I. Preconvention Rules
I.A. Convention Delegate
- The NPC has established a target goal of 1,361 delegates and alternates to the 2023 DSA National Convention. Delegates will be distributed among chapters using a delegate-to-member ratio of 1-to-75 (one delegate per 75 members) based on chapter membership numbers apportioned on March 15, 2023. Locals with fewer than 75 members will be apportioned one delegate. Locals with at least 75 members will get one delegate for every 75 members or greater fraction thereof. That is, the number of delegates allocated to each local is the number of members of the local, divided by 75, rounded to the nearest whole number. As an example, a local with 270 members will get 4 delegates, and a local with 400 members will get 5 delegates. The NPC shall include apportionment calculations in a delegate apportionment announcement to all members.
- Locals may elect alternates so as to ensure that their delegation is represented in full strength, even if initially-elected delegates are unable to attend. Alternate delegates only gain voting rights if an elected delegate needs to surrender their responsibilities for any reason, either before the Convention or during. One per 10 elected alternate delegates shall be allowed to attend the Convention, regardless of whether their duties as alternate delegates are needed. Observers cannot under any circumstances get voting rights, although some, such as National Political Committee (NPC) members, have speaking rights.
- Apportionment of Alternates shall be at a ratio of 1:10 (1 alternate per 10 delegates) for chapters with more than 10 delegates. Chapters apportioned 10 delegates or less shall be allowed one alternate for the convention.
- The National Office shall inform locals of the delegates apportioned to them as of four months prior to the start of the convention, Friday, March 17th.
- Nominations for delegates to the National Convention shall open on April 4th.
- Locals shall conduct and supervise their own elections of Convention delegates and alternate delegates in accordance with the applicable provisions of the DSA Constitution and Bylaws not before the apportionment of delegates and no later than June 6th. All Local elections of delegates shall be by secret ballot.
Eligibility for Election and Seating of Delegates
- Any member in good standing of a local may run for delegate and vote in their local’s delegate election. Locals should use OpaVote.com or a similar online election system to help them conduct their delegate election.
- An individual must be in good standing as a DSA member through the end of convention in order to be seated as a delegate or alternate delegate.
Reporting of Delegate Election Results
- Each local must report the result of its elections in writing to the National Office no later than June 6th. The report must include full contact information, including their membership email, for all delegates.
Election of At-Large Delegates
- The National Office shall conduct and supervise the election of at-large delegates. A call for candidates for at-large delegates shall be sent to all at-large members no later than April 4. At-large delegate nominations will be open through May 4. Requests to be considered at-large must be submitted by February 28th.
Candidates for delegate may submit a brief statement to be made available to voters. If at the close of nominations the number of candidates is less than or equal to the number of positions (taking into account the diversity requirements), the candidates will be considered elected by acclamation. Otherwise, no later than May 18th, the National Office shall administer an online election using OpaVote.com or similar online voting system using a Score counting method.
Every at-large member in good standing by May 18th will receive a ballot to vote in the election. Voting will be open through June 6th. As required by DSA bylaws, no more than one-half of the available positions for at-large delegates may be filled by men and one-fifth of the available positions must be reserved for national and racial minorities. Those candidates who have been elected shall be immediately informed of their election by the National Office.
- Based on the reports of local delegate elections and the outcome of the at-large elections conducted by the National Office, the National Office shall prepare a temporary roster of delegates and alternate delegates, which shall be sent to delegates, alternate delegates, locals, commissions, and officers of DSA no later than July 24th.
Challenges to Credentials
- Challenges to the credentials of any delegate or alternate must be submitted in writing to the National Office no later than Wednesday, July 26th and shall be forwarded to the Rules and Credentials Committee appointed by the NPC for consideration. Challenges must either name individual delegates or alternates from one delegation, or may name any one entire delegation, and must include a reason for the challenge that applies to all the credentials challenged. Challenges may include replacement(s) for the delegate or alternate challenges, or challenges may seek to seat additional delegate(s) or alternate(s) as part of a delegation. However, challenges that would result in a delegation exceeding its apportioned number of delegates will not be valid.
