Election Procedures

NACDL members annually elect between nine and thirteen members of the Board of Directors, as well as a President-Elect, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer (in even years).

Annual Election

NACDL’s annual election is underway. This year, NACDL members will elect 13 members of the Board of Directors, as well as a President-Elect, First Vice President, Second Vice President, and Secretary.1 NACDL members interested in seeking nomination for any open position should read the following information.

Standing Policy on Elections and Election Conduct

Candidates should read and follow NACDL’s Standing Policy on Elections.


Who May be Nominated

Any NACDL member who is qualified to vote may be nominated for any Officer or Director position. Members who are qualified to vote include Regular, Public Defender, Life, and any other member category created under Article IV of NACDL’s bylaws.

How to be Nominated

A qualified member may be nominated for any open Officer or Director Position in the following ways:

  1. The Nominating Committee may nominate any qualified member, pursuant to Article VII, Section 5(a) of NACDL’s bylaws;
  2. Any qualified NACDL member may nominate any other qualified member by petition; or
  3. Any qualified NACDL member may nominate himself or herself by petition.

Nomination by the Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee will nominate candidates for the 2021 election for all Officer positions except President and Treasurer2, and for 13 Board of Director positions.

The Nominating Committee seeks candidates with leadership potential who have demonstrated commitment to the Association and the profession. The Nominating Committee will attempt to attain geographical, professional, minority, and gender diversity. Limited financial assistance is available to those officers and directors who cannot afford the cost of transportation and lodging for Board meetings.

Submission Requirements

Nominating Committee submissions are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on March 26, 2021. Submissions must include the following items:

  • A designation of the position(s) for which the member would like to be considered;
  • A statement of qualifications of up to 600 words, which may include  
    • A statement of service to NACDL,
    • NACDL meetings attended,
    • Member recruitment efforts,
    • Committee work,
    • Service to the legal profession (including work on behalf of criminal justice issues and for other professional associations),
    • A description of the member’s practice (including areas of concentration and percentage of time devoted to criminal defense and pro bono work), or
    • Other relevant community service;
  • A resume or curriculum vitae;
  • A statement that the candidate is a members in good standing of his or her respective bar; and
  • A profile or headshot photograph the candidate.

Candidates are responsible for confirming that their materials have been received. Candidates must disclose if they are under indictment or information for any felony or crime involving moral turpitude.

The Nominating Committee may announce an opportunity for candidates to present before the committee in support of their candidacy. Such presentation would be optional, and no negative inference will be drawn if a candidate does not present.

The Nominating Committee will report its nominations to the Executive Director no later than Friday, April 16, 2021. The Nominating Committee will notify the membership of its proposed nominees by Monday, April 19, 2021, via www.nacdl.org/elections, and subsequently in other media.

Candidates should send their submissions to elections@nacdl.org and to Nominating Committee chair Martin Sabelli at msabelli@sabellilaw.com.

The Petition Process

Candidates may seek nomination via petition. Petitions are available on the NACDL website and will also be available at NACDL meetings and seminars, or by contacting elections@nacdl.org.

Submission Requirements

Petitions must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on May 27, 2021. Candidates must submit the following:

  • A qualified petition (download a petition here);
  • A photo; and
  • A statement that the candidate is a members in good standing of his or her respective bar.

Petitions must be submitted electronically in a single transmittal, and should be sent to Election Registrar Daniel Weir.

Petitioners are advised to comply with the requirements of Article VIII, Section 2 in order to insure the submission of an adequate number of valid signatories.

Learn About Election Petitions

The Election

If no petitions are received, the Nominating Committee slate of candidates will be declared elected by acclamation at the Annual Membership Meeting, and pursuant to Article VIII, Section 3 (b) of NACDL’s bylaws.

Unless no petitions are timely received for any open position, ballots will be cast electronically. Information on candidates and voting will be made available online and via various media. Only members whose dues are current may vote.

Please direct questions concerning any aspect of NACDL election procedure to Daniel Weir at (202) 465-7640.

The deadline for submissions of candidacy to the Nominating Committee is 5:00 pm, Eastern Time on March 26, 2021. 

Candidates should send their submissions separately to NACDL’s Nominating Committee Chair and elections@nacdl.org.

Candidates are responsible for confirming that their submissions have been received. 

1 Pursuant to Article V, Section (3) (c) of the bylaws, NACDL members elect a treasurer every two years.

2 The office of President is automatically filled each year by the President-Elect. The Treasurer serves a term of two years.

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