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Constitution

ARTICLE I – NAME

Section 1: The name of the Association shall be the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR).

ARTICLE II – PURPOSES AND FUNCTIONS

Section 1: Public opinion is a critical force in shaping and transforming society. Properly conducted and disseminated survey research provides the public with a tool to measure opinions and attitudes in order to allow its voices to be heard. In light of this mission the Association shall a) promote in each country of the world the right to conduct and publish scientific research on what the people and its groups think and how this thinking is influenced by various factors, b) promote the knowledge and application of scientific methods in this objective, c) assist and promote the development and publication of public opinion research worldwide, d) promote international cooperation and exchange among academic and commercial researchers, journalists and political actors, as well as between the representatives of the different scientific disciplines.

Section 2: Functions and activities of the Association include, but are not limited to, organizing and sponsoring meetings and publications, encouraging high professional standards, promoting improved research techniques, informing journalists about the appropriate forms of publishing poll results, observing the democratic process and use of polls in elections, promoting personnel training, coordinating international polls, and maintaining close relations with other research agencies. Such agencies include the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the World Association of Research Professionals (ESOMAR), and other international and regional professional research associations, as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), other United Nations agencies, and private international organizations.

ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP

Section 1: Membership in the Association shall be as individual persons, not as representatives of organizations, nations, or other groups.

Section 2: Membership shall be open to all persons who have an interest in the conduct, use, or teaching of scientific opinion and attitude surveys, social science research, media or communications research, market research, or related activities and who subscribe to and follow the WAPOR Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. Only members in good standing shall have the right to vote and hold office.

Section 3: Membership in the Association shall not be denied on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, nationality, or political affiliation.

Section 4: Dues shall be fixed by the Council. They shall be payable on or after January 1, the beginning of the fiscal year, upon notification by the Secretary-Treasurer and in a manner to be determined by the Council. Members whose dues are not paid by March 1 of each year shall be deemed not in good standing and ineligible to vote or to hold office. The Secretary-Treasurer shall notify all members in arrears on March 30 that dues must be paid within 30 days or they will be dropped from the rolls.

ARTICLE IV – COUNCIL, EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AND COMMITTEES

Section 1: The Association shall have a Council and an Executive Council. The Council shall consist of the following nine members: the four officers – President, Past President, Vice President and President-Elect, and Secretary-Treasurer (Executive Council) – and the five persons who hold Council membership by virtue of their positions as Chair of the Conference Committee, Chair of the Membership Committee, Chair of the Liaison Committee, Chair of the Professional Standards Committee, Chair of the Publications Committee.

Section 2: The Council, by majority vote of all its members, shall conduct the business and care for the general interests of the Association. It shall meet at least once a year in connection with the annual conference. The President shall invite the Council with a preliminary agenda at least six weeks before the meeting. In between the Council meetings the Executive Council will conduct the business and care for the general interests of the Association.

The Executive Council will meet as often as it deems necessary. The President shall decide if the Executive Council or the Council will deal with respective matters, and the Executive Council may, by majority vote, decide to submit matters to the full Council. The President must send the minutes of the Executive Council meetings to the Council members in a timely manner. The Council and the Executive Council can make decisions between meetings via mail, phone, fax, or email or other electronic means of communication. Decisions by Council and by Executive Council require a majority of their respective members.

A member who holds Council membership by virtue of his or her position as committee chair may, if unable to participate in a meeting, grant a written proxy to a member of his or her committee who shall attend and serve as a Council member pro tempore and vote in his or her place.

Council may act on all routine matters on its own authority. Meeting procedures not covered by this Constitution shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order. The Council is at all times responsible to the membership for its actions, any of which may be revoked by a majority decision of the members in a general referendum instituted after the written appeal of any twenty members.

Section 3: The President shall be responsible for fulfilling the purposes of the Association as its chief representative. S/He shall preside at Council, Executive Council, and the Business Meeting, and serve as the official representative of WAPOR in its relations with other organizations and the public. S/He shall report from time to time to the membership about his or her activities and the activities of the Council and the Executive Council during the year.

Section 4: The Vice President shall act as the President’s deputy. S/He shall automatically become President the following term. S/He shall take over the Presidency if the office becomes vacant.

Section 5: The Secretary-Treasurer shall be responsible for collecting membership dues and other revenues of the Association, for administering the funds of the Association, and for performing such other duties as the Council may prescribe. S/He shall prepare and distribute to all members a report of each Council and Business Meeting and shall submit an annual report to the membership covering his or her activities for the year and the financial situation of the Association at the end of the fiscal year. S/he shall be ex officio chair of the Finance Committee

Section 6: There shall be the following seven Standing Committees of the Association: Electoral, Finance, Professional Standards, Publications, Liaison, Conference, and Membership. The Electoral Committee shall be headed ex officio by the Past President. The Finance Committee shall be headed ex officio by the Secretary Treasurer. The Professional Standards Committee, the Publications Committee, and the Liaison Committee shall be headed by Chairs elected by the membership. The Conference Committee and the Membership Committee shall be headed by Chairs appointed by the President and approved by Council.