- At the opening plenary, the Rules and Credentials Committee shall report to the Convention any challenge(s) filed according to rule 12 and may report its recommendation concerning them. There shall be no more than one speaker for and one speaker against each credentials challenge.
- The delegates listed on the Temporary Roster of Delegates shall vote on the Rules and Credentials Committee‘s recommendations, except that no delegate may vote on a challenge to their own credentials. Upon acceptance of the Rules and Credentials Committee those persons listed on the Temporary Roster of Delegates who are not subject to successful credentials challenge shall become the Permanent Roster of Delegates.
I.B. Constitutional Changes, Bylaws Changes, General Resolutions, and Platform Resolutions
Constitutional & Bylaw Amendments:
- Any member or group of DSA members in good standing may propose changes to the DSA National Constitution or Bylaws between February 20th and April 14th. To be considered for debate at the Convention, proposed changes to the Constitution or Bylaws must have a minimum of 300 signatures of support from DSA members who are in good standing as of February 20th. Constitutional changes require a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the Convention to pass; Bylaws changes require a three-fifths (⅗) vote of the Convention to pass.
- Any member or group of DSA members in good standing may propose secondary amendments to the constitution or bylaws changes until the submissions period for amendments closes June 14th. To be considered for discussion these secondary amendments must have a minimum of 300 signatures of support from DSA members in good standing as of the day the submission period opens. Constitutional changes require a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the Convention to pass; Bylaws changes require a three-fifths (⅗) vote of the Convention to pass.
- A Constitutional or Bylaws Amendment should pertain to one topic. Constitutional or Bylaws Amendments may propose to: (1) delete specified language from the Constitution and/or Bylaws, (2) add certain language in specified places to the Constitution and/or Bylaws, and/or (3) replace existing language with new language, indicating all the places in the Constitution and/or Bylaws where the specified language occurs. All supporting materials submitted along with Constitutional or Bylaws Amendments (i.e. Whereas clauses) will be included in a compendium of Convention items released to the membership of DSA for background reading in advance of the Convention but not open to amendment.
General Political & Organizational Resolutions
- Any member or group of DSA members in good standing may propose political or organizational resolutions between February 20th and April 14th. To be considered for debate at the Convention, resolutions must have a minimum of 300 signatures of support from DSA members who are in good standing as of February 20th.
- Any member or group of DSA members in good standing may propose amendments to political and organizational resolutions until the submissions period for amendments closes June 14th. To qualify for discussion and consideration, the amendment must have a minimum of 300 signatures from DSA members in good standing as of the date the submission period opens.
Political Platform Resolutions
- The Resolutions and Platform Committee will put out a call for amendments to the DSA Political Platform adopted at the 2021 Convention. To be considered for debate at the Convention, amendments to the platform must have a minimum of 300 signatures of support from DSA members in good standing as of the date the submission period opens.
- The Resolutions and Platform Committee will issue a resolutions template to guide resolution drafting. In keeping with Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised, only the operative sections of resolutions (i.e. Be it therefore resolved clauses) will be recorded and subsequently published following the Convention. All supporting material submitted along with resolutions (i.e. Whereas clauses or rationales) will be included in a compendium released to the membership of DSA for background reading in advance of the Convention but not open to amendment.
- The Resolutions and Platform Committee will maintain a compendium of proposed resolutions and bylaws and/or constitutional changes available to the membership of DSA no later than Friday, June 30th via email and on the Convention website.
- The Resolutions and Platform Committee will recommend to the Convention Steering Committee which Constitution and Bylaws changes and resolutions should be agendized at the Convention, considering the nature and number of submitted proposals, the Rules set by the Convention Steering Committee regarding the number and kind of proposals to be heard, and the views of the delegates elected to the Convention. The Resolutions and Platform Committee may also combine similar proposals or encourage authors to do so, including by treating a proposal as an amendment to a related proposal where appropriate.
