REVISED FEBRUARY 10, 2021
BY-LAWS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF THE TOWN OF WESTON
ARTICLE I: GENERAL
The Democratic Party believes in the principles of participatory and open government. All public meetings of the Democratic Party in this Town are open to all members of the Democratic Party, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, age, sexual orientation, physical disability, national origin, religion, ethnic identity, economic status or philosophical persuasion.
2. Conflict with other applicable Laws or Rules
These By-Laws are intended to govern the conduct of the Democratic Party in this Town, except that where these By-Laws conflict with the laws of the State of Connecticut or the United States of America, or the rules of the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut, all as amended from time to time, these By-Laws shall be superseded thereby. These By-Laws shall supersede the Rules of the Democratic Party of the Town of Weston, as in effect on the date hereof.
Definitions of certain capitalized terms used herein are contained in Article IX hereof.
ARTICLE II: TOWN COMMITTEE
The Town Committee shall have as its purpose the furtherance of the objectives of the Democratic Party in the Town as such objectives are defined from time to time.
In carrying out its purpose the Town Committee shall be responsible for the following:
a. Seeking out and recommending to the Democratic caucus a list of candidates for the Town Committee and for municipal office.
b. Selecting delegates to conventions.
c. Increasing Democratic Party enrollment.
d. Raising funds for the use of the Democratic Party.
e. Directing and coordinating all communications efforts for the Democratic Party of Weston.
f. Performing such other duties as may be appropriate.
3. Election of Town Committee Members
a. Eligibility to Serve on the Town Committee; Eligibility to Vote in Town Committee Caucus. Only Weston Democrats are eligible to be elected to, and serve on, the Town Committee and to vote in a caucus to endorse candidates for the Town Committee.
b. Caucus to Select Democratic Party-Endorsed Candidates. In each even-numbered year, the Town Committee shall fix a date in January, between forty-nine (49) and fifty-six (56) days, inclusive, prior to the first Tuesday in March, for the holding of a caucus for the selection of Democratic Party-endorsed candidates for the Town Committee at large. At any caucus duly called for the endorsement of candidates for the Town Committee, nominations for such Town Committee candidates may be made by (1) presentation to the caucus of a full slate composed of a number of persons equal to the number of Town Committee members permitted by the By-Laws and (2) by nomination of individual candidates.
c. Notice of the Caucus. A notice of the call of the caucus shall be published in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town at least five (5) days, but not more than fifteen (15) days, before the caucus is held.
d. Primary. On the first Tuesday in March in each even-numbered year a primary for the election of Town Committee members at large shall be held, except that no primary will be held unless a petition containing the names of non party-endorsed candidates for the Town Committee numbering at least twenty-five (25%) percent of the number of Town Committee members to be elected has been timely filed. A petition shall be considered to be timely filed if it is filed not later than four o’clock (4:00) PM on the thirty-fourth (34th) day preceding the day of the primary. If no primary is held, the Democratic Party-endorsed candidates shall be deemed elected to the Town Committee.
4. Term of Office
Except as provided herein, members of the Town Committee will serve for a term of two (2) years, starting on the Wednesday after the first Tuesday in March in each even-numbered year and ending on the first Tuesday in March of the next even-numbered year.
5. Size of the Town Committee
a. Minimum Size. The Committee shall consist of not less than twenty-two (22) members.
b. Increased Membership. The Town Committee at a meeting called for that purpose may, by majority vote of those present and voting, increase its membership, provided that all new members shall be duly elected by the time of the next primary date in the state election calendar, shall begin in office the next day, and shall continue in office only until the next date for election of Town Committee members.
6. Vacancy on the Town Committee
If there is a vacancy in the membership of the Town Committee, arising from any cause, the Town Committee may fill the same by a majority vote of the Town Committee members present and voting, at a meeting called for that purpose. The term of the members so elected to fill such vacancy shall commence immediately and shall end on the same day as the other members of the Town Committee.
