Communities Elections

Communities Election Process

Excerpts from The District of Columbia Bar Sections Policies and Procedures, effective July 1, 2015.

V. Section Nominations and Elections.

A. Timing.
The fiscal year for each section will correspond with the fiscal year of the Bar, July 1 through June 30. Each year, coinciding with the election of the Board of Governors and Bar officers, the membership of each section will elect section members to the section steering committee for a term of three years, commencing July 1.

The Director of Sections will establish a schedule governing election procedures and notify section members and the Bar at large of the election schedule, including petition procedures.

B. Section Nominating Committees.
The steering committee of each section shall select a nominating committee comprising at least three, but no more than five, section members in good standing. The nominating committee chair, who shall be selected by August 1, shall be a steering committee member, but the nominating committee may not be composed entirely of steering committee members. At least one nominating committee member must be a section member in good standing who is not a section steering committee member.

The nominating committee shall nominate at least two, but no more than three, section members in good standing for each vacancy on the steering committee. No member of a nominating committee shall be eligible for nomination. If the section nominating committee fails to nominate the appropriate number of candidates, pursuant to the schedule prepared by the Director of Sections, the steering committee has the authority to nominate candidates. If the steering committee fails to nominate the appropriate number of candidates per vacancy, the size of the steering committee shall be reduced accordingly.

C. The Nomination Process.
The Sections Office shall assist the nominations process by soliciting input from the section membership, the Bar at large, and voluntary bar associations. The Director of Sections will provide the section nominating committee chairs with a section membership roster, upon request. The nominating committee shall actively encourage the participation of all segments of the Bar, in accordance with the D.C. Bar’s core organizational values of diversity and inclusion.

All Bar members are eligible for nomination, except that no person will be eligible for election to a steering committee if he or she is a current member or officer of the Board of Governors. To be eligible to appear on a section’s ballot, a candidate must be a member of the section.

The Director of Sections shall distribute a candidate interest form to the membership of each section. The form will notify members of the start of the election process, and its deadlines. The number of steering committee vacancies will be publicized and will be posted on the D.C. Bar Web site.

Interested section members shall submit their candidate interest forms, along with their resumes, to the Sections Office. The Sections Office shall forward copies of the forms and resumes to the respective nominating committee chairs. Any Bar member may offer his or her candidacy, or may suggest the candidacy of another member on a candidate interest form.

After the deadline for submission of candidate interest forms and resumes, the nominating committee shall meet to review the potential candidates. The committee may solicit additional candidates, as it deems appropriate. The nominating committee shall prepare a slate that fairly represents the diversity of the Bar and the diversity of views within the section’s area of practice. If possible, the nominating committee will not nominate more than two members from the same institution, e.g., a law firm or government agency.

The D.C. Bar Nominations/Leadership Development Committee will review each section’s candidate slate before the slate is confirmed. If the Nominations/Leadership Committee determines that the slate is not balanced, reflecting the D.C. Bar’s core organizational values of diversity and inclusion, the section’s nominating committee shall attempt to nominate such additional persons as are appropriate. The limit on the number of candidates under § V.B. will be waived for this purpose.

The Director of Sections will submit a list of steering committee candidates for all sections for inclusion in Washington Lawyer and other publications.

Nominations by petition may be made in writing, with the signatures of not less than ten section members. Such a petition shall be filed with the Director of Sections, pursuant to the schedule prepared by the Director of Sections.

D. The Election Process.

1. Campaigning.
Campaigning by candidates in the form of distribution of leaflets, paid announcements in legal publications, or other forms of mass solicitation is allowed. However, pursuant to the D.C. Bar Policy on Mailings Regarding Bar Elections, adopted March 10, 1988, section letterhead shall not be used by individuals endorsing specific candidates for election, nor shall section funds be used in any manner to support individual candidates. Bar and section postal mailing lists are available from the Bar’s Marketing Representative, at a candidate discount from the retail price as determined by the D.C. Bar Board of Governors.

2. Preparation of the Ballot.
The Director of Sections or the Director’s designee shall prepare a formal ballot containing the names of all nominees, with a biographical statement of no more than 675 characters from each candidate who submits one. Only the first 675 characters submitted shall be included on the ballot. The ballot order will be determined by lot under the supervision of the Chair of the D.C. Bar’s Election Board. The Election Board Chair will review the election ballots prior to the deadline for submission of the ballots to the printer. Complete voting instructions will appear on each ballot.

Three working days prior to the deadline for submission of biographical statements, a letter will be transmitted to candidates whose statements have not been received. If a candidate fails to submit his or her biographical statement on a timely basis, pursuant to the schedule prepared by the Director of Sections, only the candidate’s name will appear on the ballot.

3. Vacancies Arising During Election.
In the event of death, disability or resignation of any member of the section steering committee, including by reason of succession to the Office of the Chair of the Council on Sections (See § II.D.4), after the election ballots are mailed to section members, but before those elected commence their terms of office, the non–elected candidate receiving the next highest number of votes shall fill the vacancy and serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

Regardless of the length of an unexpired term, it shall be counted under the term limits required by §II.C.2 as a new steering committee member’s first term.

4. Voting.
Voting shall be by secret ballot. Ballots shall be distributed to each section member in good standing, along with voting instructions. The Sections Office shall comply with any rules the Board of Governors may have adopted for section elections, including provisions to ensure secrecy of the votes and to prevent use of the ballots by persons ineligible to vote. Only those who are section members as of April 15 may vote.

5. Counting of Ballots.
In the event of a tie vote, the successful nominee will be decided by lot, as determined by the Chair of the D.C. Bar’s Election Board. All ballots will be stored for sixty days.

All challenges to the results of the election shall be lodged in writing and shall be submitted to the Chair of the D.C. Bar’s Election Board within 14 days after the results of the election have been announced. The D.C. Bar’s Election Board shall decide the challenge, and its decision shall be final.

The results of the election will be published in Bar-wide periodicals, and in other appropriate publications, within a reasonable time. Upon request, a candidate may obtain from the Sections Office the following actual vote count information on that candidate’s election:

a) the total number of votes cast,
b) the number of votes the candidate received, and
c) the number of votes received by the winning candidates.