BYLAWS OF THE
UNITED DEMOCRATIC COALITION OF HILLSBOROUGH
The purposes for which the UNITED DEMOCRATIC COALITION OF HILLSBOROUGH has been formed are:
The values of the organization are:
Article I –Name
Sec. 1. The name of this Organization shall be: “UNITED DEMOCRATIC COALITION OF HILLSBOROUGH,” hereafter referred to as the Organization or United Dems.
Article II – Policy
Sec.1. The power to give the support of the Organization to the Candidacy of any person for elective or appointive public office shall rest with a regular or special meeting of the Organization.
Sec. 2. This Organization shall seek in its operations the advice and cooperation with the Hillsborough Democraic Organization, Somerset County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of New Jersey, and the Democratic National Committee.
Sec 3. This Organization collects donations and makes contributions to local and state candidates under the rules of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC).
Article III – Membership
Sec.1. Any person who supports Democratic ideals in the municipality of Hillsborough and who supports the purposes of this Organization shall be eligible for Voting Membership.
Sec. 2. Voting Members in good standing shall include all members meeting the following requirements:
Sec 3. No member may vote at any general or special meeting of the Organization unless he or her is a Voting Member in good standing as recorded and logged by the Corresponding Secretary. If a question arises if a Voting Member is in good standing, said member may appeal to a vote of the full Executive Board based on the criteria established in Article III, Section 2.
Sec. 4. Any person who is a registered Democrat in Hillsborough Township and persons who support the purposes of this Organization are considered to be members. Members shall not be eligible to serve as an officer or on the Executive Board, chair ad hoc committees, or participate in a vote on any matters of state-wide or national import brought before the membership of the United Dems. Members may attend meetings, receive United Dems communications, participate in United Dems Social Media groups, attend United Dems events, and participate in other activities as determined by the United Dems. Members are strongly encouraged to apply for Voting Membership.
Article IV – Officers
Sec. 1. The officers of the Organization shall consist of a President, Vice-President, a Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, and Treasurer. The term of each office shall be two years or until a successor is selected and takes office, except the initial term following the establishment of the organization shall expire at the next annual meeting.
Sec. 2. All officers shall be elected by a majority of those members in good standing present and voting.
Sec.4. Organization officers are limited to those possessing Voting Membership as defined in Article III.
Sec.5. The official records of the Organization shall be maintained in good order by the respective officers in an electronic format prescribed by the Organization’s Executive Board.
Article V – Powers and Duties
Sec. 1. The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Organization. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Organization, enforce the Bylaws, and preserve order. The President shall, from time to time, advise the Executive Board and the membership of the state of the Organization and make such recommendations as he or she may deem advisable or necessary. The President shall exercise all powers and perform all duties elsewhere in the Bylaws, and shall have power to take such steps as may be deemed necessary to fulfill the duties of the office and to provide for the general welfare of the Organization. The President may assign special or temporary duties to any officer as the welfare of the Organization may require. The President may appoint a sergeant at arms to enforce the bylaws and preserve order at meetings.
Sec. 2. In addition to the powers and duties elsewhere specified in the Bylaws, the Vice- President shall assist the President in the operation of the Organization.
Sec. 3. The Recording Secretary shall take the minutes of all Organization meetings and shall have custody of the current minutes, resolutions, reports, and other official records of the Organization, and shall transfer these in good order to his or her successor.
Sec. 4. The Corresponding Secretary shall conduct all correspondence under the direction of the President and shall maintain an accurate and up-to-date mailing list and be responsible for correspondence and for notifying the membership of the regular business of the United Dems. The regular business of the United Dems is defined as, and shall be limited to, meeting notices, meeting cancellations, dues reminders and proposed amendments. Any other correspondence must be approved by the President. In addition, the Corresponding Secretary shall maintain an accurate membership list with a record of meeting attendance and the dates thereof.
Sec. 5. The Treasurer shall have custody of all financial records of the Organization. All monies collected or received shall be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank approved by the Executive Board. The Treasurer shall keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements and shall make a financial report to the President and to the Executive Board whenever so requested and to the membership at each regular meeting of the Organization. A final financial statement for the previous calendar year shall be circulated to the members at the first regular membership meeting of the year, along with a proposed budget for the new year.
Sec. 6. Official Correspondence. The President shall pre-approve all correspondence to the membership. Official Organization correspondence will go out under the official name and address of the Organization, “United Democratic Coalition of Hillsborough ”; in writing (letter) at the Mailing Address or PO Box currently in use or in email form.
Article VI – Executive Board
Sec. 1. There shall be an Executive Board composed of the following members:
Sec. 2. The term of office of a member of the Executive Board shall be two years or until a successor is selected, except the initial term following the establishment of the organization shall expire at the next annual meeting.
