Eliminating Slates Would Enhance Democracy

Viewpoints: Bylaw Resolution

Volume C, No. 5May, 2000

Martin Agee

A proposed revision of Local 802’s Election Bylaws will be up for consideration at the June 20 membership meeting, and it is hoped that a quorum of members will attend to vote on it.

The resolution calls for the elimination of four paragraphs in the current bylaws dealing with the formation of election slates and the listing of candidates as a “ticket” or party. These paragraphs date back at least as far as the Arons administration. They were used at that time, it is thought, as a vehicle which made it difficult or impossible to run an election campaign against the then current administration. In addition, persons within the administration who held opposing points of view were vulnerable to being ousted from the ticket in the next election.

It is in the interest of promoting a more democratic atmosphere in election procedures, then, that this bylaw amendment is presented. The members who have submitted the proposal believe that an election system that is not only open to, but encourages, individuals to run for Local 802 office will promote a more diverse, involved and active administration representing viewpoints of many musicians from all of the diverse sectors of the music profession. It will allow candidates to run for office without party affiliation and across both real and perceived “party lines.” The potential increase in the diversity of candidates can only enhance the democratic process which is so vital to our union.

A full text of the bylaw resolution appears in the box at right. Following are the exact paragraphs which the resolution, if adopted, would eliminate:

Local 802 AFM Bylaws

Section 2 (a) Any group of six or more candidates may be designated as a ticket upon written request of said candidates. Such request must contain the name of the ticket and the signatures of the candidates making the request and must be submitted to the agency conducting the election in accordance with that agency’s rules.

Section 2 (b) No candidate may appear on more than one ticket.

Section 2 (c) Candidates listed as a ticket shall be given a column (or row, if the ballot is so arranged by the agency conducting the election) and no other candidate shall appear in that column (or row).

Section 2 (d) Independent candidates shall be listed in one column or row on the election ballot. If there are more candidates than there are offices, additional columns or rows shall be provided and the list of candidates divided among the columns or rows as evenly as possible. Placement of the candidates within columns or rows shall be by random drawing under rules set by the agency conducting the election.