Local Groups

Local Groups

Types of Local Groups

 

There are different possible 'local groups' of the Maine Green Independent Party, some with statutory roles and others recognized by the state party.

 

Municipal and county committees represent the party in their jurisdictions. They have rights outlined in statute: receive notice of elections, nominate candidates in special elections, etc.

 

Municipal committees are entitled to nominate members to serve as election clerks and receive the entire voting list of the municipality for every two years free of charge.

 

Municipal committees are legally formed when municipal Greens caucus and form a committee. Ask us to help you convene your town/city caucus!

 

County committees are elected every two (even-numbered) years at a state convention from nominations made at muncipal caucuses or the floor of the convention. In between the biennial conventions, the state committee appoints founding members of county committees not elected at that convention. Let us know if you want to be on a county committee!

 

Two district committees also exist under statute, one for each of the two U.S. Congressional Districts. Their only statutory authority is to nominate candidates for the ballot in a special election for a vacant position (due to death, resignation or removal) for U.S. Congress.

 

The state committee, elected annually at our convention, represents the Maine Green Independent Party -- sheperding the authorities and requirements applicable to a state party in Maine. This is YOUR party!  Contact us to get involved!

 

The party recognizes local group organization beyond the borders of towns and counties: Local groups organized in neighborhoods, natural regions, colleges or by identity and association are encouraged!


While these groups may not have specified authority granted to them by statute, we recognize and accept them as part of the party's structure.

 

All local groups of the party -- statutory or not -- are given privileges within the state party. All local groups should strive to meet four times annually.

 

Benefits fpr Local Groups

 

1. Notice of state committee meeting minutes and agenda.

2. Ability to place items for consideration on the state committee agenda.

3. Access to the state party's compiled list of enrolled Green Independents within their jurisdiction (if applicable).

4. Municipal committees may appoint a representative to the county committee.

5. County committees may appoint a representative to the state committee.

 

How to Form

 

if you are interested in forming or joining any local group of the party, we would love to help you! Contact us NOW!

In the Bylaws

 

Article III. Local Groups

Members of the party meeting a minimum of four times annually shall be considered a local group of the party once the group designates one person to act as a state contact person for that group. The state contact person will communicate local concerns, questions, proposals, etc. of the group to the state committee, as well as relay information from the state committee to the group. The state contact person shall be a person who has an email address that he or she regularly uses.

Article III, Section A. County Committees

By statute, county committees shall be formed at conventions on even-numbered years from nominations made at municipal caucuses and the convention floor. The size of each county committee shall be determined by the convention unless a county committee has standing bylaws which have been submitted to the state committee, in which case the size of the county committee will be defined by its own bylaws so long as those bylaws provide for any municipal committee within the county to appoint at least one member to the county committee.

If at a convention, there are no nominees, or only one nominee to a county committee, then the state committee is authorized to appoint one or two members to that county committee at a later date, after which the members will constitute a duly formed county committee.
 
Once formed, the county committees may expand their size, fill vacancies and establish rules and bylaws as they see fit, providing that any municipal committee within the county may appoint at least one member to the county committee.

If it is deemed that a county committee's bylaws are constructed in such a way so that quorum may not be achieved or the county committee cannot meet or function, then any convention may intervene to reconstruct the county committee.

 If a statute governing party county committees changes, and these bylaws are in contradiction to the statute, then the state committee shall schedule a convention to amend these bylaws to comply with the statute.

Article III, Section C. Access and Notice

 Any municipal or county committee or otherwise qualifying local group may propose items to the state committee for consideration of action.

 The state committee shall provide notice, agenda and minutes of its meetings to any municipal or county committee or other qualifying local group that has designated a state contact person. The state committee will keep the committees and groups informed of its actions and pose questions to them.

 Article IV, Section A. County Seats

 By their own processes, county committees may choose one party member to be on the state committee, herein referred to as holding a “county seat” on the state committee. The county committee must provide to the state committee documentation verifying the election or appointment of a person to the county seat, either in minutes of a county committee meeting at which the state committee member was elected, or by written notice from an officer of the county committee that includes a citation of county committee minutes, bylaws or rules that authorize the state committee member to be appointed by other means.

