2021 Bylaws Proposals

BYLAW QUESTION ONE: To create a Green primary for all statewide and federal offices.

Background: In December of 2020, the Maryland Green Party's Electoral Committee recommended the following bylaw amendment which would require a party-run primary for all statewide offices, U.S. Congress, and U.S. Senate. 

Note: Allowed per the Bylaws, the Coordinating Council went ahead and adopted the amendment unanimously along with a set of candidacy rules. However, the membership of the Assembly has the final decision to review the amendment.

Proposal: (Black text = No change; Green text = Added text; Red text = Removed text

ARTICLE 10 ELECTIONS AND CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE

10.1 Committee of Twenty-Five and other Committees: The MGP anticipates that its decentralized internal structure will not always coincide with the traditional hierarchical structures evidenced by other political parties and organizations. For purposes of satisfying local, state, or federal law, the MGP may, at its discretion, create committees and/or organizations to meet any necessary legal 9 requirements for ballot access, elections, fundraising, voter registration, etc. These committees and / or organizations will always remain subject to Articles 2, 5, and 6, but may be allowed limited autonomy as specified by the MGP. The Committee of 25 (also sometimes known as the “Committee of 26”) is such a committee created to satisfy state law, and, although it has responsibility for the party-forming petition, it has delegated its powers, duties, and routine functions to the Coordinating Council.

10.2 Political Party Status and Ballot Access: The MGP shall seek to gain and maintain political party status and ballot access under state law. This will include, but is not limited to, running candidates for local, regional, state, and federal offices in order to gain and retain ballot access. Although the MGP Interim Bylaws contain provisions to comply with election laws for these purposes, the MGP expressly reserves the right to adopt measures, and to exercise legal action, to challenge ballot access burdens or other election laws the MGP determines to be unduly restrictive or otherwise not in accordance with democratic principles.

10.3 Green Party Candidates: The MGP reserves the power, in consultation with the Locals, to withhold the designation Green from, and to reject, any candidate the MGP deems inappropriate, wishing to run as, or claiming to be, a Green Party candidate in Maryland. The MGP will only endorse or nominate registered Green candidates. Alternatively, candidates barred from registering Green are eligible for an endorsement or nomination if they are designated Green by the MGP.

10.4 Qualifications of Candidates: Individuals seeking to run as candidates of the MGP must support Green Values, and for all offices other than the President and Vice-President of the United States, must be members of the MGP.

10.5

(1) Statewide Office: To be considered for candidacy as the Green Party candidate for any statewide office, a person must be nominated by a Local or by at least three MGP members, who shall offer a statement of the candidate’s name, address, and qualifications for the office, to the Electoral Committee. Because of the enormous challenge under current ballot access laws of running statewide candidates for office, and therefore the importance of timely decisions regarding candidates for these offices, the Coordinating Council, subject to review at MGP Assemblies, shall make all decisions concerning the candidacy of statewide candidates for office, upon reports from the Electoral Committee, except that decisions concerning the filling of a vacant nomination and decisions regarding multiple qualified candidates shall be made by Nominating Conference as provided in Section 10.8 through Section 10.10.

(2) President and Vice-President: Candidates for President and Vice President shall be chosen at a Green Party National Nominating Convention, although the MGP reserves the right not to run the candidates selected at such conventions. The MGP at the MGP Assembly immediately prior to a presidential national nominating convention shall 10 hold a Convention and decide by preference vote the presidential nominee for the purpose of instructing delegates to that national nominating convention how to vote on behalf of the MGP. Delegate allotment shall be determined according to Article 5, Section 2 of these Interim Bylaws.

[ Original 10.6 Moved to 10.8 ]

10.6 Primary Process: Candidates for Statewide office, or the United States Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) shall be nominated via a primary in which all registered Greens in the jurisdiction are eligible to  vote by preference vote. The primary should occur during the month of April in the year that the General Election will occur. The primary can be conducted by in-person, mail or electronic balloting 

If the Primary occurs at a time when the party does not have ballot access then all persons recognized as members of the Maryland Green Party in that area are eligible to participate.

The Electoral Committee is responsible for preparing specific timetables and procedures for the primary and must have that document complete no later than March 1st of the year prior to the Primary.

10.7 Filling a Vacancy- If a position that is nominated via the primary process outlined in section 10.6 is vacant and a candidate seeks to fill that vacancy prior to the deadline for providing the state of Maryland with a certificate of Nomination the Coordinating Council may by a two-thirds vote  convene a special primary for the eligible voters in that region that will occur during July of the year in which the general election will occur. Procedures for a special primary should be published no later than July of the prior year.

