Purpose. The purpose of this policy is to enable the League as an organization to carry on with service to voters, information to citizens, and lobbying and campaigning on issues. 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 voters service activities and gain a wide base of support for its positions on governmental issues. The policy distinguishes between the League as an organization and the rights of its individual members.
General. The League of Women Voters of Newton is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. The League’s effectiveness lies in its ability to take strong positions on issues in the public interest without regard for partisan affiliation. The League also encourages participation in local government by informing the citizens of Newton about their rights and responsibilities as voters.
The Policy as it applies to Members. The League prides itself on having a membership composed of diverse, informed women and men. Its individual members are encouraged to participate fully in party politics and in government at all levels. Many League members have strong affiliations with political parties or candidates, or are elected officials themselves.
The Policy as it applies to Board Members:
1. Appointive Office: A board member may accept an appointment to local commissions, boards, or committees if such service would not be in conflict with League program.
2. Political Party Office: Members of the Steering Committee and board member(s) holding voters service portfolios shall not serve in any position in a political party at any level. Other board members may serve on a local political party committee, with notification given to the League board.
3. Support of Candidates for Public Office:
a. Members of the Steering Committee, Voters Service Chair, and Newsletter Editor shall not publicly support any candidate for political office at any level. Activities permitted under this policy include: attending informational campaign functions and signing nominating petitions. Activities prohibited include, but are not limited to: circulating nominating petitions; hosting fundraising or campaign functions; making campaign contributions; displaying lawn signs; or adding one’s name to an endorsement.
b. Board members should use discretion to ensure that their personal political activities are not identified with the League in the public mind.
c. Candidates for elective office and their campaign managers cannot serve on the Board of Directors.
4. Other Board Positions Outside League: Board members may not hold leadership positions (either active or honorary) in any group whose stated position is in opposition to the League program.
5. If any questions arise regarding the nonpartisan policy, the matter will come before the Board for interpretation and discussion. If a Board member resigns from the Board because of a conflict with this policy, that member shall not return to the Board until after the next Annual Meeting. Final decisions about implementing this nonpartisan policy rest with the Board of Directors.
Approved by LWVN Board of Directors, August 14, 2014
NB: Subject to revision by each incoming board of directors.