 Article IV, Section A, Part 1. Active Membership

 State committee members holding a county seat on the state committee shall be considered active except as follows:

 If three months have elapsed since a county committee met and that county committee has not submitted minutes of a subsequent meeting to the state committee, then that county's seat on the state committee shall be inactive until minutes of any subsequent meeting are submitted.

 If a state committee member in a county seat is absent from a state committee meeting for three consecutive meetings, that county's seat shall be considered inactive until the member attends a meeting, or the county committee notifies the state party that another person occupies the seat and that person attends a meeting. The inactive status shall be applied at the commencement of the third consecutive meeting at which the member is not present for roll call. Inactive members will not be counted as part of the total from which quorum is determined.

2022 Caucuses

In 2022, from Jan. 1 to March 19, municipal caucuses will be convened around the state for the purpose of electing local leaders, supporting our candidates and organizing around issues important to the party.

 

Caucuses are the legal means in Maine by which municipal committees are formed and officers elected. County committee members may also be nominated at these municipal caucuses.

 

To increase party organization statewide, we encourage Greens to convene or attend caucuses in their towns or cities.

 

If there is not currently a party municipal committee existing in your town, any enrolled Green in the municipality may convene the caucus. Contact us if you would like to convene a caucus -- we will help you organize it!

 

Feel free to review the caucus documents provided.

 

Basic Caucus Checklist:

 

1. Set date and time; contact town clerk to reserve venue.

2. Put a flyer up in town before the caucus, provide copy to town clerk.

3. Download/Print caucus materials (agenda/data sheet) to bring to caucus.

4. Attend caucus. Record info on data sheet while proceeding through agenda.

5. Submit data sheet to state party and town clerk.

Sample Municipal Bylaws

In order to prevent the municipal committee from becoming inactive, it is best if the committee establishes a basic agreed upon set of bylaws under which to operate.
Here are sample bylaws the municipal committee may choose to pass, inserting the name of the municipality, and the first letter of the municipality for "X" in 'XGIC." Some municipalities may choose to have co-chairs or other additional officers. The following is just a sample template for caucuses to consider. If the caucus is unable to pass bylaws, the caucus may choose to table it until the next meeting.

 

Sample Municipal Committee Bylaws

 

[Name of Municipality] Green Independent Committee [XGIC] Bylaws

 

I. Purpose
The purpose of the [XGIC} is to grow the presence of the Maine Green Independent
Party in [Name of Municipality] by recruiting members and supporting enrolled Green Independent candidates.
II. Members
All enrolled Green Independents in [Name of Municipality] shall be considered members of the [XGIC].
III. Officers
The committee will elect a chairperson on even-numbered years at the municipal committee's biennial caucus, for a term of roughly two years and expiring at the end of the next biennial caucus. The committee may create and elect other officers as it sees fit, and fill vacancies created by resignation, death or change of municipality residence. Elections for all offices will be held at each biennial caucus.
IV. Meetings
The chairperson will generally organize and facilitate meetings. The committee will strive for consensus, but a majority vote may be called for by a majority of members in attendance. The [XGIC] chairperson may organize meetings to be held in a variety of formats,
including phone calls, e-mail, video chat and others, so long as the means of attending, voting and adjourning are explained.
V. Quorum
Quorum shall be at least one officer and any other member, with at least 24 hours notice of a meeting given to all committee members who attended the last meeting, or notice on a general forum previously approved by the committee as qualifying as notice (i.e. Facebook page, website, e-mail list, town calendar, etc.). Alternatively, any two committee members may constitute quorum, with public notice provided at least a week in advance in the same manner in which public notice is legally required for a caucus.
VI. Authority and Vision
The [XGIC] represents the Maine Green Independent Party on issues affecting [Name of Municipality], and will work to establish a municipal identity of the party, increase visibility and work with the party's county and state committees toward common goals.
VII. Failure to caucus.
In the event that the committee, or any resident Green Independent in [Name of Municipality] fails to convene a biennial municipal caucus by March 19 on even-numbered years, then all officer terms shall be considered expired and the municipal committee dissolved. Any resident may convene a caucus as prescribed by statute to again form the municipal committee.
VIII. Amendements
These bylaws may be amended by a majority of all members in attendance.
Bylaws established [Date of Passage]

Sample Caucus Notice

 

 

CAUCUS NOTICE


GREEN INDEPENDENT PARTY

 

Caucus for (YOUR TOWN)

 

to occur at (TIME a.m/p.m.)

