Making Democracy Work

Nonpartisanship Policy & Bylaws

The League is nonpartisan in that it does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. However, it does take action on public issues based on positions reached by member agreement.

Nonpartisanship Policy

Nonpartisanship Policy; reaffirmed annually by each new board
reaffirmed at June/July meeting, 2016

The purposes of the League of Women Voters are to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government and to act on selected governmental issues. The League is nonpartisan in that it does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. However, it does take action on public issues based on positions reached by member agreement.

While the League urges its members to be politically active as individuals, board members' activities must be limited to preserve the League's nonpartisan position. 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 and gain a wide base of support for its positions on governmental issues.

It is therefore important that members and the public understand the following:

All League members are expected to keep the League activity and their political activity completely separate and distinct. For example, members may not distribute League material at the same time as material for a candidate or a party. League members should not distribute partisan information or petitions or display campaign buttons or insignia at any League-sponsored activity, including unit meetings.

The LWV of Arlington shall neither elect nor appoint to the board any member who, within the previous six-month period, had held or run for elective office.

Board members shall neither run for nor hold elective office. If a board member declares for an elective office, the member must resign from the board.

Public notices released by the League announcing the resignation of a board member to run for political office should be carefully worded to avoid the appearances of endorsing the resigning board member's candidacy.

Board members may serve on any public board, commission, committee or coalition that does not have a competing interest with the League; however, that board member does not represent the League unless officially designated as the League representative by the board.

Guidelines for Board Members and Program Chairs

The President, Vice President, Voters Service and certain Directors (e.g., finance and membership), if publicly identified with the League, shall not participate in any political campaign or political party activity.

However, these and other board members may:

  • Attend informational political functions of a non-fundraising nature.
  • Make financial contributions to candidates, as long as the board member's name is not then used to solicit additional funds.
  • Attend and participate in party mass meetings in the absence of a primary.
  • Serve as an officer of election or assistant registrar.

Other board members may participate in other political activity if it is done in an inconspicuous, non-public manner, which would not cause them to be identified publicly as supporting any candidate or political party. They may participate in activities such as preparing mailings; filing; attending campaign/party events.

Board members may not:

  • Campaign openly or work in a significant capacity for a candidate for public office.
  • Hold an official position in a campaign or political party organization that endorses candidates for public office.
  • Run or serve as a delegate to a party convention.
  • Speak or in any way work against a League position.
  • Publicly identify their political preferences while working on voters service activities (no displays of political bumper stickers or campaign buttons).

Board members should use discretion in their political activities, based on their own personal situation and how strongly they are identified with the League. If there is doubt about the appropriateness of an activity, the board member should ask for a decision from the board at its next meeting.

The political activities of a board member's spouse or other family members should be considered separate and distinct from the board member's own activities and are not covered by the above policy.

The nominating committee shall make prospective board members aware of the requirements of this policy. This policy shall be reviewed by the board every year and published annually in the fall in the Bulletin.

League of Women Voters of Arlington, Virginia

Reviewed/Updated: 30 July 2008