4-17-18 By Devin Saxon. In a historic move, during a special membership meeting convened “to discuss a bylaws change regarding state convention delegate selection,” the Libertarian Party of South Dakota voted over 75% in favor of dropping the membership fee as a requirement to vote in party elections. $10 annual membership fees had been required to be able to participate in all membership activities including voting, but now is only required to participate on the Executive Committee. Opponents argued that membership fees were a barrier to participation and un-libertarian; proponents argued that membership fees are common place with other state affiliations as well as with the national party, and necessary for funding LPSD. A compromise was reached and a motion to end membership fees as a voting requirement carried 5 to 1.
“The vote is the single most important asset to any Individual within our party. Your vote signifies your ability to think for yourself, to determine what matters to you, and your ability to hear the opposition made against your personal political positions. In our Party, ONE VOTE MATTERS. To charge a fee for that vote is the very definition of oxymoronic. I want to thank Mr. Devin Saxon first and foremost, for all of his hard work, dedication, support, and for whom without him, none of this would have been possible. I’d also like to thank the Chairman for his excellent online and telephonic hosting, his honest debate, and his willingness to hear all voices in our discussions. Lastly I would like to thank all the members who were present, heard the discussions, asked their questions, added their opinions, made their suggestions, and who voted tonight to do the right thing. We can make history together. Are you in? I look forward to seeing you all at our Convention.”
-CJ Abernathey, 2018 Gubernatorial Candidate
“As the Libertarian Party of South Dakota is now a 100% voluntary donation organization I would like to invite and encourage all LPSD members to participate and join LPSD’s new Fundraising Committee. I’m excited for the future moving forward without fees at our Conventions, and optimistic that we can succeed in breaking records fundraising solely on donations.”
-Devin Saxon, Communications Director, Fundraising Committee Chair
The LPSD membership also voted over 5 to 1 in favor of requiring that members be registered libertarians at least 60 days in advance before the convention to participate in voting on bylaw changes. Proponents argued that requiring members be registered 60 days in advance to participate in voting would discourage a hostile party take-over and is a practice used by other state affiliates, while opponents argued that the change created an unnecessary barrier for new members. A compromise was passed allowing for new members to register at convention and vote for candidates but not for bylaw changes until a 60 day grace period has passed.
To conclude the meeting, the membership voted unanimously in favor of allowing the ExCom to host an online convention should poor weather conditions or a national/state emergency prevent an in-person meeting. Proponents of this bylaw change argued that the ExCom should be afforded the ability to host an online convention should South Dakota issue a mandatory stay-at-home order making a Convention in Pierre on May 9th in-person impossible. Opponents argued that it may give the ExCom too much power to host conventions online exclusively. A compromise was made to give the ExCom both adequate discretion as well as protections to prevent a dysfunctional ExCom from abusing the power to hold an online convention.
“The age of COVID-19 has changed the political landscape at just about every level, from campaigning to running parties. These changes were necessary to make sure the Libertarian Party of South Dakota can continue to weather storms of all kinds.”
Gideon Oakes, Chairman of Libertarian Party of South Dakota
The Bylaws regarding these changes now read as follows:
Article II. Section 1. Anyone who has been registered in South Dakota as a Libertarian for 60 consecutive days or who has been a member of the U.S. National Libertarian Party for 60 consecutive days is eligible to become a voting member. Notwithstanding, all registered Libertarians shall be able to vote in elections at conventions.
Article IV. Section 5. With reasonable extenuating circumstances, the Executive Committee, in its sole discretion, shall have the authority to hold any membership meeting or convention remotely via electronic means, provided accessing such means neither costs individual members nor causes unreasonable hardship. An in-person convention shall be deemed preferable in all cases.
Article VIII. Section 3. Emergency Meetings. In case of an emergency action, the ExCom and/or the State Party Central Committee may hold a meeting or convention, notwithstanding Article 4, Section 5, with a twenty-four (24) hour notice by the most feasible means possible to include in-person, telephone, radio, or other electronic communication.