Ensuring that committees can be elected by One Member One Vote

I know this is a very “party report” heavy couple of days on LDV with Zoe’s and Sal’s excellent reports on the Federal Conference Committee and the Federal Executive respectively, but there is yet more.

Last September, Conference approved Constitutional Amendments bringing in One Member One Vote for Conference.

However, the Federal Executive subsequently received advice from the Chair of the Federal Appeals Panel that the Committee Election Regulations would need to be changed in order for the next set of Committee elections to be conducted by One Member One Vote. That’s why local parties were advised to elect Federal and Regional Conference representatives for this year.

I’m part of a small group of Federal Executive members who are looking at the regulations or the Leadership, Presidential and Committee elections. The first stage of our work is to change the Committee Election Regulations to permit elections by One Member One Vote. You can see the draft changes here. The current version is here

There are two substantive changes. The first is that the requirement for nominations from 2 conference representatives has been replaced by 10 party members. This is consistent with the requirement in Scotland which has worked well since its introduction in 2009.

The second change is to get rid of the paragraph that forbids candidates from using email, e-groups, conferencing or websites to promote their candidacy. In the days of free social media, it’s an anachronism.

Spring Conference will be asked to ratify these changes in the Federal Executive report, but we were keen to seek feedback from members about these changes. The principle of OMOV has already been passed by Conference. This is simply about getting the regulations right so that committees can be elected in the same way. Please send your feedback to [email protected] by 12 noon on Friday 5th February.

The reason we want to make the changes now rather than lump them all in with the Governance Review is to enable any by-elections at regional or state level to be carried out by One Member One Vote.

We have not forgotten that we will need to consult very widely on any provisions for quotas on the basis of gender, BAME or other protected characteristics as outlined in the motion passed by Conference in Autumn 2014 which stated:

“Conference instructs the Federal Executive to consult fully within the party, and then submit a properly written constitutional amendment to a conference before the 2016 round of committee elections, to enable conference to debate arrangements for gender and any other quotas for future elections.”

We will let you know in due course how you can contribute to that discussion.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Richard Underhill 27th Jan '16 - 3:45pm

    The Daily Politics covered electronic voting in Estonia, not very secure apparently.

  • Zoe O'connell 28th Jan '16 - 7:41am

    The draft version seems to be in Pages format, which is Apple-specific. It probably wants to be in PDF so more people can read it.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 28th Jan '16 - 9:23am

    Thanks, Zoe. I’ve changed that now.

  • Erlend Watson 28th Jan '16 - 12:22pm

    Just had a look at the election regulations.

    1. My feeling is that if it is meant to be OMOV then the nominators should also be members not party organisations or sections (local party etc). Bluntly if you want to be elected, not being able to find 10 signatures in this electronic age should tell you something.

    2. Make the default electronic in the regulations. People should have to opt for paper votes. The cost of doing an all member paper mailing is prohibitive. Automatic paper if we do not hold a working email address (I guess 20% but the the figure would be informative for FE members to know). I would recommend that an earlier all member mailing (not an email) ought to do a prenotification of these elections and ask the missing folk for their email address if they have one.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 28th Jan '16 - 1:38pm

    Jon, there will be more consultation in more depth for the gender/BAME quotas but that needs to be done over more time.

    Iain, this is about how the elections are carried out, not how the committees are made up, so your point is not relevant to this discussion.

  • Gosh, quotas are creeping in all over the place as a foregone conclusion, aren’t they?

  • Simon Banks 29th Jan '16 - 6:14pm

    I presume LDV is not the only vehicle for this consultation, so as a local party chair, or simply as a member, am I going to hear about it by any other route?

  • It’s a welcome change that the consultation is happening, and generally the proposals are good. There are a few small improvements that could also be made (such as fixing a typo!), but also there is one chunk of changes which conference asked the FE to make that aren’t included in these proposals. It’d be better if they were: http://www.markpack.org.uk/137142/lib-dem-committee-election-rules/

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