The purpose of the LWV is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. The LWV is nonpartisan in that it does not support or oppose any political party or candidate; it is political in that it takes positions on selected government issues after member study and agreement.
The LWV recognizes the role of political parties in our form of government and believes that participation in the activities of political parties is an essential ingredient of its citizen responsibility. The LWV urges its members to be politically active.
However, board members make League policy; therefore, board members do not engage in partisan activities during their terms of office in order to maintain the nonpartisanship of the organization. Board members have the responsibility of keeping the nonpartisan policy of the League in mind at all times.
The LWVGP Board shall review this policy annually at the first meeting of each new board. This policy is subject to review at the request of a majority of the Board.
Section A. Policy on running for office and involvement with political parties
1. Board members may
- serve as an election judge, poll watcher, or precinct committeeperson with board approval. The board must consider the political sensitivity of the portfolio involved.
- take the initiative in recommending people to serve on appointed public commissions and committees. LWVGP considers it appropriate for Board members to serve in such a capacity. Board members may not hold an appointed office or city/village position which has a political party affiliation.
2. Board members may not
Section B. Policy on Political Activity
- run for or hold any elected office. Board members who choose to run for office or to take part in partisan activities shall resign from the board as soon as they have decided such a course of action. The vacant position shall be filled promptly, and the appointment shall be in effect for remainder of the term, per the Bylaws Article 4. The resignation should receive publicity, but should be written so that it does not suggest a political endorsement.
- serve on the committee of a particular political party, or as a delegate to a political party convention
1. Board members may
- attend public political meetings.
- sign, but not circulate petitions for candidates.
- attend fundraising events, and may make financial contributions to a political party, candidate, or issue.
2. These Board members (President, VP Voter Services, Director Voter Services, VP Program, VP Administration, Publicity Director) may not
- attend private political meetings.
- solicit contributions.
- advise nor work actively for a candidate or for a political party during their terms of office
- have their names used in any campaign literature or in printed or electronic advertising
- state preferences for parties or candidates in writing or in speech, nor may Board members publicly display any materials which support such.
- serve on a board of directors or in a leadership role in an organization which endorses candidates.
- hold coffees or candidate forums, unless all candidates for that office are invited.
3. Board members not identified in Section B, 2, are encouraged not engage in the political.partisan activities listed.
Section C. Policy on issues
1. Once League (national, state, or local) takes a position on an issue, the League President speaks for the board.
2. Board members may
- sign and circulate petitions concerning issues which are in agreement with LWV positions.
3. Board members may not
Section D. Policy on family political activity
- identify themselves as League members in publicly expressing an opinion that is in opposition to a League position
- be active in a campaign for a ballot measure or an issue in opposition to a League position and shall not be assigned a League portfolio in which there is, or could be, a conflict of interest.
- be identified with a highly controversial issue on which the League has not taken a stand, since there may be confusion on the part of the public as to the League's place in the controversy. The Board should review situations on a case-by-case basis.
The LWVGP prefers that Board members' families, residing at the same address as a Board member, will refrain from visible partisan political activity, including but not limited to, the placing of lawn signs and bumper stickers.
Section E. Enforcement of this policy
1. There shall be a consultation with the Board if there is any question of conflict. The LWVGP board shall decide the application of the non-partisan policy in situations not covered above or in LWVUS guidelines. A majority vote of the Board shall resolve the question.
2. Board members choosing to engage in political activity beyond the extent defined in these guidelines shall resign from the board as soon as they have decided such a course of action. The vacant position shall be filled promptly, and be in effect for the remainder of the term per the bylaws. The resignation should receive publicity, but should be written so that it does not suggest a political endorsement.