To ensure the credibility of the League as a nonpartisan organization, each League's Board of Directors is responsible for drafting and carrying out its own nonpartisan policy and for seeing that both its members and the public understand the League's nonpartisan role. LWV ABC members review and, if necessary, update the Nonpartisan Policy at the Annual Meeting.
LWV ABC Nonpartisan Policy
Reviewed and Approved April 8, 2019
1. The League shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidate.
2. The President and Voter Service Chair will refrain from public involvement in political campaigns during their terms of office. Involvement includes such things as having one's name on campaign literature, displaying yard signs and holding coffee parties for a candidate. (Attending a precinct caucus is fine.) Board members who are candidates for political office should resign from the Board or take a leave of absence during their own campaign.
3. No League member who is highly visible in a political party, closely associated in some way with a candidate, or identified with an issue under discussion at a candidate forum should be involved in running that event. The object is to prevent, in the eyes of the public, either an actual or apparent conflict of interest.
4. Explain to incumbent candidates (and to new League members) that while League may have lobbied the office holder on an issue, that function is kept separate from voter service activities for the general public. The League position on an issue is never stated by the League during a public candidate forum.
5. Co-sponsorship can present problems of perceived bias, especially if the other organization is identified with a point of view or endorses candidates before the election. If LWV ABC's name is on a project, be certain that League guidelines for non-partisanship and fairness are agreed upon ahead of time and followed. If the group has endorsed issues or candidates before the forum, League should decline to be involved. Explain that we are concerned about even the possible appearance of endorsement.
6. Moderating for other forum sponsors: League does want to encourage citizen involvement and to provide experienced moderators for the community but does not want to jeopardize its reputation by participating in poorly conceived or executed forums. If you are asked to moderate for another group, you must explain our nonpartisan policies to them and find out the following:
a. Motivation of the sponsoring group
b. Have all candidates been invited? Are they attending? If not, why not?
c. What are the issues in this election?
d. Format and ground rules? Do the candidates know them?
e. Will timers and ushers for collecting questions be provided? (You may want another League member to sort questions and to help you keep track of speaking rotation if there are several candidates.)
7. All voter service projects, including candidate meetings, should include a disclaimer that League neither endorses nor opposes candidates for political office.