Constitution and Bylaws
Sussex County Democratic Committee
Name and Powers
The name of this organization is the Sussex County Democratic Committee, hereinafter referred to as “SCDC”. SCDC is the county committee of the Democratic Party in Sussex County, New Jersey, organized pursuant to the provisions of New Jersey Statutes 19:5-1, et seq. SCDC shall serve the purposes and have the powers granted to a county committee by law, and such other powers, duties, and purposes that are incidental thereto.
A. Members. SCDC Members shall consist of one male and one female registered Democrat residing in each voting district in Sussex County who shall be elected by the voters in that voting district in the Democratic primary election held pursuant to Title 19 of the New Jersey Statutes in years designated with an odd number. In the event of a vacancy in the membership of SCDC as set forth in section 2.4, the members of the Municipal Committee in the municipality where such vacancy occurs may appoint a person to fill such vacancy in accordance with N.J.S. 19:5-2. In the event that there is no municipal committee in the municipality where a vacancy occurs, the vacancy may be filled by the remaining Members of SCDC residing in the municipality in which the vacancy occurs. In municipalities with municipal committees, the Municipal Chairperson shall be considered a member of the SCDC for voting purposes.
B. Party affiliation. No person shall serve as a Member of SCDC unless that person is a registered Democrat who is an eligible voter in the voting district which that person represents.
C. Term. Members shall serve for a term of two years, except that the terms of Members appointed to fill vacancies shall be limited to the remainder of the term of the vacancy to which such Member has been appointed. The term of all members shall end on the first Saturday following the primary election in which their successors are elected in accordance with N.J.S. 19:5-3.
D. Vacancy. A vacancy in SCDC shall exist upon the death of a Member, when a Member ceases to be a resident of the voting district from which elected, or upon the acceptance of the resignation of a Member by SCDC.
E. Voting districts. In accordance with the provisions of N.J.S. 19:5-3, the Chairperson shall, before April 1 of each year in which Members are to be elected, certify to the clerk of each municipality in Sussex County, the units of representation in that municipality, which unit of representation (as defined in the statute) shall be each voting district in that municipality.
F. Certified list of Members. The Chairperson shall, as soon as practical after Members are elected or appointed, file with the Clerk of Sussex County a list of Members of SCDC. The Chairperson shall have a continuing duty to report to the Clerk of Sussex County all changes in membership of SCDC. When a Member resigns, the Chairperson shall forward to the Clerk of Sussex County a notarized letter of resignation signed by such Member.
Meetings of Members
A. Annual Meeting. Pursuant to N.J.S. 19:5-3, SCDC shall hold an Annual Meeting on the first Tuesday following a primary election. However, when such meeting day falls on a legal holiday, or when such meeting day falls on the day of a municipal runoff election within Sussex County, then said meeting shall be held on the day following. The Annual Meeting held on the first Tuesday following the primary election in odd numbered years shall be the Reorganization Meeting.
B. Reorganization Meeting. The Reorganization Meeting shall be conducted as follows:
1. Notice. The Chairperson of the outgoing SCDC shall give notice to each Member and Member-elect of the time and place of the Reorganization Meeting. A copy of this Constitution and Bylaws shall accompany notice given to newly elected Members.
2. Credentials. At the Reorganization Meeting, the Credentials Committee shall register each Member in attendance. The Credentials Committee shall verify that each individual receiving ballots is eligible to vote. The Credentials Committee shall furnish each Member with four (4) official ballots for the offices marked “Chairperson,” “Vice Chairperson,” “Secretary,” and “Treasurer.
3. Election of officers. The following officers of SCDC shall be elected at the Reorganization Meeting: Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. Nominees for office of SCDC need not be Members of the SCDC at the time of their nomination, but by reason of their election to office, shall immediately become Members as provided in section 4.6. Any nominee for office of SCDC must be registered as a Democrat and a resident of Sussex County.
