Non-Partisan Policy of the LWVMA, approved Sept.10, 2015

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The purpose of the LWVMA’s nonpartisan policy is to assure the credibility and integrity of the League as an organization which does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.  The ability of the League to be an effective voice for the public interest will be achieved only if its policies and positions are seen as independent of partisan influence.  Thus, those persons making such policies must also be perceived as being free of all partisan influence.  Only to the extent that the public and its elected officials are convinced of the League’s genuine nonpartisanship will the League be able to render effective voter services and gain a wide base of support for its positions of governmental issues.

1. Elected Office: No member of the Board of Directors shall run for or hold office at the national, state or municipal level except school board, fire district or non-partisan commission.  If a Board member declares for an affected elected office, the member shall resign from the board.  Public notices are released by LWVMA announcing the resignation of a Board member to run for political office shall be carefully worded to avoid any appearance of endorsing the member’s candidacy.

2.Political Party Office:  No LWVMA Board member shall run for, hold or be appointed to a political party office at the national, state or municipal level.

3. Endorsements and Campaigns: The President, Voters Services Vice-President or Director and Advocacy Vice-President may not publicly endorse or work for any national, state, county  or municipal political campaign or candidate.  Other Board members, with discretion, may work for a candidate’s campaign.  Any Board member involved in a candidate’s campaign must inform the Board.  Although it is the intent of this policy that such activities would normally be acceptable, the final determination is at the discretion of the Board.

4. Campaign contributions: All Board members may make campaign contributions within legal limits.

5. Nominating Petitions: All Board members may sign a nominating petition, except those referred in #3 – President, Voters Services and Advocacy Vice-Presidents or Directors.

6.Campaign Publicity and Participation:  It is never acceptable for the name of the League of Women Voters to be used in identifying a Board member working in a candidate’s campaign or in any manner implying support or opposition by the LWVMA to a political party or candidate for any elected office.

7. Appointments to boards, commissio9ns and committees:  LWAVMA Board may encourage and assist League members to secure appointments to government boards, commissions and committees.  These recommendations shall be approved by the Board.  Appointees serve as individuals rather than as formal representatives of the League unless the position was offered to the organization.  If the seat is for the League, the Board shall appoint a new representative when the Board member’s term of office has ended.  The Board may also appoint a League Member who is not on the board to represent the League.  Board members may serve on private sector and non-profit boards.  Conflicts between the appointee’s League position and appointed position must be brought to the attention of the League Board which will determine the appropriate action.

8. League programs; LWVMA will not invite anyone who has declared as a candidate for any office to participate in any kind of program, whether as a speaker ior member of a panel, unless it is a candidates forum.  This ban includes members of his/her staff if an incumbent.  A good rule of thumb: federal officials cannot be asked during even numbered years and state officials cannot be asked during odd numbered years.

9. Moderators and Timekeepers: A League member who runs for, or is elected to any partisan office including party committees shall not be eligible to moderate any partisan forum.  This prohibition shall run from the time such an office is first sought until the position is relinquished or the term ends.  League members who are visibly active in a party in other ways other than public office shall also not ordinarily moderate partisan forums.  It is preferable that a member with such partisan activities or offices should not moderate even non-partisan forums, such as non-partisan municipal elections and board of education elections.  A moderator should not reside or vote in the community or other jurisdiction where the election is being held but rather should come from a League outside the community or jurisdiction.  A moderator who is a member of a board of education should not moderate any forum for school board candidates.  Similarly, an elected municipal official should not moderate any forum for candidates for a municipal office.  It is recommended but not required that timekeepers follow the same guidelines.

10. Public Statements:  Any public written or verbal statement presented as League policy or opinion must be made only by the President or Co-Presidents unless authorization has been given in advance by the President or Co-President.

11.  These policies do not apply to the family of a Board member.

12.  Situations not covered by this policy will be addressed as needed by the Board of Directors.

13.  No LWVMA member may distribute LWV information when participating at a partisan event or venue.