Third Edition, January 2007
*Updated April, 2007 [The delegate manuals and the GNC page are undergoing revision. Please check back frequently for changes]
“Building the Bike as we Ride It”
In other words, this is a work in progress. For years there had been talk in the Green Party of the United States of creating a manual for delegates to its Coordinating Committee (which is now actually the FEC approved National Committee). The First Edition was posted on the Green party website in the spring of 2003. As the National Committee has evolved, so has the need to update this introduction, hence the Third Edition.
While mustering resources for this delegate manual, it also appeared that much of the information could also be useful for State Parties so that they might better understand what they are choosing delegates for, as well as spreading an understanding of the national Green Party to a wider audience.
Some things will be more relevant to delegates, and some things will be more useful to state parties, but we hope that everything will contribute to people¹s understanding of what is going on in the Green Party.
Currently, we have this introduction, a philosophical piece on the reverse hierarchy that enforces grassroots power in the Green Party and why that is so necessary, and a technical piece on the Federal Election Commission and how that may relate to the State Parties need to deal with it. Also included are links to the National Committee Voting page, a description of how the voting page and voting procedures work, links to the National Committee listservs and listserv guidelines, and links and addresses for general information.
An Introduction to the GPUS
The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) is a federation made up of the State Green Parties of the various states – not much different in theory from State Parties that are federations of local and municipal/county parties. Greens convene themselves in fairly similar organizations locally, at the state level, and nationally, discussing issues of importance, figuring out how to effect the public debate, getting candidates into the mix, and creating organizations. In every case, there is a need for communication among and between the various levels of the network in all directions, and with the growth of the Green Party there are ever more people at the nodes of communication and action.
Municipal/County/Watershed associations of greens, however they are legally designated, designate representatives to, or are served by individuals participating in, their State Party. State Parties send delegates to the GPUS, and the delegates take part in the deliberations and actions of the GPUS and might be expected to develop an analogous relationship to their state parties as local delegates to the state party develop with their local.
This communication in two directions, from the local groups to the State Party to the GPUS, and from the GPUS to the delegates from the state parties to the grassroots, is import to the growth and development of the Green Party. Delegates to the GPUS National Committee (the NC) play a crucial part in the communication system.
State Green Parties around the country have vastly different levels of capacity. Some have a large membership, actively functioning committees, a real presence throughout their state, victorious candidates, and a functioning communication and decision making process. Others are barely there, running on the will and energy of a small group of dedicated greens. Most are somewhere in between. All Green Parties in the States could use more resources and have way more to do at home than they could possibly ever do.
We want to relate what delegates will face in their efforts to facilitate the growth of the Green Party both at the national level and at the state level, and a plea for the State Parties to develop communication systems that facilitate the flow of information to and from their delegates and others participating in the work of the national party. This will help potential delegates as well as those elected, and might be useful for state parties as they choose delegates and try to take advantage of the synergy¹s that our networks create.
There is one in-person Green Party of the United States National Committee meeting each year, usually in the summer, and therefore for most of the year the GPUS NC delegates do nearly all of their business on line. Nearly all official business is carried out on the “natlcomvotes” listserve which is explicitly for NC business. The “natlcomaffairs” is a list for discussion by NC delegates, though it tends to be a conduit for a variety of information.
With most work taking place online, a NC delegate should plan on checking the email list consistently, preferably on a daily basis. We know that delegates are also going to be involved in all kinds of state and local activity. Therefore, one things that state parties and potential delegates might want to consider is how well a potential delegate handles their email load. The other side of this might be how well the state party is set up to respond to national communications in timely fashion and advise their delegates.
Delegates should also plan to vote regularly, with votes coming 1, 2, or maybe 3 times a month.
State parties may find it useful to set some guidelines for their delegates as to which issues need to come back to the state party for formal consultation and possibly a directed vote, which issues can be completely left to the delegate, and what to do in the terrain in between. Some states appear to leave their delegates out their on their own or provide a minimum of assistance; some have very regular channels, including things like a delegates listserve.
Regarding fundraising, not only is there a synergy between state and national fundraising, but the national party is developing tools that can/will contribute to the financial health of the grassroots and provide some resources, both financial and from people power. State Parties should be aware that delegates do see pleas for the State Parties to provide financial assistance to the National Party, proposals for joint events, plans for how to share resources, and similar things. It is recommended that each State Party set up a system for receiving this information and acting upon it in a way that makes sense for your state party.