4. Nominations. Nominations for Chairperson shall be submitted to the Executive Committee at least one week prior to the Reorganization Meeting. Nominations for Vice Chairperson; Secretary, and Treasure shall be made at the Reorganization Meeting by a Member of SCDC. Each nomination shall be seconded, at the Reorganization Meeting, by a Member of SCDC. Nominations shall be made in the following order: (1) Chairperson; (2) Vice Chairperson; (3) Secretary; and (4) Treasurer. Each candidate shall be entitled speak on his or her own behalf, or may designate a Member to speak on his or her behalf.
5. Voting procedure. Voting for each office shall take place immediately after the nominations for that office are closed. Voting shall be by secret ballot and elections shall be conducted separately for each office, in the following order: (1) Chairperson; (2) Vice Chairperson; (3) Secretary; and (4) Treasurer. The Credentials Committee shall tally the votes cast. Each nominee may appoint an observer to witness the tallying of the votes for that office. If no nominee receives more than 50% of the votes cast on the first vote, there shall be a run-off election between the two nominees receiving the highest vote count. Additional ballots shall be distributed in the event of a run-off election. Election shall be made by voice vote if there is only one nominee for an office.
C. Regular meetings. SCDC shall have Regular Meetings at such intervals as shall be determined necessary and appropriate by the Chairperson, provided however, SCDC shall have at least four Regular Meetings in each year. At Regular Meetings, there shall be the following order of business:
1. Opening (Pledge of Allegiance).
2. Minutes of Previous Meeting.
3. Reports by Officers, Committees, and Executive Committee.
4. Business agenda.
D. Special meetings. Special meetings of SCDC shall be called by the Chairperson, or by written request directed to the Chairperson and signed by at least thirty percent (30%) of the Members of the SCDC. The written request shall state the purpose of the meeting.
E. Annual Convention. A county-wide convention shall be held each year during the month of March. The purpose of the convention will be to recommend candidates to the Chairperson. The convention may recommend platform provisions to candidates for county, state and federal office.
F. Location of meetings. The Chairperson shall fix the location of each meeting and the Annual Convention. In the event that the Chairperson does not fix a place for a particular meeting, the Executive Committee shall fix the place of the meeting.
G. Notice of meetings. Notice of all meetings and the Annual Convention shall be given to Members by electronic mail at least one week in advance. Notice shall be given for an Emergency Meeting by electronic mail and/or by telephone to each member at least twenty-five (25) hours prior to the time set for the meeting. Meeting notices shall state the time, place, and date of meeting, and whether the meeting is a regular, Annual, Reorganization, Special, Emergency Meeting, or the Annual Convention. The notice shall state the purpose of such meeting.
H. Quorum. No meeting of SCDC shall be called to order unless there is in attendance least 15% of Members eligible to vote at said meeting and Members from at least four municipalities.
I. Parliamentary rules. The provisions of the most recent revision of “Robert’s Rules of Order” shall govern all proceedings of SCDC.
Officers and Duties
A. Elected officers. The following officers shall be elected at the Reorganization Meeting described in Section III.2: (1) Chairperson, (2) Vice Chairperson, (3) Secretary and (4) Treasurer, and their duties shall be as follows:
1. Chairperson. The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of SCDC and the Executive Committee, and shall perform such other duties as shall be designated by resolution of SCDC.
a. Notice to members. Following the Reorganization Meeting, the Chairperson shall notify those Members who have been elected to office of their respective appointments and duties by letter to their postal address or email to their e-mail address. Simultaneously, all Members shall receive a list of the appointments, together with a description of duties attached to the respective appointments.
b. Standing committees. The Chairperson shall appoint chairpersons and members of standing committees.
c. Executive duties. The Chairperson shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the SCDC and shall have overall executive responsibility and authority for conducting the business of SCDC including, but not limited to, raising funds for campaigns and other uses consistent with the powers and purposes of the SCDC and recruiting candidates for public office. The Chairperson and one other officer shall sign all written contracts and written obligations on behalf of SCDC.
d. Budget and Monies. The Chairperson, together with the Treasurer shall keep an accounting of all monies received and expended by SCDC. An annual budget shall be presented each year no later than 60 days after each Annual Meeting of SCDC at a meeting of the Executive Committee and shall become effective upon approval by majority vote of those present.
e. Committees. The Chairperson shall act as ex-officio member of all committees.
f. Appointed Members. The Chairperson shall provide a copy of this Constitution and Bylaws to any Member appointed to fill a vacancy within three business days of said appointment.