10.8 Local and Regional Candidates: Candidates for municipal, county, or district offices shall seek endorsement from the Local or confederation of Locals that comprise the candidate’s district, in accordance with Article 3 and Sections 4.5 and 4.6.

10.7 Nominating Conferences: The Maryland Green Party shall call special expedited meetings, known as Nominating Conferences, under the circumstances and in the manner provided in Section 10.8 through Section 10.10.

10.8 Conference to Fill a Vacant Nomination. A Nominating Conference to fill a vacant nomination shall be swiftly convened in any of the following circumstances: (1) when a person nominated (by petition, by convention, or by other means) to be a Green Party candidate for any public office declines that nomination; or (2) upon rejection of a nominee’s candidacy by an Assembly or by the Coordinating Committee pursuant to Section 10.3; or (3) whenever the Coordinating Council determines that a person nominated as a Green Party candidate is otherwise ineligible or unable to stand for election.

10.9 Conference When Multiple Persons Qualify for Nomination. Regarding any election contest in Maryland for which two or more persons eligible to run as Green Party candidates have become qualified for nomination by petition in the same contest, a Nominating Conference shall be swiftly convened to determine which persons shall be designated on the ballot as nominees of the Green Party.

10.10 Procedures for Nominating Conference. The Coordinating Council, in consultation with the Electoral Committee and the Bylaws Review and Rules Committee, is authorized to adopt special operating procedures to apply at Nominating Conferences under any of the circumstances enumerated in Section 10.8 or Section 10.9, in order to expedite a fair and timely decision in the interests of the MGP and in furtherance of Green Values. Unless otherwise specified in such operating procedures, a Nominating Conference shall be convened by the Co-Chairs and shall include the Coordinating Council and the Electoral Committee, and, in the case of candidates for local or district offices, representatives of any Locals or district confederations involved in the nomination. Appropriate potential replacement nominees identified by the Electoral Committee or by any affected Local shall be invited to appear at Nominating Conferences convened under Section 10.8; qualifying candidates 11 shall be invited to appear at Nominating Conferences convened under Section 10.9. To the extent time and resources permit, the Nominating Conference shall seek to learn the views of the Green Party membership, or the views of the membership within the relevant electoral district, concerning the decision facing the Nominating Conference. Among the factors that shall be considered by the Nominating Conference are, without limitation, (1) the extent of support for various candidates shown by Green Party members; (2) consistency of the various candidates’ campaigns, especially their campaign finance practices, with MGP rules, policies, or principles; (3) the extent to which various candidates have cooperated with Green Locals and/or with the Electoral Committee; and (4) the likelihood that a given candidacy will enhance the political dialogue and will further the aims of the MGP. Decisions of a Nominating Conference shall be final. However, the proceedings of any Nominating Conference shall be documented, and any adversely affected person shall be encouraged to submit to the Recording Secretary a simple factual memorandum and a concise evaluation of the process, for transmission to the Bylaws Review and Rules Committee. The Bylaws Review and Rules Committee will review such documentation together with any memoranda and evaluations, in order to monitor and improve Maryland Green Party nominating processes.


BYLAW QUESTION TWO: To require two membership meetings per year instead of one.

Background: The Baltimore City Local approved the following Bylaws proposal at its April 2021 meeting.

Proposal: (Black text = No change; Green text = Added text; Red text = Removed text

ARTICLE 6 ASSEMBLIES

6.2 Annual Membership Assemblies: The MGP shall hold an MGP Assembly at least once two times a year, in May or June in each half of the year

The MGP-CC should make every effort to ensure geographic diversity in the location of the assemblies . The MGP-CC should also make a good faith effort to provide a streaming or dial in option for all in person assemblies and shall prioritize accessibility when possible in site planning.

Public notice of Assemblies and other meetings, including the notification of all Locals, shall be made at least 45 days in advance of any meeting, with the exception of MGP Meetings called before November 15, 2000, which shall require 14 days notice. All proposed Bylaws changes and major policy proposals shall be made available to all members and distributed to all Locals at least 30 days prior to any MGP Assembly, excepting those called before November 15, 2000, where 14 days shall suffice. Proposed agenda items, Bylaws changes, and policy proposals should be communicated to the current state Co-Chairs 35 days prior to any MGP Assembly, excepting those called before November 15, 2000, where 17 days shall suffice.