Making Democracy Work

LWVMPC Policies

Policies of the League of Women Voters of Marion and Polk Counties

Approved by Board of Directors on November 9, 2006. New sections added at the dates indicated on them.

Board Tools

At the summer board meeting at which the year is planned, the president or her designee should be sure that each board member has or receives the following board tools:

Annual Meeting Workbook (containing adopted program, budget, elected board members)
Applicable job description and files
Bylaws and Policies of LWVMPC--available on LWVMPC website
Positions of LWVMPC--available on LWVMPC website. (Action Chair should also have LWVOR and LWVUS positions)
Current Directory of Elected Officials--available on LWVMPC website
Vouchers for expense reimbursement--available from treasurer
League Basics--available on LWVUS website, http://www.lwv.org

Dues and Directory

Dues: Dues must be paid by September 30 for person to be included in the membership directory.

Scholarship Policy: Each year a subcommittee of the board comprised of the president, treasurer, and membership director will review requests for and award scholarship assistance on a first-come, first-served basis until budgeted funds are depleted. If a scholarship-assisted member requests a scholarship for a second year, criteria for awarding the scholarship will include past or current active involvement in the League. The names of members receiving scholarships need not be reported to the entire board to safeguard individual privacy. The availability of scholarship help should be publicized in the Focus and announced at the Fall Brunch.

Directory: The membership directory will be prepared in early October and mailed to members in late October with the November Focus. There is a Postal Service procedure for mailing the directory to members only as part of the bulk mailing of the Focus.

Mailing List: The member directory is for use exclusively by League members for League business.

Disclaimer of views of outside speakers:

The League invites guest speakers, so that members can hear various points of view on issues of public concern. The person who introduces a speaker will state that the speaker does not necessarily reflect League positions.

Interest Groups

An interest group may be proposed by the membership or the board. All interest groups must be approved by the board. Topics of an interest group may be based on current League positions or may involve topics on which the League has no position, but the topic must not conflict with current League positions. The chair or leader of each interest group may be appointed by participants in the interest group. Interest groups may choose their own agendas, activities, and meeting times. Interest groups are encouraged to recommend actions to the board--actions that are premised on LWV positions--but may not take public action on their own initiative. Non-League members may participate in an interest group but may not serve as its chair. The Program Chair will give a copy of this policy to each interest-group chair.

Public Statements

The president is the spokesperson for the LWVMPC. Board members and other members may be designated by the president or board to represent the LWVMPC and its positions.

League members are encouraged to express their opinions as individuals. Members speaking as individuals (i.e., without approval by the president or the board) should not identify themselves as League members. This is to avoid equating their personal opinions as official positions of the League.

Non-partisan Policy

Article II, Section 1, of the LWVUS Bylaws states: "The purpose of the League of Women Voters of the United States is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government and to act on selected governmental issues." Article II, Section 2, states: "The League shall not support or oppose any political party or candidate."

The board of directors is the official voice of the local League and is responsible for carrying out the nonpartisan political policy in the Salem community. In an effort to foster member understanding and public awareness of the League's nonpartisan stance, the members of the local board have set guidelines on board nonpartisanship. Specifically,

1. Board members will not hold office in or work in a political party organization in a job that is visible to the public, run for elective office, or publicly support a candidate for public office whether or not the candidate wears the label of a political party. A board member who decides to run for office or become politically active in a way that creates a conflict will resign from the board.

2. In addition to #1, the President and the Action, Publicity, and Voter Service chairs will not host fundraising activities which are exclusively partisan or hold coffees for candidates or put partisan bumper stickers on their cars or campaign signs in their yards. Monetary contributions to campaigns should be smaller than the reporting threshold for individual donors (now $100). (Other members of their households are not restricted from these activities.) If these League officers hold office in a neighborhood association, they should be alert for potential conflicts with League positions.

The above guidelines should be considered general policies and may not cover every possibility. The board will deal with specific cases as these arise on an individual basis and individual board members are encouraged to discuss any questionable activities with the board beforehand.

The League is a political organization, and we are partisan on issues in the sense that we "take sides" when we support some governmental issues and oppose others. Since we do not operate in a vacuum, it is likely that at times the League's position on an issue will agree with the views of a political party candidate or public official. However, this coincidence of views does not constitute an endorsement. The board recognizes that League's policy must be actively and honestly non-partisan and that each League member has a responsibility to all members everywhere. All members (except board members) are encouraged to work in the party of their choice and to run for office. However, it is the responsibility of each member to make clear when they air their partisan views that they do so as individuals, not as representatives of the League.