2. Vice Chairperson. The Vice Chairperson shall have the authority and duties of the Vice Chairperson as provided by law, and shall perform such other duties as the Chairperson shall designate. The Vice Chairperson shall preside over meetings and perform such other duties as may be necessary or appropriate on behalf of and in the absence of the Chairperson.
3. Secretary. The Secretary shall keep the minutes and other official reports of SCDC. The Secretary shall keep all records, books, documents, and papers relating to the SCDC in such a place as shall be designated by the Chairperson. The Secretary shall perform such other duties as may be assigned to him or her by the Chairperson or by resolution of SCDC.
4. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall keep account of all monies received by or on behalf of SCDC and shall deposit the same into a depository designated by the Chairperson in the name of "Sussex County Democratic Committee."
a. Disbursement of funds. The Treasurer shall disburse funds from the account or accounts of SCDC upon signature of the Chairperson or the Treasurer, or in absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson.
b. Regular reports. The Treasurer shall prepare a Financial Report to be read at each regular meeting. In the absence of the Treasurer, such report shall be provided to the Chairperson and read at said meeting.
c. Annual report. The Treasurer shall prepare a Financial Report accounting of all monies received and disbursed during the previous year to be presented at each Annual Meeting.
d. Other reports. The Treasurer shall further furnish and file such other reports as may be required by the Laws of the State of New Jersey and the United States of America.
e. Examination of Records. All records of SCDC shall be available for examination by any member of SCDC, upon written notice thereof to the Chairperson. Such examination shall not include the right to remove any records from the office of SCDC, and such examination shall be conducted in a manner as not to disrupt the orderly conduct of the business of SCDC.
f. Personal liability. The Treasurer shall have no personal liability for monies or funds of SCDC paid out or disbursed by checks or vouchers that have been properly signed and countersigned, pursuant to authorization. A report of the financial condition of SCDC shall be given at each meeting of the Executive Committee.
g. Finance committee. The Treasurer shall be a member of the Finance Committee.
h. Disposition of Funds. In the event that SCDC becomes defunct or ceases to exist, all remaining funds in SCDC's Treasury shall be distributed in their entirety to the New Jersey State Democratic Party.
B. SCDC Membership. Any person elected to an office described in this article, or who is appointed to an office described in Article V, who is not an elected or appointed Member as described in Article II of this Constitution and By-Laws, shall immediately upon election or appointment to said office become a Member of SCDC and thereupon be vested with all rights and duties of a Member of SCDC.
C. Term of office. The term of office of the County Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer shall be two years or until their successors are elected. The Term of the Vice Chairman shall be one year or until the next Annual Meeting after his or her election, at which time an election will be held consistent with Section 3.2. to select a Vice Chairman for the subsequent one-year term.
D. Vacancies. In the event that a vacancy is created in the office of Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall succeed to the office of Chairperson, and hold such office until the next Reorganization Meeting, unless the SCDC shall thereafter, within thirty (30) days, convene a Special Meeting in accordance with a petition signed by thirty percent (30%) of the Members of the SCDC for the purpose of electing a Chairperson. In the event of a vacancy in any other office, the Chairperson shall appoint a successor, who shall serve until the next Reorganization Meeting.