Much of our work is done in the various working committees. Most committee accept up to three members per state party. Delegates to the GPUS NC are encouraged to explore the various committees and, in most cases, may join whichever they choose, permission being inherent in their election as a delegate.
Nearly all committees are also open to other members of State Green Parties, and Greens are encouraged to participate if they have the interest. Greens who are not delegates must have the permission of their state party to serve on a committee. A list of committees and contact information is available on the GPUS website.
A technical guide to what to do as a delegate: how to vote, what format proposals should come in, and related information, is included in this packet. A list of useful links and other information is included in the “Welcome New Delegates” message. We hope this packet serves the interest of both the delegates and the parties, and that we continue to see growth and development in the Green Party.
2. Welcome New Delegates!
Welcome to the National Committee of the GPUS! We’re glad to have you with us and hope your term of service as a delegate will be rewarding. To get you started, we are providing you with some basic information and resources in this e-mail.
A QUICK OVERVIEW OF DELEGATE DUTIES
In brief, delegates’ obligations are fourfold:
1. To represent their caucus, state, territory, or district;
2. To inform state constituencies of GPUS proposals, votes, actions, and
3. To vote on proposals;
4. To further the work of the GPUS by serving on committees, or help
provide a replacement volunteer from your state party or caucus.
Voting takes place on line, via the voting page at <https://secure.gpus.org/cgi-bin/vote/index >. You will be signed up for voting and issued a password to access your voting page. Please keep your password and username in a safe place.
To contact the voting page administrator to get a login id and password, or report bugs, send an e-mail to <email@example.com>.
Proposals are presented to the National Committee for discussion and/or amendment on the “natlcomvotes” listserve. Each proposal undergoes a discussion period and a voting period. During the discussion period, the proposal is subject to revisions. Delegates register a yes, no, or abstention. (Nonparticipation in a vote is not equivalent to an abstention.)
All delegates and alternates are members of the National Committee by virtue of their selection by their state party. The National Committee is the national coordinating body of the GPUS and serves much the same purpose as a general assembly.
It is strongly encouraged that the delegates, or others selected by their state parties, serve on at least one other committee. Each state may have up to three representatives per committee for most working committees. For more information on individual committees, please go to < https://gpus.org/committees/ > .
INFORMATION WE NEED FROM YOU
a) your affiliation (state party, caucus)
b) a list of committees or caucuses upon which you are currently serving
c) contact information (first and last name, address, city, state, zip, phone number, fax, e-mail address, website if any, and status [delegate, alternate, observer])
d) if you wish, a resume of Green party and public service related positions you have held or are currently holding, articles or other writings you have published, and other pertinent information related to Green party activities.
Please send your material (in plain-text format) to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the most current information, please go to the voting site at < https://secure.gpus.org/cgi-bin/vote/index > .
The GPUS website <https://www.gp.org> Includes press releases, party news, contact information, organizing tools, committee and caucus information, archives, etc.
Bylaws and Operating Rules and other Useful Information < https://gpus.org/gpus-governing-rules/ >
Voting page <https://secure.gpus.org/cgi-bin/vote/index > Proposals, vote histories, voting page, delegate list and contacts
The Green Party in the news Press releases < https://www.gp.org/press_releases >
Many links to useful publications and websites can be found at the following url: <http://www.gp.org/links.shtml>
Organizing tools < https://www.gp.org/organizing_tools >
Voting and Proposals (official business) list: <http://six.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/natlcomvotes>
Discussion list: <http://six.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/natlcomaffairs>
For these lists, you will be issued a password. Please keep your password and username in a safe place. Periodically, instructions are sent on how to access and change your account information. Having your password and username handy makes it easy for you – and the listserv administrator.
GREEN PARTY of the UNITED STATES
PO Box 75075
Washington, DC 20013
202 319-7191 – voice
To Receive Assistance as a New Delegate To receive more assistance, please contact first your fellow delegates, then feel free to contact the Secretary of the party.
David Gerry, Secretary, GPUS
General contact: email@example.com
3. Voting Page 101
GREEN PARTY NATIONAL COMMITTEE VOTING PAGE
Current and past Green National Committee proposals, proposals currently in the “voting queue” and a list of National Committee delegates and alternates can be found via the voting page. To find current proposals, cast a vote or check on the status of a vote, go to the voting page.
WHERE TO FIND THE VOTING PAGE AND LOG IN
An easy way to find the voting page is to start at the Green Party home page – https://www.gp.org
On the left-hand column, click on the “Committees” link
On the next page, on the right-hand column, click on “Web-Based Voting Page”
Or, just paste this link in your browser: https://secure.gpus.org/cgi-bin/vote/index
On the voting page, you’ll see a menu bar near the top, a LOGIN link, columns with proposals in the discussion phase (on the left) and proposals in the voting phase (on the right). Underneath, you’ll find recent proposals and results followed by a link to more archives.
