Article I: Name
1. The name of the organization shall be the Vermont Progressive Party.
Article II: Party Membership
2. A member of the Progressive Party shall be any resident of the State of Vermont who supports the Progressive Party Statement of Principles, and who expresses a desire to be a member.
Article III: Organization
3. Town Committees and County Delegates: The Progressive Party shall be re-organized every two years (in odd numbered years), according to these bylaws and procedures adopted by the State Committee, or in the absence of adopted procedures, according to Chapter 45 of Title 17 of Vermont Statutes. Copies of the Party Statement of Principles shall be available at the organizational town caucus to aid in assuring that those voting are party members as defined in Article II. Each Town Party Caucus shall select a Town Committee. A Town Committee may add additional members at any time by a majority vote of the entire Committee membership. The Town Committee shall elect delegates to the County Committee, who shall also serve as delegates to the state Party Convention. Town committees with up to ten members shall be entitled to up to four County delegates. Town Committees with more than 10 members shall be entitled to up to eight County delegates.
4. County Committees: The biennial organizational meeting of the County Committees shall occur between the time of the Town Caucuses and the State Party Convention. Each County Committee may add additional members to the County Committee who reside in towns within the county that do not have an organized Town Committee, but not more than two members from each such unorganized town. The County Committees shall elect County Committee officers, including a chair, vice-chair, secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer, and any other officers deemed appropriate, or as directed by the State Committee.
5. State Convention: A State Party Convention shall be held annually. In even years, the Convention shall establish and revise the Party Platform, and to conduct any other business placed on the agenda by a County Committee, the State Committee, or the State Coordinating Committee. The Convention Delegates shall be the members of the Town and County Committees. Any amendments made to the Party Platform must receive 2/3 of the vote of eligible members present at Convention. The VPP State Chair shall call the Convention on or before the fourth Tuesday in September in even-numbered years. In presidential election years, this shall be the same convention held to nominate presidential electors (17 V.S.A. §2319). In odd years, the Convention may occur in conjunction with the biennial re-organizational State Committee meetings. By majority vote, the State Convention may amend these bylaws, and by a two-thirds majority vote, may amend the Party Charter.
6. State Committee Delegates: The Chairs of the County Committees shall be delegates to the State Committee. County Committees shall elect additional delegates to the State Committee, such that each County’s total State Committee delegation does not exceed the number of delegates indicated on the following schedule:
Addison 7, Bennington 7, Caledonia 6, Chittenden 24, Essex 3, Franklin 8, Grand Isle 3, Lamoille 4, Orange 5, Orleans 5, Rutland 11, Washington 10, Windham 8, Windsor 10.
Each County Committee is also entitled to elect a number of alternate State Committee delegates up to one half (rounded to the next whole number) of that county’s regular State Committee delegate allotment. An absent State Committee delegate may designate an alternate delegate to vote at State Committee meetings in her/his absence. If no designation has been made, any alternates elected from the County may fill absent delegate slots. If there are more alternates from a County at a meeting than there are absent regular delegates, the regular State Committee members from that County in attendance shall select which alternates may vote. The additional delegates elected to the State Committee must include at least one male and one female.
7. Recall and Vacancies: All County Committee officers and Delegates to the State Committee shall serve at the pleasure of the County Committee, and may be recalled and replaced upon a majority vote of the entire County Committee. The County Committee may fill officer, and state delegate vacancies, occurring other than by recall, by a majority vote of those present and voting.
Article IV: State Committee
8. Membership: The State Committee shall consist of the State Delegates selected by the County Committees.
9. State Committee Meetings: The State Committee shall meet at least quarterly. State Committee meetings may be called by the State Committee Chair or Vice Chair, the State Coordinating Committee, any County Committee by notifying the State Chair or Vice Chair, or by petition to the State Chair or Vice Chair by at least ten State Committee members. The date for the next regularly scheduled State Committee meeting shall be set by the State Committee at their meeting.