Executive Committee and other Officers
A. Executive Committee. SCDC shall have an Executive Committee consisting of all Officers of SCDC, elected and appointed, the members of the State Committee representing Sussex County, a representative elected by the Municipal Chairpersons, Standing Committee Chairpersons, and any other persons appointed to the Executive Committee by the Chairperson. The Executive Committee shall meet regularly and shall consult with and advise the Chairperson and SCDC with respect to any business brought before it.
B. Executive Director. The Chairperson, with the advice and consent of the SCDC, shall appoint an Executive Director. The Executive Director shall assist the Chairperson with the administration of SCDC and have such other duties and responsibilities as the Chairperson and the Executive Committee may designate from time to time.
C. Communications Director. The Chairperson, with the advice and consent of the SCDC, shall appoint a Communications Director. The Communications Director will be responsible for preparing and publishing a SCDC newsletter on a regular basis; preparing press releases and other communications for publication in the media; and maintaining and updating SCDC’s website.
D. Compliance Officer. The Chairperson, with the advice and consent of the SCDC, shall appoint a Compliance Officer. The Compliance Officer shall be familiar with all laws and regulations pertaining to elections, and political parties and committees. The Compliance Officer shall advise the Executive Committee, the SCDC, and local, county and state level campaign committees as to current laws and regulations and any changes in those laws and regulations. It is preferred that the Compliance Officer be an attorney and licensed member of the New Jersey Bar.
Standing and Other Committees
A. Standing Committees. SCDC shall have the following Standing Committees, the Chairpersons of which shall be appointed by the Chairperson:
2. Campaign Candidate Recruitment
3. Outreach and Development
4. Programs and Activities
6. Young Democrats
B. Finance Committee. The Finance Committee, operating in collaboration with the Program and Activities Committee, shall initiate and actively pursue fundraising activities. It will develop an annual budget, based on the needs of SCDC for operations and campaigns.
C. Campaign and Candidate Recruitment Committee. The Campaign and Candidate Recruitment Committee will recruit, develop, select, and recommend candidates to receive SCDC’s support in elections for municipal, county, state and federal office. It will coordinate the efforts of SCDC in political campaigns in which SCDC has an interest. It will develop campaign strategies and act as the liaison between SCDC and other organizations involved in targeted campaigns. When appropriate, it will develop literature, signs, audio and visual media, and other election materials to support Democratic candidates. It will plan, organize, develop and coordinate activities related to voter and party declaration registration, voter education, and other voter contact to maximize voter participation in all elections.
D. Outreach and Development Committee. The Outreach and Development Committee shall develop and implement outreach programs designed to increase the visibility of, membership support for, and community goodwill toward, SCDC and the Democratic Party. It shall be responsible for liaison activities with Democratic clubs throughout Sussex County. It shall promote voter registration. It shall develop and implement activities that encourage broad participation in Democratic politics by persons of all age groups. It shall coordinate, prepare, and implement public forums to identify and discuss issues important to the Sussex County Democratic Party.
E. Programs and Activities Committee. The Program and Activities Committee shall plan, organize, develop and coordinate activities related to programs for Regular Meetings, fund-raising, social and team building events. It shall assist the various Democratic clubs in arranging programs for all events conducted under the auspices of SCDC.
F. Credentials Committee. The Credentials Committee shall be comprised of five Members of SCDC appointed by the Chairperson. At any time, including, but not limited to, the Reorganization Meeting or Annual Meeting, that a vote is to be taken by written ballot, the Credentials Committee shall upon consideration of credentials of members, issue ballots as appropriate. At the Reorganization Meeting the Credentials Committee shall operate in accordance with Section 3.2.2.
G. Young Democrats Committee. The Young Democrats Committee, shall be responsible for liaison between SCDC and young people’s organizations, and shall encourage young people to participate in Democratic politics.