CCTV Policy*--Approved April 2007

* This CCTV policy does not apply to other programs sponsored by CCTV and the League.

LWVMPC may designate one (or more) member(s) who has taken CCTV training and is qualified as a CCTV producer to videotape and produce League programs for replay on CCTV.

LWVMPC may authorize its CCTV producer(s) to replay a League program either as a stand-alone program or as part of a regularly scheduled presentation which includes programs of other organizations that are non-partisan. The introduction to a program will include a disclaimer that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the League of Women Voters.

The LWVMPC Board reserves the right to review the edited version of any program before it is submitted to CCTV for replay. The producer may request assistance from a board member in making editing decisions.

The Publicity Chair will send LWVMPC meeting notices to CCTV's Community Billboard.

A month in advance of the first showing, the producer will notify CCTV of the first show date and the subject of the program (such as: "LWV--Air & Water") so this notice will appear in the Statesman Journal TV guide.

The introduction to a League program shall include the full name of our organization along with the topic of the meeting.

When a League program is such that we may want to offer it to other audiences (other Leagues, schools, senior centers, etc.), the Program chair will ask the producer to make a disk of the edited program for our use and pay the producer for the disk.

Policies for Events Recorded for CCTV Broadcast

1. As a courtesy let a guest speaker know the program will be aired on CCTV as soon as we make those arrangements.

2. At the beginning of the program, the host or moderator will give a 3-4 minute standardized description of the League's mission and how it is carried out; plus highlight a few current or recent activities (eg., election-related events, a new study, legislative interviews, etc) to illustrate the League's work.

3. Give the speaker a time allotment for their portion of the program to ensure the entire program can be formatted into a 30 minute or 60 minute program.

4. Identify the name or title of the program that reflects the content of the program or speaker's talk, not just League Unit Meeting, or League Brunch. For example, Natalie Dunn's talk did not have a title. Also, explain why the League is sponsoring the program and why the League wants to provide this to the public.

5. If the presenter will use handouts or slides, get digital copies of these for use in the televised program. Get copies before the event, if possible.

6. Provide written credits to the program editor, including who organized the event, the speaker or guest names and titles, program title, and names of the camera persons and any other production staff.

E-mail Distribution Policy --Approved September 2010

In order to avoid forwarding too many or inappropriate e-mail notices to League members, the following procedure will be followed:

  • A League member may send an e-mail to the local League's distribution person with a request to forward it to League members.

  • If the following criteria are met, the distribution person will forward the message:

o Does the information originate from an organization or coalition of which LWVOR is a member? The list is on the LWVOR website at http://www.lwvor.org under "Members" section; Leadership Resources; Other Resources.

o Is the information about a current League study or a topic on which the League has a position (government, international relations, natural resources, social policy, education)?

o Does the information pertain to a citizen's right to know and participate in government decision making?

  • Is the information time sensitive?

  • If the distribution person is in doubt, she will contact the local League president, who may also contact other board members.

If the criteria are not met and the message is not forwarded by e-mail, the Focus editor may include in the FYI section of the Focus (to the extent space is available) a meeting notice or a statement that "Information on X is available from Y organization at the website Z.org."

Policy on Local League Study Reports--Approved March 2013

The study committee will write a report to provide the necessary background information for League members to consider in answering the consensus questions, which the study committee will also prepare.

The board will appoint a small editing committee to review the final report for mechanics (punctuation, etc.), clarity, and balance. After approval by the editing committee, the report and consensus questions must go the board for approval.

The final report will be emailed to members and put on the website. Printed copies will be sent to League members who do not have email and to other members who request them. The amount budgeted for Publications (Line 504) should cover that cost.

If the report is to be printed for distribution to all members and the public, or there are to be other expenses, the Board must be given a written budget to include the costs and any expected revenue. The Board must approve the budget before any money is paid out by the Treasurer. If revision to the budget is needed later, the Board must approve the revision before additional money is spent. (Approval may be at a board meeting or by email.)

LWV Policy on Action Alerts

Action Alerts: Each state and local League is expected to take whatever official action is requested in response to a national Action Alert. A League board may choose not to respond to a particular call to action, but may not take action in opposition to a position articulated by the LWVUS on federal or national issues, or the state League on state issues. Individual League members of course are always free to take action on whatever they choose; as long as they do so in their own name, and leave no impression that they speak for the League.