7. Officers of the Town Committee; Other Committees
a. General. Within twenty-nine (29) days after the term of each succeeding Town Committee begins, it shall meet at the call of the incumbent Town Committee Chairperson and shall elect by a majority vote of those present and voting a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, a secretary, a Treasurer, and a Chairperson of the Candidate Search Committee. If, for any reason, the incumbent Chairperson fails to call such meeting by the end of the prescribed period, the incumbent Vice-Chairperson shall call the meeting within forty-eight (48) hours thereafter. Such officers of the Town Committee need not be members of the Town Committee. No individual may hold more than one such office. The terms of all officers shall commence upon election and shall end upon election of their successors.
b. Duties. Each officer shall have the duties usually incident to his or her office and such other duties as the Town Committee may from time to time prescribe.
c. Candidate Search Committee. After the term of each succeeding Town Committee begins, the Chairperson of the Town Committee shall appoint a Candidate Search Committee consisting of four members in addition to the elected Chairperson of the Candidate Search Committee. At least one member of the Candidate Search Committee shall not be a member of the Town Committee. The Chairperson of the Town Committee may be a member of the Candidate Search Committee, ex-officio, without vote. The purpose of the Candidate Search Committee is to seek out and screen potential candidates for municipal office, delegates to conventions, and/or Town Committee members or officers. The Candidate Search Committee shall attempt to establish a reasonable diversity among the potential candidates it interviews. The Candidate Search Committee shall thereafter submit to the Town Committee the name(s) of the potential candidate(s) so screened that it recommends for such nomination. Further nominations will be accepted from the floor. All candidates shall have the opportunity to address the Town Committee.
d. Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers of the Town Committee. The Executive Committee may meet prior to each regularly scheduled Town Committee meeting, and at such other times as the Chairperson of the Town Committee may determine, for the following purposes: (1) Arriving at an agenda for the next succeeding meeting of the Town Committee. (All appropriate resolutions submitted to the Chairperson at least ten (10) days in advance of a meeting of the Town Committee shall be included on the agenda for the next succeeding meeting of the Town Committee.) (2) Acting in the place and in the best interests of the Town Committee when necessary. Any business so transacted by the Executive Committee shall be reported to the next succeeding Town Committee meeting. (3) Conducting such other business as the Town Committee may authorize from time to time.
e. Removal of Officers. The Town Committee may at any time, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its entire membership, remove any of its officers from office at a special or regular meeting held for that purpose. Seven (7) days advance notice of any meeting held for such purpose must be given.
f. Vacancy in Officership. If there is a vacancy in any office of the Town Committee, arising from any cause, the Town Committee may fill the same by a majority vote of the Town Committee members present and voting, at a meeting called for that purpose. The term of officers so elected to fill such vacancy shall commence immediately, and end upon election of their successors.
g. Other Committees. Additional committees may be established from time to time by the Executive Committee for such purposes as it shall determine. The Executive Committee may establish rules for the appointment of Chairpersons and members of such committees as well as other rules relating to such committees.
8. Meetings of the Town Committee
a. General. The Town Committee shall meet at least nine (9) times a year. Additional meetings may be called by the Chairperson of the Town Committee, or shall be called upon written request of ten (10%) percent of the members of the Town Committee presented to the Chairperson. Upon receipt of such request the Chairperson shall instruct the Secretary of the Town Committee to give reasonable notice of the time, place and purpose of such meeting to all members of the Town Committee.
b. Conduct of the Town Committee Meetings
- Public Access; Voting. All meetings of the Town Committee, any subcommittees and all other Democratic Party committees shall be open to the public, and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot or by proxy. Items not placed on the agenda for a meeting of the Town Committee shall not be voted upon at that meeting; provided, however, that items may be added to the agenda by vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Town Committee members present and voting.
- Quorum. Two-fifths (2/5) of the then-current membership of the Town Committee shall constitute a quorum.
- Requirement to Attend Meetings; Activities of the Town Committee Members. The Town Committee may adopt rules (a) requiring attendance at a designated percentage of Town Committee meetings in order to be nominated for an additional term on the Town Committee, and (b) setting forth expectations for the activities of Town Committee members.
ARTICLE III: SELECTION OF PARTY-ENDORSED CANDIDATES FOR MUNICIPAL OFFICE AND DELEGATES TO CONVENTIONS
1. In General
Democratic Party-endorsed candidates for municipal office shall be selected by a caucus of Weston Democrats, as further described below. Delegates to conventions shall be selected by the Town Committee. Such candidates and delegates shall be certified as required by the laws of the State of Connecticut.
2. Endorsement of a Candidate For Municipal Office
At a caucus called for that purpose Weston Democrats shall by vote of those present and voting select at large Democratic Party-endorsed candidates for municipal office. In the event that no valid opposing candidacy has been filed for municipal office by four o’clock (4:00) PM on the thirty-fourth (34th) day preceding the day of the primary, the candidate shall be deemed nominated as the Democratic Party-endorsed candidate. In the event a valid opposing candidacy has been filed, the result of the primary election shall govern.
