(amended version adopted by the membership in 2023)
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, and 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, tracking and promoting the freedom to conduct and publish opinion polls, promoting personnel training, coordinating international polls, and maintaining close relations with other research agencies. Such agencies include, but are not limited to, 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 or organizations. Organizational membership does not confer membership on any individuals including the employees of the organization.
Section 2: Membership shall be open to all persons and organizations that are involved in or have an interest in the conduct, use, publishing 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.
Section 3: Membership in the Association shall not be denied on the basis of ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, religion, nationality, or political affiliation.
Section 4: Only individual members in good standing shall have the right to vote and hold office. Every individual member has one vote. Organizational members do not have a vote.
Section 5: Dues shall be fixed by the Council. Paid dues provide membership on a calendar-year basis, January 1 – December 31, regardless of when in the year the membership is paid. To be eligible to vote for an office, a member shall have paid their dues 30 days before the start of the election.
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 ten members: the four officers – President, Past President, Vice President and President-Elect, and Secretary-Treasurer (Executive Council) – and the six persons who hold Council membership by virtue of their positions as Chair of the Conference Committee, Chair of the Education Committee, Chair of the Liaison Committee, Chair of the Membership Committee, Chair of the Professional Standards Committee, and 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 three 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 Executive Director 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 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 administering the funds of the Association, overseeing related procedures, and performing such other duties as the Council may prescribe. S/He shall prepare and distribute to all members a report of each 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.
Section 6: There shall be the following eight Standing Committees of the Association: Electoral, Finance, Conference, Education, Liaison, Membership, Professional Standards, and Publications. The Electoral Committee shall be headed ex officio by the Past President. The Finance Committee shall be headed ex officio by the Secretary-Treasurer. All other Committees shall be headed by Chairs elected by the membership.
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:
- 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 Executive Director for return to the Committee.
- The Finance Committee shall be responsible for preparing the annual budget for the Council vote and the allocation of funds of the Association.
- 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.
- The Education Committee shall be responsible for planning and organization of WAPOR education and training activities including, but not restricted to, webinars and in-person workshops.
- The Liaison Committee shall primarily be responsible for all contacts and discussions with the Regional Chapters and other associations, particularly those mentioned in Article II, Section 2.
- The Membership Committee shall initiate actions to maintain and increase membership. The Committee shall recommend to the President individual members to serve as National Representatives. These representatives shall promote the mission of WAPOR in their countries or societies. National Representatives are appointed by the President for a two-year term, with the possibility of one additional two-year term, for a total of four years. Except for reappointments to fill a seat due to mid-term vacancy, former National Representatives may reprise their position only after two years.
- The Professional Standards Committee 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.
- The Publications Committee shall coordinate all publication activities of the Association including, but not limited to journals, the newsletter, bulletins, reports, and social media publications. The Committee shall be responsible for the appointment of the editor(s) of the International Journal of Public Opinion Research.
Section 7: The President may create, with the advice and consent of the Council, such Honorary Positions and 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, documenting WAPOR history, assistance with administration, and 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. All such appointments shall serve a limited term of no more than two years. The Honorary Position Holders and Chairs of the Special Committees can attend Council meetings by invitation but have no voting rights.
Section 8: The Council shall employ an Executive Director for up to a four-year term, renewable for additional terms. The Executive Director shall manage the administrative affairs of the Association, and provide timely reports on such affairs, as directed by the Executive Council.
The Executive Council may employ additional support staff. If so, the Executive Director shall supervise their activities. Compensation paid to the Executive Director and staff of the Secretariat as well as their work locations shall be determined by the Executive Council.
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, Chair of Conference Committee, Chair of the Education Committee, and the Chair of the Professional Standards Committee shall be elected in even-numbered years; the Secretary-Treasurer, the Chair of the Liaison Committee, the Chair of the Membership Committee, and the Chair of the Publications 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 elected 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. No one can hold the same office for more than two consecutive terms.
Section 11: Council and Committee members shall be chosen in such a way that, so far as possible, all geographical areas 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 candidates receiving the most votes 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 of individual members. In order to give all individual 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 shall be carried out by 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 individual members in good standing must be referred to a vote by full individual membership. In case of a tie in the full individual membership vote, the Council shall cast the deciding vote on the side favored by a majority of Council members.
Section 2: All membership referendums, including elections and other questions, shall be conducted by the Electoral Committee. The Electoral Committee shall conduct the election in a manner that allows for a maximum participation of individual members and protection of privacy, following guidelines issued by the Council.
Section 3: For the annual election of Council members a call for nominations must be sent out to all individual members no later than September 15 in a separate email. Open nomination shall be conducted for any 4 consecutive weeks ending no later than October 15. Giving first consideration to the suggestions by individual membership and taking into account the eligibility, availability, and qualifications of the candidates suggested and the necessary geographical distribution, the Electoral Committee shall prepare a slate of nominations from the individual membership, presenting two or more candidates for each office. These shall include all qualified nominees from the individual members with twenty or more votes on the nomination canvass. All candidates must be members in good standing.
These nominations shall be submitted by email to the individual membership for vote no later than November 1. The Electoral Committee shall 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 four weeks of the ballot’s submission to members shall 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 no later than December 1. The winners will be announced in the next Newsletter, on the WAPOR homepage, via email and other electronic means of communication. Newly elected officers shall begin their service on January 1.
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 Finance Committee shall oversee the Association’s financial affairs as directed by the Executive Council. The Finance Committee shall propose policies in finance, including investment policies. Every new policy, as well as every policy modification, must be approved by the Council. WAPOR financial policies and procedures shall be written and made available to the members.
Section 2: Those responsible for agreed budgets may not exceed them without prior approval by the Finance Committee and the Executive Council.
Section 3: In December each year, the Executive Director, as directed by the Secretary-Treasurer, shall be responsible for providing the Council with an annual report which includes the balance of the Association’s financial situation and an estimated budget for the coming year.
ARTICLE VII – Regional Chapters
Section 1: Upon application to and approval of the WAPOR Council, members of WAPOR may organize into Regional Chapters (comprising countries or regions) with the aim of furthering the general purposes of WAPOR and shall be given recognition by WAPOR. The 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”.
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 Chair of the Liaison Committee 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.
Section 1: The working language of WAPOR administrative structures shall be English. To accommodate the Association’s global scope of activities, WAPOR shall attempt to translate official documents and communications into multiple languages.
ARTICLE IX – AMENDMENTS
Section 1: Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by majority vote of the Council, or petition of any twenty individual members. Amendments may be enacted by a vote of a majority of all individual members who participate in a referendum by email or other electronic means of communication, and whose votes are received within four weeks of the ballot’s submission, provided that at least 25% of individual 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 individual 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.