask-required gatherings;

Additional Information

Proper Mask Usage

Limitations on Portland Electoral Campaign 2023

Ratified by Chapter on 2023-01-22

The Portland Local Campaign Committee will not proactively engage in a candidate campaign or ballot initiative campaign for the November 2023 election;

The Portland Local Campaign Committee will not recruit or endorse any non-DSA member candidates or seek to place on the ballot any of our own initiatives for the November 2023 election;

Should our opposition initiate referenda in 2023 attempting to repeal our wins and/or referenda pushing regressive anti-worker/anti-democratic policies, the Portland Local Campaign Committee will prepare a plan for Member consideration to defeat those initiatives which may include, but is not limited to, competing measures, forming a formal Ballot Question Committee, joining coalitions in opposition, etc;

Electoral Strategy

Ratified by Chapter on 2023-01-21

The chapter is committed to advancing the power of the socialist cause and will endeavor to build an effective party surrogate1 toward that end.

The chapter will only endorse candidates who self-identify as socialists.

The chapter will only endorse candidates that it plans on actively campaigning for, and devote significant chapter time and resources towards. In other words, the chapter will not make paper endorsements.

The chapter will only make a limited number of endorsements per cycle in order to prioritize its efforts on those races in which it will have the maximum impact, and will only do so if a race is winnable.

The chapter will not intervene in races unless it is clear to prospective candidates seeking endorsement that the chapter will maintain strategic and operational control over its own members’ efforts.

The chapter will create a rigorous endorsement process prior to the 2024 election cycle.

The chapter will only endorse candidates that through their election campaigns, and once in office, see mobilizing and fighting alongside working people as one of their primary responsibilities. They will use their public profile to popularize a class struggle perspective, one that sees the working class as the agents of change and the system of capitalism as the main barrier to change

1. An organization that functions as a political party in the Marxist sense, without seeking legal third party status or a ballot line.

Digital Voting Results Policy

Ratified by Steering Committee on 2023-02-19


Maine DSA’s general membership holds votes on motions and chapter business almost exclusively on digital tools, such as Zoom’s polling functionality. Voting records are stored in Zoom, meaning that only those who have access to the Zoom accounts are able to view how individual members voted. As said access is provided as needed, this creates a situation in which only a fairly arbitrary group of members have access to voting records. This policy seeks to codify and normalize the sharing of member voting records, using in person votes by show of hands as precedent.

Policy Statement

For all votes made during general membership business by show of hands, the overseeing body must collect into a document and make available to members a voting record. The link to the is document should be shared on the Chapter slack in the #steercom-agenda channel as soon as is feasible, and no later than 7 days after the vote is held.

Voting records should be stored alongside minutes and are available upon request to the Agenda Working Group. In the interest of security, these records should not be linked to in other documents or shared widely.

If the overseeing body is unable to provide the voting record within the given timeline, a report containing an explanation must be provided at the next general business meeting by the Agenda Working Group.

The Steering Committee will audit google drive permissions and create a proper folder with appropriate permission prior to sharing results.


Overseeing Body: A group tasked with overseeing and conducting votes by the Steering Committee or Agenda Working Group.

Show of Hands: Votes done through a digital poll. This does not include roll call or ballot votes (Robert’s Rules calls it Viva voce).

Voting Record: a document containing the first name and last initial of members who cast ballots in a vote or votes alongside the direction of their vote or votes

Merch Policy

Ratified by Chapter on 2021-01-22


The interest in shirts, hats, or other ‘merch’ is discussed as a part of any growing organization. Over the last four years, Maine DSA operated multiple merch stores for different needs. Such as:

Regardless of why we have opened stores, the same challenges arise:

We must operate knowing that a store should never be the end goal of DSA, but a tool we use for our goals as organizers. This list of resolutions are designed to help overcome the challenges we have faced in the past. They also help to align our practices with our socialist values.


Union Mandate

When using outside vendors Maine DSA will purchase goods and services from worker-owned, union-represented, or cooperative outfits unless absolutely necessary for the success of the project, and;

Members should not only research the products themselves, but inquire on the larger supply chain each vendor is using for their products.

Size Inclusivity

Merch organizers must offer clothing that meets the size needs of our members.

Member Participation

Planning a merch purchase (including launching a store) requires at least 5 Maine DSA members [Planners] who can commit to planning and operating the store or merch purchase, and;

One or more of the Planners must be designated the “Finance Representative”. They will work closely with the Finance Committee, including attending Finance Committee meetings while the store is active.

Merch Store Guide

Members who operate a merch store should write or update a “Merch Store Guide” containing notes on quality vendors, best practices, and anything else that may be helpful for future store operators.

Merch Store Guides

Merch Store Guide (2022)

Standing Rules

Ratified by the Chapter on 2022-09-11

  1. Endorsing Ballot Initiatives and Candidates requires a 2/3rds vote (Adopted 2018-08-20)
  2. Non-endorsed candidates may not speak at meetings/stump in their official capacity as candidates (Adopted 2018-08-20)
  3. Endorsed candidates do not gain access to the MDSA membership lists in any way
  4. Prohibit steering committee from signing on to petitions or making statements regarding internal DSA matters without a general membership vote (Adopted 2022-09-11)