NON PARTISANSHIP POLICY
1. MEMBER ACTIVITIES. Members of the LWVOA, as individuals, are encouraged to be politically active citizens, but they are required to keep their partisan activities separate from LWV activities. In addition, members should bear in mind that only the LWVOA Board is authorized to approve the use of the LWV name in support of any issue, and that only the Board may approve use of the LWVOA membership list for any purpose other than information to the membership.
2. BOARD MEMBER ACTIVITIES: POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. A board member shall not chair a political campaign event, conduct fundraising for a political campaign, nor be a spokesperson for or work in any other significant, visible way in the campaign of a candidate for any political office. For example, a board member's name should not appear on any endorsement lists for candidates or parties to which she/he may have contributed as an individual. Nor should a board member circulate petitions to place a candidate on the ballot, promote candidates on social media or display partisan campaign materials. The political activities of a spouse or relative of a Board member are to be considered separate and distinct from the activities of that Board member.
3. BOARD PRESIDENT AND VOTER SERVICE CHAIR ACTIVITIES: POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. The President and Voter Service Chair should refrain entirely from any public partisan political activity, including attending fundraising events, contributing to candidate or issue campaigns, displaying campaign materials, circulating petitions to place a candidate on the ballot, promoting candidates on social media, or working in any other significant way for any partisan or nonpartisan candidate. They will exercise caution where spouse activity is involved, recognizing that spouses do not always hold the same positions. In order to avoid the appearance of partisanship, however, if the spouse of a president, vice-president or voter services chair runs for public office, the board member must resign or take a leave of absence from the board during the campaign.
4. BOARD MEMBER ACTIVITIES: RUNNING FOR ELECTED OFFICE. If a board member should declare to run for elective office, the member must resign or take a leave of absence from the Board.
5. BOARD MEMBER ACTIVITIES: PUBLIC SERVICE. Board members may serve on public boards, commissions, committees, or coalitions. However, their participation does not signify support of the LWV unless the member is officially designated as a LWV representative.
6. BOARD MEMBER ACTIVITIES: CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE. A board member shall disclose annually, at the beginning of the League year, any paid work, political involvement, appointed or elected participation on any governmental agency, board or commission, volunteer activities and any other situation that may represent a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. Any changes to that disclosure arising during the year shall be reported as they occur.
7. BOARD MEMBERS: PERMISSIBLE POLITICAL ACTIVITIES. A board member (except as noted above) may sign petitions, attend candidate or party events, contribute to candidate and issue campaigns, serve as poll workers, and be appointed to boards or commissions where League principles or positions are not in conflict. Board members may participate actively only in those issues or campaigns which are supported by League positions or where the League has no position.
8. SITUATIONS NOT COVERED BY THE ABOVE. A board member in any situation where she/he is the public face of the League shall consult the league president in advance regarding any issues of nonpartisanship or shall act on the spot with deference to the spirit of this policy. LWVOA's small-town setting puts an extra premium on board members' remaining alert to potential "grey area" activities that may be misinterpreted by the public as partisan or a conflict of interest. Restrictions around "grey area" activities that could be construed as conflict of interest or partisan are especially relevant for board members with high visibility due to their significant role on the board (e.g., president, vice president, voter services chair, treasurer.) In all cases, League "Best Practices" should be employed.
Revised April 2016 as approved by the Board of LWVOA
GUIDELINES FOR CO-SPONSORSHIP OF MEETINGS/EVENTS
Civic engagement in public affairs, broadly considered, should be the focus of League- sponsored events, with specific goals for voter education, non-partisan advocacy, and visibility for membership or volunteer purposes. Examples include:
- Issues-oriented events where the League has a position;
- Issues-oriented events where the League is facilitating public dialogue;
- Candidates forums and debates;
- Workshops facilitated by League members that relate to League issues; or
- Informational/civic action "fairs" where organizations provide literature for the public.
The LWVOA Board should determine the League's participation in the event, either at a meeting or by electronic means, based on the following factors:
- Consistency with League's nonpartisan position, issue positions, principles and priorities adopted as strategic goals, based upon documentation provided by the potential co- sponsors;
- Degree of involvement in terms of people and financial resources; and
- Value of the League's name to our membership and/or our coalition partners.
It is desirable but not mandatory that the League have input in the planning/organization of the event. League guidelines for participation must be communicated to the co-sponsors prior to agreeing to co-sponsor. LWVOA Education Fund dollars may not be used for any meetings/events which promote or lobby for specific legislation.