The following bye-laws were approved by the ESRA Committee during the 2019-2021 term of office:
Bye-law 1: ESRA electoral procedures
The following bye-law, approved by the ESRA Committee on the 15th July 2019 and updated on 25th June 2021 relates to electing members to the ESRA Committee:
1. Members of ESRA elect members of the ESRA Committee, including named officers and regular committee members. Terms of service to the ESRA Committee are for six years. Committee members are eligible for re-election for a maximum of two consecutive terms of six years.
2. To plan the elections, the ESRA Committee identifies the positions open for election and distributes an open call to the membership. Candidates can nominate themselves by reacting to that call.
3. The ESRA Committee can, depending on the current needs, create new roles and/or redistribute the roles among the committee members.
4. For the roles of President, Vice President, Conference Chair and Vice Conference Chair, the following procedures apply.
a) Candidates for the offices of President, Vice President and Conference Chair need to have at least 2 years’ experience as current ESRA Committee member
b) The Vice Conference Chair is not nominated through an open call but is proposed by the ESRA Committee.
5. The editor of Survey Research Methods is ex officio member of the ESRA Committee.
Bye-law 2: ESRA Committee Roles and Offices
The following bye-law, approved by the ESRA Committee on 5th February 2021 and finalised on 25th June 2021 relates to offices and roles filled by members of the ESRA Committee:
1. People elected to the ESRA Committee are referred to in the Constitution as trustees.
2. They may be appointed either as an officer to a specific named office, or as a committee member who will participate in or lead a sub-committee responsible for a particular area of ESRA’s activities (decided within the committee at the start of the term of service of the new President).
3. The following officers are named in the current version of the Constitution: a) a chair, b) a secretary, c) a treasurer.
4. A future amendment of the Constitution will rename these offices to: a) President, b) General Secretary, and c) Treasurer. In addition, the following offices will be added: d) Vice President, e) Conference Chair, and f) Vice Conference Chair.
5. Appointment to the ESRA Committee will be by election. Candidates may nominate themselves for one of the positions identified as available (see Bye-law 1), which may be a named office or a other committee role.
6. Offices and committee roles vacated mid-term should be filled in the interim by existing committee members. If this is not possible, the committee may decide to appoint other ESRA members to finish the uncompleted term.
Bye-law 3: Term of service for ESRA Committee members
The following bye-law, approved by the ESRA board on 5th February 2021 and finalised on 25th June 2021 relates to the duration of the terms of service of ESRA Committee members and officers:
1. The term of membership of the ESRA Committee is 6 years. The term for the offices of President, Vice President, Conference Chair and Vice Conference Chair is normally 2 years.
2. The constitution in Part 2, section 18.3 states “Each of the trustees shall retire with effect from the conclusion of the annual general meeting next after his or her appointment but shall be eligible for re-election at that annual general meeting.”
3. A future amendment to the Constitution should state that trustees shall retire with effect from the conclusion of the biennial general meeting next after the sixth year of his or her appointment but shall be eligible for re-election for one additional term during the election held prior to that meeting.
4. Appointments to named offices, including for existing committee members is decided by election, as detailed in bye-law 2.
Bye-law 4: Timing and organisation of electronic election procedures
The following bye-law, approved by the ESRA Committee on 5th February 2021 and finalised on 25th June 2021 relates to the timing and administration of election procedures for appointing new members and officers to the ESRA Committee:
1. The constitution in Part 2, section 18.1 states that ‘Members shall elect the officers and the other trustees by voting carried out by mail, email, or other electronic means of communication.
2. Elections shall be organized in one of two ways, with the following schedule:
Option 1: Within 20 weeks of the General Meeting held at the biennial conference (BC) the committee issues a call for nominations for officers and committee members. The call for nominations remains open for 6 weeks. If a total of two candidates per position available is identified, then within 12 weeks of the BC the committee announces the slate of candidates and voting starts. The voting period lasts 6 weeks. The purpose of voting is to elect the preferred of the two candidates per position available. Within 4 weeks of the General Meeting held at the biennial conference (BC) the winners are announced.
Option 2: Within 20 weeks of the General Meeting held at the biennial conference (BC) the committee issues a call for nominations for officers and committee members. The call for nominations remains open for 6 weeks. If there is an insufficient number of nominations to allow for a total of two candidates per position available, then trustees shall nominate candidates and invite them personally to participate in an election to be held prior to the General Meeting held at the BC. The purpose of voting is to approve the nominations made by the ESRA Committee.
3. The election procedures are run by the General Secretary in collaboration with the committee member responsible for membership and the President. The person responsible for memberships supplies the secretary with a list of current ESRA members eligible to vote that serves as the contact list for the election.
4. The number of members eligible to vote is important to insure that the required 25% of members vote in the election. ESRA must keep a tally of the votes as they come in to see if there’s a danger of falling below the minimum requirement and as needed, may need to issue calls to increase voting. (The number of members also plays a role in meeting the quorum for the general meeting).
5. The General Secretary and President publish and publicise the call for nominations on the ESRA website, announcing which positions are available, any qualification requirements (nominees must be members of ESRA in good standing and certain offices require that the nominee is already a committee member – see bye-law 1) and the application procedure.
6. Nominees may be nominated by committee members or other ESRA members or by themselves, but their willingness to serve on the committee must be confirmed before the slate of candidates is publicised.
7. All nominations should mention the name of the nominee(s)/candidate, his/her qualifications, and the position of interest and should be accompanied by a web link or document about the nominee/candidate. Only nominations/candidacies from current ESRA members are eligible for consideration.
8. The ESRA Committee decides the slate of candidates based on an evaluation of the nominations received (and the feasibility of following procedures detailed in option 1). Besides the availability and qualifications of the nominees, a key consideration should be that the composition of the committee reflects as much as possible the diversity of ESRA’s membership.
Bye-law 5: Organisation of General Meetings of ESRA members
The following bye-law, approved by the ESRA Committee on 5th February 2021 relates to the organisation of General Meetings:
1. Procedures for operating general meetings are indicated in Part 2, Sections 10-16 of the Constitution, which states that an “annual general meeting” must be held at least biennially no more than 24 months from the last general meeting (see article 10.2).
2. ESRA general meetings are typically held in person at the biennial conference but can be held either in-person or remotely using an electronic means of communication as the committee decides.
3. The constitution states that the quorum for the general meeting is “50 members entitled to vote upon the business to be conducted at the meeting; or one tenth of the total membership at the time, whichever is the greater.”
4. This bye-law states that in a future amendment of the Constitution the quorum be modified as follows: “25 members entitled to vote upon the business to be conducted at the meeting; or one tenth of the total membership at the time.” Note that “whichever is the greater” is omitted.