LWV ABC does not support political parties or candidates for office. Our main interests focus on issuing position briefings, advocating, educating through nonpartisan public meetings, encouraging voting, and helping citizens advocate for issues we have studied.
We offer many ways to be involved at local, state, regional, and national levels. You might observe a local meeting (Observer Corps), help at a League-sponsored forum or discussion, serve on a study committee (Our Action and Advocacy), lobby the state legislature on issues and policies, register voters (Voter Services) or simply attend League meetings and events.(Calendar).
Attend any of our activities to determine which ones fit your interests and schedule.
At each annual meeting, LWV ABC members review and update as necessary the Nonpartisan Policy.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Co-sponsorship is encouraged, but can present problems of perceived bias, especially if the other organization is identified with a particular 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.
5. 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.)
6. All voter service projects, including candidate meetings, should include a disclaimer that League neither endorses nor opposes candidates for political office.