Note: this policy is reviewed and adopted each year by the incoming Board of Directors.
Purpose. Nonpartisanship toward candidates and political parties is critical to the effectiveness of the League of Women Voters’ (League) unique voter service/citizen information work. It also provides a strong foundation for the work done in support of issues. The purpose of this policy is to enable the League of Women Voters of Newton (LWVN) 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 LWVN’s genuine nonpartisanship, will LWVN be able to render effective voter 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. LWVN is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. 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 principles and LWVN program.
2. Elected Office: Anyone running for or holding any partisan (i.e. party-affiliated) elective office at any level of government, or any campaign manager of any person running for elected office, may not serve as a Board of Director. Candidates for Neighborhood Area Councils are exempt from this policy.
3. Political Party Office: The president 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 LWVN board.
4. Support of Candidates for Public Office:
a. The President, Voters Service Chair, and Voters Guide editors 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 LWVN in the public mind.
5. Other Board Positions Outside League: Board members may not hold leadership positions (either active or honorary) in any group whose stated position is in conflict with League principles of LWVN program.
6. Any Board member in conflict with this policy shall be required to resign from the Board. Any Board member who has so resigned, may be reappointed by the Board if and when the Board determines that the conflict originally causing the resignation no longer exists.
Clarification of the Policy
If any questions arise regarding this nonpartisan policy, the matter will come before the Board for interpretation and discussion. Final decisions about implementing this nonpartisan policy rest with the Board of Directors.
The Board shall review this policy annually. Any changes must be approved by the Board.
Adopted September 22, 2021; Affirmed September 20, 2023