- The Resolutions and Platform Committee will release a final compilation of all proposed Constitutional and Bylaws Changes, Resolutions, and Amendments electronically via email to the entire organization and on the Convention website by Monday, July 24th.
I.C. NPC Nominations
- The National Political Committee will release a description of the NPC and its members’ duties after the March NPC meeting.
Eligibility for NPC
- Any DSA member in good standing may be nominated as a candidate for the NPC elections through a nomination resolution passed by a majority vote of either: (1) the chapter or OC of which they are a member; (2) any recognized National Working Group or Committee; or (3) a majority of vote of the NPC. Chapters and OCs are strongly encouraged to make decisions on nomination in a way that includes the broadest number of members as the chapter shall determine is practicable, such as at membership meetings or through membership-wide online votes.
Chapters and OC must hold a nomination meeting for the NPC. This meeting may be combined so that the nomination vote occurs during a General Meeting. Nomination should not be seen as an endorsement of a candidate or their politics, but as an affirmation that the member is active in the work of DSA and is constructive and comradely towards their fellow members.
To formally accept their candidacy, each nominee must complete the candidate questionnaire furnished by the national organization between April 4th and June 14th, including a copy of their nominating resolution signed and dated by the co-chairs or equivalent of either the local or national body issuing the nomination resolution.
- The Voting and Elections Committee will release a compendium of candidate questionnaires no later than June 30th, 2023 via email and on the Convention website.
- The Voting and Elections Committee will host a national candidate forum on Friday, July 14, 2023. The number, format, and content of subsequent candidate forums will be set by the Voting and Elections Committee based on the number of candidates.
- Convention registration will open May 13th. Registration closes July 13th. Registration fees or other costs, if any, will be made available to the membership before April 4th.
II. Convention Rules
II.A. Convention Committees
- The Rules and Credentials Committee has drafted these Rules and will remain available to interpret them. It is also responsible for reporting to the Convention the roster of delegates and making recommendations on any properly filed challenges to the credentials of any delegate. The Rules and Credentials Committee may also make recommendations to the National Director concerning any need for subsidies for housing, registration fees or travel.
- The Resolutions and Platform Committee is responsible for drafting a platform for discussion at convention and for making recommendations to the Convention on the disposition of resolutions and changes to the Constitution, Bylaws and resolutions submitted after the resolution deadline. Its work is detailed above under Constitutional Changes, Bylaws Changes and Resolutions.
- The Voting and Elections Committee is responsible for reporting to the Convention the roster of delegates and for overseeing election of the at-large delegates and election of members to the National Political Committee. Its work is detailed above under Delegate Credentials and NPC Nominations. At the Convention it will oversee voting for the National Political Committee.
- The Programming Committee is responsible for all convention and preconvention programming that is not directly related to adopting a platform, resolution, constitution or bylaws change, or elected leadership. The Programming Committee may make recommendations regarding scheduling. Its work is detailed below under Programming.
- These committees propose their chairs at the beginning of the Convention.
- The preconvention Programming Committee has broad discretion in designing the program. Certain parts, however, are required.
- An officer of the organization shall call to order the opening session of the Convention at which time the Convention shall elect one Chair for the convention, who may delegate the task of chairing for a period to someone from a pool of members trained for the task.
- At the opening plenary, membership on all committees and chairs for each shall be confirmed by the Convention.
- The Convention shall vote to adopt the II.D. Procedural Authority section of the Convention Rules.
- The National Director shall submit to the Convention on its opening day a report on the activities of the staff since the 2021 National Convention.
- The Secretary-Treasurer shall submit to the Convention on its opening day a report on the finances of the organization.
- Reports by the NPC, by YDSA, and about the political situation in general are strongly recommended. A brief introduction to Robert’s Rules is also recommended.