H. Appointments Committee. The appointments committee shall consist of seven members, four of whom shall be the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and both Sussex County Democratic State Committeepersons, and the remaining members shall be persons appointed by the Chairperson from amongst the Members of SCDC. The committee shall nominate, recommend or appoint candidates it deems qualified to such to various boards and positions as are appropriate, including, but not limited to the Sussex County Board of Tax Appeals. With respect to the Sussex County Board of Elections, the committee shall make recommendations to the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and both State Committeepersons, who shall proceed in accordance with N.J.S. 19:6-18 and consistent with the recommendations of the committee, nominate a person, and certify the nomination to the Democratic State Chairperson. In making its nominations, appointments and recommendations, the committee may consider incumbents in the position to be filled, but except in extraordinary cases, no person shall be recommended, re-nominated or re-appointed more than one time.
I. Convention Committee. The Convention Committee shall develop rules, plan, organize, and carry out the Annual Convention. The Convention Committee shall present proposed rules for the Annual Convention to the SCDC at a regular meeting held at least two months prior to the convention. The SCDC may adopt or amend the rules as presented.
J. Ad-Hoc Committees. Ad Hoc committees may be appointed from time to time by the Chairperson to perform specific duties or functions of short duration, and upon completion of said duties, shall conclude.
K. Committee member qualification. Except for members of the Appointments Committee, members of standing committees need not be members of SCDC.
Municipal Committees and Chairpersons
A. Members. The members of Municipal Committees shall consist of Members of SCDC resident in their respective municipalities. They shall take office on the first Saturday following their election as members of SCDC, at which time the terms of all Members theretofore elected or appointed shall terminate. The terms of Members appointed in accordance with Section 2.1. shall commence immediately upon appointment.
B. Vacancies. When a Member ceases to a resident of the district from which he or she is elected, a vacancy on the committee shall exist. A Member of a Municipal Committee may resign, and upon the acceptance of the resignation by the Municipal Committee a vacancy shall exist. The remaining Members of the Municipal Committee shall fill any vacancy, however caused, for the unexpired term. The Municipal Chairman shall report the voting district, name and address of any newly appointed Member in writing to the County Chairman as soon as is practicable after such appointment
C. Meetings. An Annual Meeting of members of each Municipal Committee shall be held on the first Monday following a primary election, at an hour and place to be designated by the Municipal Chairperson, or in the years designated by an odd number, by the outgoing Municipal Chairperson. Notice of said meeting shall be given by said Chairperson to each Member and Member-elect. Municipal Committees shall meet at least four times in each calendar year. The Municipal Chairperson shall provide a report of each meeting, in writing, to the Executive Committee. All meetings shall be for the purpose of directing and coordinating Democratic activities within the municipality.
D. Reorganization Meeting. The Annual Meeting held in years designated by an odd number shall be a Reorganization Meeting. At this meeting the members of the Municipal Committee shall elect some suitable person who shall be a resident of such municipality and a registered Democrat, but need not be a Member of SCDC as Municipal Chairperson. Upon election, the Municipal Chairperson shall become a Member of the SCDC for voting purposes.
E. Municipal Chairperson. The Municipal Chairperson shall act as liaison between the Municipal Committee and the Chairperson and Executive Committee. The Municipal Chairperson may call meetings of the Municipal Committee as required by law and as may be otherwise necessary or beneficial. A vacancy in the office of Municipal Chairperson caused by death, resignation, failure to reside in the municipality, or otherwise, shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Municipal Committee or, if one does not exist, by the SCDC.
F. Municipal Chairperson meetings. The Chairperson shall convene a meeting of Municipal Chairpersons yearly, as soon after the Annual Meeting as is reasonably convenient and practical. Members of the Executive Committee may be invited to Municipal Chairperson meeting. The Chairperson shall invite Municipal Chairpersons to meeting of the Executive Committee on a rotating basis.
Effect & Amendment
This Constitution and Bylaws supersedes any and all previous bylaws of SCDC. It shall take effect immediately upon adoption. It may be amended at any meeting of Members by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all Members present and voting, provided that copies of the proposed amendment shall be contained in the notice of such meeting.
Revised and Adopted 9/2017