Each Standing Committee shall have up to six members appointed by the Chair. The Chair of each Committee shall submit an annual report to the membership covering his or her committee’s activities during the year. Duties and responsibilities of the committees shall be as follows:

a) The Electoral Committee shall be responsible for the conduct of nominations and elections as specified in Article V, Section 3, below. Communications to the membership for this purpose shall be sent out through the General Secretary for return to the Committee.

b) The Finance Committee shall be responsible for drafting the annual budget and the allocation of funds of the Association.

c) The Committee on Professional Standards shall review and adjust – where necessary – the Code of Professional Ethics and Practices and propose amendments from time to time to keep it consistent with contemporary needs and technology and to promote its observance within the profession. For this purpose it shall seek cooperation with other associations in the field.

d) The Publications Committee shall coordinate all publication activities of the Association such as journals, book series, the newsletter. The Committee presents to the Council nominations for the editors of the International Journal of Public Opinion Research..

e) The Liaison Committee shall primarily be responsible for all contacts and discussions with other associations, particularly those mentioned in Article II, Section 2.

f) The Conference Committee shall be responsible for the program and the administrative arrangements at the annual conference and other conferences and seminars of the Association, and for coordination with other organizations sharing the conference site.

g) The Membership Committee shall initiate actions to maintain and increase membership. The Committee appoints, with the consent of the President, national and regional representatives. These representatives promote the mission of WAPOR in their geographical areas.

Section 7: The President may create, with the advice and consent of the Council, such Special Committees as s/he deems necessary to carry out the purposes and operations of the Association, such as public relations, personnel training and exchange, international polls, research development, and task forces on the conduct and use of polls in elections. Each Special Committee shall consist of a Chair, appointed by the President and approved by Council, and up to six members, selected by the Chair. It shall serve a limited term of no more than two years. The Chairs of the Special Committees can attend Council meetings, but have no voting rights.

Section 8: The Council shall appoint a General Secretary. The General Secretary shall maintain the membership records and support WAPOR’s archives, assist with the administration of WAPOR, and conduct routine correspondence. The General Secretary may also serve in one of the Council positions specified in Article IV, Section 1.

Section 9: The term of office for all elected Council and Committee members shall be two years, staggered as follows:

Vice President and President-Elect, and the Chair of the Committee on Professional Standards shall be elected in even-numbered years; the Secretary-Treasurer, the Chair of the Publications Committee, and the Chair of the Liaison Committee shall be elected in odd-numbered years. The Vice President, upon completion of a two-year term, will automatically become President for a two-year term, after which s/he will serve for two years as Past President. Terms start on January 1.

Section 10: No one may hold more than one elective office at one time. Should any person be elected to two or more offices at the same time, s/he must resign all but one.

Section 11: Council and Committee members shall be chosen in such a way that, so far as possible, all geographical sections and other interests among the membership shall have fair and equitable representation. Specifically, the President and the Vice President and President-Elect should not be residents of the same country.

Section 12: All vacancies, except the Presidency, occurring between elections shall be filled by the President, giving first consideration to the next highest ranking candidates at the time of election. At the next regular election a candidate shall be elected to fill each unexpired or regular term.

ARTICLE V – VOTING AND CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

Section 1: Decisions by Membership, Council, Executive Council, and Committees shall be by a majority of votes. In order to give all members equal voice in the Association, regardless of their geographical location or ability to attend meetings, voting on all elections and matters of basic policy may be carried out by mail, fax, email or other electronic means of communication. Questions raised by two or more Council members as matter of basic policy and supported by any twenty members in good standing must be referred to a vote by full membership. In case of a tie in the full membership vote, the Council shall cast the deciding vote on the side favored by a majority of Council members.

Section 2: All membership referenda, including elections and other questions, shall be conducted by the General Secretary upon written request from the Electoral Committee. The Electoral Committee and the General Secretary have to conduct the election in a manner which allows for a maximum participation of members and protection of privacy, following whatever guidelines are issued by the Council.

Section 3: For the annual election of Council members a call-for-nominations must be sent out to all members before August 1 in a separate mailing (mail, fax, email or other electronic means of communication). Giving first consideration to the suggestions by membership and taking into account the eligibility, availability, and qualifications of the candidates suggested and the necessary geographical distribution, the Committee shall prepare a slate of nominations, presenting two or more candidates for each office. These shall include all qualified nominees with twenty or more votes on the nomination canvass.

These nominations shall be submitted to the regular membership for vote by mail (regular mail, fax, or email) no later than September 15. The Electoral Committee and the General Secretary will take provisions to ensure that voters can be identified as members in good standing but that the anonymity of their vote is protected. Votes received within six weeks of the ballot’s submission to members will be valid.

The Chair of the Electoral Committee will immediately inform the candidates (winners and losers) and the Council. The announcement has to take place before November 15. The winners will be announced in the next Newsletter, on the WAPOR homepage and via email.

