NONPARTISANSHIP

As outlined in all League by laws, the League is a nonpartisan political organization. LWV discusses "nonpartisan" as follows:

The choice made in 1920 to neither support nor oppose any political party or candidate for public office continues today to ensure that the League's voice is heard above the tumult of party politics. The nonpartisan policy has added strength to the League's positions on issues and has made possible wide acceptance of League voter service and other educational activities.

At the same time, the League is a political organization and encourages members to participate fully in the political party of their choice. It is an advantage to the League to have politically active members and, equally important, it can be a personally satisfying experience.

Each year, each League is required to review and adopt the nonpartisan policy, thus ensuring all members, especially the Board, understand the policy and what it represents. In order to ensure the credibility of the League as a nonpartisan organization, the board also is responsible for seeing that both its members and the public understand the League's nonpartisan policy.

Each local league (LL)'s nonpartisan policy should reflect the existing conditions in its League, as well as the political climate and traditions in its community. The policy includes specific guidelines to govern the political activities of its board and off-board members.

I. POLICY

Article II of the LWVLC's by laws states the following:

Section 1. Purposes - The LWVLC, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major political issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Section 2. Political Policy - The LWVLC may take action on local government measures and policies in the public interest in conformity with the principles of the LWVUS. It shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidate.

II. GUIDELINES

1. Elected Office - A board member shall not run for, nor hold, any partisan elective office at any level of government. A board member may run for or hold a local nonpartisan elective office, after consultation with and approval by the board and the president.

2. Political Party Office - A board member shall not serve in any official position in a political party at any level of government.

3. Political Campaigns - A board member shall not chair a political campaign or administer fundraising for a political campaign, chair a campaign event, be a spokesperson, or work in any other significant way in the campaign of a candidate for a partisan office at any level of government.

4. Campaign Contributions - A board member shall not make campaign contributions to campaigns or candidates for any federal, state, or local office or to political parties or other entities contributing to such races.

5. Social and Other Media - A board member shall not indicate her/his political affiliations or candidate preferences at any level of government in the media, including on social networking sites or other public venues that also prominently identify her/him as a member of the LWVLC Board.

III. CONSIDERATIONS

1. Board members and local league members are treated differently, since the board has a more public face. League members have more leeway than board members in participating in the following:

- Making financial contributions to candidates and/or political parties;
- Participating in behind-the-scenes efforts for candidates, such as telephoning, stuffing envelopes, writing position papers, etc.;
- Circulating or signing nominating petitions, referendum petitions;
- Attending coffees or other gatherings to meet candidates;
- Attending fundraising functions for candidates or political parties;
- Holding an appointive political office;
- Holding office in another organization that supports or opposes parties or candidates.

2. Election Services and Candidate Night Moderators -

The League places the following restrictions on members of the board and any members doing public Election Services work, such as moderating a candidates forum or editing the Voters Guide:

- They may not hold partisan public office.
- They may not serve actively or campaign openly for any candidate for partisan office, including family members.
- They may not circulate nominating petitions.
- They may not, without prior board consent, attend partisan social functions or fundraisers.

In addition, the following applies for a Candidate Night Moderator:

- Should be a past League president or is very experience in the League
- Not eligible to vote for the candidate - live outside the candidates district

Board members and Election Services volunteers may serve on public commissions and committees. Board members wishing to take on partisan activity must resign from the board (or take a leave of absence), and may not return until three months after the election on which they were working.

IV. CLARIFICATION

In the case that a local league cannot solve particular dilemmas regarding nonpartisanship, then the LWVPA is asked for assistance and clarification.

Re-Adopted 10/19/2015 at the Oct. 19, 2015 board meeting, annually from 1947 to 2014

League of Women Voters
of Lancaster County

PO Box 1261
Lancaster, PA 17608-1261

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