Our Nonpartisanship Policy
We will be revisiting this in September in order to bring our policy into alignment with that of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
The League of Women Voters Ashland & Bayfield Counties (LWV/ABC), a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. We take action on public policy positions established through member study and agreement. The LWV/ABC is nonpartisan and does not support or oppose any political party or any candidate for public office.
The LWV/ABC recognizes the role of political parties in our system of government and believes that participation of informed citizens is beneficial to the political parties and to the system. Consequently, the LWV/ABC encourages its members, as individuals, to be active in political parties, in finding and supporting candidates for public office, and in seeking election to public office.
However, in order to maintain the nonpartisanship of the LWV/ABC and to make clear to the public that neither the LWV/ABC public policy positions nor its activities (particularly Voter Services activities) are motivated by partisanship, the LWV/ABC Board of Directors has adopted the following principles for Board members and for any Voter Services Chair who is not a Board member. (If the Voter Services Chair is not a Board Member, all of the references in this policy to Board members also apply to the Voter Services Chair, in addition to provisions specifically listing the Voter Services Chair.) These principles are:
Elected Office. No Board member may run for or hold any partisan elective office at any level of government.
In addition, the President and Voter Services Chair may not run for or hold elective office at any level of government.
Political Party Involvement. No Board member may serve in any official position in a political party at any level.
In addition, the President and Voter Services Chair may not seek delegate status in the political party caucus process or sponsor a fundraising event for a political party.
Political Campaigns. With respect to the campaign of a candidate for a partisan elective office at any level of government, no Board member may do any of the following: chair the campaign; serve as the treasurer for or administer fundraising for the campaign; chair or host a campaign event; be employed by the candidate, campaign, or any committee or other entity established to influence the election of the candidate; be a spokesperson for the campaign; or work in any other significant way in the campaign.
In addition, the President and Voter Services Chair may not take a visible role in any campaign for any candidate for elective office at any level of government. A visible role includes activities such as circulating nomination papers; attending fundraising events for a candidate; displaying political yard signs or bumper stickers; writing letters to the editor in favor of one candidate or party over another; and appearing in publicly displayed lists as a supporter of a candidate.
Campaign Contributions. The President and Voter Services Chair may not make a contribution to any of the following: a political party; a candidate for elective office at any level of government; or any political committee that supports, opposes, or contributes to a candidate for elective office at any level of government. This restriction applies only if the individual or entity to which the contribution is made is required by state or federal law to report contributions and the President or Voter Services Chair’s contribution would be at or above the amount at which the contributor’s name is required by law to be reported.*
Social and Other Media. No Board member may indicate his or her political affiliations or candidate preferences at any level of government in the media, including on social networking sites or other public venues, if that medium also prominently identifies the Board member as a member of the LWV/ABC Board.
Not Applicable to Others. These principles apply to Board members but do not apply to a Board member’s spouse or to any other individual in a Board member’s household.
If any Board member (including the President or Voter Services Chair) intends to engage in any of the activities that are prohibited to all Board members, he or she should submit a letter resigning from the Board.
If the President intends to engage in any of the activities that are explicitly prohibited to the President, he or she should submit a letter resigning as President. He or she need not resign from the Board.
If the Voter Services Chair is a Board member and intends to engage in any of the activities that are explicitly prohibited to the Voter Services Chair, he or she should submit a letter resigning as Voter Services Chair. He or she need not resign from the Board.
If the Voter Services Chair is not a Board member and intends to engage in any of the activities that are prohibited to all Board members or intends to engage in any of the activities that are explicitly prohibited to the Voter Services Chair, he or she should submit a letter resigning as Voter Services Chair.
Questions. If a Board member has a question about a specific situation not addressed in this policy, the Board member should present the question to the Board.
Adopted November 12, 2012, by the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters Ashland & Bayfield Counties
*Wisconsin law applicable to elections for state and local offices: The current amount (as of 11/8/2012) is more than $20 (including contributions of $20 or less if the contributions aggregate more than $20 in a calendar year). The date, full name, address, and amount must be reported. (If the amount exceeds $100 in a calendar year, the contributor’s occupation and name and address of employment also must be reported.) [s. 11.06 (1) (a) and (b), Wis. Stats.]
*Federal law applicable to elections for federal offices: In general, the current amount (as of 11/8/2012) is more than $200 aggregate donations to a candidate, political committee, party committee, or political action committee during the election cycle (or for unauthorized committees, during a calendar year). The date, name, address, and amount must be reported, along with the contributor’s occupation and the name of his or her employer. [11 Code of Federal Regulations Part 104.]
*States other than Wisconsin: The amount established by the state in which the candidate on behalf of whom a contribution is made is running for elective office applies.
Note: As several provisions in the policy apply only to partisan elective offices and not to other elective offices (that is, do not apply to nonpartisan elective offices), the following information is provided about which elective offices in Wisconsin or representing Wisconsin currently are partisan and which are not:
- Federal offices (President, Vice-President, U.S. Senators, and U.S. House of Representatives).
- Certain state offices (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, Wisconsin Senators, and Representatives to the Wisconsin Assembly).
- Certain county offices (Sheriff, District Attorney, County Clerk, Treasurer, Register of Deeds, Coroner, Clerk of Courts, and Surveyor (in some counties)).
- Certain state offices (State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court).
- Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judges.
- All city offices (Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer, Alderpersons, and Municipal Judge).
- All village offices (President, Trustees, Clerk, Treasurer, Assessor, Municipal Judge, and Constable).
- All town offices (Board Chair, Supervisors, Clerk, Treasurer, Assessor, Municipal Judge, and Constable).
- Certain county offices (County Executive, Supervisors, and Circuit Court Judges).
- All school board members.
As a general rule of thumb (not applicable to special elections and recall elections), elections for partisan offices are held in the fall, and elections for nonpartisan offices are held in the spring.