Constitution of Mensa

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The Constitution of Mensa is a document enacted and amended at the international level (by a vote of all Mensans worldwide) which governs the structure of Mensa International and its relationship with the other Mensa organizations and individual members. The first attempt to enact a Mensa Constitution in the early days of Mensa as a British society failed, as the members at the time preferred to operate informally without a rigid document codifying the organization's operations. However, a constitution was eventually adopted and has been amended on occasion in subsequent international voting.

The current Mensa constitution was enacted in its original form in 1982, putting in effect a new international structure more to the liking of American Mensa, which had much more influence in the new International Board of Directors where voting strength was based on membership size, compared to the old structure where each national Mensa had one vote regardless of whether it had 50 members or 50,000. There was much political conflict at the time, and several alternative proposed constitutions.

Since then, there have been several amendments to the constitution. In 2005, a controversial amendment limited the elected officer positions to people with past experience on the IBD, which proponents said ensured experience and continuity, but opponents said made the leadership of Mensa International into a self-perpetuating insiders' club. In 2007, a new amendment was proposed to repeal the 2005 amendment. It passed in the balloting, but international Ombudsman Dave Felt ruled that it was invalid because insufficient time had been given before the printing of the ballots for proponents and opponents to draft statements in support or opposition. It was left to the IBD to determine if the amendment was validly enacted, and they ruled in September, 2007 (at their meeting in Hong Kong) that the balloting was invalid and would have to be repeated. A subsequent vote in the following election finally enacted this amendment.

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