BYLAWS OF THE RURAL INITIATIVE OF THE COLORADO DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Revised 24 February 2021
We, being Colorado Democrats who reside in rural areas of the state, in the interest of furthering the principals of the Democratic Party, hereby declare ourselves to be the official statewide organization representing Rural Democrats in Colorado. We strive to promote and give voice to issues of concern to rural Coloradans within the greater framework of Democratic Party values including but not limited to economic wellbeing, environmental quality, water quality and supply, and access to public lands, quality affordable health care, quality public education and broadband internet. We further strive to assist rural county Democratic Party organizations to encourage and promote candidates and extend visibility and community outreach. For these ends and upon these principals, we, the rural Democrats of Colorado, do hereby establish ourselves and adopt these Bylaws.
Article I Name and Affiliation
Section 1. The name of this organization shall be the “Rural Initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party” and referred to in this document as the “Rural Initiative” or the “Initiative.”
Section 2. This Initiative is a unit within the Colorado Democratic Party.
Section 3. This Initiative shall, without objection, be affiliated with the National Democratic Party Rural Council.
Article II Guiding Principles
Section 1. This Initiative shall, where legally possible, work in conjunction with the Colorado Democratic Party and local Democratic organizations to benefit Rural Democrats.
Section 2. This Initiative shall actively support, to the extent legally allowed, all nominees of the local, state and national Democratic parties.
Section 3. As a subsidiary unit of the Colorado Democratic Party, the Initiative will be governed by the rules and Bylaws of the Colorado Democratic Party as well as its own Bylaws.
Section 4. The Bylaws shall not conflict with, or be in contradiction to, the rules and Bylaws of the Colorado Democratic Party or of the Democratic National Committee.
Section 5. The Initiative will operate within the state and federal campaign regulations applicable to the Colorado Democratic Party.
Section 6. This Initiative shall not support or endorse any candidate who is not the official Democratic nominee for office and shall remain neutral in Democratic primaries.
Section 7. The Executive Board and this Initiative’s Members shall not endorse or oppose candidates or ballot issues when representing himself or herself as a representative of this Initiative, unless this Initiative supports those candidates or issues, as per the previous Sections of this Article.
Article III Membership
Section 1. Voting Members shall be registered Democrats in the State of Colorado who sign and submit a form to the officers of the Rural Initiative indicating that they would like to be a Voting Member and who reside outside of an “Urbanized Area” in Colorado as defined the U.S. Census Bureau . An “Urbanized Area” is a continuously built-up area with a population of 50,000 or more.
- Members must have submitted an acceptable Membership form at least 30 days prior to a meeting in order to vote or run for office at that meeting.
- Membership must be renewed on an annual basis no later than the last day of December of each year.
Section 2. Non-voting Membership is open to any registered Democrat in Colorado who wishes to further the principles set forth in the Preamble and Article II. Non-voting Members may be active participants in the meetings, activities and committees of the Rural Initiative.
Section 3. Dues may be required for either class of membership upon a decision by the Voting Membership.
Article IV Executive Board
Section 1. This Initiative shall be governed by an Executive Board, comprised of the following six (6) officers elected by a vote of the Voting Membership:
- Co-Vice Chairs (2)
- Vice Chair of Legislative Affairs
Section 2. Additional members of the Executive Board
- The Vice Chair for Rural Outreach of the Colorado Democratic Party, should one be elected, is a non-voting member of the Executive Board.
- The Rural Initiative Members may by resolution designate additional members to the Executive Board, and may by resolution provide for additional qualifications for its Executive Board members.
Section 3. The Executive Board shall meet at least three (3) times each year with qualifying meetings not occurring in the same month. In the event the Executive Board does not meet this obligation, the board shall be considered dissolved and a vote of the Voting Members shall be held to determine a new board. Meetings of the Executive Board and other meetings of the Rural Initiative may be held electronically to facilitate maximum participation.
Section 4. Each Executive Board member shall attend at least two thirds of the meetings of the Executive Board each year. The failure of an Executive Board member to meet this obligation shall serve as grounds for removal by the other members of the Executive Board. Advance notification by an Executive Board member of anticipated absence or excused absences shall not count against an Executive Board member for purposes of this Section. An absent Member may grant proxy voting power to another Member in attendance.