Sec. 3. In addition to the powers and duties elsewhere specified in the Bylaws, the Executive Board shall have supervision of the administrative affairs of the Organization. Prior to the Annual Meeting, the Executive Board shall receive a final financial statement from the Treasurer for the previous year. The Treasurer shall provide a proposed budget to the Executive Board for their review and modification, as needed, then to be submitted to the regular membership for adoption at the Annual Meeting. The Board shall have power to receive reports of any committee and advise thereon, to call special meetings of the Organization, to take final action on all matters of administrative detail not specifically provided for herein, and to take final action on any matter the urgency of which makes it impracticable to call a regular or special meeting of the Organization.
Sec. 4. The President shall serve as chair of the Executive Board. The Recording Secretary shall prepare minutes of each Executive Board meeting including a statement of those present and a summary of each decision taken, and shall present them at the next meeting of the Executive Board. The Recording Secretary shall retain a file of such minutes that any member of the Organization shall have the right to examine.
Sec. 5. Regular meetings of the Executive Board shall be held at the call of the chair at such intervals as may be determined by the Board. Special meetings of the Board may be called by the chair or by any other three members of the Executive Board, upon such notice as the Bylaws may provide.
Sec. 6. A simple majority shall constitute a quorum for all Executive Board meetings.
Sec. 7. The President shall report to the members at each general or special meeting of the Organization summarizing all actions taken by the Executive Board since the preceding meeting of the Organization.
Sec. 8. In addition to the powers and duties elsewhere specified in the Bylaws, the General Membership may adopt resolutions regarding matters of public policy and community concern. Such resolutions signed by at least four members of the Organization shall be presented at any Executive Board meeting for Executive Board review. All resolutions presented to the Executive Board will be presented to the general membership with or without a recommendation at a regular meeting of the United Dems. A copy of the resolution will be included in the notice of this meeting. If no regular meeting is scheduled within the immediate future a special meeting may be called to vote on the resolution. If approved by at least a majority of the members present at a general or special meeting of the Organization, with a quorum of the membership in attendance (as directed by Section 3 of Article VIII), the resolution shall have been adopted.
Article VII – Temporary Vacancies
Sec. 1. In the event of a temporary absence or incapacity of the President, the order of succession shall be: (1) the Vice-President, (2) the Recording Secretary, (3) the Corresponding Secretary.
Sec. 2. In the event of a temporary absence or incapacity of any other officer, the President may temporarily assign the duties and powers of such officer to any other member of the executive board.
Article VIII – Meetings
Sec. 1. Regular membership meetings of the Organization shall be held on such dates and at such times and places as the Executive Board may specify. Annual meetings shall be held in January.
Sec. 2. Special membership meetings shall be called when deemed necessary by the President, or by the Executive Board, or upon a written petition to the President by no fewer than 20 percent of current Voting Members. Meetings shall be at such times and places as specified by the President or the Executive Board in conformity with the notice provisions of these Bylaws.
Sec. 3. A simple majority of Voting Members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any general membership meeting.
Sec 4. Meetings may be conducted in person or via a live synchronous audio and video platform, such as Zoom.
Article IX – Endorsement of Candidates for Public Office
Sec. 1. Any candidate who has filed, or has indicated an intention to file, a nominating petition for an office in a Democratic primary election, Democratic County Committee, and any Democratic candidate for public office in a general election, may be endorsed by the Organization. For municipal and County Committee office, candidates must provide notice of their candidacy and desire to be endorsed for one specific office to the United Dems president at least 14 days prior to the endorsement meeting and each candidate for municipal office must be a Voting Member of the Organization in order to appear on the ballot. Endorsement requires that a candidate receive at the endorsement meeting a vote equal to 60% of the ballots cast by the Organization's Voting Members in good standing then present and voting. Any candidate(s) for local municipal office who gets less than 60% but does get a vote of at least 40% of the ballots cast has the Organization's support. The endorsement results will be communicated to the Hillsborough Democratic Organization and the Somerset County Democtaic Committee.
For other than municipal offices, endorsement requires the concurrence of 60% of all Voting Members in good standing then present and voting. For each office (municipal or otherwise), the ballot will clearly allow members to vote to endorse any individual candidate or allow for a vote that the Organization does not endorse any of the candidates. A vote of no endorsement will be counted as a ballot cast.
Sec. 2. Endorsements of candidates at membership meetings may be made upon notice to all Voting Members. The Executive Board may adopt special rules for the meeting, and the notice to the members shall contain the rules governing the endorsement meeting. Certain basic rules will apply in all cases: each candidate, or their surrogate, will be given the same amount of time to address the organization, each candidate will speak before the actual voting may start, tellers will ensure that only Voting Members are actually voting, voting will be by secret ballot whenever there is more than one candidate for the same position, ballots will be counted by members appointed by the President, and the ballot counting may be observed by a representative of each candidate.
The special rules adopted by the Executive Board shall include provisions for a single round of runoff voting if the number of candidates running for an office is greater than the number of open seats plus one, and if no candidate is fully endorsed in the first round of voting. A candidate receiving a vote of 60% of the ballots cast in a runoff vote will receive the full endorsement of the Organization.
Sec. 3. The Organization may contribute to endorsed candidates or spend funds to support their candidacy, as determined by the Executive Board.
