Making Democracy Work

By-Laws and Policies

BYLAWS
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND/BLUFFTON AREA
(Amended and Approved July 19, 2016)

MISSION STATEMENT

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

ARTICLE I
Name

Sec. 1. Name. The name of this organization shall be the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area. This local League is an integral part of the League of Women Voters of the United States and of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina.

ARTICLE II
Purposes and Policy

Sec. 1. Purposes. The purposes of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area are to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation in government and to act on selected governmental issues.

Sec. 2. Political Policy. The League shall not support or oppose any political party or candidate.

ARTICLE III
Membership

Sec. 1. Eligibility. Any person who subscribes to the purposes and policy of the League shall be eligible for membership.

(a) Voting Members. Persons at least 16 years of age who join the League shall be voting members of local Leagues, state Leagues, and of the League of Women Voters of the United States.

(1)Individuals who live within an area of a local League may join that League or any other local League.
(2) Those who reside outside the area of any local League may join a local League or shall be members-at-large.
(3) Those who have been members of the League for 50 years or more shall be honorary life members excused from the payment of dues.

(b) Associate Members. All others who join the League shall be associate members.

ARTICLE IV
Board of Directors

Sec. 1. Number, Manner of Selection, and Terms of Office. The board of directors shall consist of the officers of the League, four elected directors, and not more than four appointed directors. One half of the elected directors shall be elected by the general membership at each annual meeting and shall serve for a term of two years, or until their successors have been elected and qualified. The elected members shall appoint such additional directors, not exceeding four, as they deem necessary to carry out the work of the League. The term of the appointed directors shall be one year and shall expire at the conclusion of the next annual meeting.

Sec. 2. Qualifications. No person shall be elected or appointed or shall continue to serve as an officer or director of this organization unless she or he is a voting member of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area.

Sec. 3. Vacancies. Any vacancy occurring in the board of directors by reason of the resignation, death, or disqualification of an officer or elected member may 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 valid reason shall be deemed a resignation unless approved by the board.

Sec. 4. Powers. The board shall manage and supervise the business affairs and activities of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area subject to the instructions of the annual meeting. It shall select delegates to state convention and council and to national convention. It shall have the power to create such special committees as it deems necessary and shall perform such other duties as are specified by these bylaws.

Sec. 5. Meetings. There shall be at least nine regular meetings of the board of directors annually. The president or a co-president may call special meetings of the board of directors and shall call a special meeting upon the written request of five members of the board. The board of directors shall have the authority to conduct decision-making meetings by e-mail when necessary.

Sec. 6. Quorum. A majority of the board of directors shall constitute a quorum.

ARTICLE V
Officers

Sec. 1. Enumeration and Election of Officers. The officers of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area shall be a president or co- presidents, a vice-president, a secretary or co-secretaries, and a treasurer, who shall be elected for terms of two years by the general membership at an annual meeting and shall take office immediately. The president or co-presidents and the secretary or co-secretaries shall be elected in odd-numbered years. The vice-president and treasurer shall be elected in even-numbered years and a retiring treasurer shall serve until the end of the fiscal year.

Sec. 2. The President or Co-Presidents. The office of the president may be held by one individual or by two acting as a team. When co-presidents are elected, each shall have full authority to act pursuant to the directives herein. Any division of responsibility between them is for the co-presidents to determine. If one of the co-presidents should leave office for any reason during a two-year term, the board shall have the option of proceeding with only the remaining co-president or it may elect one of its members as a replacement for the vacating co-president. The president or a co-president shall preside at all meetings of the organization and of the board of directors. The president or co-president may, in the absence of the treasurer, sign or endorse checks, drafts, and notes. The president or co-president shall have responsibility for supervision and management and shall perform such other duties as the board may designate.

Sec. 3. The Vice-President. The vice-president shall, in the event of absence, disability, resignation or death of the president or co-presidents, possess all powers and perform all the duties of that office until such time as the board of directors shall select one of its members to fill the vacancy. The vice-president shall be responsible for program planning and shall perform such other duties as the president or co-presidents and the board may designate.

