Baltimore City Green Party Bylaws
ARTICLE I. Name
The name of this organization shall be the Baltimore City Green Party. This organization shall be abbreviated BGP.
ARTICLE II. Purpose and Values
2.1 Purpose Statement
The purpose of this organization shall be to work toward a Green society as represented by the 10 Key Values of the Green Party of the United States:
Ecological Wisdom; Social Justice and Equal Opportunity; Grassroots Democracy; Nonviolence; Decentralization; Community-Based Economics; Feminism and Gender Equity; Respect for Diversity; Personal and Global Responsibility; Future Focus and Sustainability.
The Baltimore City Green Party shall apply the 10 Key Values to Baltimore City and shall focus its efforts on creating and maintaining a sustainable Green political culture in the city of Baltimore. With respect to the Board of Elections, the Baltimore City Green Party Steering Committee shall serve as the Baltimore Central Committee of the Maryland Green Party.
The Baltimore City Green Party may use any and all non-violent methods for achieving social change including, but not limited to: direct action, community organizing, and education, personal empowerment, issue-oriented campaigns, ballot initiatives, and electoral campaigns.
ARTICLE III. Structure
1. The Baltimore City Green Party is an individual membership organization, open to residents of Baltimore City and to all residents of state legislative districts that exist in Baltimore City and a different county, who meet the criteria below and who subscribe to the 10 Key Values of the Green Party, as stated in section 2.1.
2. Any person who meets the residency above and the membership criteria below may become a Decision-Making Member of the BGP Local.
3.2 Declaration of Membership
Individuals may declare themselves as Decision-Making members by submitting their name to the party, using a form maintained by the Steering Committee. [Click here for membership form.] Decision-Making members must renew their status annually. Decision-Making members must meet the qualifications in Sections 3.1 and 3.3.
3.3 Party Affiliation
Decision-Making Members must affiliate with the Green Party.
A. In the presence of a Green Party ballot line, Decision-Making Members must register to vote as a member of the Green Party.
B. In the absence of a Green Party ballot line, Decision-Making Members must register as “Other: Green Party” or “Unaffiliated.”
C. Individuals who are unable to register to vote due to legal status may sign an internal BGP document that expresses their intention to be counted as BGP Decision-Making members. This includes persons who are not U.S. citizens, persons who are incarcerated, and persons under 18 years of age. Members must be at least 16 years old.
This “decision-making” membership applies only to the BGP. The Maryland Green Party may establish separate requirements for membership.
3.5 Suspension and Expulsion
A. The BGP shall be an inclusive body, which respects its members' rights to disagree with each other. It is vital that members not be suspended or expelled merely over personal conflicts or antagonisms, lifestyle choices, or differences of opinion.
B. BGP Decision-Making Members may be suspended upon a 2/3 majority vote of the Steering Committee, if and only if the SC is convinced that 1) the member has engaged in activities that expose the party to duly warranted prosecution or 2) the member is working for an openly racist or physically hostile organization or one that persecutes persons or groups for their political beliefs or activities or 3) the member is deemed to pose a threat to the safety and personal security of the party or its members or 4) the member has taken action that is egregiously contrary to BGP's principles or is egregiously harmful to its reputation.
C. Upon making a decision to suspend a member, the Steering Committee must notify the suspended member of the action and the reason for it in writing within ten days, and must notify the Decision-Making Members in writing within ten days. The SC shall provide an opportunity for the suspended member to make his/her case to the SC before making a final decision on the suspended member's standing in the party. The SC may decide to reinstate the member, require a prolonged suspension with requirements for reinstatement or expel the member upon a 2/3 majority vote, and the decision shall be treated in accordance with Section II of the bylaws. This decision will be reported at the next General Membership meeting.
D. Suspended members may not vote or attend BGP functions, except to attend the Steering Committee meeting to present their case prior to a vote on their disposition. Suspension or expulsion shall not be deemed cause for any refund of dues or contributions.
3.6 Political Independence
Decision-Making Members of the BGP shall not run for office on the ballot lines of the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or similarly corporate-funded parties, including primary ballot lines. Doing so will result in immediate suspension as a Decision-Making Member of the BGP.
3.7 Steering Committee
A. Powers and Duties
The Steering Committee (SC) of the Baltimore City Green Party shall facilitate work between General Membership meetings, oversee press and media activities and serve as a primary liaison body with other organizations. The Steering Committee shall make endorsements and statements only in keeping with policies set forth by the Decision-Making Members at General Membership meetings. When necessary, the SC shall serve as the legal board of the organization. All SC decisions are subject to review and revision by the Decision-Making Members.
In all matters, the Steering Committee members must bear in mind that they are merely elected to serve the membership, and therefore must act in accordance with the Ten Key Values. No member shall be placed in a position of unqualified authority over others. In all actions, the Steering Committee shall be answerable to the general membership as a whole.