Sec. 4. Membership Lists. The Organization will not provide to candidates, or anyone else, or any other organization, the membership contact lists whether in email or hard copy form. However, any candidate who has notified the United Dems President of their wish to appear on the ballot at the Organization’s Endorsement Meeting shall, if they request, receive from the Corresponding Secretary one set of mailing labels of the Organization’s members’ physical addresses for use in their campaign. Likewise, the President shall offer to forward two campaign messages from any candidate whose name appears on the Organization’s ballot at the Organization’s Endorsement Meeting to the membership electronically; one message prior to the endorsement meeting and one prior to the primary election. Invitations to campaign events do not count towards the two campaign message limit. During the general election campaign, messages from nominated Democratic candidates may be included in the regular communications of the Organization to the membership. All electronic communication to the organization membership shall be sent in such a way as to preserve the privacy of the membership list.
Article X – Nominations and Elections of the Executive Board
Sec. 1. The President shall, with the approval of the Executive Board, appoint a Nominating Committee of six members and designate the chair. Active solicitation of interest will begin by October 1 in the year prior to executive board elections. The President will direct the Corresponding Secretary to inform the membership that the nominating process is about to begin, and to provide contact information so interested members may express their interest to the Nominating Committee. The role of the Nominating Committee is to solicit interest in each elected position and to present the names of interested parties through the Executive Board to the entire membership. The Nominating Committee will present the names of all qualified candidates who have expressed interest in each position. The Nominating Committee may actively recruit people for positions. The Nominating Committee will promote diversity of candidates for all positions, including gender, race, ethnicity and religious diversity. The Nominating Committee will check all interested parties to see that they are Voting Members in good standing. The President shall fill any vacancy on the Nominating Committee.
Sec. 2. Nominations will be open until 15 days before the annual meeting, at which point the nominating report will be forwarded to the Executive Board. This report will be a listing of the members who have requested to be on the ballot for a specific position or positions, and have passed the Nominating Committee review process above. Receipt by the Executive Board of the Nominating Committee report will cause the names on the report to be on the ballot at the Annual Meeting. The President shall arrange that such report be included with the notice of the annual meeting sent to all members. At the annual meeting no additional nominations for any office may be made from the floor. Members nominated through the Nominating Committee process do not need to be present at the Annual meeting; they may accept their nomination through a letter stating such to the President to be read off at this meeting.
Sec. 3. The election of officers and elective members of the Executive Board shall take place at the Annual Meeting.
Sec. 4. The President shall appoint at least two persons to count the ballots and supervise the election.
Sec. 5. Voting in the election of officers and elective members of the Executive Board shall be by secret ballot, except in those cases where there is no contest. If there is no contest, a motion to elect all unopposed positions is in order.
Sec. 6. In the event that no candidate receives a majority vote for a particular office, another vote shall be taken immediately involving that office alone, with the choice restricted to the two candidates who received the highest votes of those present and voting.
Article XI – Finance
Sec. 1. No member shall be required to pay annual membership dues, however entry fees may be charged to attend member events. Members are highly encouraged to attend events and make donations to the Organization.
Sec. 2. All bills against the Organization, including contributions to endorsed candidates, for more than $300.00 are subject to approval by the Executive Board for payment. Unless otherwise determined by the Executive Board, only one signature shall be required for the signing of checks drawn against the Organization’s bank account up to $300 and the authorized signing officers shall be the Treasurer and the President. For bills over $300, two signatures are required and the authorized signers (as long as the check is not payable to one of them) shall be the President, the Vice- President, the Treasurer, and the Corresponding Secretary. Budgeted expenses up to $300 can be incurred by the proper responsible officer, all expenses over $300 need prior Executive Board approval.
Sec 3. For extended operations such as subscriptions and office space, the Executive Board may approve a budget and maximum net expenditure and delegate authority for spending within that limit to one or more members of the Executive Board.
Article XII – Committees
Sec. 1. Immediately upon assuming office, the President shall appoint the chairs of the following standing committees: Nominating, Membership, Program, Publicity/Website, Campaign, and Finance. The chairs shall, in cooperation with the President, recruit members of their respective committees.
Sec. 2. The President may from time to time appoint such ad hoc committees as he or she may deem advisable.
Sec. 3. The President shall be ex officio a member of all committees.
Article XIII – Amendments
Sec. 1. Proposals to amend any portion of these Bylaws may be made by written petition, signed by no less than four Voting Members in good standing of the Organization. Petitions must be presented in writing at a regular or special meeting of the Organization to be voted on at the next regular or special meeting of the Organization. The Corresponding Secretary in turn is required to provide written notice setting forth the proposed amendment or amendments verbatim in the notice for the meeting at which the amendment or amendments will be considered. If approved by two-thirds of the Voting Members in good standing present and voting, the amendment or amendments shall have been adopted.
Article XIV – Notice
Sec. 1. For the purposes of these Bylaws, notice shall be as follows:
Article XV – Parliamentary Authority
Sec. 1. The rules contained in the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order--Newly Revised shall govern this Organization in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws.
Adopted April 22, 2021