The Republican Party of Wisconsin Constitution
Revised May 16, 2015
Article I – Name
The name of the organization shall be “Republican Party of Wisconsin.”
Article II – Purpose
The purpose of this organization shall be to correlate and unify under one central organization the activities of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, and to aid in every honorable way the Republican movement to advance fundamental Republican principles and policies, and as a voluntary organization, cooperate and assist in all elections.
Article III – Membership
Membership in this organization shall be open to all Wisconsin residents of voting age who are eligible to vote in any national or state election, who are members in good standing of the Republican county organization in the county of their residence, and who believe in the following objectives of the Republican Party of Wisconsin:
- To preserve and advance fundamental Republican principles and policies.
- To develop an aggressive and serviceable statewide Republican organization.
- To maintain harmony between all Republican organizations.
- To maintain control of the Republican Party of Wisconsin in the hands of grassroots Republicans
- To preserve our Republican form of government as created under the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin.
“Members in good standing” shall be defined as those who meet the membership requirements specified in this constitution and the constitution of the Republican organization in the county of their residence and pay county party dues. No one may become a member in good standing if they hold a membership in another political party committee registered with the Federal Elections Commission and/or the State of Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
Article IV – State Officers and Executive Committee
SECTION 1. Officers
- The Officers of the Republican Party of Wisconsin shall be a Chairman, Four (4) Vice-Chairmen, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a National Committeeman, a National Committeewoman, and a State Finance Chairman.
- The Officers shall include:
(1) a Third Vice-Chairman who shall be the Chairman of the County Chairmen elected at the first formal meeting of the County Chairmen in the odd-numbered year,
(2) a Fourth Vice-Chairman who shall be the Chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Young Professionals.
- Terms of officers shall be as follows:
(1) The Chairman, First and Second Vice-Chairmen, Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected in that order at the Organizational Meeting of the Executive Committee. Their two-year terms shall begin upon adjournment of the Organizational Meeting.
(2) The National Committeeman and the National Committeewoman shall be officers of the Republican Party of Wisconsin from the adjournment of the National Convention at which they are elected until the adjournment of the next quadrennial National Convention. In case of a vacancy, the person nominated to fill the vacancy shall be an officer of the Republican Party of Wisconsin from the time of his or her nomination by the Executive Committee until his nomination is rejected by the National Committee or until the adjournment of the next quadrennial National Convention, whichever happens sooner.
(3) The State Finance Chairman shall serve at the pleasure of the State Chairman and shall continue to serve as an officer until his or her successor is appointed.
(4) The person holding the title of Third, or Fourth Vice-Chairman shall serve as an officer of the Republican Party of Wisconsin as long as he or she holds that title regardless of other Executive Committee terms. His or her successor shall be the person named by the Auxiliary body to that title.
- Qualifications: All officers must be members in good standing of the county organization in the county of their residence.
SECTION 2. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
There shall be in the Republican Party of Wisconsin an Executive Committee:
- Voting members of the Executive Committee shall be the officers named in SECTION 1, the Chairman and the First Vice-Chairman of each Congressional District elected at the District Caucus held in the odd-numbered year prior to the State Convention, the present Chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Labor Federation, the present State Chairman of the Wisconsin African American Republican Council, the Chairman of the Wisconsin National Hispanic Assembly, one at large member elected at the Organizational Meeting pursuant to paragraph d (1) of this Section, and the immediate past State Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. A Majority of the voting members of the Executive Committee shall be District Chairmen and District Vice-Chairmen.
- Non-voting members of the Executive Committee shall be one representative of the Republican Senate Caucus, one representative of the Republican Assembly Caucus and one representative of the Republican Congressional delegation chosen by each group in caucus.
- Terms of office shall be as follows:
(1) The officers shall be members of the Executive Committee while they hold office.
(2) The District Representatives shall be members of the Executive Committee for two years starting with the adjournment of the State Convention in the odd-numbered year.
