Newbies’ Guide to the party elections

It’s not long now until the internal party election season gets underway. Nominations have closed, but we have a few days until ballots go out by email.  In the meantime, here’s a brief overview of what’s up for election, why they matter, and how you can vote, that the Lib Dem Newbies Admins have put together.

WHAT’S UP FOR ELECTION?

The main party committees, and the posts of President and Vice-President of the party. All the posts are elected by ranked-choice voting of the entire party’s membership, for a term of three years.

WHAT DO THEY ACTUALLY DO?

🔶 Party President (1 elected position out of 1) – Just as the Leader acts as the leader of the party in Parliament and the party overall, and the CEO acts as the leader of the party’s staff, the President acts as the leader of the party’s membership. The President sits on or chairs many of the important committees and stands in for the leader when if the leadership unexpectedly becomes vacant.

🔶 Party Vice-President (1/1) – Is specifically there to represent and work with ethnic minority groups and provide leadership for the party’s BAME inclusion efforts.  There was only one candidate for this position (Amna Ahmad) so there won’t be an election for it.  Congratulations to Amna!

🔶 Federal Board (3/15) – Is effectively the ruling council of the party as a whole, making key strategic decisions and electing some members of some committees which don’t have members directly elected by the party’s members (such as the Finance Committee and the People Development Committee).

🔶 Federal Council (21/34) – Is a scrutiny committee for the Federal Board, meeting four times a year and with the ability to call-in and even overturn decisions made by FB if a supermajority of the FC votes to.  It’s newly-created, after the Thornhill Report after the 2019 election setback concluded that the old version of the Federal Board was too big to be effective.

🔶 Federal Policy Committee (15/29) – Is the policy research and drafting body of the party. Its members spend time developing new policies for the party and writing detailed papers like those often voted for at Conference; they also help write the party’s manifestos for elections.

🔶 Federal Conference Committee (12/22) – Organises, arranges, and runs the Spring and Autumn Federal Conferences, including deciding where and when they’re held, and what the agenda is, including which policies, papers, motions and amendments are accepted for debate.

🔶 Federal International Relations Committee (6/12) – Manages the Party’s relations with international bodies like the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe, Liberal International, and so on, as well as maintaining relations with other parties in other countries, like the Canadian Liberals, American Democrats, and D66 in the Netherlands.

🔶 ALDE Delegation (10) – Represents the Lib Dems to our pan-European political grouping, ALDE (the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe), which is the group our MEPs used to sit with in the European Parliament, and which the Lib Dems are still a member of.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHO’S STANDING?

Everyone who’s standing for positions has filled in a questionnaire and been invited to send in a manifesto, which you’ll be able to read along with your ballot. While Lib Dem Newbies and its related P&P group are internal-campaigning-free spaces, there is an unofficial Facebook group for internal elections where you might be able to ask candidates questions – though not all people standing are members of this group.  Some candidates are also active on Twitter and on other social media platforms, and hustings will be held for the Party Presidency candidates.

HOW DO I VOTE?

You’ll be emailed an electronic ballot to the email you usually get Lib Dem emails to, on Tuesday 25/10/22. They’ll be emailed out in batches, so don’t be surprised if other members get theirs first; if you’re worried you haven’t had yours by the 26th, or that you generally aren’t getting Lib Dem emails at all, try emailing returning [dot] officer [at] libdems [dot] org [dot] uk with your membership number. You will need to send in your votes by 17:00 on Tuesday 15/11/22.

It’s an STV or ranked-preference vote (so you give your most preferred candidate a 1, your next-most preferred a 2, and so on).  You can rank as many or as few candidates as you like, and you don’t have to rank at all those candidates that you’d rather not see elected.  For the Presidency, whoever comes third out of the first-preference votes will be eliminated; the second preferences of the people who voted for the eliminated candidate will then be counted, which will put one or the other of them over the 50% mark they need to win.  For the Committee elections, if one of your ranked candidates gets elected, your lower ranked votes will still count for those candidates too, until all the open positions are filled, so feel free to vote for as many candidates as you’d like to see win.

WHEN WILL WE KNOW THE RESULTS?

The votes are all electronic; they will be counted on Wednesday 16/11/22 and we should know the results that afternoon – expect them to be posted on the website and emailed to members as well.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW ALL THIS WORKS?

The party website has a portal for internal election related stuff here and you can always email the Returning Officer’s team at the email above if you want to know more or have any concerns.

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7 Comments

  • David Warren 19th Oct '22 - 11:28am

    I wouldn’t recommend the Unofficial Elections Facebook Group because it is controlled by people who have a particular angle on these important elections.

    It’s a pity there isn’t a unbiased Facebook group this time.

  • Laurence Cox 19th Oct '22 - 11:59am

    We wouldn’t need another Facebook Group if TPTB at HQ hadn’t decided to close the official Internal Elections Facebook Group, just when the Party is holding an internal election. Why cannot we just have all postings to it pre-moderated, like here? Or better still, host it in the members’ area of the Party’s own web site, over which it has complete control?

  • Nonconformistradical 19th Oct '22 - 12:16pm

    Aren’t ‘unbiased’ and ‘facebook’ a contradiction in terms?

  • Nonconformistradical 19th Oct '22 - 2:56pm

    “Or better still, host it in the members’ area of the Party’s own web site, over which it has complete control?”

    Seconded wholeheartedly

  • Given that I don’t do Facebook and have zero desire to ever do so, thirded wholeheartedly!

  • Kevin Langford 19th Oct '22 - 6:18pm

    Yes – I have always avoided facebook as well; as a candidate do I have to sign onto this facebook group (is it easy to find?) in order to have a reasonable chance of being elected? Or is it just a very few people who visit it?

  • Gordon Lishman 20th Oct '22 - 9:01am

    Who has decided that the Council will meet 4 times a year – presumably without consulting the body which hasn’t yet been elected?

    Who has decided and when that the Council will concentrate on call in and challenge instead of its primary duty which is:

    “9.15 The Council shall be responsible for scrutinising the work of the Federal Board, including ensuring that decisions are being taken in line with the party strategy as voted for by Conference, and may require a response on any issue from the Board.”

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