Dues Confusion

[somehow, Yahoo chopped by whole response. I resubmit it, here... Rich]

Hi all,

M Carling points out another important exception to me: dues are not required for national voting priveleges (nor were they before). A minor change is that some offices that used to require a national dues-paying membership status, such as running for President, LNC, and etc. no longer do anymore.

Adding these clarifications regarding national, I believe Justin's interpretations are correct. Reiterating...

Voting rights at the county and state level are the same as ever, controlled by the state bylaws (which haven't changed). Anyone who is a state member is a county member, and vice versa. The state requires dues for membership (plus signing the pledge), thus to vote at state or county meetings requires one to be dues paying.

The only recent change at the state or county level is the dues amount, which has recently been set by the state ExComm at $50. (It used to be set nationwide at $50, previously $25.) There is currently (until the 30th) a one-time reduction to $25 for everyone to join/renew/extend, and new (first year) members will continue to get the $25 rate even after the end of the month.

Previously, dues included state, national and county membership, but now national has no dues-paying membership category (they won't even take funds from the state); national membership only requires the pledge. This puts the burden of tracking members and collecting money more squarely on the state parties.

Although the UMP program from national is ending, the state bylaws still require a 60/40 split between county and state, regardless of who finds the member, or collects the money. This can voluntarily be overlaid with the Membership and Retention Agreement (MARA) on a county-by-county basis. MARA provides additional incentives to the state party to do membership recruiting and retention activities in the counties that participate.