B. Steering Committee Meetings and Decision Making
These meetings are held as needed, at the call of a majority of the current Steering Committee. They are open to all Decision-Making Members of the BGP and to invited guests of the Steering Committee. Only current members of the Steering Committee have decision-making privileges at these meetings. Consensus decisions are encouraged, but in the event that a vote is required, a two-thirds majority of Steering Committee members is sufficient to decide the issue at hand.
Reasonable advance notice of the time, date, and place of each SC meeting should be provided to each Decision-Making Member via agreed-upon communication channels.
The Steering Committee may make decisions outside of a formal meeting (i.e. – using email), but the Steering Committee shall keep a record of its decisions and make that record available to Decision-Making Members upon request.
C. Composition of the Steering Committee
The steering committee shall be made up of 5 to 7 members who are elected by the membership. Upon the first meeting of any newly elected steering committee, one member should be appointed to the role of “chair” and one member should be appointed to the role of “treasurer” as required by the state of Maryland. All other roles and tasks should be split among the steering committee and communicated to the membership. At the one-year mark in any term, there will be a roll-on, roll-off period in which existing members of the steering committee can roll off and new members up to 7 can roll on by being elected by the membership.
D. Steering Committee Terms of Service
The Steering Committee shall serve a term that encompasses the remainder of the election cycle, but not to exceed 2 years, and then must seek re-election at a designated meeting. The Co-Chairs, Treasurer, and Secretary shall serve a maximum of 2 consecutive terms.
Outgoing Steering Committee members are expected to be available to provide training and relevant materials to incoming Steering Committee Members.
E. Recall of Steering Committee Members
1, Steering Committee members may be recalled through the decision-making process specified in Article IV, Section 1 of these Bylaws.
2. If a Steering Committee member is recalled, the Decision-Making Members will elect a replacement as soon as possible. The replacement will complete the remainder of the term.
3.8 Standing Committees and Working Groups
The Decision-Making Members may establish Standing Committees and other working groups as necessary to initiate and coordinate the activities of the Baltimore City Green Party. The SC may establish such bodies on an interim basis, pending review by the Decision-Making Members.
Proposals for new standing committees and working groups shall be approved through the decision-making process specified in Article IV, Section 1 of these Bylaws.
A list of current Standing Committees and working groups is appended to these bylaws.
ARTICLE IV: Conduct of Business and Meetings
4.1 Decision Making
Decision-Making members wishing to submit a proposal for consideration by the BGP shall first perform informal initial steps of consensus-seeking, such as discussion of a draft proposal during a Steering Committee or General Membership meeting, posting of a draft proposal on the BGP listserv for discussion, discussion of a draft proposal at a Working Meeting, and/or private conversations among members.
Decisions to be considered under these procedures include, but are not limited to: major policy proposals; expenditures of funds greater than $1,000 or outside of the scope of the everyday operations of the BGP; coalitions and endorsements not otherwise considered by the BGP Steering Committee; amendments to these Bylaws.
In order to give all members an opportunity to participate in the consensus-building process, it is expected that all proposals be posted/discussed in an online or phone discussion forum accessible by all members (i.e. the BGP listserv, SC conference call, etc) at least once before the initiation of a final vote.
If blocking concerns or requests for amendments are raised during the initial steps of the consensus-building process, they should be resolved prior to the final vote. Blocking procedures are not allowed once a proposal has been submitted for a final vote. The final step in the process of seeking consensus shall be an online vote open to all Decision-Making members.
All proposals should be as succinct as possible and generally limited to the text of language to be posted publicly as new or amended policies of the Baltimore City Green Party. All questions regarding the text of a proposal should be clarified during the consensus-seeking process, before discussion of the proposal during General Membership meeting. Proposals shall be submitted in writing to the BGP Secretary in its final form. Any proposal requiring textual changes after a final vote should be withdrawn and resubmitted rather than revised after completion of a vote.
Proposals shall be made available for review by public posting on the BGP website for at least seven (7) days before a final vote is initiated at a General Membership meeting.
After every General Membership Meeting, proposals will be posted for an online vote. Votes will be open for seven (7) days unless otherwise specified. All Decision-Making Members will be entitled to cast a vote. The vote will be held using an online tabulation system (i.e. Opavote). Unless otherwise specified, decisions made according to these procedures must be approved by a majority (50%+1) of the votes cast.
A. General Membership meetings
The BGP will hold quarterly General Membership meetings in January, April, June, and September (or a similar schedule as decided by the Steering Committee). Every attempt to use an online platform to broadcast meetings will be made if a request by a member is made to a member of the Steering Committee.
General Membership Meetings are open to all Decision-Making Members and invited guests. Reasonable advance notice of the time, date, place, and proposed agenda should be provided to each Decision-Making Member via agreed-upon communication channels.