Section 4: A Business Meeting shall be held once a year to discuss business or professional matters. The place and time of such a Business Meeting should coincide with the annual conference. The purpose of the Business Meeting is to keep members updated on current affairs of the Association, to present reports by officers and Committee chairs, and to give the attending members a chance to present their opinion. No binding votes will be taken at the Business Meeting.

ARTICLE VI – TREASURY AND FUNDS

Section 1: The Secretary-Treasurer shall submit to the Council an annual report which includes the balance of the Association’s financial situation and an estimated budget for the coming year.

Section 2: The expenditure of funds from the Association’s Treasury to meet routine Council or Committee expenses, such as clerical costs, stationery, postage, and other budget commitments, shall be made by the Secretary-Treasurer. All other financial commitments must be considered matters of basic policy and submitted to the Council. The Council shall decide which of these matters must be subject to approval by the full membership.

Section 3: The Council may by majority vote designate money in the WAPOR treasury as a Special Fund. There can be any number of Special Funds. Once any amount is designated as a Special Fund, only the income from the investment of that money can be used. Once a Special Fund has been established, it may be terminated only by the following procedure. A proposal to terminate a Special Fund must be circulated to the Council and the full membership of WAPOR at least 90 days prior to a Council meeting. At that Council meeting, there must be a two-thirds vote by the full Council membership to consider the proposal again at a Council meeting to be held not earlier than six months later, but not more than one year later. At the second consideration of the proposal by the Council, there must be a two-thirds vote by the full Council membership to forward the proposal to the membership for ratification. The vote by the full membership shall be in accordance with Article VIII of the Constitution except that a two-thirds vote of those voting shall be required to terminate a Special Fund. Any proposal that fails to meet all the requirements of this procedure within a period of two years shall be deemed null and void. Upon termination of a Special Fund, the entire principal shall be placed in the general treasury.

Section 4: WAPOR will establish an Endowment Fund to finance special projects to assist in carrying out its mission. No more than 20 percent of the amount in the Endowment Fund on January 1 of each calendar year may be spent for projects in that year without the approval of two-thirds of the members of the WAPOR Council.

ARTICLE VII – Regional Chapters

Section 1: Upon application to and approval of the WAPOR Council, members of WAPOR may organize into regional (countries or groups of countries) chapters with the aim of furthering the general purposes of WAPOR and shall be given recognition by WAPOR. There cannot be more than one local chapter per area (as determined by Executive Council). The Executive Council may at any time, in its sole discretion, revoke such recognition.

Section 2: All chapters will have by-laws and other organizational documents that are reasonably consistent with the WAPOR’s goals and objectives as determined by the WAPOR Council. WAPOR shall grant to Chapters a conditional, revocable, non-exclusive license to use the name “WAPOR”.

Chapters are recognized by WAPOR but are not part of it. As such, WAPOR bears no liability for actions of Regional Chapters or their obligations or liabilities, and each Regional Chapter shall waive, release and indemnify and hold WAPOR harmless from and against any and all loss, claim or liability that might arise in connection with its existence and activities.

Section 3: Officers in officially recognized Regional Chapters must be paid-up members of WAPOR. Regional Chapter members need not be members of WAPOR.

Section 4: All WAPOR Chapter members must adopt the WAPOR Code of Ethics as a condition of Chapter membership.

Section 5: Each Regional chapter shall submit a written report annually to the WAPOR Council via the Liaison member of the WAPOR Council. The regional chapter report will contain:

* a report on membership
* a list of activities for the year
* a certification stating that membership dues and any other funds provided by WAPOR to the regional chapter are being collected, recorded and used in accordance with the WAPOR Constitution and standard accounting principles.

Section 6: Regional Chapters shall not, except with the express approval of the WAPOR Council, make any public statement or enter into any contracts on behalf of WAPOR or in any manner represent, obligate or legally bind WAPOR.   Regional Chapters shall not take any action contrary to the policies and purposes of WAPOR.

ARTICLE VIII-LANGUAGES

Section 1: The official languages of the World Association for Public Opinion Research are English and French. The Executive Council decide upon the working language or languages to be used at each international meeting.

ARTICLE IX – AMENDMENTS

Section 1: Amendments may be proposed by actions of the Council, or petition of any twenty members. Amendments to this Constitution may be made by the vote of a majority of all members who participate in a referendum by mail, fax, or email and whose votes are received within six weeks of the ballot’s submission, provided that at least 25% of members participate in the referendum.

ARTICLE X – ESTABLISHMENT AND TERMINATION

Section 1: This Constitution shall take effect immediately upon its acceptance through a referendum by a majority of members on the rolls at the time of submission. It shall supersede all previous Association agreements. Recognized Council and Committee members at the time of adoption of this Constitution shall continue in office until January 1 following the first election.

Section 2: The Association shall be considered dissolved upon termination of the Constitution by an absolute majority vote on a referendum or upon its failure to hold a Council or general meeting for three consecutive years. Funds remaining in the Treasury at that time will be turned over to UNESCO, unless other provision is made legally for their disposition.

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