ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP
A. Non-Discriminatory Membership in the Party is open to anyone, regardless of age, race, color, national origin, citizenship status, spiritual belief, class, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, romantic attraction, or physical or mental disability, subject to the conditions of this article.
B. The Party formally recognizes two (2) types of membership, “voting membership” and “non-voting membership”. All individuals to be considered as a member of the party, whether voting or non-voting, shall satisfy the following basic requirements:
- Individuals shall pledge to recognize, honor, and practice the Ten Key Values described in Article II.
- Individuals shall commit to adhering to the Bylaws and Code of Conduct contained herein.
- Individuals shall be registered members of the Green Party of Virginia as confirmed by the General Secretary of the Green Party of Virginia.
- Individuals shall commit to work in at least one (1) of the Standing Committees (described in Article VI) in a manner defined by the Chair of said committee, or agree to serve, if elected, in any position on the Executive Board (defined in Article V).
- Individuals shall not be an officer, official spokesperson, candidate, or central committee member of another competing political party.
C. Individuals seeking the classification of “voting member” shall satisfy the following additional requirements:
- Individuals shall be at least 14 years of age.
- Individuals shall reside within an hours drive of Norfolk.
- Individuals shall attend three (3) consecutive general membership meetings. A voting member shall not miss more than three (3) consecutive general membership meetings in a calendar year (as defined in Article VII) and had such attendance recorded by the Secretary in the official minutes. If an extended absence of three (3) months or longer is anticipated or arises, the individual must submit a written statement of absence to the Secretary or an Executive Board member as soon as possible but no later than one (1) week after the second missed meeting. Voting privileges will be suspended and the absent member shall not count toward a quorum during an excused absence. Upon return, voting privileges shall be restored after attending three (3) consecutive general membership meetings. Exceptions to this section may be made on a case-by-case basis by consensus or a unanimous vote of all voting members.
D. Membership Contributions – It is recognized that all organizations need to develop sources of income in order to meet overhead costs (including mailings, newsletters, phone and space rental) and to support approved projects. Therefore, the Party urges all members to consider making a regular voluntary membership contribution within their means, in which a recommended amount may be established by the Board. However, the Party does not want to discourage the participation of those who are unable to make a financial contribution, and will in no way discriminate against those that are not financially able.
E. Powers of Voting Members – The voting membership shall have final approval over all local policies, expenditure and collection of funds, election of officers herein described, recall of all officers herein described, and shall be able to amend these Bylaws.
F. Individuals who wish to participate in public meetings and/or activities of the Party, but have yet to satisfy or are unwilling or unable to satisfy the qualifications for voting membership described in these bylaws, shall be considered “non-voting members” providing they agree to adhere to the Code of Conduct herein described.
- Non-voting members shall be permitted to participate in regular discussion at General Membership meetings, and shall be permitted to participate in public actions.
- Non-voting members shall not be considered in the decision-making procedures herein described and shall not participate in any voting procedures.
- Non-voting members shall not participate in any voting procedures for the selection and/or retention of officers.
G. Code of Conduct for the Party: No individual member (voting or non-voting) shall be permitted to:
- Commit the Party or any of its affiliated members (other than themselves) to any action, endorsement, or other policy position outside the decision making process described in these Bylaws.
- Misrepresent the decisions or policies of the Party or related body in any public forum.
- Through any act of omission or commission keep for their own use, misappropriate, or expend Party funds.
- Knowingly practice or advocate for any acts of discrimination based on age, race, color, national origin, citizenship status, spiritual belief, class, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, romantic attraction, or physical or mental disability.
- Knowingly practice or advocate for violent political action while acting in connection to the party or while serving in any capacity thereof, either individually or in association with others.
- Disparage the work or members of the Party in any public or private forum, including but not limited to public meetings, online chat groups, to members of the media, or official gathering of any other organization.
- Knowingly, and with malicious intent, violate any provision of these Bylaws.
H. Voting and non-voting members of the Party may be subject to sanction for violating one (1) or more of the Code of Conduct provisions outlined in Article III, Section G, or not adhering to the Ten Key Values defined in Article II, Section B, of the bylaws. The Procedures for Membership Sanction are as follows:
- The process shall be initiated upon the submission, to the Executive Board, of a written complaint by one (1) or more voting members of the Party.
- The written proposal shall include the name of the member requesting disciplinary action or sanction, the name of the member to be disciplined/sanctioned, a detailed description of the rationale for the request including any evidence available, and a description of any requested sanction.
- The written proposal shall be submitted to the Executive Board.
- In order to protect the rights of the disputed member, copies of the written proposal shall not be released to the General Membership, except in cases in which the Executive Board requests a sanction from the General Membership.
- Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Executive Board has two (2) weeks to make a recommendation to the General Membership. Such recommendation may include suspension or dissolution of membership from the Party, suspension or revocation of voting privileges, or other sanction allowed by law.
- Recommendations for sanctions by the Executive Board must be reached through regular consensus or by a simple majority vote if the recommendation is less than dissolution. If dissolution is recommended the vote must be 2/3 if consensus cannot be reached.
- The Board must provide a written recommendation for all decisions reached regarding the request to the General Membership.
- The written statement must include a justification for the recommended action.
- If the Executive Board’s recommendation is that no further action is necessary, a justification for that decision must be included in the written statement.
- If a sanction is recommended, the matter is voted on by the General Membership at an official meeting not less than one (1) week or more than three (3) weeks from the time the recommendation is issued.
- At the meeting the vote is taken the accused is permitted to make a statement of defense. If the sanction is less than dissolution the vote must be a simple majority. If dissolution is recommended the vote must be 2/3. Abstentions will not be considered part of the vote total. Voting shall be by secret ballot.
- The accused is not permitted to vote on the matter.
J. There shall be an appeal process for any decision made which leads to a sanction of a member of the Party. The appeal process shall proceed as described below:
- Any voting member, other than the member sanctioned, may initiate the appeal process.
- Only one (1) appeal shall be permitted for each decision that led to a sanction.
- The appeal process shall be conducted in a manner identical to that described above for the initiation of a sanction, and shall observe the same time limits.