James McFarlane Chapter Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
Adopted this 20th day of September, 1994
Amendments made October 21, 1997, September 17, 2003, and October 19, 2005
Article I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X
ARTICLE I. NAME
These bylaws shall govern the association known as “The James McFarlane Chapter of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania,” hereinafter referred to as the “Chapter.” Major James McFarlane, an officer in the Revolution, was a leader in the Whiskey Rebellion. On July 17, 1794, he was shot and killed on the outskirts of Pittsburgh while trying to negotiate a ceasefire. In 1800 the opponents of the Federalist’s policies sent Thomas Jefferson to the White House and the whiskey excise tax was repealed. The Chapter may also refer to itself as “The Pittsburgh Chapter of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania,” “The Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh,” “The Libertarian Party of Southwestern PA,” “The Pittsburgh Libertarian Party,” or “Pittsburgh Chapter LPP.”
ARTICLE II. MISSION
Our mission is to work towards a society with greater personal freedom, more personal responsibility, and smaller, less intrusive government, in which voluntary cooperation between free individuals replaces the use of coercion to achieve political or social goals. We intend to accomplish this mission by electing candidates to public office, and by educating the public through informational campaigns and debates.
ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP
Members of the Chapter shall be those persons who are current in paid dues to the Chapter, and who have additionally attested that they agree with the goals described by our mission statement, or with such other wording as they may provide, so long as it is accepted by the majority of the members at any regular meeting. Dues for membership in the Chapter shall be set by the Board of Directors of the Chapter.
Members present and in good standing as of the previous regular meeting shall be eligible to vote.
ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS AND ELECTIONS
A. The officers of the Chapter shall be:
2. Vice Chair
The Board of Directors will be comprised of these officers, and up to five at large directors, hereinafter jointly referred to as the “Directors.”
All of the candidates for chapter office or for at-large board positions shall be nominated at the regular October meeting of the Chapter, and elected at the November regular meeting of the Chapter, by the members present and in good standing as of the previous regular meeting. All such candidates shall be placed upon a printed ballot which shall be sent at least two weeks in advance of the regular November meeting. All directors shall take office immediately upon the close of the regular December meeting and shall serve thereafter until the final adjournment of the next December meeting.
At large directors may be nominated for a vacant seat at any regular meeting, elections to be held at the following meeting, shall take that seat immediately upon the close of that meeting, and shall serve thereafter until the final adjournment of the next December meeting.
No person shall serve as a Director who is not a member of the Chapter.
No person may hold more than one office at a time.
B. Members in good standing at the time of the nomination shall be eligible to vote in the subsequent election by attending the next regular meeting and casting a ballot personally, or by delivering an absentee ballot to the secretary or other designee of the board prior to that meeting. Absentee ballots not received by the secretary or designee prior to the meeting shall be disqualified.
Absentee ballots shall be certified by the signature of the member whose votes it shall record, but the particular votes of each member shall not be reported. Absentee ballots shall be counted by the same procedure as those cast in person, but they shall be totaled and reported separately, prior to the first count.
Each voting member shall indicate for each position upon the ballot the order in which he prefers the candidates, placing a numeral 1 before his first preference, 2 before his second preference, and so on for every possible choice.
For the election of the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, the ballots shall be counted as follows:
1. The ballots shall be sorted and assigned to candidates according to first preferences. Invalid ballots shall be set aside. To win, a candidate must get a majority of the ballots, here defined as fifty percent (50%) of the total number of valid ballots at the beginning of the first count, rounded up to the next highest whole number.
2. If no candidate has a majority, then all candidates with at least one ballot shall continue to the next round, except for the candidate with the least number of ballots. Each of the ballots cast for that candidate shall be redistributed to the next highest continuing candidate on the ballot. Ballots with no continuing candidates shall be declared exhausted and set aside.
3. Redistribution of ballots shall continue until either (a) one candidate attains a majority of the ballots, or (b) only one candidate remains. In either case, this candidate shall be declared the winner.
4. “NOTA (None of the Above),” if it appears on the ballot, shall be treated as an individual candidate for the sake of the count. Invalid ballots and exhausted ballots shall not be counted towards NOTA under any circumstances.
5. If at any point two or more candidates are tied for the least popular position, the ballots for each of them shall be so redistributed in a single step. In the event of an eventual tie for the winning position, the election shall be resolved in favor of the candidate strongest in terms of first preferences.
For the elections of the at large board positions, the ballots shall be counted as follows:
1. The ballots’ first preferences are counted and recorded. Then their second preferences are counted and recorded, followed by their third preferences. If a preference is missing from a ballot, then that ballot is recorded as “no preference” for that particular count.
2. Each candidate receives points based on the counts. Three (3) points are given to a candidate for each first preference vote, two (2) points for each second preference vote, and one (1) point for each third preference vote.
3. The points are then summed, and the candidates with the top three point totals shall be declared the winners, with the provision that no candidate may be elected if their point total does not exceed that of “NOTA (None of the Above).”
4. NOTA shall be treated as an individual candidate for the sake of the count. Invalid ballots shall not be counted towards NOTA under any circumstances.
5. If two or more candidates are tied for third place, then the election shall be resolved in favor of the candidate with the greatest number of first preference votes. If there is still a tie, the second preference votes shall be used instead. If there is still a tie, then 3rd, 4th, etc. preferences, in turn, shall be used, until all ties are resolved, or until no lower preferences exist on the ballots. In the latter case, a random method shall be used to resolve the remaining ties.
C. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Chapter. The Chair is the chief executive officer of the Chapter with full authority to direct its business and affairs.
D. The Vice Chair shall be the chief assistant to the Chair, performing such duties as the Chair shall prescribe, and holding such executive power as the Chair shall delegate and shall perform the duties of the Chair in the event that the Chair is, for any reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.