3. Alternate Delegates
Each delegate to a convention selected by the Town Committee may in writing designate an alternate delegate to act for him or her in his or her absence. In the absence of such alternate delegate, the Town Committee Chairperson shall fill any vacancy arising for any cause in delegations to conventions.
4. Vacancy in any Democratic Party-Endorsed Candidacy
If a Democratic Party-endorsed candidate for nomination to, or Democratic Party nominee for, a municipal office, prior to twenty-four (24) hours before the caucus, or opening of the polls at the applicable election, as the case may be, dies, or prior to ten (10) days before the day of such election, withdraws the candidate’s name from nomination, or for any reason becomes disqualified to hold the office or position for which that person is a candidate, an endorsement may be made to fill such vacancy by the Town Committee by a vote at a meeting called for that purpose, in accordance with Article IV of the rules of the Democratic Party of the State of Connecticut, where applicable.
ARTICLE IV: RULES PERTAINING TO CAUCUSES
Caucuses may be called for any of the following purposes:
a. To select Democratic Party-endorsed candidates for the Town Committee.
b. To select Democratic Party-endorsed candidates for municipal office.
c. For any other lawful purpose.
However, no caucus shall be called for the purpose of removing or replacing a Town Committee during its term of office, except by the Chairman of the State Central Committee of the Democratic Party, upon petition of not less than ten (10%) percent of Weston Democrats and upon showing to the satisfaction of the Chairman of the State Central Committee that the existing Town Committee has failed to perform its legal or proper function.
2. Call of the Caucus
A caucus may be called by the Town Committee, by majority vote of those present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose, or by a petition signed by not less than five (5%) percent of the Weston Democrats.
3. Notice of the Caucus
Notice of the time, place and purpose of all caucuses shall be given to all Weston Democrats. Such notice shall be given at least five (5) days in advance of the applicable caucus, by publication in a newspaper having general circulation in Town.
The Town Committee Chairperson shall be the temporary chairperson of all caucuses and shall preside until the meeting has elected its permanent chairperson. In like manner the Secretary of the Town Committee shall act as secretary at the caucus until the meeting selects its secretary. No person shall vote in a caucus unless he or she is a Weston Democrat.
ARTICLE V: RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES
Any dispute concerning endorsements for any office, or for delegate, or for Town Committee member or officer, and any dispute concerning the interpretation and effect of party rules and procedures (including the By-Laws) that cannot be settled locally, shall be resolved by a committee composed of no less than three (3) nor more than five (5) members of the State Central Committee of the Democratic Party, appointed by the chairperson thereof, none of whom shall be members of the district or districts concerned. The decision of said Committee shall be conclusive and binding upon all parties.
ARTICLE VI: FILING OF LOCAL PARTY BY-LAWS; EFFECTIVE DATE OF CHANGES
Within seven (7) days after the By-Laws or any amendments to the By-Laws are adopted by the Democratic Party in Town, a copy of the same shall be filed with the Secretary of the State and with the Town clerk and the Secretary of the State Central Committee. Any amendments so filed shall set forth in full the section to be amended. Matter to be omitted or repealed shall be surrounded by brackets and new matter shall be indicated by capitalization. Adopted By-Laws or amendments thereto shall not be effective until sixty (60) days after the filing with the Secretary of the State.
ARTICLE VII: AMENDMENTS TO BY-LAWS
The By-Laws may be amended (i) in any Town caucus called for that purpose, by a majority vote of those present and voting, provided that the Town Committee gives due notice of the proposed changes in the call of the caucus; or (ii) by the Town Committee by majority vote of those present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose.
ARTICLE VIII: PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE
Robert’s Rules of Order (latest edition) shall be construed as applicable, controlling and conclusive on all matters of parliamentary procedure.
ARTICLE IX: DEFINITIONS
“By-Laws” shall mean the By-Laws of the Democratic Party of the Town, as amended from time to time.
“State” shall mean the State of Connecticut.
“Town” shall mean the Town of Weston, Connecticut.
“Town Committee” shall mean the Democratic Town Committee of the Town.
“Weston Democrats” shall mean residents of Town who are registered members of the Democratic Party, as reflected in the last completed enrollment list of the Democratic Party prior to the applicable date.
Adopted by the Democratic Caucus of the Town of Weston, July 26, 2011, and amended by the Town Committee, February 10, 2021