The spirit of non-partisan policy is not to see how much political activity is possible within the policy, but to be actively and honestly non-partisan. If the League is to be effective in the community, the community must be convinced that the League is truly a non-partisan organization which will support issues only and will never support candidates.
The League of Women Voters must be non-partisan so that:
- The League position on an issue can be readily accepted as unbiased and independent.
- The League's Voter Service work will have wide public acceptance and trust.
- The League will not be beholden to any political party or faction.
- The League membership and board positions will appeal to those of varying political views.
Although League members are encouraged to be active politically, some restrictions must be placed upon board members within certain areas. These areas and restrictions are as follows:
- PUBLIC OFFICE - A Board member shall not run for, nor hold, any partisan elective office at any level of government. A Board member may run for or hold a local nonpartisan elective office.
- PUBLIC BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, OR COMMITTEES - Any board member may be appointed to an official board, commission or committee if that body is clearly non-partisan. The member shall inform the board of his/her intention to accept such appointment promptly. As a member of the board, commission, or committee, the League board member must act as an individual and may not speak for or represent the League without permission of the League board. If a conflict should arise between the official position of the board, commission, or committee and the position of the League, the conflict should be reviewed by the Board of Directors of the League and a course of action decided on which will specify the League's position publicly. (Examples: Library Board, Plan Commission, Zoning Board) The board may encourage and assist League members in securing appointments to government boards, commissions, and committees. These recommendations shall be approved by the board and shall be compatible with League positions. Recommendations of non-members shall require board approval.
- CAUCUS DELEGATES - Any board member (with the exception of the president, voter service, and finance chairman) may serve as a caucus delegate.
- SUPPORT OF CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE - The following board members shall not support candidates for any public office whether or not the candidate wears the label of a political party: president, voter service, and finance chair.
- PARTICIPATION IN A POLITICAL PARTY - A board member may join the political party of his/her choice and attend any meeting of his/her party. However, the board member may not hold office in a political party or organization during his/her term of office on the League board. Exceptions: any board member (except the president, voter service or finance chairman) may serve as an election judge, poll watcher, or precinct committeeman with board approval. The board must consider the political sensitivity of the portfolio involved. Board members may attend fundraising events and make campaign contributions on local, state, and national levels.
- PUBLIC ISSUES - It is not wise for a League board member to be identified with a highly controversial issue on which the League has not taken a stand, since there may be confusion on the part of the public as to the League's place in the controversy. Situations of this sort will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
- RESIGNATIONS - If a board member chooses to engage in political activity beyond the extent defined in the above guidelines, he/she shall resign from the board as soon as he/she has decided on such a course of action. The resignation shall be publicized and the vacant position filled promptly. The resignation shall be in effect for the remainder of the League year.
- INTERPRETATION - In situations not specifically covered in this policy statement, each board member should use their own discretion in consultation with the Board, keeping in mind the reasons for and the spirit of the League's non-partisan character. The ultimate responsibility for interpretation of the policy rests with the Board of Directors.
- REVIEW - The non-partisan policy shall be reviewed each year at the April board meeting and then presented to the membership.
The League of Women Voters of Wheaton, in both its values and practices, affirms its belief in and commitment to diversity and pluralism. The LWV of Wheaton recognizes that diverse perspectives are necessary for responsible and effective decision-making in democratic organizations. LWV of Wheaton affirms its commitment to: remove barriers to participation in any League activity on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion or national origin, and to actively seek to be inclusive.
Candidates' forums or debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wheaton are held to provide a venue for thoughtful discussion of the important issues before the voters. The League seeks to stimulate voter interest and participation with these events.
The LWV Wheaton will identify races to feature in any particular election and invite all qualified candidates for those races to participate. A Candidate may participate if he or she meets each of the following criteria:
- CONSTITUTIONAL ELIGIBILITY - The candidate must meet the requirements of the Illinois and the United States Constitutions.
- ESTABLISHED POLITICAL PARTIES - Persons who have filed under an Established Political Party (as defined in the Illinois Election Code by the State Board of Elections) for this election will be considered as qualified candidates.
- NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS - Candidates must have filed for the election with the DuPage County Election Commission.
- FORMAL CAMPAIGN - The candidate must show evidence that a formal campaign is being waged, such as campaign headquarters, campaign staff/volunteers, position papers, and campaign appearances.
- VOTER INTEREST - The candidate must demonstrate significant voter interest and support as evidenced by receipt of ten percent of support in one or more statewide nonpartisan public opinion polls conducted at least fourteen days, but not more than forty days, prior to the debate. Note: Voter interest is only applicable for state and federal offices.
- THE CANDIDATE ACCEPTS INVITATION - The candidate must formally accept the invitation to participate in the forum and acknowledge their agreement to follow all rules and deadlines outlined in the invitation.