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Ipswich Democratic Town Committee Bylaws

as amended September 8, 2018


Article I -- Name


The name of this political organization shall be The Ipswich Democratic Town Committee.


Article II – Purpose


The purpose of the Ipswich Democratic Town Committee (the Committee) shall be to:


A. Actively assist Democratic candidates for local, county, state, and national offices to win elections by ever-growing majorities.


B. Be the voice of the Democratic Party in Ipswich. This means to aggressively communicate and vigorously defend the basic principles, values, and the political philosophy that inform the stance of the Democratic Party and its candidates at all levels of government.


C. Encourage residents of Ipswich to register as Democrats and to urge Democratic activists to become members of the Committee.


Article III – Activities


A. The Committee may engage in any and all activities that foster its purpose so long as such activities are in keeping with the election laws of Massachusetts and the United States as well as these bylaws and those of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee (MDSC) pertaining to the conduct and financing of elections.


B. Such activities may include but are not limited to:

  • Endorsement of enrolled Democratic candidates in partisan and nonpartisan primaries, preliminaries and elections (only by unanimous vote of those present)

  • Financial support of the State Committee and Democratic nominees

  • Fund raising

  • Voter registration drives

  • Sponsorship of public meetings and forums

  • Renting and staffing of election headquarters

  • Placing advertisements in support of Democratic candidates or announcing Committee and Democratic Party activities in newspapers, radio, TV, and social media

  • Distributing campaign materials by door-to-door drops, mail, or e-mail

  • Engaging in “visibility” sessions

  • Writing letters to the editor

  • Collaborating with other town and city Democratic Committees to support Democratic candidates and values

  • Help public school pupils gain a clear understanding of the United States Constitution


 Article IV – Membership


A. Total membership is limited to 35, plus lifetime and associate members, or as adjusted from time to time by the Massachusetts Secretary of State.


B. Only registered Democrats who live in Ipswich and who have been elected to the Committee in the Presidential Primary Election, or have been elected to the Committee by a majority vote of the members at an official meeting of the Committee, or have been named lifetime members shall be members of the Committee.


C. The term of office for members elected at the Presidential primary shall begin at the start of the first meeting subsequent to the Presidential Primary Election and such members will vote at that meeting. The organizational meeting shall be held no later than April 15 in non-presidential years and as defined by state law in presidential election years.


D. The election of new members shall always be the first order of business at meetings and the term of office of such new members will begin when they are elected. New members will have attended two prior meetings, and be present at the meeting at which they are elected.


E. The term of office for all members, except for the Chair, ends at the start of the organizational meeting subsequent to the Presidential Primary Election.


F. Any member of the town committee who has served as such for 20 or more years may be named as a lifetime voting member by a majority vote of the members at an official meeting of the Committee, and their elected position on the committee shall be vacated.


G. The Committee may, by vote at any meeting, authorize the appointment of associate members. Associate members shall have all the rights and obligations of members with these exceptions: they shall not have the right to vote or to serve as officers; they shall not be obligated to participate regularly in Committee activities. The term of associate members is the same as voting members.


H. The Committee may annually request voluntary dues, the amount of which must be adopted by a two-thirds vote. No elected or ex-officio members or associate committee member shall be required to pay dues in order to participate in committee business


I. All members of the Committee have equal rights and obligations.


These include the right to:

  • Be notified of, attend, speak, and vote at all meetings and other Committee sponsored activities.

  • Serve on subcommittees.

  • Vote on all motions made at Committee and Subcommittee meetings

  • Serve as officers of the Committee or Subcommittees


These include the obligations to:

  • Make a good faith effort to participate regularly at all meetings and in all activities sponsored by the Committee.

  • Actively support Democratic candidates once they have been officially nominated.

  • Publicly support, clearly communicate, and vigorously defend the basic principles, values, and the political philosophy that inform the current stand of the Democratic Party.

  • Refrain from publicly supporting any candidate running in opposition to the nominated Democratic candidate.

  • Abide by the federal and state election laws and by these bylaws and those of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee (hereinafter MDSC) while participating in Committee-sponsored election activities.

  • Refrain from making public statements or from promising payments in the Committee’s name unless explicitly requested to do so by a vote of the members or by the request of the Chair after consultation with the Executive subcommittee.

Article V – Officers and Duties


A. The Officers of the Ipswich Democratic Committee shall be:

  • Chair (or co-chairs)

  • Vice-Chair (or co-vice chairs)

  • Secretary

  • Treasurer

  • Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor


Chairs and vice-chairs shall not all be of the same gender.


B. The duties of the Chair shall be to:

  • Serve as the official spokesperson for the Committee.

  • Call and preside at meetings.

  • Appoint members to subcommittees.

  • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the Committee.

  • Sign off on all official correspondence of the Committee.

  • Establish and/or maintain good relations with other town and city committees and with the MDSC.

  • Maintain close contact with the treasurer with regard to the spending of the Committee’s funds.

  • Implement the emergency expenditure of money from the Committee’s treasury when there is not time to call a meeting of the Committee. (See Article X)

  • Prepare agendas for meetings with the assistance of the Secretary. Agenda items submitted by members prior to the start of the meeting will be included.