Sec. 4. The Secretary or Co-Secretaries. The secretary or co-secretaries shall keep minutes of all meetings of the board of directors and of additional meetings as directed by the president or co-president. She or he shall notify all officers and directors of their election. She or he shall sign, with the president or co-president, all contracts and other instruments when so authorized by the board and shall perform such other functions as may be incident to the office. The secretary or co-secretaries shall keep a file of all positions reached by the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area.

Sec. 5. Treasurer. The treasurer shall collect and receive all moneys due. She or he shall be the custodian of these moneys, shall deposit them in a bank designated by the board of directors, and shall disburse the same only upon order of the board. Disbursement of funds approved in the budget shall require no further approval by the board. The treasurer shall present statements to the board at their regular meetings and an annual report at the annual meeting, and shall make all state and federal filings in a timely manner.

ARTICLE VI
Financial Administration

Sec. 1. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Island/Bluffton Area shall commence on the first day of July each year.

Sec. 2. Dues. Annual dues shall be payable April 30 for members joining prior to April 30, 2012. Annual dues for a member joining after April 30, 2012, shall be payable on the last day of the year's anniversary month of that member's joining. Any member who fails to pay her or his dues within three months after they become payable shall be dropped from the membership rolls. Any exception to when dues shall be payable must be approved by the board of directors. Dues amount shall be determined by the board of directors.

Sec. 3. Budget. A budget for the ensuing year shall be submitted by the board of directors prior to the meeting for adoption. The budget shall include support for the work of the League as a whole.

Sec. 4. Budget Committee. A budget committee shall be appointed by the board of directors at least three months prior to the annual meeting to prepare a budget for the ensuing year. The proposed budget shall be sent to all members one month before the annual meeting. The treasurer shall not be eligible to serve as chairman of the budget committee.

ARTICLE VII
Meetings

Sec. 1. Membership Meetings. There shall be at least nine meetings of the membership each year. Time and place shall be determined by the board of directors. The board may call a special general membership meeting and shall call such a meeting upon the written request of 10% of the voting members.

Sec. 2. Annual Meeting. An annual meeting shall be held between May 1st and May 30th, the exact date to be determined by the board of directors. The annual meeting shall:
(a) adopt a local program for the coming year
(b) elect officers and directors, members of the nominating committee
(c) adopt an adequate budget
(d) transact such other business as may come before it.

Sec. 3. Quorum. 10% of the members shall constitute a quorum at all business meetings of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area.

ARTICLE VIII
Nominations and Elections

Sec. 1. Nominating Committee. The nominating committee shall consist of five members, two of whom shall be members of the board of directors. The chairman and two members, who shall not be members of the board, shall be elected at the annual meeting. Nomination for these offices shall be made by the current nominating committee. The other members shall be appointed by the board of directors following the annual meeting. Any vacancy on the nominating committee shall be filled by the board of directors. Suggestions for nominations for officers and directors may be sent to this committee by any voting member.

Sec. 2. Report of Nominating Committee and Nominations from the Floor. The report of the nominating committee of its nominations for officers, directors, and the members of the succeeding nominating committee shall be sent to all members one month before the date of the annual meeting. Immediately following the presentation of this report, nominations may be made from the floor by any voting member provided the consent of the nominee shall have been secured.

Sec. 3. Elections. The elections shall be by ballot, providing that when there is but one nominee for each office, the secretary may be instructed to cast the ballot for every nominee. A majority of those qualified to vote and voting shall constitute an election. Absentee or proxy voting shall not be permitted.

ARTICLE IX
Program

Sec. 1. Authorization. The governing principles adopted by the national convention, and supported by the League as a whole, constitute the authorization for the adoption of program.

Sec. 2. Program. The program of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area shall consist of:
(a) action to implement the principles of the League of the United States and
(b) those local governmental issues chosen for concerted study and action.