- The program will, to the extent possible, follow the recommendations of the Resolutions and Platform Committee as to the order in which items are considered and the time allocated to each.
- The National Director of DSA shall work with the Convention Steering Committee to keep the official record of the Convention and may appoint assistants as they deem necessary following the Convention to form a Styles Committee responsible for editing small typos, punctuation, and grammatical errors, etc. and incorporating adopted amendments into the body of Resolutions and Constitutional or Bylaws changes.
II.D. Procedural Authority
- A quorum of the Convention shall consist of fifty percent plus one of the registered delegates and seated alternate delegates.
- An accredited alternate delegate may be seated for a delegate temporarily or permanently. The permanent seating of an alternate must be reported immediately to the Credentials Committee. Each delegate and seated alternate shall be entitled to one vote on all questions coming before the Convention, except that each local chapter delegation may vote its full strength, provided that no individual casts more than three votes unless authorized to do so by the Convention.
An accredited alternate delegate may be seated for a delegate temporarily or permanently. In the case of temporary seating of a delegate, such substitution may not occur in the middle of deliberations (once a voting begins). In the case of a technological problem or an emergency this must immediately be reported to the admin committee who will bring it to the attention of the chair who may order the substitution of the alternate.
- Resolutions before the Convention shall be decided by majority vote of the delegates and seated alternate delegates present and voting. Proposed changes to the DSA Constitution shall require a 2/3 majority of present and voting delegates and seated alternates, and to the Bylaws shall require a 3/5 majority. All procedural motions shall be passed by the majorities required by Robert’s Rules of Order.
- It is the intention of the Convention Steering Committee to focus the Convention’s business on key political and organizational questions. To carry out that intention, the Convention Steering Committee may amend these rules to adopt limits on the number of overall proposals heard by the Convention or the number of proposals within particular categories or adopt other rules designed to ensure that focus.
- All votes on the Convention floor will be conducted using a method approved by the Convention Steering Committee.
- Voting on Constitution or Bylaws Amendments or resolutions will open immediately after each debate block, and will remain open for three (3) hours.
- Votes on amendments to the Constitution or Bylaws Amendments or resolutions will have ten (10) minutes of discussion followed by five (5) minutes for voting. Procedural motions will have a five (5) minutes discussion, if this is in order. They will also have five (5) minutes for voting.
- Each Constitution or Bylaws amendment or resolution will have one (1) hour for debate.
- Motions to extend debate will be considered out of order
- No secret ballot shall be conducted. No Convention committee meeting or Convention session may be closed to DSA members pending space capacity, except that any meeting or session may be deemed closed to press.
- Only delegates, seated alternate delegates, NPC members, national DSA officers, and DSA staff members may speak on questions coming before the Convention in plenary session. Speakers on all motions shall be limited to ninety (90) seconds. At the sixty (60) second mark the speaker will be given a thirty (30) second warning. At the end of the ninety (90) seconds the speaker will be muted. If the convention accepts a different limit the speaker will still receive a thirty (30) second warning and will be muted at then end of the thirty (30) seconds.
- No amendments to Resolutions or amendments to Constitution and Bylaws Amendments may be made from the floor (except in the event of the suspension of these rules pursuant to Robert’s Rules of Order). A Styles Committee may be appointed by the NPC, subsequent to the convention, whose responsibilities will include, for instance, spelling and grammatical corrections and incorporating enacted amendments into the Constitution and Bylaws. All changes made by the Styles Committee shall be subject to approval by the NPC.
- Except as provided in these Rules, the Constitution or the Bylaws, the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the proceedings of the Convention.
- The Chair of each Convention plenary session shall be the sole interpreter of the Convention Rules. The administrative committee may provide for the appointment of a parliamentarian and such other assistants as needed to provide assistance as requested to convention chairs.