(1) The Executive Committee shall meet in an Organizational Meeting for the purpose of electing a Chairman, First and Second Vice-Chairmen, a Secretary, a Treasurer and one (1) at large member of the Executive Committee, in that order, within 45 days following the general election in the even-numbered years. At this meeting, all members of the Executive Committee except the Chairman, First and Second Vice-Chairmen, Secretary, Treasurer, one (1) at large member of the Executive Committee and the immediate past State Chairman shall be entitled to voice and vote. The highest-ranking officer in attendance shall preside. Voting shall be by secret ballot except where there is but one nominee for a position.
(2) Meetings of the Executive Committee and Conventions of the Republican Party of Wisconsin may be called by the Chairman at his discretion or on petitions signed by at least six (6) members thereof. The Secretary or Chairman shall mail to each other of the Executive Committee at his or her last known address, a written or printed notice stating the time and place of such committee meetings at least ten (10) days before the holding thereof, except that the Executive Committee may meet without notice upon waivers of notice signed by at least a majority of the members thereof.
(3) Regular and Special Meetings of the Executive Committee, any subcommittee or special committee, may be held by electronic means (such as telephone conference, video conference, or internet communication system) subject to the following requirements:
- a majority of the members shall have access to the specified electronic media;
- a quorum for the meeting shall be established by roll call vote and, once established, shall be assumed present until the meeting is adjourned;
- the technology used for the electronic meetings shall allow the members full access to and full participation in all meeting transactions either continuously or intermittently throughout the specified time of the meeting; and,
- the affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum shall be the minimum vote requirement for the adoption of any motion, with a roll call being required upon request of any member participating in the meeting.
SECTION 3. VACANCIES
The Executive Committee is exclusively empowered to fill all vacancies on the Executive Committee as soon as possible after the vacancy occurs. The Committee shall accept the nomination for the Third, or Fourth Vice-Chairman from the organization he or she represents. The District Executive Committee shall be consulted before the State Executive Committee fills a vacancy from that District. A person elected by the Executive Committee to fill a vacancy shall become a member of the Executive Committee as soon as elected and shall serve for the unexpired term of his or her predecessor.
Article V – County Organizations
There shall be in this organization a County Organization in each county of the State, which shall have at least the following officers: a County Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, a Secretary and Treasurer all of whom shall be elected in a duly constituted county caucus prior to April 1st in odd-numbered years.
Article VI – Duties of State Officers and State Executive Committee
SECTION 1. The duties of the Chairman shall be to preside over all meetings of the Executive Committee, and shall act as temporary Chairman of all conventions of this organization, or in any other capacity as directed by the Executive Committee. He or she shall appoint the Finance Chairman.
SECTION 2. The duties of the First Vice-Chairman shall be to discharge all the duties of the Chairman in his or her absence or disability.
SECTION 3. The duties of the Secretary shall be to keep a record of the proceedings of the Executive Committee, and have charge of the routine correspondence of this organization, and to perform such other duties as may be directed by the Executive Committee.
SECTION 4. The Treasurer shall be the custodian of the funds of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, and he or she shall keep an accurate record of all monies received and disbursed, and he or she shall render a statement of his or her accounts when called upon to do so by the Executive Committee or by the Finance Committee. He or she shall pay out funds of this organization only upon authorization of the Executive Committee or the Finance Committee. The bonding of the State Treasurer shall be determined by the Executive Committee.
SECTION 5. It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to conduct the affairs of this organization in order to accomplish successfully the objectives of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. The Executive Committee shall further have the power to prescribe and adopt by-laws not in conflict with this Constitution, and shall have power to make rules and regulations not in conflict with this Constitution for the conduct of the affairs of this organization. The Executive Committee shall furthermore have power to approve Constitutions and By-Laws for the District and County Organizations, and to issue Charters to the “Republican Party of _______ County” — one such Charter to each county — it being the duty of the County Organization so chartered to issue Charters to Town, Village, Ward or Precinct Organizations. The Executive Committee may upon two-thirds vote, revoke the charters, after thirty (30) days notice and hearing to the aggrieved parties. County and District Party Constitutions shall be reviewed for compliance with the Constitution of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and to insure there are no conflicts. Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to give the right to the Executive Committee to write platforms or to select or endorse delegates or to endorse candidates for office, except to fill vacancies after endorsement by the State Convention. The Executive Committee shall also establish a by-law with regulations regarding the assumption of debt by the State Party.