E. The Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Chapter and shall perform such duties as are assigned by the Chair. The Secretary shall attend all meetings of the Chapter and shall act as Secretary thereof, keeping such minutes and records as necessary, or arrange for a suitable substitute to perform these duties. The Secretary shall make an annual report to the Board of Directors containing all information required by the Board. The Secretary shall also be responsible for the proper handling of all mail, phone, and electronic communications.
F. The Treasurer shall receive, expend and account for the funds of the Chapter under the supervision and direction of the Chair and the Board. The Treasurer shall make a financial report to the Board at least annually and shall perform all duties required of the office by applicable laws.
G. The Board shall appoint new officers if vacancies occur, such officers to complete the term of the office vacated, subject to confirmation by a majority vote at the next general meeting after notice requirements described below are fulfilled.
H. A majority of the Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at all meetings of the Board.
I. The Board may suspend a Director by a two thirds vote at a Board meeting, and the members may also suspend a Director by a two thirds vote at a regular meeting. Suspensions shall take effect immediately, and may be of any length up to the duration of the remaining term. A majority vote at any regular meeting shall suffice to reinstate a suspended Director. The Board may not re suspend a Director who has been reinstated, for the duration of his term.
J. The Board may remove a Director by a vote of two thirds of the entire Board. Said Director’s term shall expire immediately, and if an officer, he shall be replaced as described above. A two thirds vote at the next regular meeting after notice requirements are fulfilled shall suffice to reinstate a removed Director, and the Board may not again remove or suspend that Director, for the duration of his term. The members at large may remove a Director by a two step process. The first step will be the submission of a motion for removal at one of the regular meetings. If the motion is seconded, there will be a discussion of the charges against the Director and the matter tabled until the next meeting. At the next meeting, the charges will be reviewed again, and if two thirds of the members present vote in favor of removal, then that Director’s term expires immediately and he shall be replaced as described above.
ARTICLE V. VOTING OTHER THAN FOR CHAPTER ELECTIONS
Members in good standing as of the previous regular meeting (hereinafter termed â€œvoting membersâ€) shall be eligible to vote in person or by proxy signed personally by that member or attested to by two voting members present, and carried by a voting member present, provided: that no member may authorize a proxy who has not attended a meeting, or has authorized proxies for a meeting, within three months; that each proxy must be specific as to its object and shall not give general discretion as to its application; and that no member may carry proxies for more than one absent member, nor more often than once within three months. A proxy must be declared by the member carrying it before it may be cast, and any voting member present may challenge any proxy, which shall be disqualified if two-thirds of the voting members present shall so determine, or if it is found substantially defective by a majority.
ARTICLE VI. MEETINGS
Regular meetings of the Chapter membership shall be held on the third Tuesday of each month. Five members of the Chapter including a majority of the Directors, or ten members including at least one Director, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Special meetings may be called by the Chair or any five members of the Chapter. The Chair shall give fourteen days notice to the Secretary of any special meetings, or of any change in time or location of regular meeting. The Secretary shall provide ten days written or telephone notice to all members in good standing of any special meetings, or any change in time or location of regular meeting.
ARTICLE VII. NOMINATIONS OF CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE
A. Candidates wishing to run for County or local office under the “Libertarian Party” label shall be nominated by a majority of members present at a general meeting. Candidates shall have the opportunity to address the membership, and shall, by way of a question and answer session, satisfy members of the candidate’s understanding of, and commitment to, libertarian principles.
Candidates for State Senate or General Assembly seats located in or around Allegheny County may go through the same procedure but the process can, at most, result in a positive recommendation to the State Party, which retains the power to nominate such candidates.
B. The Board of Directors shall have the power, by a three fourths vote of the Directors, to nominate candidates for Special elections. If there is a general meeting between such Board action and election, the membership must approve the Board action or the motion fails and the membership will replace the candidate. The Board shall have the power to replace candidates who are unable to serve or who withdraw.
ARTICLE VIII. FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING
A. The fiscal term of the Chapter shall begin on January 1 of each year. From January 1 until the Board has approved a budget, the Treasurer may authorize expenditures for any item incorporated in the previous year’s budget as long as the level of expenditure is consistent with that budget. Additionally, the Treasurer may authorize new expenditures of up to fifty dollars, and the Board may authorize new expenditures of up to two hundred dollars. All new expenditures exceeding two hundred dollars shall require prior authorization by a majority of the membership at a regular meeting, and an accounting of all expenditures shall be provided to the membership quarterly.
B. All disbursements exceeding twenty dollars shall be made solely by check.
C. The Board shall have the power to designate the depository of all funds of the Chapter, and shall appoint such officers and employees as in its judgment may seem advisable to deposit and withdraw funds.
D. The Chapter shall not borrow money.
ARTICLE IX. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
Where no conflict exists with these bylaws or any provision of law, the Chapter shall conduct itself according to the parliamentary authority of the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
ARTICLE X. AMENDMENTS
These bylaws may be amended by a two step process. The first step shall be the submission of a motion to amend the bylaws at one of the regular meetings. If the motion is seconded, there will be a discussion of the proposed amendment and the matter tabled until the next regular meeting. At the next regular meeting, the amendment proposal shall be discussed again, and if two thirds of the members present and voting vote in favor of the amendment, it shall take effect immediately.
Emergency amendments may be enacted by a vote of three quarters of the members present at a regular meeting, or by a unanimous decision of all Directors. Such amendments shall go into effect immediately, but must be ratified by two thirds of the members at the next meeting, or shall automatically expire at the close of that meeting. Notice provisions as pertain to regular amendments also apply here. Identical or substantially similar emergency amendments may not be enacted more than once every two months.