  • Contact inactive members to ascertain the circumstances hindering their participation


C. The Vice-Chair shall assume all the duties of the Chair in the event of her or his absence or disability.


D. The duties of the Secretary shall be to

  • Make and maintain records of all meetings and other official business of the Committee.

  • Maintain records of all official correspondence of the Committee.

  • Send members a draft copy of the Secretary’s Report of the prior meeting in time for them to read it before attending the next scheduled meeting.

  • Comply in a timely fashion with all requirements of the Commonwealth and the MDSC for the filing the reports they mandate.

  • Assume the responsibilities of the Chair in the event that both the Chair and the Vice Chair are unable to perform them.

  • Maintain record of attendees at monthly meetings and notify Chair of members who have missed three or more consecutive meetings.

  • Maintain current list of members and their emails and notify chair if there are any vacancies.

  • Within ten days after the organization of the Committee, file with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Secretary of the Democratic State Committee and the Town Clerk, a list of the officers and members of the Committee, and immediately file with the same officials a statement of the changes in the organization of membership of the Committee thereafter.


E. The duties of the Treasurer are to:

  • Oversee the collection of voluntary dues.

  • Maintain careful records of all receipts and expenditures

  • Report the current balance in the Committee’s treasury at each meeting of the Committee.

  • Pay in a timely fashion only those expenditures that have been approved by a vote of the Committee or by the officers of the Committee through the interim expenditure policy

  • Comply in a timely fashion with all requirements of the MDSC and the Commonwealth for the filing of financial reports they mandate.


F. The Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor shall assist the Committee in developing strategies and activities to expand participation by under-represented populations.


Article VI – Election of Officers


A. Officers shall be elected for a term of two years by a majority vote of the members at an organizational meeting. One shall be the first meeting of the Committee subsequent to the Presidential Primary Election. The other shall be two years later.


B. Only members who were elected in the Presidential Primary immediately prior to the organizational meeting and members elected as the first order of business at any regularly scheduled member meeting shall be eligible to stand for office and vote for officers. .


C. Election of officers will be by acclamation or secret ballot.


D. The counting of ballots shall be done by a minimum of three members appointed by the Chair from among the members who are not candidates for any office.


E. The election will be carried out in conformity with all other rules for such elections as established by the MDSC.


F. As soon as the new Chair has been identified, the previous Chair will step down and the new Chair will preside over the balance of the election of officers, the remaining agenda items of the organizational meeting, and subsequent meetings.


G. An officer may be removed from office by a majority vote of the members taken by secret ballot at two consecutive meetings. Votes to remove a Chair will be presided over by the Vice Chair.


 Article VII – Meetings


A. The frequency, time, place, and agendas of the meetings will be set by the members. The Committee shall meet at least once each quarter.


B. Any member seeking to have an item placed on the agenda of the next meeting may do so by contacting the Chair.


C. The meetings will be carried on according to Robert’s Rules of Order.



Article VIII – Subcommittees


A. Subcommittees may be formed by the Chair or by the Chair at the request of a majority of the Committee.


B. The Chair appoints all members to subcommittees.


C. The members of each Subcommittee will elect their Chair.


D. The Chair of each Subcommittee will provide the Secretary of the Committee with timely written updates of the Subcommittees activities and progress.


E. Chairs of Subcommittees are expected to be prepared to report on the activities of the committee at each Committee meeting.


F. Subcommittees may be dissolved by a majority vote of the Committee.


G. The Executive subcommittee shall be the only standing subcommittee and shall consist of the officers of the Committee whose duty it will be to advise the Chair between meetings and to review and act upon the Chairs requests to make emergency appropriations.


Article IX – Interim Expenditure Policy


A. No one other than a member of the Committee is permitted to expend, or commit the expenditure of, Committee resources.


B. Except in unusual circumstances, and in accordance with the procedures below, the expenditure of Committee financial resources is permitted only by the Treasurer and only for a purpose, and to the extent, approved by the Committee in advance at a meeting of the Committee.


C. In an unusual case, between meetings of the Committee, a subcommittee composed of the officers of the Committee may approve the expenditure of, or the commitment to expend, Committee financial resources. In such a case, the subcommittee must report to the Committee at its next meeting as to the purpose and amount of the expenditure or commitment to expend in writing and explain the urgency of the expenditure.


Article X– Removal of Local Members


Members may be removed by procedures guaranteeing adequate notice and due process, and by a majority vote of the membership at a regular meeting, for:


Failure to attend at least half of the regularly scheduled committee meetings during any calendar year, or


Public support for an opponent of a nominee of the Democratic Party, which nominee publicly supports the platform of the Democratic Party as adopted at the most recent state and national Democratic convention.


A member must be given an opportunity to resign before notice of the hearing on the question of removal is put before the membership of the Committee.  A member removed under this article shall have thirty days to appeal to the Judicial Council (State Committee), and the vacancy may not be filled in such case until the final decision of the Judicial Council is made.


Article XI – Changes in the Bylaws


A. These bylaws may be amended or repealed at any regularly called meeting of the Committee. The proposed bylaw change must be sent to all members at least 30 days in advance. Bylaws can be changed by majority vote of elected members present.


B. Bylaw change proposals which contradict the provisions of the Massachusetts Democratic State Party Charter cannot be considered.

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