SECTION 6. The Wisconsin Republican Young Professionals shall retain its individual organization and identity, but in addition, in relation to the Republican Party of Wisconsin, shall carry on educational work among the young electorate of Wisconsin and assist the Executive Committee.
SECTION 7. The Wisconsin African American Republican Council shall retain its individual organization and identity, but in addition, in relation to the Republican Party of Wisconsin, shall carry on educational work with minority groups in Wisconsin and assist the Executive Committee.
SECTION 8. The Wisconsin National Hispanic Assembly shall retain its individual organization and identity, but in addition, in relation to the Republican Party of Wisconsin, shall carry on educational work among Hispanic groups in Wisconsin and assist the Executive Committee.
SECTION 9. In the event the Wisconsin Republican Young Professionals, the Wisconsin African American Republican Council, and the Wisconsin Republican National Hispanic Assembly do not meet a minimal membership criteria established by the State Executive Committee or become otherwise inactive, the State Chairman shall appoint a Chairman for each group with the approval of the State Executive Committee. The designated Chairman shall serve a term concurrent with that of the State Chairman and shall work to reestablish the organization and represent its interests on the State Executive Committee.
SECTION 10. The State Executive Committee shall have nine standing committees, including Budget, Candidate and Campaign, Communications, Constitution, Convention, District Leadership, Headquarters, Information Technology (IT) and Party Development. With the exception of the District Leadership Committee, the State Chairman shall appoint the Chairmen or Co-Chairmen and members of each committee from among the membership of the State Executive Committee. The Chairmen or Co-Chairmen of each committee shall serve a term concurrent with that of the State Chairman. The District Leadership Committee shall be comprised of the District Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, who will elect a committee chairman at their first meeting following the State Convention in the odd numbered years. There shall also be an Audit Committee, with its Chairman and members to be appointed by the State Chairman with the approval of the State Executive Committee in accordance with a by-law, adopted by the State Executive Committee, which shall prescribe the committee’s powers and duties. Special committees may be established as necessary with the Chairmen and members to be appointed by the State Chairman.
Article VII – State Executive Committee Quorum
A majority of the members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but in the absence of a quorum a majority of those present may adjourn the meeting to another date and hour.
Article VIII – State Conventions and County Caucuses
SECTION 1. The State Executive Committee shall during the odd-numbered years call a State Convention of duly elected or accredited delegates thereof to transact any business that might be necessary to gain the objectives of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. The Executive Committee shall issue a call for any Convention at least sixty (60) days prior to the holding of such Convention.
SECTION 2. In the even-numbered years the Executive Committee shall call a State Convention of the duly elected or accredited delegates of the Republican Party of Wisconsin to be held in the months of May, June or July, for the purpose of promulgating and adopting a political platform. In the years in which there is a statewide election, there shall be an endorsement vote at the Convention for each of the five state constitutional offices and the United States Senate. A 60% majority vote shall be necessary for endorsement. A roll call vote shall be taken, by voice or electronic device, for each contested office. Only those candidates determined to be viable by the State Executive Committee shall be considered for endorsement. The Convention shall, in the same years as a National Convention is held, elect a National Committeeman and National Committeewoman for Wisconsin.
- Convention delegates reserve the exclusive right to endorse candidates for state-wide office.
- Congressional District Organizations reserve the exclusive right to endorse candidates for US House offices within their district.
- County Organizations reserve the exclusive right to endorse candidates for State Senate, State Assembly, and other elections with jurisdictions that are located within their county.
SECTION 3. Representation at such conventions shall be on the following basis, to wit:
- One (1) delegate absolute from each county in the State of Wisconsin .
- One (1) delegate for each 250 Republican votes or fraction thereof cast for Governor or for President of the United States in the preceding election, whichever may be determined by the Executive Committee.
- Each county shall be entitled to vote its full authorized strength regardless of the number of delegates present for voting and shall vote as a single entity.
