Adopted July 30, 1990
The purpose of the League of Women Voters is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. It is nonpartisan in that it does not support or oppose any political party or candidate; it is political in that it takes on selected government issues after member study and agreement through consensus.
The League recognizes the role of the political parties in a democracy and believes that participation in their activities is an essential ingredient of citizen responsibility. While the League urges its members to be politically active, certain constraints are necessary to maintain the non-partisanship of the group. Accordingly, the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of the Holland Area has established the following guidelines:
Board of Directors
- The Board of Directors has the responsibility of maintaining the fact of the nonpartisanship of the League.
- A board member may not speak or in any way work against a LWV position.
- If a board member is contemplating taking a major (paid or volunteer) position that might be inconsistent with the nonpartisan stance of the League, the situation should be discussed with the Board immediately.
- No board member may run for partisan office but she or he may run for nonpartisan office (i.e., school board, city council, etc.) after consultation with the Board.
- If a board member decides to run for an elective office or participate in some other activity which might be considered openly partisan, the member must resign from the Board before announcing candidacy. The resignation should be made public by the Board, explaining the policy which makes it necessary, and taking care not to give the appearance of endorsing the candidate. The resigning board member may be considered for the Board in the future.
- The political activities of a spouse or relative of a board member are considered separate and distinct from the activities of the board member.
The President, Voter Service Chair(s), Public Relations Chair, and Action Chair, or anyone acting in those capacities may not participate in the following:
- Holding or actively seeking any elective office;
- Having an official position in a party organization, or in a group endorsing candidates for office;
- Participating conspicuously in campaigns in such a way as to publicly identify themselves with a certain candidate or position (e.g., yard signs, allowing names to be publicized as donors, although contributions are acceptable);
- Speaking at party organization meetings (attendance and voting are allowed);
- Carrying a petition for any candidate or non-League endorsed issue.
Once League (local, state, or national) takes a position on any issue, members may not identify themselves as League members in publicly expressing an opinion that is in opposition to that position.
Members representing League in the community should be sensitive to their responsibilities. When acting in the public as League representatives, members must not allow partisanship to be apparent. These members must be fully aware of League positions.
Members are encouraged to serve on governmental or community commissions. If the appointment is League-related, the appointee should be fully aware of League positions as they relate to the commission's responsibilities. Also, it must be understood that the League will not necessarily endorse the commission's positions or actions.
The League may join a coalition with the coalition's knowledge of the LWV's nonpartisan policy. If the coalition decides to support or oppose candidates, the League should issue a statement disassociating itself from that aspect of the coalition's work.
League Meetings and Publications
Members in the leadership roles at any official League or League-sponsored meeting have the responsibility to ensure the nonpartisanship of the meeting and its environment. Only petitions related to League-endorsed issues may be circulated at League meetings.
League positions on issues shall not be indicated on or distributed with Voter Guides. Materials supporting or opposing issues may not be distributed at Voter Service activities by the League. However, if asked, a League representative may explainthe League's official position. Candidates may make available, but not distribute, their own campaign materials at Voter Service activities.
The Nominating Committee shall inform prospective nominees of the nonpartisan policy guidelines for Board members. The Nominating Committee Chair is responsible for ensuring that all members receive a copy of the nonpartisan policy. The Nominating Committee chair shall be sure that the Board reviews the nonpartisan policy at the annual Board orientation meeting. Revisions should then be considered.
The League's nonpartisan reputation is sufficiently strong that contributions from office holders or candidates can be accepted without being misconstrued as endorsements of those donors.
The League of Women Voters of the Holland Area, in both its values and practices, affirms its belief and commitment to diversity and pluralism. The LWVHA recognizes that diverse perspectives are important and necessary for responsible and representative decision making, and subscribes to the belief that diversity and pluralism are fundamental to the values it upholds.
Inclusiveness enhances the organization's ability to respond more effectively to changing conditions and needs, and therefore, the LWV of the Holland Area will in both principle and practice promote the inclusion and participation in any activity of the LWVHA all persons, what-ever their gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability.