The League of Women Voters is nonpartisan, which means that, as an organization, it does not support or oppose political parties or candidates for elective office.
However, after detailed research, study and member consensus/agreement, the League members may adopt advocacy positions. Using these positions, the League may advocate to influence public policy. As individuals, League members are encouraged to engage fully in the political process.
The League of Women Voters of Portland has adopted an official Nonpartisan Policy for board members and committee chairs that defines limits on their political activities. The purpose of this policy is to protect the nonpartisan reputation of the League.
The nonpartisan principle of the League of Women Voters affects all members. The bylaws state that the League “shall not support or oppose any political party or candidate.” Every member should understand this is basic in the League’s dealings with the public. As representatives of the League, members may not support or oppose candidates. However, League members, as individuals, are encouraged to participate in political parties and issues.
A. A member of the board may not be a candidate for any elected city, county, regional, state, or federal office during their term on the Board. If the member decides to be a candidate after accepting a Board position, they should resign at once and the League should make sure that statements explaining the resignation are immediately made public.
B. The President, Voters Service Chair, and Communications Chair shall not take part in political campaigns either for candidates or for non-League issues—including displaying campaign lawn signs, bumper stickers, buttons, or other signage. Limited financial support of candidates and non-League issues is permissible.
C. Other Board members may participate in political campaigns for candidates or non-League issues provided that:
- The Board member exercises good judgment to preserve the League’s commitment to nonpartisanship; and
- The Board member clearly states to the campaign that they are participating as an individual and their involvement in no way conveys League endorsement; and
- The Board member does not accept a paid position with such campaigns; and
- The Board member does not take a leadership or public role with such campaigns.
D. No member of the Board shall hold any executive office in any political party during their term on the Board.
Committee Chairs: Good sense and clear understanding of the League procedures and policies will guide individual members of the Board and committee chairs in most cases.
When situations arise unexpectedly or produce unprecedented complications, members of the Board and committee chairs should seek advice from the Board, or the Board should initiate discussion.
The Nominating Committee shall apprise all prospective Board members of the above- mentioned policies.