The League of Women Voters of Licking County sprang to life in August 2017 at a general meeting in Newark, Ohio attended by about 40 women and men. It welcomes anyone in the county who wants to learn about political issues and support the democratic process through civic discourse, voter registration, and voter education.
Founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 and rooted in the movement for women’s suffrage, the League is a national non-partisan political organization. It remains staunchly non-partisan with regard to political party and individual candidates, but it practices education and advocacy on a variety of political and social issues such as protecting voter rights including redistricting reform, promoting affordable health care, including women’s reproductive health, and supporting policies that protect natural resources and mitigate climate change.
The League is not entirely new in Licking County. Previously, it thrived for decades as the Licking County League of Women Voters (compare the wording to our current name), but disbanded in the 1990s. Now after more than 20 years it reappears to address the challenges and opportunities of a new political era.
And we are not alone. Across the United States, LWV membership has grown by around 12 percent since the 2016 election. In Ohio, it has grown by about 16 percent over the same period. Ours is one of two new chapters in the state. More than ever, it seems, people are looking for ways to engage civilly with others and to contribute positively to political life in their communities.
Please join us!
League of Women Voters of Licking County
The chairs of these committees will comprise the Board of Directors and will normally serve two-year terms except for the Nominating Committee whose term is one-year.
- Chair is appointed for a 2-year term
- Plan and execute fund-raising among individuals and businesses to support the League’s work
- Apply for grants
- Money raised through donations, grants, and fund-raising will support:
- Membership subventions for deserving recipients
- Operating expenses
- The production of voter guides and other educational expenses, e.g., candidates’ nights
- Chair is appointed for a 2-year term
- Sponsor our own events – speakers, panels, social events, film-showings – to educate ourselves and the public about current issues, maximizing opportunities for discussion
- Goal: Organize at least two events for education/discussion per year
- Plan and organize
- Contact presenters
- Determine a good location and make the arrangements
- Write publicity for g-mail /Facebook/web site
- Work with other local groups or institutions sponsoring such events and leverage the opportunities for discussion
- Inform membership about events outside our area, especially Columbus, using Facebook and other means
- Chair is elected for a 2-year term
- Plan periodic outreach, at least once a year, to add new members
- Record new memberships in a database and track renewal dates
- Help to welcome and socialize new members and learn what drew them to the League (This can be done individually and/or in small groups of new members.)
- Send annual renewal reminders
Nominating (See the Bylaws)
- Chair is elected annually.
- The Nominating Committee shall consist of three members, one of whom shall be a member of the Board of Directors. The Committee Chair and one member, who shall not be members of the Board, shall be elected at the Annual Meeting.
- The term of office for the chair and members of the Nominating Committee shall be one year. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the Board.
- Solicit and receive nominations for Officers and Directors from voting members.
- Prepare a report for members one month ahead of the annual business meeting listing the nominations for Officers, Directors and succeeding members of the Nominating Committee.
- Present the report to the Annual business meeting
- The Nominating Committee shall be responsible, with the President, for recommending a member to fill any vacancy occurring in an elected position between Annual Meetings.
- Any vacancy occurring in the Board of Directors by reason of the resignation, death or disqualification of any officer or elected member may be referred to the Nominating Committee. Following a recommendation from the Nominating Committee, or from the President, the vacancy may then be filled, until the next Annual Meeting, by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Board of Directors.
- Chair is appointed for a 2-year term
- Plan and organize periodic social events that may or may not have other purposes
- Goal: At least four social events per year
- Seek appropriate venues and clear the plans with the management
- Write or design announcements for Facebook/ email/ website
- Appoint someone to take photographs at the event and post to the LWV Facebook page
- Chair is appointed for a 2-year term
- Assist in using VOTE411 to produce voter guides online and in print
- Organize candidate nights or forums
- Post articles about current issues on Facebook
- Help to clarify the voting process, deadlines, and procedures
- Mass email to newly registered voters reminding them about elections and voting
- Chair is appointed for a 2-year term
- Organize National Voter Registration Day, late September (college campuses, non-profits)
- Mostly spring semester, register seniors at high schools
- Gain permission from administrators
- Assemble the forms and equipment
- Track numbers and return registration forms
- Set up a Voter Services table at festivals, markets, and other events
- Work with non-profits to reach under-served populations
Notes on the Business Meeting of April 22, 2018
The meeting drew only 14 attendees, all LWVLC members, and all ready to think and talk about the bylaws and committees (Draft below.) It was enough to get the job done, that is, clarifying and discussing this essential founding document that we need to become a Local League.
First, a motion was made and seconded to accept the bylaws, opening the way for discussion, debate, and eventually a vote. As we talked, two or three things emerged that require better wording – e.g., about the leadership of the Nominations Committee – and we also discussed the important question of whether to ask for membership renewals at the same time every year for all members or individually on a rolling basis reflecting when each joined the League.
