Fairness for At-Large Members

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Build supports C/B #38: Improving At-Large Representation

For the purposes of at-large delegate elections, divides the at-large membership into 10 geographic electoral districts, the at-large members of each being considered a "virtual local chapter" and assigned delegates as any other chapter. Elections are conducted using ballots specific to each district.

Why Is Build Endorsing This?

  • Fair Representation

    • Because “nice, even numbers” don’t trump democracy.

    • Provides that at-large members are allocated delegates in the same way as local chapters. This gives them the same representation as all other DSA members.

    • Gives a real voice to members in organizing committees and areas where no DSA chapter is yet in operation.

  • Comprehensible Ballots

    • Wouldn’t you rather not deal with a ballot of hundreds of candidates?

    • At-large members will only be asked to vote on candidates in a limited geographic area. This means fewer candidates on their ballots and makes it more feasible for members to actually evaluate them.

    • Electoral districts are supposed to be drawn in geographically coherent ways, increasing the likelihood that at-large members actually will actually know their candidates.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Concern: Could the districts be gerrymandered?

Answer: It’s a possibility, but this concern has to be weighed against how unfair the current system is. A nationwide ballot of hundreds of candidates is both exhausting to evaluate and nearly incomprehensible without external guidance. 

Another answer: An amendment has also been made to provide some protections and checks against gerrymandering.

Concern: Why should unorganized members have the same organizational power as members in chapters? Shouldn’t they be focused on forming new chapters first?

Answer: We’re a democratic organization, and that includes all our members.

Another answer: If we want to grow new chapters and organize in new areas, shouldn’t we hear from people who are in areas with no chapters?

Another answer: The many at-large members who are in chapters that have yet to gain official recognition are hardly “unorganized.”