2022 Amendment to the AFS Bylaws

This page provides context about the current AFS Bylaws, which were amended at the request of the AFS Executive Board and approved by the general membership in 2023.

Outcome of the Vote

On February 1, 2023, five AFS Bylaws amendments proposed by the Executive Board in 2022 were approved by AFS members, reaching the 66% approval threshold required by the AFS Bylaws. Proposals 1-5 went into immediate effect.

With 203 total votes cast, the vote turnout was about average, at 22% of AFS membership. The full break-down of the voting was as follows:

  • Proposal 1, Clarifying Language, was approved by 177 of 203 votes cast on this amendment (87%).
  • Proposal 2, New Council of Past Presidents, was approved by 179 of 200 votes cast (89%).
  • Proposal 3, Succession, was approved by 184 of 201 votes cast (92%).
  • Proposal 4, Annual Adaptation, was approved by 148 of 198 votes cast (75%).
  • Proposal 5, Conservation and Agility, was approved by 129 of 192 votes cast (67%). Therefore, starting now, the Board will elect one Board member in February, and AFS members will elect two Board members in the fall of every year. This change will yield a total of 14 Board members in 2023, then 11 Board members in 2024 and the following years.


In November 2022 Executive Board of the American Folklore Society proposed five amendments to the AFS Bylaws to the membership to go into effect in 2023. The proposed amendments aimed to make AFS more inclusive, adaptable, agile, and sustainable for the long term.


Voting on the bylaws amendments opened December 15 and closed January 31. In response to a request for more time for public discussion of the proposed AFS Bylaws amendments, voting on the bylaws amendments took place on a separate ballot than the 2022 AFS Candidates’ Election so that voting on the bylaws could be extended to January 31.

Town Halls

Virtual Town Halls were held on November 22, November 29, December 5, January 10 (for students and early career professionals), and January 18 where members were invited to learn more, ask questions, and share their views. January sessions were intentionally offered for members who had questions during the voting period and sought clarification about the proposed amendments.

Public Comments

View public comments submitted to our website by AFS members sharing their views of the proposed changes. In addition, a Google doc was compiled that provided a deeper dive with additional context, rationale, and debate.

Proposed Bylaws Amendments

The 2022 Proposed AFS Bylaws Amendments page provides a list of all the proposed Bylaws amendments with explanations, graphics, marked-up bylaws, and questions and answers.