Each General Membership meeting shall be conducted by a facilitator appointed by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is tasked with bringing a proposed agenda to the meeting. The first order of business at each General Membership meeting shall be introductions, followed by a review of the proposed agenda. Adjustments to the proposed agenda may be made either by consensus or by a simple majority vote of the Decision-Making Members in attendance. Adjustments to the agenda should proceed quickly with very little discussion.
B. Working Meetings
The Steering Committee or another recognized committee will host a Working Meeting during any month in which there is no scheduled Membership Meeting.
ARTICLE V. Amendments to These Bylaws
These Bylaws shall be amended by the BGP decision-making process outlined in Article IV, Section 1 of these Bylaws.
ARTICLE VI. Candidate Nominations
A standing candidate nomination process was approved by the Decision-Making Membership in July 2019 and amended in January 2023 and is appended to these Bylaws. Non-substantive updates to the standing nomination process such as changing of dates, etc. shall be made by the Steering Committee. Any substantial changes to the standing candidate nomination process shall be decided by the decision-making process outlined in Article IV, Section 1 of these bylaws.
Appendices to BGP Bylaws
The Baltimore City Green Party (BGP) uses a party-run primary procedure to determine our nominees for partisan offices in Baltimore City, including:
- President of the City Council
- Member of the City Council
For Statewide and Federal Races please inquire with the Maryland Green Party
Candidate Eligibility: Candidates that have filed a State Board of Elections Declaration of Intent to run as a Green Party Candidate in Baltimore City will appear on the BGP primary ballot.
Dates of Primary: Primary voting will be open from 8:00 AM, July 8th, 2024 to 8:00 PM, July 14th, 2024.
Voter Eligibility All Green voters in a district in which there is a candidate will be able to request and cast a ballot. People disenfranchised from being able to register to vote, including people under 18 years old, people who are incarcerated, and people who are citizens of other countries, may request to become a member of the Baltimore City Green Party by emailing the BGP steering committee at [email protected] by July 1st, 2024, and request a ballot and vote in the Baltimore City Green Party 2024 Primary Election.
Voter Engagement At least one forum will be held by the party between the filing deadline and the start of the election. The party will hold a debate for any contested elections and a forum for all candidates. The steering committee will also provide multiple opportunities for candidates to engage with Green voters during the election cycle
Ballot Design and Tabulation All balloting will be conducted using “Ranked Choice Voting”. That term is broad. The specific form of RCV will be determined by no later than June of 2023.
Vacancies If no candidate wins, or if there is no candidate for a position, a vacancy shall remain for that particular ballot line.
Disputes : Unless the membership decide otherwise, the steering committee shall resolve any disputes. If a member would like to propose a different dispute resolution process, they must do so at the April 2023 membership meeting and get it approved no later than June of 2023.
Information for Candidates
For the 2024 elections, all candidates seeking the nomination of the Baltimore City Green Party must:
1. File a Declaration of Intent with the Maryland State Board of Elections. State law requires each candidate that seeks to appear on the general election ballot to file a Declaration of Intent. The deadline is July 1, 2024. Candidates must have a Green Party voter affiliation at the time of the filing of the Declaration of Intent. More information about filing a declaration of intent can be found here.
2. Notify the Steering Committee of the Baltimore City Green Party. Candidates interested in running or wishing to notify the Baltimore Green Party of their intent to run can send an email to [email protected].
3. Not appear on the primary ballot for the Democrat or Republican Parties in 2024. State law prohibits candidates who did not win a primary from appearing on a general election ballot. It is also the policy of the Baltimore City Green Party that candidates are not eligible if they have appeared on the primary ballot of another party in the same general election cycle.
4. Obtain a Certificate of Nomination from the Maryland Green Party.
Per Maryland state law, the Maryland Green Party Coordinating Committee is the ultimate body that forwards the final Certificate of Nomination of candidates who will appear in the General Election to the Board of Elections, and under circumstances when evidence exists of egregious violations of Key Values by a prospective candidate, may choose not to forward a Certificate for that candidate.
Baltimore City Green Party Policy on Political Independence from Corporate-Funded Parties
- The BGP shall be politically and economically independent of the big banks and corporations and their political representatives in the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and similarly corporate-funded parties.
- In the presence of a Green Party ballot line, BGP-designated candidates shall be registered members of the Green Party In the absence of a Green Party ballot line, the BGP shall require its candidates to run as a non-corporate party, independent or non-partisan candidates.
- The BGP may nominate or endorse a candidate for independent or nonpartisan election who exhibits ample (per the body's determination) Green values and who is registered in a non-corporate party or has no party affiliation.
- The BGP shall not nominate or endorse the candidates of the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or similarly corporate-funded parties. Furthermore, the BGP shall not nominate or endorse candidates who are registered to vote with the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or similarly corporate-funded parties.
- After the BGP's nomination process has concluded, if there remains a vacancy in a particular race, the BGP may endorse candidates of other political parties or independent parties that share Green Party principles and goals and that are politically and financially independent of the big banks and corporations and their political representatives in the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and similarly corporate-funded parties.