 

on (WEEKDAY, MONTH DATE)

 

at the (LOCATION).

 

This caucus is being called by (NAME OF CONVENER).

 

ALL GREEN INDEPENDENTS WELCOME!

 

Unenrolled and new (YOUR TOWN) voters may register to vote or enroll as a Green Independent for a half hour before the meeting begins. A town registrar will be available to enroll members.

 

The Maine Green Independent Party is going local!

 

Greet Green neighbors, elect local party leaders and meet your candidates.

Caucus Data Sheet

Caucus Data Sheet (for use in conjunction with Caucus Agenda)

(Copy form and fill out at caucus)

 

Municipality:

 

Time, Date, Location:

 

Attendees (signup sheet—name, address, phone, email):

 

Caucus Secretary (just for caucus meeting):

 

Caucus Chair (just for caucus meeting):

 

Bylaws Passed? (YES/NO)

 

Municipal Party Committee Officers (chair, secretary or other officers):

 

Election Clerk Nominees (to work polls for pay, submit to town or city clerk by April 1):

 

Delegates to Party's State Convention:

 

Nominees for Party County Committee (to be elected at convention):

 

Votes for Presidential Nomination: 

 

Candidates for office (name of person and office sought):

 

Next Scheduled Committee Meeting:

 

CAUCUS ATTENDEE LIST

NAME – ADDRESS – PHONE – EMAIL


­___________________________________________________________________________________

 

Send copy of Caucus Data Sheet and Attendance Sheet to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Electronic text copy preferred.

Caucus Agenda

Sample Caucus Agenda (for use in conjunction with Caucus Data Sheet)

 

(following this agenda will cover all bases and provide opportunities for every statutory caucus provision to be executed)

 

I. Introduction and Statements—Open the Caucus. Introduce yourself and "open" the caucus.

II. Election of Caucus Officers.

  1.  Election of Caucus Secretary

  2.  Election of Caucus Chair

III. Determine Parliamentary Procedure of Caucus (consensus, majority vote, Robert's Rules, etc.).

IV. Form Municipal Committee. IMPORTANT!

  1.  Number of offices/members. (Most municipal committees choose to recognize all enrolled Green Independents in a municipality as MEMBERS of the committee—in essence making the committee an ongoing caucus. In doing so, the committee should redefine quorum so that a majority of all enrolled Green Independents—a nearly impossible attainment—is not necessary to conduct business. For OFFICERS, typical offices created are chair, secretary and/or treasurer as needed).

  2.  Length of terms. (As the committee wishes--usually two years, until the next caucus).

  3.  Duties of committee. (Set duties as desired).

  4.  The caucus may choose to adopt bylaws that accomplish the three items above. Sample bylaws are available to consider.

V. Identify candidates for state representative (or other offices such as state senator or municipal or county offices). (Bring blank petition sheets for State Representative and State Senator in case an attendee decided then and there that they want to run).

VI. Speeches by candidates (or their representatives).

VII. Nominate Municipal Election Clerks (to work the polls).

VIII. Elect Municipal Delegates to the Party's Statewide Convention.

IX. Nominations/Elections for County Committee.

X. Other business.

XI. Pass the Hat (for future committee expenses such as mailing to members or renting of rooms).

XII. Set Next Meeting Time and Place of Municipal Committee.

Caucus Handbook

GIP Municipal Caucuses Handbook

In order to remain a qualified political party in the State of Maine, the Green Independent Party is required to hold biennial caucuses statewide. Caucuses are called by the existing municipal committee of the party, or in the absence of a committee, by a registered member of the party who is a resident of the municipality. If a municipal committee fails to convene a caucus, than a county committee may do so. Green Independents within municipalities are encouraged to form party committees by calling a caucus. The following rules and guidelines are derived from the State of Maine statutes governing biennial caucuses.

The obligations of municipal clerks herein noted are only applicable to biennial caucuses held every two years during general election years (even numbered years).

Rules Governing a Biennial Caucus may be found at http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec311.html


Summary

1.  The caucus may be called by the chair of the municipal committee, a majority of the members of the committee, or in the absence of a committee, by a county committee or a resident who is a registered party member. In biennial years, the municipal clerk must provide public space for the caucus if requested. If a municipal committee already exists and that committee fails to call a caucus, then the county committee may order the caucus to be convened.