Section 5. Serving as a member of the Executive Board of this Initiative is contingent on maintaining eligibility as a Voting Member. Loss of eligibility due to political affiliation, residency or registration status shall serve as grounds for removal by the other members of the Executive Board.
Section 6. In addition to the provisions of Section 4 or 5 of this Article, an Executive Board Member of this Initiative may be removed from the board for negligence and/or misconduct, as determined by and with the unanimous vote of all other members of the Executive Board. The Executive Board member considered for removal shall be informed through all reasonable means of the intent to hold a vote for removal and the reasons removal is being considered no later than ten (10) days prior to the vote. The Executive Board member considered for removal shall be given an opportunity to comment prior to the vote.
Section 7. In the event of a vacancy on the Executive Board (whether by removal, resignation, death, membership ineligibility, or other circumstance deemed valid by the Executive Board), the Executive Board shall elect a replacement to fill the remainder of the former Executive Board member’s term from this Initiative’s Voting Membership. The vote to fill a vacancy shall be made within thirty (30) days of the vacancy.
Section 8. The Executive Board shall have the power to create and dissolve special and/or temporary committees for specific purposes, defined by the Executive Board. These committees shall be composed of any group of two (2) or more Members, appointed by the Executive Board.
Section 9. All expenses shall be made only to benefit this Initiative and shall be approved by the Chair and the Treasurer. Documentation of all expenses and approvals shall be kept with all formal records of this Initiative.
Section 10. The Executive Board of this Initiative shall have sole authority over decisions of the Initiative, with the exception of the dissolution of the board. All decisions, except where otherwise stated, are considered binding with a majority vote of a quorum of Executive Board.
Article V Elections and Voting
Section 1. Elections of the Executive Board shall be held every odd numbered year in the period designated by the Colorado Democratic Party.
Section 2. The outgoing Executive Board shall be responsible for organizing elections, including the date, time, and location, each providing for reasonable attendance and participation of Voting Members and candidates for the Executive Board.
Section 3. The election shall be announced and sufficiently publicized by the outgoing Executive Board, including through all normal communication mediums and to all appropriate Democratic organizations, no later than ten (10) days prior to the date of the election.
Section 4. Only eligible Voting Members of this Initiative may be candidates for the Executive Board. Candidates may declare their candidacy at any time following the previous election, but must declare their candidacy no later than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the time of the next scheduled election, in order to verify eligibility. All candidates shall be given equal opportunity to be promoted through the means of this Initiative. Candidates for the Executive Board need not be present on the date of the election to be eligible.
Section 5. The Executive Board shall be elected by a vote of this Initiative’s Voting Members.
Section 6. Voting may be conducted in any fashion under the rules of the Colorado Democratic Party that allows for the greatest participation of the Voting Members including in-person voting on the date of the election. All voting methods shall include reasonable assurance of security to prevent fraud or vote manipulation, including a method to ensure that only votes cast by eligible Voting Members are tallied.
Section 7. Votes shall not be tallied by any candidate for the Executive Board, including candidates serving on the outgoing Executive Board. Candidates shall have the right to observe vote tallying.
Section 8. Any candidate for the Executive Board may, with reasonable cause, challenge the outcome of the election. In the event of such a challenge, the outgoing Executive Board shall compile and organize all relevant election records for review by the leadership of the Colorado Democratic Party, without the involvement of any outgoing Executive Board members who may be candidates for the Executive Board. If the leadership of the Colorado Democratic Party determines that the outcome of the election was in error, the winners determined by the Colorado Democratic Party shall take office with the incoming Executive Board, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Section 9. The total number of valid votes cast may be made public with the election results and must be provided to Members upon request.
Section 10. The Executive Board members shall serve a term of two (2) years and are eligible for consecutive terms as long as they meet the criteria for Voting Members. The term may be reasonably extended or shortened to accommodate the actual date of the election.
Section 11. Quorum at a general membership meeting shall be the number of Voting Members present. Quorum at an Executive Board or any committee meeting shall be forty-percent (40%) of the members of the board or committee.
Article VI Duties of Officers
- Shall preside at all Rural Initiative meetings.
- Shall develop the agenda for Rural Initiative meetings and distribute the agenda at least 2 days prior to the meeting.
- Shall be the official spokesperson for the Initiative.
- Shall appoint committees and committee chairs with the approval of the Executive Board.
- Shall approve all disbursements and reimbursements of funds for the Organization.
- Shall sign all documents and other negotiable instruments for the Organization.
- Shall be a non-voting member at all general membership, Executive Board and committee meetings, except to break a tie vote as necessary.
B. Co-Vice Chairs
- Shall do everything necessary to assist the Chair in carrying out the duties of the Chair.
- Shall provide leadership for organizational activities and for political education.
- Shall, in the absence of the Chair, preside over all meetings and exercise all authority of the Chair. If the Co-Vice Chairs are unable to decide who serves as the Acting Chair, a decision will be made by a majority vote of the other officers.
- Shall record minutes of all meetings.
- Shall present minutes of the previous meeting for approval.
- Shall maintain all general correspondence of the Initiative.
- Shall maintain Bylaws changes.
- Shall maintain records of all Members in good standing, including name, dates of donations and contact information.
- Shall maintain a record of all donations made to or from the Initiative.
- Shall prepare and present a financial report at all meetings and upon request.
- Shall maintain a record of disbursement and reimbursement of monies in accordance with good accounting practices.
F. Vice Chair of Legislative Affairs
- Shall monitor state and federal legislation of interest to rural Democrats.
- Shall serve as a liaison to elected officials at the local, state, and federal level, and to related Democratic organizations having a similar focus.
Article VII National and State Committee Representatives
Section 1. This Initiative will provide representation to the Democratic National Committee Rural Council as provided for within the rules of that organization and consistent with the rules of the Colorado Democratic Party to maximize effective representation.
Section 2. The Chair of the Initiative, or the Chair’s representative shall be a member of the State Central Committee, State Executive Committee and State Outreach Commission with one vote on each committee. [CDP Rules_18 Nov 2020 3.2.A.3]
Article VIII Regional Organization
Section 1. The Rural Initiative may organize Democratic Parties in rural Colorado counties into a structure of geographic regions wherein such rural counties share common interests and values with the Rural Initiative. The counties in each region shall be sufficiently close as to facilitate meetings and shared activities. The Executive Board shall define any such regions and appoint a regional Rural Initiative Coordinator for each region.
Article IX Parliamentary Authority
Section 1. The Executive Board shall have the authority to draft additional guiding documents to serve the purposes outlined in these Bylaws.
Section 2. No other guiding documents shall supersede anything explicit or implied in these Bylaws.
Section 3. All or any part of these Bylaws may be superseded by the Colorado Revised Statutes and the Colorado Democratic Party Rules.
Section 4. Any procedure not covered by the Bylaws shall be subject to Robert’s Rules of Order (revised current edition)
Article X Changes to Bylaws
Section 1. Changes to these Bylaws can be made only by a vote of the Voting Members of this Initiative.
Section 2. The Executive Board may, at any time, call for a vote of the Voting Members to approve changes to these Bylaws. Such a vote must be sufficiently publicized by the Executive Board, including through all normal communication media and to all appropriate Democratic organizations, and held no sooner than ten (10) days after the date of such announcement. In-person voting is not necessary for Bylaws changes so long as other reasonable means for voting are provided.
Section 3. Any Member of this Initiative may propose changes to these Bylaws by collecting a number of valid signatures from Voting Members equal to the number of voters in the last Executive Board election. A vote on those proposed changes by this Initiative’s Voting Members shall take place at the discretion of the Executive Board, but no later than the next scheduled Executive Board election. Proposed changes and signatures can be submitted at any time, but must be submitted to the Executive Board no later than (10) days prior to the next scheduled Executive Board election for them to be voted on in that election. Any such proposed changes shall be sufficiently publicized by the Executive Board, including through all normal communication media and to all appropriate Democratic organizations.
Certification of Bylaws
The undersigned Executive Board members certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the Official Bylaws of the Rural Initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party. These Bylaws shall be considered in effect from the date signed.
|Chair||/s/ Terrance Hestand (Otero)||7 March 2021|
|Co Vice Chair||/s/ Emily Tracy (Fremont)||7 March 2021|
|Co Vice Chair||/s/ Greg Liverman (Teller)||7 March 2021|
|Secretary||/s/ Mary Dodd (Montezuma)||7 March 2021|
|Legislative Chair||/s/ Carol Cure (La Plata)||7 March 2021|