Upper St. Clair Republican Committee
Policy for Endorsement of Candidates Adopted January 21, 2015
A primary objective of the Upper St. Clair Republican Committee is to promote, support and encourage the election of the most qualified candidates who believe in the principles of the Republican Party. Fundamental to this process is a continuous study of the duties and requirements of the offices and the issues, the performance of the incumbents, and interviews and evaluations of candidates, followed by recommendations to the voting public through endorsement of candidates. The purpose of this Policy is to establish a procedure to be followed by the Committee to determine which candidates to endorse and to inform the candidates and the voters about that procedure.
(A) General Principles
(1) This section concerns the elected offices and not the specific candidates for those elected offices. The Committee may vote to endorse candidates for any elected office and the following guiding principles — (A)(1)(a), (A)(1)((b), and (A)(1)((c) which follow — are therefore general and are not intended to limit Committee actions or decisions.
(a) This policy is applicable for the primary election for local candidates, candidates elected countywide, and candidates for legislative offices (except those elected Statewide) serving the Township. (b) Candidates will not be endorsed by the Committee for the general election since they have already been chosen by the Republican constituency in the primary and are automatically endorsed so this policy is not applicable.
(b) Candidates for Statewide or National elections will not normally be endorsed since our endorsement would have little or no effect and could be in opposition to the Allegheny County and/or Pennsylvania State Republican Committees, which is not beneficial to the Republican Party.
(2) It is intended that for each open position in the primary election the Committee will endorse one candidate who meets the requirements of this policy.
(3) The fundamental reason for endorsement is to persuade the voters to support a candidate.
(4) The Committee believes having support of only a bare majority of the Committee members is inadequate to assure strong support and assistance for the candidate by all members and thus this policy provides that a super majority is required to endorse a candidate. By having such a requirement, it is intended that both the candidates and the voters will understand and appreciate that achieving endorsement by the Committee is ultimately more significant and meaningful. But this also makes it more likely that some candidates will not succeed in securing the Committee’s endorsement and some open positions in the primary may not have an endorsed candidate.
(B) Meeting with Candidates
(1) Interviewing candidates, discussing their merits, and voting takes a significant amount of Committee time. Also, the Committee recognizes that candidates deserve an adequate hearing and that they also may have time constraints.
(a) The Committee shall schedule a minimum of two meetings held as close together as possible to interview candidates. If at all possible, it is intended to interview and consider all the candidates for one office or duplicate offices at the same meeting. It is hoped that having two meetings will make it possible for each candidate to schedule an appearance before the Committee. Should the candidate find that it is impossible to attend either of the meetings of the Committee, the candidate must send a representative to meet with the Committee and it is recommended that the candidate also provide the Committee with a written statement at least three days prior to the last meeting at which candidates will be interviewed and include in the written statement such things as qualifications, reason for seeking the position and response to any written questions provided by the Candidate Endorsement Committee. This written statement will be in addition to the questionnaire described in paragraph (2) of this section and will be a more complete statement by the candidate because of the candidate’s inability to meet with the Committee. Candidates that do not appear or send a representative at either of the two meetings will not be considered.
(b) Each candidate shall be interviewed separately and shall have 15 minutes to speak to the Committee and answer questions. During this 15-minute period, it is suggested that the candidate give an opening statement for no more than about five minutes and thus leave about 10 minutes to answer questions.
(c) The maximum number of candidates that the Committee will interview during one meeting shall be eight. Including time between candidates, it is assumed that these interviews can be completed in 2 1/2 hours so if the meeting starts promptly at 7:00 PM, the interviews will be complete by 9:30 PM.
(d) Immediately following the interview phase, the Committee will go into a closed meeting to discuss the candidates and vote on their endorsement.
(2) As soon as it is established that a candidate will meet with the Committee, the candidate will be given a copy of this policy and a questionnaire covering the candidate’s personal data, qualifications for the position sought, and some general questions. The candidate should return the questionnaire to the Secretary of the Committee as quickly as possible so it can be emailed to all Committee members.
(3) Questions for candidates — As part of the regular organization of the Committee, the Chairman shall appoint a Chairman of a Candidate Endorsement Committee and at least two other members who will be responsible for the candidates for endorsement. This Committee will solicit suggestions from the entire Committee for questions to ask the candidates. It will be the responsibility of the Candidate Endorsement Committee to select the most appropriate questions, prioritize them, and to word the questions in a brief and clear manner. The Questions Committee shall provide a list of questions to the candidates at least 10 days prior to the first interview session. The Committee may also keep some questions confidential to be used in the interview. A member of the Candidate Endorsement Committee will manage the interviewing of the candidates by reading the questions, both published and confidential, as designated by the Candidate Endorsement Committee as written — with no amplification or follow up – to each of the candidates, continuing down the list of questions until the candidate’s time has expired. Because of the tight time constraints, the floor will not be opened for questions from any member, including the Chairman.
(C) Participation by Committee Members in Discussion and Voting
(1) If a Committee member is closely related to a candidate being discussed (specifically, father, mother, spouse, sibling, son, daughter, in-law, or step relation) or the Committee member has a direct financial relationship with the candidate for endorsement, that member shall leave the room during the discussion period. Prior to leaving the room, the member shall be given an opportunity to make a statement concerning endorsement of the candidate. After the discussion has ended, the member shall be summoned back into the room.
