Voting Membership Policy

Purpose

A transparent and welcoming process to become a voting member of UP and one that protects the integrity of our endorsement process and ability to work effectively together.

Requirements

To become a voting member, one must:

  • support the UP Platform
  • reside in Ulster County
  • attend at least one general meeting a year
  • have been a volunteer with Ulster People for at least 2 months
  • contribute meaningfully as a volunteer for the organization
  • read and abide by the By-Laws and Code of Conduct
  • submit an application form
  • participate in an orientation

What constitutes a “meaningful volunteer contribution”?

Ulster People runs on volunteer labor. The work of our member-volunteers is the source of our political power. For matters of both fairness and practicality, the power to make decisions about how to allocate volunteer labor should be made by those who actually perform that labor. For this reason, voting membership is restricted to those who make a “meaningful volunteer contribution.”

The matter of what constitutes a “meaningful” contribution is ultimately subjective. We ask prospective applicants to only apply for voting membership if they consider their personal contribution to be meaningful and are willing to take on the additional responsibilities of collective decision-making.

Some examples of work which count towards a “meaningful” contribution:

  • Attending a work-party to write letters/make phone calls
  • Attending an UP-organized canvass (for an issue or a candidate)
  • Helping to set-up/clean-up or take names for a public event
  • Helping to coordinate volunteers for a public event
  • Booking a venue for an event or meeting
  • Making turn-out calls for a meeting
  • Doing data entry

Process

Application

Once a prospective voting member has completed their volunteer work, attended at least one general meeting, and been a non-voting member for at least two months, they may submit a short application to the membership coordinator. The application consists of:

  • A re-affirmation that they support UP’s platform, reside in Ulster County, and agree to UP’s by-laws and code of conduct
  • Description of work volunteered
  • A short personal introduction that can be sent to our voting members list (answering questions such as, “Who are you?” “What other groups are you a member of?” “Why are you excited to join UP?”)
  • A list of social media handles

Post-Application Process

The steering committee will review the application and notify the applicant of the decision.
If the steering committee approves the voting membership, the applicant must attend a short orientation with members of the steering committee during which the code of conduct will be reviewed.
Once the applicant completes the orientation, they are officially eligible to vote. The member’s personal introduction will be sent to the UP voting members email list and their membership will be announced at the next general meeting.

Orientation

The purpose of the orientation is to go over the by-laws and code of conduct, the structure and history of the organization, and get a sense of what sort of work (and potential leadership) the new member is interested in doing. It’s also a chance for the new voting member to give us some constructive feedback about UP: What are we doing right? Where could we improve?

The orientation concludes with the new member receiving a physical membership card signed by the membership coordinator and/or chair.

Timing

During August through November, we may not accept new voting members due to electoral workload. Otherwise, orientations will be scheduled as needed.

Inactive Members

Voting Members who do not actively participate in the organization for 12 months will have their voting privileges suspended and their status consider “inactive” until they resume active participation. The steering committee will review the membership list for inactive members prior to the Annual Meeting and at other times of their choosing.

A voting member must be notified in writing of their inactive status at least 10 days prior to a vote of members, and given an opportunity to appeal the status change by providing an account of their recent work with the organization to the Membership Coordinator. The Steering Committee will review all appeals and provide a decision in writing to the member in question.

An inactive member will remain included on electronic correspondence to voting members unless the member requests removal or suspension from the mailing list.

Restoration of Voting Rights

An inactive member may have their voting rights restored by resuming participation in the organization again, and notifying the Membership Coordinator with their intent to restore active status and an account of their recent participation in the organization. The Membership Coordinator must receive this notification at least 10 days before a vote. If the Membership Coordinator considers their participation to be sufficient, the member’s status is changed to active. If the Membership Coordinator does not find the participation sufficient, it goes to the Steering Committee for a final decision.

Hardship Waiver

Voting members may appeal to the Steering Committee to waive the participation requirement and retain their voting privileges for a given period due to a cause such as illness or financial hardship.

Voluntary Inactive Status

Voting members who know they will be unable to actively participate in Ulster People for a period of time may also voluntarily change their status to “inactive” by contacting the Membership Coordinator.