2.  The caucus must be held before March 20 (January 1-March 19).

3.  The secretary of the committee (or resident calling the caucus) must have a notice of the caucus published in a newspaper having general circulation in the municipality at least 3 and not more than 7 days before it is to be held, OR must post a notice in a conspicuous, public place in each voting district in the municipality at least 7 days before the caucus. The notice must contain the name of the party, the time and place of the caucus, and the name of the person calling it. If the caucus is not published as required, then the caucus may be challenged and deemed null and void. The secretary (or resident calling caucus) must file a copy of the notice with the municipal clerk who shall record it. Contact registered Greens in the municipality by phone, mail or other means to notify them of caucus.

4.  The caucus shall be opened by the chair of the committee, or in his/her absence by the secretary of the committee or any resident party member, or in the absence of an existing committee, by the resident party member calling the caucus.

5.  The caucus shall first elect a secretary (of the caucus) and secondly elect a chair (of the caucus). Not to be confused with officers of the committee, these are only officers of the caucus itself. The chair presides over the caucus, and the secretary records its proceedings. The caucus shall choose its own parliamentary procedure.

Free Lists

In biennial years, the chair or secretary of the municipal committee, or the person or persons calling the caucus may request from the municipal registrar at no charge, a certified copy of the voting list for its use. Upon receipt of the request, the registrar has 5 business days to prepare and provide the certified voter list to the requester. Be sure to request the list at least 5 business days before the caucus to be able to use it at the caucus. Request the list even earlier if you plan to use it to contact Green Independents to invite them to the caucus.

This statute can be found at http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec312.html

The state party will also provide caucus conveners with a list of registered Green Independents from its own database. The party list may have additional information such as phone numbers, that will be helpful. However, enrollment data is constantly changing. The list from the municipality is the most accurate list of voters, and is very valuable. Please acquire it even if you don't intend to use it. Using the two lists in conjunction will give you the best use. Coordinating with state party officials, in regards to the differences between the two lists, will help to keep state voter lists up to date. Please share the list you receive from the town with the state party so that the party list can be kept current.

Registrar Available

In biennial years, the municipal registrar or an authorized agent must be available at the location of the caucus for at least one whole hour (in presidential years) or one half hour (in gubernatorial years) prior to its commencement to register and enroll party members who may then participate in the caucus.

This statute can be found at http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec158.html

Rights and Restrictions

Any person who is registered to vote as a Green Independent in the municipality of the caucus, who is not currently under "restrictions during change of enrollment," may participate in the caucus. A person, who changes enrollment from one political party to another in the same municipality, is restricted from caucus participation for 15 days after filing the change of enrollment. This statute can be found at http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec144.html

Examples for an imaginary caucus in Fort Fairfield on January 16:

1.  A Fort Fairfield-registered Democrat who changes to Green Independent on January 3 MAY NOT participate in the caucus.

2.  A Presque Isle-registered Republican who changes to a Fort Fairfield-registered Green Independent on January 13 MAY participate in the caucus.

3.  A Fort-Fairfield-registered Unenrolled voter who becomes Green Independent on January 16 MAY participate.


Challenges and Oaths

Any enrolled voter in the municipality may challenge another's right to vote at the caucus. The challenged person may then vote only after taking the following oath in order to participate: "I, (name of challenged person), swear that I am a registered and enrolled voter in this voting district, that I am a member of the party holding this caucus, and that I have not been enrolled in any other party in this municipality within the last 15 days." The secretary of the caucus shall record the administration of the oath and provide a copy of the record to the municipal registrar. If the registrar compares the record to voter enrollment records, and verifies that the oath is false, then the person who swore to it is guilty of a Class E crime. This statute can be found at:

http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec314.html


Voting Provisions

1.  The caucus may order voting to be done by checking each voter's name.

2.  The caucus may order voting to be done by secret ballot which may be printed or written on plain paper.

This statute can be found at http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec313.html


Party Members Govern Political Committee

The members of a party within a municipality shall determine the method of election, and the terms of office and the duties of their political committees. This statute can be found at http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec315.html


Why Form a Municipal Committee?