10. Powers and Responsibilities: The State Committee shall have the following powers and responsibilities:
- to elect officers, and a Coordinating Committee;
- to recall and replace Officers and Coordinating Committee members upon a majority vote of the entire State Committee;
- to recruit candidates for office;
- to nominate or endorse candidates for office as allowed under Article IX;
- to serve as a liaison between the party membership and elected officials;
- to conduct those activities which promote the purpose, objectives and principles of the Party;
- to amend the bylaws as allowed under Article X; and
- to keep the membership informed about the activities of the State Committee.
Article V: Officers
11. The officers of the State Committee shall be elected by the State Committee at the biennial organizational meeting. The officers shall be Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Secretary. At least two of the five officers shall be women, and the State Committee shall elect a woman to one or both of the offices of Chair and Vice Chair.
12. Individual Powers and Responsibilities of Officers:
a. Duties of the Chair. The Chair shall convene meetings of the State Committee, biennial organizational meetings of Town Caucuses and annual State Party Conventions, and prepare agendas for meetings of the State Committee.
b. Duties of the Vice Chair. The Vice Chair shall assist the chair and act as Chair in the Chair’s absence.
c. Duties of the Treasurer. The Treasurer shall keep the financial records of the Party and shall prepare finance reports as required by government offices. All records shall be kept in the permanent records of the Party and shall be passed from each Treasurer to her/his successor.
d. Duties of the Assistant Treasurer. The Assistant Treasurer shall assist the Treasurer in preparing finance reports.
e. Duties of the Secretary. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all actions of the State Committee and Coordinating Committee, and shall see to it that all reports required to be filed with government offices are filed in an accurate and timely manner. The Secretary shall assure that a list of active Party members, with contact information, is maintained exclusively for Party purposes as established by the State Committee. All records shall be kept in the permanent records of the Party and shall be passed from each Secretary to her/his successor.
Article VI: State Coordinating Committee
13. Members: The members of the State Committee shall elect a Coordinating Committee (COCO) at the same bi-annual convention at which it elects officers. The COCO shall consist of the state officers of the party and 6 members of the party elected by the State Committee, at least one-half of whom shall be female, if at all possible. The at-large members to the COCO will be elected after the election of the officers. Each committee member shall serve a term of 2 years.
14. Powers & Responsibilities of Coordinating Committee: The Coordinating Committee shall have the following powers and responsibilities:
- to administer the day to day functioning of the Party;
- to responsibly manage the finances of the Party and to authorize expenditures of all Party funds;
- to allocate party resources to endorsed candidates;
- to adopt procedures for local committees to follow that assure democratic process, and fair notice;
- to coordinate and provide support to Party subcommittees;
- to convene meetings of the State Committee;
- to perform other functions as delegated by the State Committee;
- to fill vacancies in the Coco or state officers to serve until the next meeting of the state committee.
15. Meetings: The Coordinating Committee shall meet at its convenience in order to meet its responsibilities. Coordinating Committee meetings shall be open to all members of the State Committee. Meetings may be held or attended in person or by telecommunications devices either whole or in part. It shall be an incumbent responsibility of the Chair of the Coordinating Committee to ensure participation by Coordinating Committee members. Upon absence from either three meetings in a calendar year or any two meetings in a row, to include State Committee Meetings, the Coordinating Committee Chair shall refer the member to the Coordinating Committee for possible removal via motion, second and vote. Members so referred shall be notified in writing of such agenda item at least fifteen (15) days before the meeting is held.
16. Record Keeping: A record of decisions made by the Coordinating Committee shall be submitted to the Secretary and shall be distributed to the members of the State Committee.
Article VII: Procedures
17. Notice: All meetings of the Progressive Party Town, Legislative District, Senatorial District, County, State, and State Coordinating Committees shall require at least seven days notice to all members of the committee, except for the biennial organizational meeting of the Town Committee, which shall occur immediately following the Town Caucus, and the biennial organizational meeting of the State Committee, which may occur immediately following the state Party Convention. Notice of the annual State Convention shall be sent to all current Town Committee members at least 21 days before the Convention. All notices shall include an agenda if possible.
