Equal Vote and STAR Voting Project
Code of Conduct:
Creating a culture around the voting reform movement which is welcoming, inclusive, non-partisan, and productive is at the foundation of building the trust and relationships required for effective organizing. For this reason we have embraced a Code of Conduct to help set our intentions and problem solve in the event that problems arise.
Participation in our meetings or official groups, or the use of our organizing tools and channels will be taken as consent to follow the Code of Conduct.
1. Respectful conduct: All meetings, outreach, and correspondence will be conducted in a respectful, professional, and positive manner and team leaders, members, and volunteers agree to follow the Code of Conduct when representing for Equal Vote or advocating for STAR Voting.
In debate we will make a point to assume good faith and exercise patience and compassion as much as possible. Respect people's boundaries. Try to be inclusive, and use language that is accessible. Avoid excessive jargon or condescension, and try to define technical terms and acronyms used. Every conversation is an opportunity to teach what you know, learn something new, and grow the movement.
When collaborating with others, please keep in mind that this is a volunteer driven project, and all time contributed is appreciated and valued, even if results are not perfect or expectations are not always met. Mistakes happen and unforeseen issues, reasonable disagreements, or conflicts come up.
Out of respect for our volunteer's time and energy, meetings and co-working spaces such as the STAR Voting Slack, Discord, Facebook Groups, and Voting Theory Forum are moderated to keep conversations positive, on task, and productive. Please respect requests and instructions from moderators.
2. On diversity: Electoral reform, research, and theory are fields which have historically been almost entirely dominated by white males. We strive to break these patterns and to help support new people to become involved in this field. Please make a point of being welcoming and inviting, and taking the time to ensure that people are able to ask questions, get up to speed, and contribute their thoughts and ideas.
We strive to cultivate a space where people with diverse ideas, lived experience, and politics can all be included. Equal Vote and the STAR Voting project are explicitly non-partisan, and ensuring people with diverse views are represented is important. For that reason please try to avoid negative comments about political parties or specific candidates. Keep discussion of candidates or current events to a minimum and keep it relevant to voting theory and reform efforts. Avoid sweeping generalizations or assumptions.
3. On neurodiversity: Electoral reform benefits from having a large number of outside the box thinkers, including people who are on the spectrum or who may think differently for a variety of reasons. Many of these individuals have made huge contributions to the field, in part due to their ability to process information in novel ways, or see things from another perspective. Different modes of communicating and missed social cues can manifest as apparent rudeness, condescending tone, or interrupting. Please try to keep in mind that this may be a factor and that it may not be personal. (As always, if negative behavior is excessive or ongoing, follow the guidelines in this code of conduct.)
4. Conflict resolution: Minor personal disagreements or conflicts should be resolved in private between the members involved when possible and hashing out disagreements publicly should be avoided. If a conversation begins to get heated, or if a misunderstanding occurs, reach out to see if talking over the phone or in person is an option instead. Avoid trying to resolve conflicts over text or email when possible.
If a conflict feels serious, if the other person seems unreasonable, or if the people involved are not comfortable tackling the issue alone, the issue should be brought to the attention of the project leader, committee chair, or a staff member for facilitation.
5. Personal and professional attacks: Public comments which are or could be reasonably perceived to be a personal or professional threat or attack, or which could be personally or professionally damaging to staff, leadership, volunteers on our team, or members of other organizations or teams, will not be tolerated.
Personal or ad hominem attacks are not to be confused with legitimate or factual criticisms of specific actions made by individuals with citations. If you see someone being unfairly attacked, please stick up for them by providing facts and evidence when possible and help mediate rather than staying silent, or reach out to leadership for assistance.
6. Hate Speech and discrimination: Abusive, threatening, mocking, or condescending actions, speech, or written statements, especially those that express prejudice against a particular group on the basis of race, religion, ability, identity, sexual orientation, age, class, or political affiliation, will not be tolerated. Please be respectful and mindful of people's names and pronouns. If you are unclear how to refer to somebody, ask them politely.
7. Fact Checking: Maintaining a reputation for integrity and honesty is paramount, and any content or statement made on behalf of Equal Vote or STAR Voting Action which is found to be factually incorrect or clearly misleading must be retracted and a correction made publicly in the most applicable, timely, and appropriate location. Cite your sources when possible.
8. Attendance, commitments, and communications: Most general meetings and events are open to drop-ins, but if you cannot attend a meeting for a specific committee you have joined please RSVP to the Chair that you won't be able to make it as soon as possible. If your vote or input may be needed for a quorum or for upcoming decisions, try to be available by phone or text even if you can't attend.
If you have volunteered for an action item or position and find that you won't be able to complete it as planned, or if you are going to miss a deadline, please let your committee or team know so others can step up to help. If you expect to miss multiple meetings let your committee know that you are stepping down or taking a leave of absence.
For those who have accepted responsibility for projects and action items, please try to keep up on communications. Keeping others looped in is time consuming. Try to stay up to date or get up to date before meetings. If you do fall behind, reach out to someone else on the committee to get caught up in advance, without taking up everyone's time in a meeting when possible.
9. Accountability: Members of a committee, workgroup, forum, or board who consistently violate the Code of Conduct, or who create a toxic environment, put the integrity of the team at risk. Organizations without a mechanism for accountability may see positive members regularly stepping down in the face of toxicity while problematic behaviors become normalized, validated, and or even magnified in the remaining membership.
Under any of the following conditions, staff, board members, or project leaders may need to reduce privileges or otherwise remove or ban individuals from the community:
- The failure of reasonable attempts at conflict resolution.
- The individual is unable or unwilling to recognize their problematic behavior AND change it.
- Three or more distinct complaints are filed against an individual.
- Three or more members agree that the situation is not likely to be solved by further mediation.
- The person is clearly not participating in good faith or is intentionally trying to be disruptive.
In most cases, staff and leadership will attempt to mediate conflicts or issues that arise. In extreme or time sensitive cases, staff, board members, or project leaders may choose to block or remove a person from the community without warning.
Board members, staff, or elected leaders may be removed by a consensus - 1 vote of the governing board of directors with no less than 3 individuals voting for removal.