- Any delegate or seated alternate may appeal any ruling of the Chair or of the Resolutions and Platform Committee to the Convention. In such instances, the person making the appeal may speak for up to two minutes to advocate the appeal and the Chair may speak for up to two minutes to defend the ruling. No other debate shall be permitted. The ruling of the Chair may be overturned by a vote in favor of the appeal by a majority of delegates and seated alternates present and voting. Challenges to a ruling by the chair shall be decided by majority vote of delegates present and voting.
- The election for the NPC shall be conducted by preferential ballot. The Voting and Elections Committee shall count the ballots using an online voting system with a voting method.
- Constitutional and Bylaws changes and resolutions will take effect only after the Convention Minutes have been approved by the NPC.
III. National Convention Standing Rules
III.A. The Presiding Officer
- The Presiding officer of the Convention shall be the “convention chair.”
- The chair shall be any member of the NPC or member in good standing designated by the NPC to serve in that capacity, and the specific person filling that role may vary per debate session.
- The chair shall preside over the convention according to the Convention Rules as adopted by the convention membership body and the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
- The chair shall have a vote and the ability to break ties.
- The chair shall wherever possible and necessary distinguish between statements made in their capacity as the chair and statements made in their capacity as a voting member of the body.
- The chair has the duty of maintaining decorum.
- The chair shall direct all inquiries to appropriate bodies as necessary.
- The chair shall be the sole interpreter of the rules.
- The chair shall reserve the right to censure any delegate who is found to be in violation of the DSA Code of Conduct.
- At the chair’s discretion, unanimous consent may be used to expedite business. Such motions will be considered adopted unless there is an objection by a minimum of 100 delegates.
III.B. Report on Credential Report
- At the opening plenary, the Rules and Credentials Committee shall report to the Convention any challenge(s) filed according to Rule 9 in the 2023 Pre-Convention Rules and may report its recommendation concerning them. There shall be no more than one speaker for and one speaker against each credentials challenge.
- The delegates listed on the Temporary Roster of Delegates shall vote on the Credentials Committee’s recommendations, except that no delegate may vote on a challenge to his or her own credentials. Upon acceptance of the Credentials Committee those persons listed on the Temporary Roster of Delegates who are not subject to successful credentials challenge shall become the Permanent Roster of Delegates.
III.C. Consent Agenda
- Proposals with supermajority support may be placed on a consent agenda to be voted on at the beginning of the convention.
- Delegates may bring motions to remove items from the consent agenda. Any such motion requires a one-third (⅓) vote of the Convention to pass.
- The consent agenda itself will require a simple majority vote of the Convention to pass
The following voting procedures shall be in effect:
- The Chair may ask the body to approve by acclamation; if this does not occur, then a vote will be held.
- Voting will occur either by hand or an electronic voting system depending on the needs and resources of the convention.
- Results from each vote will be read out by the chair upon receipt if necessary.
- The NPC election will be conducted through ranked-choice or cardinal voting.
- Winners will be the top sixteen (16) candidates, except that no more than eight (8) winners shall be “men” and at least five (5) winners shall be “racial or national minorities,” as required by the quota in the Constitution. The winner of a tie will be the candidate who appears in the highest preference position or the highest approval score across all ballots.
- Resolutions and Constitution or Bylaws Amendments will be brought to the floor and debated one at a time in the order set in the 2023 Convention agenda.
- Amendments to the proposed DSA Platform will be brought to the floor and debated one at a time in the order set in the 2023 Convention agenda.
- Debate shall be limited to three speakers for and three speakers against a main motion. The maker of the main motion shall be considered the first speaker for the motion. An additional two speakers may speak in favor of the motion.
- Each speaker will be limited to two minutes and no speaker will speak more than once on the same motion. An exception will be made when/if the Chair requests so for the purpose of clarification about the motion.
- Speakers for and against shall alternate in the following way: “for” (maker of the original motion), “against”, “for”, “against”, “for”, and “against.”