(2) Under [the rules in] Robert’s Rules, no member can be compelled to refrain from voting simply because it is perceived that he or she may have some "conflict of interest" with respect to the motion under consideration. If a member has a direct personal or pecuniary (monetary) interest in a motion under consideration not common to other members, the rule in Robert’s Rules is that he/she should not vote on such a motion, but even then he or she cannot be compelled to refrain from voting. [Robert’s Rules (10th ed.), p. 394, l. 15-25.]
(D) Voting Procedure
(1) The Bylaws specify that proxies may be used and that a member may hold only one proxy.
(2) The Bylaws specify that while associate members may participate in the discussion, only full members may cast ballots.
(3) In order to be endorsed by the Committee, a candidate must receive at least 60% of the total number of votes cast by members present and members represented by proxies at the meeting.
(4) Prior to any voting, the Secretary shall call the roll of members qualified to vote and each person shall answer “Present” or “I am holding the proxy for that member”. The Secretary shall then announce the total number of votes present including proxies represented and shall calculate the number of votes required to achieve at least 60% of the votes present including proxies represented and shall announce that figure as the minimum number of votes required for endorsement. If, at any time during the voting, there is a change in either of these numbers because of members arriving or leaving the meeting, the Secretary shall announce the new numbers.
(5) Voting shall be by written, secret ballot. Associate members will be asked to assist by distributing and collecting ballot forms and with the counting procedure. A chalkboard or other method of recording the votes will be set up in front of the room and the names of the candidates being voted on will be listed and the votes for each candidate will be recorded as the votes on each paper ballot are called out.
(6) If there is one candidate for one position
(a) Votes shall be cast as yes or no.
(b) If the yes votes are at least 60% of the total, the candidate is endorsed.
(c) If the yes votes are less than 60% of the total, one additional vote shall be taken.
(d) Then, if the yes votes are less than 60% of the total, the candidate is not endorsed.
(7) For two candidates for one position.
(a) Votes shall be cast for the names of the candidates.
(b) If the votes for one candidate are at least 60% of the total, that candidate is endorsed.
(c) If the votes for both candidates are less than 60% of the total, one additional vote shall be taken.
(d) Then, if neither candidate has at least 60% of the total, neither candidate is endorsed.
(8) For several candidates for several positions:
(a) Each eligible member and each eligible proxy (jointly called ‘voting members’) shall have the number of votes equal to the number of open positions for endorsement. For example, if 4 school board positions are open for endorsement, then each voting member shall have 4 votes.
(b) A voting member shall not cast more than one vote per candidate in each round of voting. If a ballot is found to have more than one vote per candidate, it shall be discarded and not counted.
(c) Votes shall be cast for the names of the candidates.
(d) If any of the candidates receives at least 60% of the votes, the candidate is endorsed.
(e) If either no candidate receives enough votes to be endorsed or the number of candidates who received enough votes to be endorsed is less than the number of open positions, e.g., if 2 candidates are endorsed for 4 open positions, then a second vote is taken.
(f) Prior to taking a second vote, the list of candidates shall be reduced by removing both the names of the endorsed candidates and the names of any candidates who received zero votes in the previous round of voting.
(g) A second vote is taken with each voting member having the number of votes equal to the number of remaining open positions for endorsement. For example, in the first round of voting, if 2 candidates were endorsed for four open positions, each voting member shall have 2 votes in the second round of voting on the remaining candidates.
(h) This procedure will continue until the number of endorsed candidates is equal to the number of open positions for endorsement.
(i) If, after several rounds of voting, it becomes apparent either that no candidate will be endorsed or that the number of endorsed candidates will be fewer than the open positions, the Committee may decide, by a simple majority vote, to cease voting.
(j) As stated in (A) (2), it is the Committee’s objective to endorse one candidate for each open position. It is possible that in any round of voting, the number of candidates receiving at least 60% of the vote may be greater than the number of open positions and, if that is the case, each of the candidates who have received at least 60% of the votes in this round of voting will then be voted on individually.
(1) The names of such candidates will be arranged in alphabetical order and the first candidate will be voted on by marking the ballots either yes or no.
(2) Separate ballots shall be held for each of the remaining such candidates.
(3) If a candidate receives yes votes totaling at least 60% of the total vote, that candidate shall be considered endorsed and this endorsement shall be final and there shall be no further votes concerning endorsement of this candidate.
(4) After completing the balloting on each of these individual candidates, if the total number of endorsed candidates still exceeds the number of open positions, it shall be considered that this is the Committee’s final decision and no further votes shall be taken for candidates for these open positions.
(k) The candidates for a four-year term for School Director shall be considered before the candidates for a two-year term for School Director. If a candidate has filed for both a four-year term and a two-year term for School Director, and if the candidate is endorsed for the four-year term, it shall be assumed that the candidate will withdraw from the candidacy for the two-year term and thus the candidate will not be considered for the two-year term.
(l) Changing this policy — this policy may be changed in either of two ways:
(1) By a vote of the same percentage of votes shown in (D) (3) above which are required to endorse a candidate and the change will become effective immediately
(2) By the vote of a simple majority of Committee members in a regularly scheduled meeting and who are entitled to vote and the change will become effective thirty days after the date of the vote.
Our Policy for Endorsing Candidates
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