1. Green Independents of municipalities will have a direct link to the state committee of the party, as defined by party Bylaws, Article III, "Local Groups", increasing local participation in statewide representation of party views and values: "Members of the party meeting a minimum of four times annually shall be considered a local group of the party. The group officers may communicate local concerns, questions, proposals, etc. of the group to the state committee, as well as relay information from the state committee to the group.,"

2. Municipal committees “shall be entitled to appoint at least one member to their respective county committee in accordance with state and county party rules and bylaws,” in accordance with Bylaws Article III, Section B,

3.  Municipal committees “may propose items to the state committee for consideration of action. The state committee shall provide notice, agenda and minutes of its meetings to any municipal or county committee or other qualifying group. The state committee will keep the committees and groups informed of its actions and pose questions to them, via each group's officers or designated contacts who have email addresses.” – Bylaws Article III, Section C,

4.  Free list of all registered voters in the municipality guaranteed every two years for committee use,

5.  Right to call a caucus, which biennially helps the party to remain qualified,

6.  Right to nominate party members for election to county committees at the statewide convention, or in accordance with county committee bylaws,

7.  Right to submit nominations for election clerks (two-year term) to municipal officers; nominations must be submitted to the municipal clerk by April 1st (on even-numbered years),

8.  Right to elect municipal delegates to the party convention (Title 21-A, Ch. 5,Sub. 1, Art. 3/321), although GIP bylaws allow all party members to participate in GIP conventions. There have been times previously when the party has adopted convention rules that allow municipal delegates to represent the committee's suggested amendments to the party platform, and to cast special votes for presidential preference. It doesn't hurt to elect convention delegates, even though all party members may participate; at the least, it helps the party get early notice of convention attendees. The party has sometimes offered discounted registration rates for convention delegates elected at a caucus because of their participation in party organizing.

9.  Right to replace a vacancy for a candidate for representative to the legislature, in the event that a candidate withdraws from the race or is unable to participate in it. These statutes can be found at http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec365.html and http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/21-a/title21-asec363.html,

10. The right to nominate a candidate for representative to the legislature for a special election.

11.  In some municipalities (example: Westbrook), the right to nominate candidates for municipal elected office.


Forming County Committees

At our convention this year, we will elect our party's county committees, from nominations made at municipal caucuses, unless an existing county committee has bylaws that allow for municipal caucuses to directly elect members to the county committee. No county committees currently have bylaws providing for direct election. Therefore, all county committees, will be elected at the state party convention.

Making the Best with Attendees

Don't be discouraged by a small turnout. These are the building blocks of our party organization. With love and nurture, it will grow from there. Even major parties get only a couple of people out to municipal caucuses in smaller, rural towns... so don't feel bad about numbers.

Even a caucus with a turnout of only two people is legally authorized under statute to form the party's municipal committee and the caucus should do so. There have been instances in the past, in rural towns, where there were only two Green Independents enrolled in that town, and they formed themselves into a legal and binding municipal committee.The committee, regardless of its membership numbers, is authorized to represent the Green Independent Party at the municipal level, receive notices from town clerks and nominate candidates for special elections.

Follow-up After the Caucus

Please provide information to state party officials so that we may stay better connected and organize together in the future. Send copy of minutes, the name, address and contact info for elected municipal committee officers, municipal delegates to the convention, nominees for county committee, any candidates, and any suggested changes to party bylaws or platform if applicable. Please send a copy of the caucus data sheet to the GIP municipal caucus support group ( mgip-caucus [at] googlegroups [dot] [com] ).

This handbook of information was compiled by Benjamin Meiklejohn, to serve as a useful source and guide for party members interested in convening a caucus. Meiklejohn has served as party chairman (2000-2004), local groups organizer (2000-2006), and founded the Portland Green Independent Committee in 1999 by convening a caucus as prescribed above. Meiklejohn later became the first elected Green Independent in Portland, serving on the Portland School Committee (2001-2007). He is currently the state party's secretary.

Maine Green Women's Caucus

Maine Green Womens Caucus

The Maine Green Women’s Caucus is a safe place where politically-minded women can meet and work. We’re building the communities/societies we want to live in, and promoting women to run for local and state office.

We are at crisis mode on so many fronts and a strong women's group made up of a diverse group of women is what is needed. The amazing thing in the Green Party is that we can not only connect with our National Green sisters, but also our International sisters in over 100 countries.

For more information, visit https://mainegreenwomenscaucus.wordpress.com/ or contact: Jacqui Deveneau, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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