- Once debate has concluded, the main motion on the floor will be voted on.
- After debate of all platform amendments has concluded, the Chair will entertain a motion to adopt the platform as a whole. It will require a simple majority to pass.
- The Chair will use their best judgment in recognizing speakers who have not spoken.
- Where no time limit for the total discussion or procedure has been proposed in the convention agenda, the Chair must propose one.
- The discussion shall be germane to the motion on the floor. The chair reserves the right to cut off a speaker whose remarks are not germane to the motion on the floor.
III.F. Motions and Resolutions
Unless otherwise provided, the general procedure in Robert’s Rules of Order will be followed when bringing motions to the floor.
- Motions shall be submitted via a procedure decided on at a later date that will be made available to all seated delegates.
- Only one motion will be considered at a time. Amendments submitted as part of convention materials will be permitted and they will be voted on prior to voting on the main motion.
- When two or more motions or amendments are directed to the same point, the chair shall determine whether it is more reasonable to discuss them individually or simultaneously in order so people may compare them directly. In these cases, procedures may be proposed by the Convention Rules Committee or Chair, for approval by the convention, to consider two or more motions or amendments together.
As in all other motions, these require only a simple majority to pass. Where a motion is described as not debatable, the Chair may suggest some limited discussion if there appears to be some confusion.
- To Table: not debatable.
- To Refer (e.g. to a committee) or To Postpone (to a specific time): should have limited debate (e.g.one or two speakers for and against).
- To Reconsider: Must be made by someone on the winning side with 25% of the body seconding the motion. Or be proposed by the Convention Rules Committee. Should have limited debate. If passed, the Convention Rules Committee will make a proposal on when it should be taken up.
- To End Debate and Come to a Vote (“To call or move the question”): Can be made by any delegate who has not yet spoken on this motion. It is not debatable.
A quorum shall consist of 50 percent + 1 of the number of delegates registered for the convention. A call for a quorum may not be shouted out or interrupt a speaker, but must come after being recognized by the Chair. A call for a quorum is out of order for one hour after a previous quorum call. If a quorum is lacking, the following business is still in order:
Continued discussion (but not voting) on the item on the floor
- Motions about when to meet again
- Motions directed toward getting enough delegates for a quorum
- Motions to refer business to the NPC
- Good and welfare
- Motions to adjourn and recess
III.G. Miscellaneous Points
Normally people will be recognized to speak when they submit a motion via Airtable as specified above. There are certain occasions when it is necessary to get recognized more quickly. This is accomplished with one of these points. Except for “personal privilege,” motions will not interrupt someone while they are talking. Following Robert’s Rules of Order, if the Chair feels an individual is abusing these points, the Chair does not have to recognize the abuser.
- Point of Personal Privilege: To be used only when you have difficulty in participating in the meeting, such as inability to hear, too much commotion. Issues such as temperature or language usage which do not require the immediate attention of the whole convention should be brought to the Convention Rules Committee. This point may not be used as a way of getting the floor to answer a verbal criticism if you believe you were misunderstood or misquoted.
- Point of Order: To be used to call attention when you believe that the Chair or the body is deviating from the previously adopted procedure. (e.g., “Our procedure calls for our coming to a vote at this time.”)
- Point of Information: To ask a question of the Chair. May not be used to “give information” or ask a question directly of another member
- Appeal the Ruling of the Chair: If you disagree with a ruling of the chair, you may submit a motion to“Appeal the Ruling.” It must be made immediately following the ruling and before any new business is started. If it is estimated that 10% of the body has seconded the appeal the Chair will explain their ruling, the Appealer will state why they believe the ruling is wrong, and the Chair may respond. A simple majority vote will be taken on “Sustain the Ruling of the Chair.”If the motion is defeated. The Chair may make a different ruling if appropriate. Following Robert’s Rules, the Chair may rule that appeals are dilatory and ignore them.This ruling may be appealed once in a session.