SECTION 4. Such delegates shall be elected by members in good standing of the Republican organization in each county at the regularly called County Caucus for the election of such delegates. The members in good standing at the County Caucus may authorize the County Chairman to substitute delegates after the County Caucus if the County Chairman certifies in writing that the added delegate is a member in good standing of that County and the deleted delegate, if any, has no objection to the deletion. No substitutions shall be allowed after the last meeting of the Credentials Committee prior to the convening of the convention.
- A duly constituted County Caucus shall be one called by the County Chairman and advertised at least twice in one weekly or daily paper in the County, or upon at least eight (8) days notification by written or printed notice to each member, at his or her last known address, of the time and place of the holding of such convention or caucus. If the County Chairman does not call such County Caucus at least thirty (30) days before the date set for the District Caucus, the District Chairman shall call such County Caucus for such County in the manner outlined in this section.
- Only members in good standing of the Republican organization of each County at the time of such County Caucus shall be eligible to vote in such County Caucus, Congressional District Caucus, and the State Convention. This provision in no way precludes a county or unit organization from establishing a membership deadline prior to the County Caucus of not more than sixty (60) days.
- If any question arises as to the status of any person attending the Caucus, a decision shall be made by a vote of the County Chairman, the First Vice-Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer, or, if the county organizations’ constitution so provides, by the duly constituted Credentials Committee.
Article IX – Congressional District Organizations
The Congressional District Committee shall consist of the members of the State Executive Committee from such Congressional District, a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer and such other officers and members as may be provided for by the District Constitution. The members of the District Committee shall be elected at a Caucus of the delegates from that Congressional District to the State Convention in the odd-numbered years and such District caucus shall be held prior to the State Convention. It shall be the duty of the committee to cooperate and assist in carrying out the objectives of this organization.
SECTION 1. The time and place of the holding of the duly authorized District Caucus shall be announced at each County Caucus of that District called pursuant to Article V. In the absence of such announcement the time and place of said District Caucus shall be advertised twice in one weekly or daily newspaper in that county or a written or printed notice thereof shall be mailed to each member at his or her last known address at least eight (8) days before the said District Caucus. The County Chairman of each county shall forward to the District Chairman at least five (5) days prior to any date set for the District Caucuses a list of accredited delegates and only these accredited delegates or their authorized alternates shall be permitted to vote at such District Caucus.
SECTION 2. At each duly constituted Congressional District Caucus only members in good standing of the Republican organization of each county shall be eligible to vote.
SECTION 3. Among the business of said Congressional District Caucus shall be the election of two representatives from the Congressional District to each State Convention Committee.
SECTION 4. In the event of Congressional District Reapportionment, the District Caucus held subsequent to Reapportionment shall be constituted of delegates from the new District. The first agenda item at such a Caucus shall be the election of a District Chairman and Vice Chairman to serve until the next regularly scheduled District Caucus, as provided in Article IX.
Article X – Selection of National Convention Delegates and Alternates
The Executive Committee is empowered to regulate the rules in this Article but not alter them unless they fail to be in compliance with the Rules of the National Republican Party.
SECTION 1. The total number of delegates and equal number of alternate delegates shall be those numbers fixed by the formulas set forth in the rules of each National Convention.
SECTION 2. Of the total number fixed by Section 1, three (3) district delegates and three (3) district alternate delegates shall be designated from the district of each Representative in the United States House of Representatives and the remainder shall be designated “at large.”
SECTION 3. A candidate receiving a plurality of the votes in the Presidential Primary in any Congressional District is entitled to control the three (3) delegates and the three (3) alternate delegates from that district in all votes for nomination for President of the United States and Vice-President of the United States, unless the delegates and alternate delegates are released by the candidate or the candidate fails to receive at least one-third (1/3) of the total votes cast in any vote for nomination.
SECTION 4. A candidate receiving a plurality of the statewide votes in the Presidential Primary is entitled to control all the delegates and alternate delegates designated “At Large” on all votes for nomination for President of the United States and Vice-President of the United States, unless the delegates and alternate delegates designated “At Large” are released by the candidate or the candidate fails to receive at least one-third (1/3) of the total votes cast in any vote for nomination.
