LWVTallahassee Nonpartisan Policy
In 1920, The League of Women Voters made a choice: The League would neither support nor oppose any political party or candidate for public office. This decision continues today to ensure that the League’s voice is heard above the tumult of party politics. This nonpartisan policy has added strength to the League’s positions on issues and has made wide acceptance of League voter service and other educational activities possible.
At the same time, the League is a political organization and encourages members to participate fully in the political party of their choice, to run for office, to contribute their time, finances, energy in support of candidates as well as to be active generally in the governmental process. It is an advantage to the League to have politically active members. For its active members, it can be a personally satisfying experience.
Our nonpartisan policy is the cornerstone of our Voter Service program: candidates appear at our events because they trust our forums will be fair and impartial and they know they will be treated with respect. Candidates give information to the League because they know it will not be used for partisan purposes. This reputation for fairness and independence accounts for the confidence placed in our positions by interested citizens, other organizations, and the media.
While the League urges its members to be politically active, certain constraints are necessary in order to maintain our nonpartisan policy, which has always been a major source of strength for the League. For example, members should refrain from wearing the League button while attending a campaign rally for a candidate or working for the candidate.
Nonpartisan Policy Applicable to Board Members
Individual Board members must recognize that as a result of close identification with the League, each board member has a special responsibility to see that his/her activities do not create a partisan impression.
· Elected Office. Board members may not run for nor hold any elective office.
· Political Party Office. No member of the Board shall serve in any elected position in a political party.
· Campaign Contributions. The President, Vice-President, and the Voter Services and Local Government Chairs may not attend fundraising events or make campaign contributions for candidates. Other Board members may attend fundraising events and make campaign contributions for candidates at any level.
· Political Campaigns. The President, Vice-President, and the Voter Services and Local Government Chairs shall not chair or administer fundraising or political campaigns, chair a campaign event or work in a significant way in the campaign of a candidate for office at any level. Other Board members may not undertake such activities for candidates for local office, but may do so for candidates for federal or state office.
· Social and Other Media. No Board member shall indicate her/his political affiliation or candidate preferences at any level of government in the media, including on social networking sites or other public venues, such as yard signs or bumper stickers, that also prominently identify her/him as a member of the LWVT Board.
The President, Vice-President and the Voter Services and Local Government chairs may attend free political party events for information only. The political activity of a spouse or relative of a Board member is considered separate and distinct from the activities of the Board member. Board members shall present questions about specific situations to the Board if this policy does not resolve the question.
(Adopted August 16, 2017)