2021 Nominations and Elections Committee General Guidance and Answers
The Democrats Abroad Nominations and Elections Committee (‘NEC’) has agreed to the following guidelines for this election cycle. This is a ‘living’ document and will be updated as questions come in. Any questions or concerns please email us at [email protected]
I. Candidates and Campaigning
- Nominations may be submitted via the nomination form by clicking here no later than midnight GMT (8:00 p.m. EDT) on March 23, 2021.
- During the nomination period, a nominee may receive correspondence from the NEC regarding information provided or requiring clarification. This is in no way an indication of their eligibility for the qualified individuals (‘candidate’) list unless stated otherwise.
- The list of all the candidates will be released per the Democrats Abroad Charter (‘Charter’) requirement, 45-days in advance of the scheduled election meeting. In the case at hand, 45-days in advance is currently on or before March 30, 2021 depending on timezone.
- Potential candidates may continue with their various roles and responsibilities within Democrats Abroad (‘DA’). There is no requirement for potential candidates to sequester or otherwise recuse themselves from their regular activities, roles and responsibilities prior to the election--nor will those confirmed as candidates be required to do so.
- Candidates may not discuss or promote their candidacy or campaign using DA resources without consent from the NEC. ‘DA resources’ includes, but is not limited to, DA databases, DA social media platforms, DA contact lists, DA events and meetings.
- As has been done in the past, the NEC will provide some opportunities for candidates to put forward candidate statements and interact with membership. For the sake of equal treatment, we will announce these opportunities simultaneously to all eligible candidates to avoid undue advantage.
II. The NEC and Its Role
- The NEC has a specific, defined mandate under the Charter to oversee the nominations, qualifications and elections process for the five international officer positions. These are:
- International Chair
- International Vice Chair
- International Secretary
- International Treasurer
- International Counsel
- Throughout DA, activities and elections are taking place at all levels of the organization. Outside our mandate, we have no authority over or ability to impose consequences on country committees, caucuses, regions, members or their activities.
- NEC members have many roles and responsibilities outside of the global NEC (e.g. involvement in events, caucuses, country committee/regional elections). We are not and will not require our members to sequester from such DA activities.
- Per the charter, the NEC members shall not be candidates for office nor be elected to office. The NEC members, in the interest of being neutral and avoiding conflicts of interests, have decided not to nominate or endorse candidates for office.
- The NEC takes its role seriously and will do its utmost to be fair, neutral and transparent. NEC members will endeavor to ensure all candidates have the same information at the same time and avoid ‘information asymmetry.’ Thus, the NEC will keep deliberations and decision making as confidential within the NEC as possible until a formal decision is made by the NEC that can be disseminated to all relevant parties.
- The NEC itself will not be joining any closed forums or groups where the information discussed will not be available to membership.
- The NEC takes precedent seriously, but we will make adjustments as necessary within our mandate in order to ensure a smooth process for both the NEC and the candidates.
- All questions, clarifications or complaints to the NEC should go through the [email protected] email. All NEC members have access to this email inbox. We will try to provide guidance where possible. Please be aware, we have no capacity to conduct ‘internal investigations’ or act as a ‘tip line’ or ‘whistleblower line.’ We cannot guarantee anonymity.
III. Elections Process/Procedure
Nominations from the Floor
- The election meeting will be held during the online Annual Democrats Abroad Global Meeting currently scheduled for May 14 - 16, 2021 depending on timezone. The election meeting is currently scheduled to occur in the middle of that meeting.
- Nominations of qualified candidates from the floor will be permitted and will be solicited for each role’s election. Any nominator and nominee who opts for this process, however, will have to be available in the meeting at the time of the call for nominations for that office.
- At the time of the nomination, the Global NEC must be able to verify consent of the nominee, and the nominee must be vetted by Global NEC according to our process and procedures.
- We have a duty under the charter to only allow qualified candidates to be nominated, and we will have to do the same vetting checks for nominations from the floor as we have done for all the other candidates. Namely, nominees must (1) provide the same information by completing the same forms previously vetted candidates were required to fill out, and (2) nominees must provide a copy or picture of their passport picture page to [email protected]
- All nominees who pass the vetting process will be added to the ballot. Nominees from the floor who were previously nominated candidates, and already passed the NEC vetting procedures, will not have to be re-vetted.
- All candidates will get 2 minutes each.
- We will be enforcing time limits.
Ballots and Tabulating
- Given that ballot and elections infrastructure prep takes weeks, and under the assumption that no changes will be approved at the global meeting that will be implemented for our 2021 elections, we will generally be using the same voting tools and infrastructure as the previous parts of the meeting, in order to preserve continuity and familiarity.
- We also believe maintaining continuity will help ensure we are accurately calculating highly complex charter rules regarding proxy voting and other issues specific to Democrats Abroad Global AGMs.
- We will be voting on a simple ballot. The winner will be the person who receives over 50% of votes cast (50% + 1 vote). If no candidate reaches over 50% of votes cast, per the requirements in the charter, we will move to another round of voting. We will give an opportunity at the end of each round and before the start of a new ballot for changes to the ballot, including candidate withdrawals.
- On a practical level, using any sort of preferential or ranked choice voting method would mean a different system for ballots and tabulating than would be required for the rest of the meeting. It also would have to take into account highly specific rules in the Charter regarding majorities and proxies that would require custom algorithms or software that don’t currently exist.
- On a precedent and Charter interpretation level, the Democrats Abroad Charter explicitly uses the term ‘simple majority.’ From reviewing and consulting with authoritative sources including DA counsel on this term and how it is used in Democrats Abroad, we have determined that ‘simple majority’ means that the winner is the one who receives 50% + 1 of the votes after the first tabulation.
- If requested by a candidate by email by no later than May 14, 2021 at 8 pm EDT, we will allow a named candidate observer and an alternate candidate observer in the ‘tabulation room.’
- They must be a verified member of Democrats Abroad, and must follow the process and procedures set out by the Global NEC. Candidate observers will only be allowed into ‘the room’ during the election for the office that the candidate is standing in. Candidate observers must not be the candidate themselves. We reserve the right to mute and/or expel candidate observers who do not adhere to Democrat Abroad’s Code of Conduct.
IV. The Countdown
Now that the candidates have been nominated, vetted and announced, here is what you can expect in April and May:
Early April: Candidates’ statements, endorsements, and photos posted online (projected deadlines: April 2 to submit materials; April 9 materials posted)
Early April: Email candidates’ forum announced and opened to candidates and voting reps
April 30: All-Candidates Panel (Chair/Vice Chair) recording posted
May 2: Last voting reps elected at the country-committee level
TBD: Blue Vote Café Podcast episodes featuring Secretary, Treasurer, Counsel posted
May 14, 9pm EDT: Global meeting commences
May 15 10:30 pm EDT (timing to be confirmed) - May 16 4am EDT, Global Officer elections
May 15 following elections, NEC ceases 2021 global election duties