You can read any of the proposals by clicking on their titles. To vote on a proposal in the Currently Voting column, click on the link that says “Cast a Vote” You’ll get a prompt that asks for your login id and password. (You should have received this from the voting page administrator. If you don’t have your password, there is a prompt for you to have the program email it to you. If you don’t have a login id, either, email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or – email@example.com – and we will make sure you get one.)
CONTENTS and CURRENT PROPOSALS
The information available about the proposals on the voting page is limited to the proposal number and title, the floor manager, and whom to send comments. To find out more, you can click on the Proposal Title, (it might not look like a “link” but it is the part right after the proposal number), and go to a page for that proposal where there is more information. This includes the actual text of the proposal, along with background, resources required and more.
At the top of each proposal page there are always the same 9 “fields” containing information specific to each proposal. These “fields” are: PROPOSAL ID (which is the number used for the proposal), PROPOSAL (which is the name or title of the proposal), PRESENTER (which tells you which State or Committee submitted the proposal), PHASE (which tells you if it is in the “Voting” or the “Discussion” phase), DISCUSSION (this fields entry tells you when the “Discussion Phase” starts and ends), VOTING (when the “Voting Phase” starts and ends), PRESENS QUORUM (what portion of the entire National Committee is required to have a “quorum” and thus make the results of the vote valid) and CONSENS QUORUM (which tells us what portion of the NC is required to support the proposal for it to be passed.)
TO CAST A VOTE
Once the voting period for a proposal begins, delegates will receive an automated message (on the “natlcomvotes” listserv). This will include a link you can click that will take you to a page that asks for your user id and password. Once you’ve typed in your login id and password, and clicked “submit,” you will arrive at the page where you can cast a vote for one or more current proposals.
Or, you can go to the voting page, click on the link that says “Cast A Vote” under each proposal in the “Voting Phase” block, or click on the word “VOTE” on the green menu bar near the top of the page. You’ll get the login and password prompt, then the place to vote for proposals currently in the voting phase. Click on your choice, then click the “submit” button – and that’s it!
You can change your vote up until the final deadline (11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the day of the deadline); however, once you have voted, you cannot “un-vote.”
TO FIND A DIRECTORY OF GPUS DELEGATES AND ALTERNATES
Click on the “Contacts” link in the green menu bar near the the of the page. Then, under the Heading “Delegates List,” click on the link “View the Complete Delegates List.” If you’re not logged in, you will be asked for your user id and password. Submit that, and you will get to the directory.
To log out, click on the word “Logout.”
4. GPUS NC List-Servers and Etiquette
- Format for Submitting Proposals to the Green Party (to be updated)
- List servers and GPUS NC etiquette
- Email etiquette guidelines
- Current and past proposals/votes(Online Voting Page)
5. IMPORTANT/USEFUL DOCUMENTS ON GREEN PARTY WEBSITE
6. GPUS COMMITTEES, CAUCUSES & LIAISONS
SUGGESTED COMMITTEE GOOD PRACTICES
We offer the following suggestions, with the understanding that different committees have different needs and missions. Form following function, committees should be free to define their own procedures, within the parameters specified by the GPUS Bylaws and Rules. See https://gpus.org/bylaws/
The following is a list of recommended guidelines. Clarification will allow committees to function more effectively, and to recruit additional participants.
Leadership or liaisons
We suggest having 2 main contacts (co-chairs, liaisons), and rotating those contacts on a regular basis. Committee expertise can be preserved in advisory capacities or other participation. The leadership must have the time to dedicate to the committee, and know how to delegate.
Clear purpose, and clear objectives
Specify not only the “mission” of the committee, but also meeting-to-meeting clear objectives with deadlines to incite wider participation from Green Party members
Relationship with the GPUS National Committee, Steering Committee and other bodies
What is the delegated authority of the committee with national, international or other bodies – to which extend can the committee work autonomously, relationship?
– We suggest monthly scheduled internet chat and/or conference call (monthly, or every two months)
– Regular reports to the GPUS National Committee; post logs of minutes and conversations on the website
– PICK-UP THE PHONE: call new committee members, other delegates and old timers on a regular basis. This is the very best way to recruit new talent.
7. RELATION WITH THE STATES & GRASSROOTS
General contact: firstname.lastname@example.org