18. Agenda: The Chair and Vice-chair shall prepare an agenda for each Committee meeting. Items may also be added to the agenda by a two-thirds majority vote of the members in attendance. Any two members of a Committee may place items on the Committee agenda by submitting them to the Chair or Vice-Chair at least two weeks in advance. The Committees set forth in Article III, Section 5 may place items on the State Convention agenda by submitting them to the State Chair or Vice-Chair at least 30 days in advance.
19. Quorum: Any number of members in attendance in person at a properly warned convention, caucus or committee meeting shall constitute a quorum for conducting business, excluding endorsements. However, for committee meetings, if the number of members in attendance is less than half of the total number of committee members, all decisions must be promptly relayed to all absent members and a special meeting to reconsider decisions shall be held if requested by at least half of the entire committee membership. For committee meetings where endorsements are voted on, a quorum shall require at least 50% of committee members.
20. Bylaws and Rules of Order: Any question of procedure not otherwise covered by these bylaws, or by adopted convention rules, shall be decided in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. County Committees and Town Committees may adopt their own bylaws and rules of order that are not inconsistent with these bylaws. All bylaws and amendments thereto shall be filed with the State Party Secretary.
21. Finances: The Vermont Progressive Party shall function as a single economic entity, with all Party contributions and expenditures flowing through the state account. Individual Town and County Committees may maintain distinct funds within the state account, according to guidelines adopted by the State Coordinating Committee. Progressive Party candidates shall utilize separate campaign committee accounts. The State Coordinating Committee may grant an officer, or any other party sub-committee, authority to make expenditures up to any limit set by the State Coordinating Committee.
Article VIII: Internal Party elections and decision making
22. Majority Requirement. Election of officers shall require a majority vote of those present and voting. If no candidate has a majority after the first ballot, the election shall proceed by means of a series of runoffs, eliminating the bottom candidate from the previous round.
23. Proportional Representation Option. Election of town Committee members and County and State delegates may be conducted by using block plurality voting, but a system of proportional representation shall be used in conducting the election if requested by at least 1/3 of the members present. Acceptable proportional representation voting procedures shall be pre-approved by the State Committee’s Coordinating Committee.
24. Absentee Voting. Decisions requiring a majority vote of the entire membership of a committee may be taken with the use of absentee voting by members unable to attend the warned meeting, as long as the exact wording of the motion was warned along with the agenda.
25. Between Meetings. Any decision other than nominations or endorsements that would normally be considered at a warned meeting of a committee may be made between meetings by unanimous consent.
Article IX: Endorsements
26. The Vermont Progressive Party Town, County or State Committees have the authority to endorse, or not endorse, candidates who seek or achieve nomination on the Vermont Progressive Party ticket.
Such endorsement shall be based on the following factors:
- The candidate’s affirmative endorsement of the Vermont Progressive Party Statement of Principles;
- The candidate’s commitment not to work in opposition to any provision in the Progressive Party Platform;
- The candidate’s commitment not to work against Progressive Party-endorsed candidates; and
- The candidate’s commitment to caucus regularly with other Progressive elected officials.
The Progressive Party shall endorse candidates for public office by vote of those members of organized Town Committees (for municipal office and justice of the peace candidates), County Committees (for statehouse and county candidates), and the State Committee (for statewide races), provided that Town Committees may endorse candidates for the House of Representatives in towns that contain one or more districts entirely within their municipal boundaries, and provided that ward or precinct caucuses may endorse city council or school board candidates. Endorsements shall require a two-thirds vote of those present and voting. If there is no local party committee organization within the district of a candidate who is seeking endorsement, the next larger geographic party committee that encompasses the candidate’s district may endorse.
Article X: Amendments to bylaws
27. These bylaws shall continue in force through each biennial reorganization, but may be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting at a State Committee meeting, if all members of the State Committee were given notice of the proposed change at least 21 days in advance. Proposed amendments may be further modified at the meeting, but may not alter sections not included in the notice. Alternatively, these bylaws may be amended by a majority of members voting at a State Party Convention.
Revised February 22, 2015 by the VPP State Committee