The meeting ended, then, with the main motion still “on the table.” We will make the clarifications that came to light at the meeting, and still welcome your comments and questions. We will post a revised version on the website ahead of the Annual Meeting in August. With this work well underway, we should be able to move quickly to a vote on the motion at that time.
It was a gorgeous spring day and lots of other things were going on around Newark/Granville, so thank you very much to those who could attend and participate in this productive meeting.
Draft of Bylaws for League of Women Voters of Licking County
Article I: Name
The name of this organization shall be the League of Women Voters of Licking County (Ohio), hereinafter referred to as LWVLC. This Local League is an integral part of the League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVO) and the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS).
Article II: Purpose(s) and Policy
Sec. 1. Purposes. The purposes of the LWVLC are to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government and to act on selected governmental issues.
Sec. 2. Political Policy. The LWVLC shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidate.
Article III: Membership
Sec. 1. Eligibility. Any person who subscribes to the purpose(s) and (political) policy of the LWVLC shall be eligible for membership. LWVLC encourages members, who are eligible, to be registered voters.
Sec. 2. Types of Membership.
a. Voting Members. U.S. citizens at least 16 years of age who join the LWVLC shall be voting members of the Local League (LWVLC) and of LWVO and LWVUS. Those who have been members of the League for 50 years or more shall be life members excused from the payment of dues.
b. Associate Members. All others who join the League shall be Associate Members.
c. Household Members. When two members reside at the same household, their dues shall equal one and one-half times the annual dues.
Article IV: Officers
Sec. 1. Election, Qualifications and Term. The Officers of the LWVLC shall be a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, who shall be elected for terms of two years by the general membership of the Annual Meeting and take office immediately. The President shall be elected in the same year as the Secretary, and in the following year, the Vice President and Treasurer shall be elected.
Sec. 2. The President. The president shall preside at meetings of the organization, officers, and the board of directors. The president may, in the absence or disability of the Treasurer, sign or endorse checks, drafts and notes. The president shall be, ex-officio, a member of all committees except the Nominating Committee. The president shall have such usual powers of supervision and management as may pertain to the office and perform such other duties as may be designated by the board of directors.
In the event of the absence, disability, resignation or death of the president, the vice-president shall assume the office. If no vice-president is able to serve as president, the board shall fill the vacancy from among the elected board members.
Sec. 3. The Vice-President. The vice president shall, in the event of absence, disability, resignation or death of the president, possess all the powers and perform all the duties of that office, until such time as the board of directors shall elect one of its members to fill the vacancy. The Vice-President shall perform such other duties as the president, officers, or board of directors designate.
Sec. 4. The Secretary. The secretary shall keep minutes of the annual meeting of the League and of meetings of the officers and board of directors. The secretary shall perform other functions, as may be incidental to the office.
Sec. 5. The Treasurer. The treasurer shall perform such duties as customarily pertain to the office, including required reporting; arrangement of an annual audit of the books; and, at the direction of the board of directors, maintain deposits in authorized financial institutions.
Article V: Board of Directors
Sec. 1. Selection, Qualifications and Term. The board of directors shall consist of the officers of the LWVLC, two directors elected by the annual meeting; and not more than five directors appointed by the officers and elected members of the board. All directors shall be voting members of the league. Except for the chair of the nominating committee, they shall serve for a term of two years or until successors have been elected or appointed and qualified. Board members shall assume committee chair/co-chair responsibilities as deemed relevant to the program of work. Vacancies, other than the presidency, may be filled by vote of the remaining members of the board.
Sec. 2. Qualifications. No person shall be elected or appointed or shall continue to serve as an officer or director of this organization unless he or she is a voting member of the LWVLC.
Sec. 3. Vacancies. Any vacancy occurring in the board of directors by reason of the resignation, death or disqualification of any officer or elected member may be referred to the nominating committee. Following a recommendation from the nominating committee, or from the president, the vacancy may then be filled, until the next annual meeting, by a majority vote of the remaining members of the board of directors. Three consecutive absences from a board meeting of any member without a valid reason shall be deemed a resignation.
Sec. 4. Powers and Duties. The board shall manage and supervise the business, affairs, and activities of the LWVLC subject to the priorities of the membership. The board may create and designate such special committees as it deems necessary.
Article VI: Meetings
Sec. 1. Annual Membership Meetings. There shall be at least one meeting of the membership each year. In the annual meeting the program of work for the coming year will be adopted; the election of officers, directors and members of the nominating committee will take place; and a budget will be set, including membership dues. The board shall determine the time and place. Additional meetings of the members may be called by the president, the board of directors or upon written request of ten percent of the voting members.