SECTION 5. Prior to the Presidential Primary and in accordance with procedures adopted by the District Organization, each District Chairman, in consultation with his or her District Executive Committee shall establish a list of no more than 20 candidates to be considered at the District Caucus as their District delegates and alternate delegates to the national convention and shall submit that list to the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Within seven (7) days of the Presidential Primary, the committee of the candidate winning a plurality of the vote in each Congressional District shall notify the Republican Party of Wisconsin which three from each District list they wish to designate as delegates and which three from each list they wish to designate as alternate delegates. Giving due consideration to the candidate committee’s designations, the District Caucus shall elect three District delegates and three alternate District delegates from the originally submitted list.
Section 6. At-Large delegates and At-Large alternate delegates shall be selected by the committee of the candidate receiving a plurality of the statewide votes in the Presidential Primary, and a list of said delegates and alternate delegates shall be ratified by the State Executive Committee. It shall be understood that the candidate’s committee shall have final approval of the list of At-Large delegates and alternate delegates. All District and At-Large delegates and alternate delegates must conform to Section 8. The delegate selection process shall be completed no later than the second Saturday in May of the Presidential election year.
SECTION 7. There shall be no automatic delegates nor alternate delegates to a National Convention who serve by virtue of party position or elective office, unless stipulated by RNC rules.
SECTION 8. Both district and At-Large delegates and alternates must file an affidavit with the Republican Party of Wisconsin stating that they will abide by these rules and that they are qualified to represent the Republican Party of the State of Wisconsin by being a qualified voter and member in good standing of the Republican Party of their county since at least the date of their county’s caucus held in the Presidential election year. All affidavits must be received in the state party headquarters no later than 45 days prior to the opening day of the Republican National Convention or the office will be considered vacant and a replacement delegate or alternate will be selected per Section 9.
SECTION 9. The Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin shall fill any vacancies for District delegates and District alternate delegates in consultation with the District Chairman in whose district the considered replacement resides, and the appropriate presidential candidate committee. The Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin shall fill any vacancies for At-Large delegates and At-Large alternate delegates in consultation with the committee of the candidate winning the statewide primary. The replacement of District or At-Large delegates or alternate must file an affidavit per Section 8 immediately upon accepting the office.
SECTION 10. No preference shall be given in the delegate or alternate delegate selection process as to whether the delegate is a man or a woman.
Article XI – Selection of Presidential Electors
Section 1: Presidential electors shall be certified by a majority vote of the State Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Wisconsin prior to the nomination meeting for Presidential Electors, which, pursuant to Sections 8.18 (1) and (2) of the Wisconsin State Statutes, takes place on the first Tuesday in October of each year in which there is a presidential election.
Section 2: No names submitted after certification by the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s Executive Committee shall be considered.
Section 3: It is at the sole discretion of the Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin to fill any vacancies which may occur after Presidential Electors are certified.
Article XII – Amendments and By-Laws
Section 1: This Constitution may be amended by one of the following methods:
- The Constitution may be amended at any State Convention if notice is included in the Call of the Convention stating that amendments will be considered at the said State Convention. The Call of the Convention shall clearly state the exact manner in which it is proposed that the Constitution shall be amended. An amendment shall be adopted only by a majority vote by all delegates entitled to sit at such convention.
- Upon petition of ten (10) or more County Caucuses from at least five (5) different Congressional Districts, any proposed amendments shall be included in the Convention Call. Proposed amendments under this section shall be submitted to every County Chairman by January 1 of the year of the County Caucus. An amendment under this section shall be adopted by a majority vote by all delegates entitled to sit at such state convention.
- Any properly proposed amendment under this article shall be unamendable when presented to such State Convention.
Section 2: By-laws, not inconsistent with this Constitution, may be adopted by the State Executive Committee by a two-thirds vote at a regular or special meeting when the meeting notice includes reference to the consideration of by-laws and the language of the proposed by-law or by-law revision is included with the meeting notice.”
Article XIII – Parliamentary Authority
“Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised,” shall govern all the proceedings except where inconsistent with the Constitution and By-Laws of the organization.