Sec. 2. Board of Director Meetings. There shall be at least four annual meetings of the board. Additional meetings may be called by the president or at the request of at least two members of the board. Meetings may be conducted face-to-face or by electronic means, as deemed necessary to best support the agenda and schedule.
Sec. 3. Quorum. Twenty percent (20%) of the voting members shall constitute a quorum at all business meetings of the membership, provided notice of the meeting is sent to the membership at least one week in advance.
Article VII: Nominations and Elections
Sec. 1. Nominating Committee. The nominating committee shall consist of three members, one of whom shall be a member of the board of directors. The committee chair and one member, who shall not be members of the board, shall be elected at the annual meeting. The term of office for the chair and members of the nominating committee shall be one year. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the board.
Sec. 2. Report of Nominating Committee. The report of the nominating committee containing its nominations for officers, directors and the members of the succeeding nominating committee shall be sent to the members within two weeks of the annual meeting. The report of the nominating committee shall be presented to the annual meeting. Nominations may be made from the floor immediately thereafter, provided the consent of the nominee has been obtained.
Sec. 3. Elections. The election shall be by ballot except that if there is only one nominee for each position, it shall be by voice vote. A majority vote shall constitute an election.
Article VIII: Principles and Program
Sec. 1. Principles. The principles are concepts of government adopted by the national convention and supported by the League as a whole. They are the authorization for the adoption of national, state, and local program.
Sec. 2. Program. The program of the LWVLC shall consist of action to implement the principles, priorities and designated issues, as established at the annual business meeting, for concerted study and action, provided that, as a condition of recognition by the state and national boards, the LWVLC shall act only on existing local positions or state or national positions. The board shall recommend to the membership, at the annual meeting, a program of work focused on the local community. Program of work, as used in these bylaws, may be in the form of observing local government, advocating on a local issue, or educating the membership and the community on the structure and services of local government. The annual meeting may adopt the board’s recommended program or any similar program of work provided that any so adopted by the LWVLC meets the mission and goals of the LWVLC.
Sec. 3. Changes in Program. Changes in program, in the case of altered conditions, may be made provided that:
1. Information concerning the proposed changes has been sent to all members at least two weeks prior to a general membership meeting at which the changes are discussed,
2. Final action is taken at a succeeding meeting.
Sec. 4. Program Action. Members may act in the name of the LWVLC only when authorized to do so by the officers and board of directors. They act only in conformity with, and not contrary to, a position taken by the LWVLC, the LWVOH and the LWVUS.
Article IX: Financial Administration
Sec. 1. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the LWVLC shall commence on the first day of July each year.
Sec. 2. Dues. Dues shall be collected in advance of the membership (calendar) year to which they will apply. A member whose dues are not paid by December 1 shall, after notification, be dropped from the membership no later than ten days before the membership list is due at the state or national office. Dues will be set or modified at the annual meeting.
Sec. 3. Oversight. Annually, a non-board member will be appointed to review the treasurer’s financial statements, financial records (e.g. Quickbooks), and bank statements. During the transition of the officers, all relevant materials, including electronic files, will be provided to the incoming treasurer. A report of good order shall be presented at the annual meeting and a vote to accept taken.
Article X: Amendments
These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the voting members present at the annual meeting, provided the amendments were submitted to the membership in writing at least one month in advance of the meeting.
Article XI: Rules of Order
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the organization in all cases to which they are applicable and not inconsistent with these bylaws.
Non-Partisan Policy Statement
The league may take action on governmental measures and policies in keeping with existing LWVUS, LWVO, or LWVLC positions. However, it shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidates. Ballot issues, particularly those endorsed by the LWV, may well be supported. Recognizing that the league experience uniquely equips members for public life and wishing to encourage members to utilize their knowledge and abilities, members are urged to participate fully in party activities (on an individual basis).
However, the protection of the non-partisan policy is critical. Therefore, due to the visibility of the officers additional guidelines apply; these officers will refrain from seeking or holding political office, participating publicly in political campaigns, including the circulation of petitions or the display of campaign materials. They may sign petitions, attend campaign events, and support candidates, if done so privately and in a discreet manner.
Article III: Candidate Forums
The league conducts candidate forums for the purpose of educating voters. Sponsoring candidate forums requires careful decision-making by the whole board to protect the league’s nonpartisanship and to assure a reasonable workload for the LWVLC. All candidates who have met the requirements of the Ohio Board of Elections to appear on the ballot for a contested election may be invited to participate in any planned forum for that position.
The league should refer to the Guidelines for State and Local Debates* on the LWVUS website. Should the LWVLC be invited to conduct a forum with or for another organization, it must assure that the format guarantees and protects the fairness and nonpartisanship. All candidate forums in which LWVLC participates must be open to the public and publicized.