Sec. 3. Action by the Annual Meeting. The annual meeting shall act upon the program using the following procedures:
(a) The board of directors shall consider the recommendations sent in by the voting members two months prior to the annual meeting and shall formulate a proposed program.
(b) The proposed program shall be sent to all members one month before the annual meeting.
(c) A majority of voting members present and voting at the annual meeting shall be required for adoption of subjects in the proposed program as presented to the annual meeting by the board of directors.
(d) Recommendations for program submitted by voting members two months prior to the annual meeting but not included in the proposed program recommended by the board of directors may be considered by the annual meeting provided that the annual meeting shall order consideration by a majority vote.
(e) Changes in the program, in the case of altered condition, 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 change is to be discussed and
(2) final action by the membership is taken at a succeeding meeting.

Sec. 4. Member Action. Members may act in the name of the League of Women Voters only when authorized to do so by the proper board of directors. They may act only in conformity with, and not contrary to, a position taken by the LWV of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area or the LWV of SC, or the LWVUS.

ARTICLE X
Parliamentary Authority

Sec. 1. Parliamentary Authority. The rules contained in Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the organization in all cases to which they are applicable and to which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws.

ARTICLE XI
Amendments

These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the voting members present and voting at the annual meeting, provided that the amendments were submitted to the membership in writing at least one month in advance of the meeting.

POLICIES
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND/BLUFFTON AREA

NONPARTISAN POLICY STATEMENT LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND/BLUFFTON AREA

(Amended and Approved December 8, 2016)

The League may take action on governmental measures and policies in keeping with League positions. However, it shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidates.

Recognizing that the League experience uniquely equips members for public life and wishing to encourage members to utilize their knowledge and abilities, non-board members are urged to participate fully in party activities (on an individual basis).

Because the Board has the responsibility of maintaining the nonpartisanship of the organization, eligibility for serving on the Board is affected by political activity. The time period between the political activity and eligibility for serving on the Board is to be decided on a case by case basis by the Board at its discretion.

Specific activities that preclude serving on the Board in any capacity are as follows:

*Holding or actively seeking partisan political office

*Serving as an official, including precinct captain, in a party organization or in an organization endorsing a candidate for partisan political office

*Participating in campaigns for partisan political offices in such a way as to be identified publicly with the candidate

*Circulating nominating petitions, distributing campaign materials and displaying bumper stickers endorsing a political party or candidate for partisan political office on the board member's car

In addition, eligibility for the presidency, vice presidency and the position of voter service chairman precludes:

*Working on a candidate's campaign for nonpartisan or partisan political office

*Holding or actively seeking nonpartisan or partisan political office

Activities that do not affect eligibility for service on the Board in any capacity include:

*Signing nominating petitions

*Donating money (any amount) to political campaigns

*Attending campaign social events

*Serving on governmental commissions and coalitions as long as the appointee uses discretion and is aware of League positions as they relate to the commission's responsibilities

If a Board member plans to engage in political activity that is precluded by the League's nonpartisan policy, the member should resign from the Board. If a Board member has any questions about the appropriateness of a political activity, that member must seek the Board's decision. Public notices released by the League regarding the resignation by a Board member running for public office should avoid the appearance of a League endorsement.

Board members should speak and act on their own behalf unless they are representing the League. When representing the League, they should work to promote League positions when appropriate and should never work against League positions.

12/8/16

POLICY STATEMENT ON CANDIDATE FORUMS ADOPTED April 7, 2016

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 non-partisanship and to assure a reasonable workload for the League. All candidates who have met the Election Board's requirements 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. (See below.) When only one party has candidates running for a local office or to represent our area in the South Carolina Legislature, our League may offer to hold a candidate forum prior to the primary. Should the League be invited to conduct a forum for another organization, the League needs to make clear that its participation is contingent upon a format that guarantees and protects the fairness for which the League is known. The League will require that all candidate forums in which it participates, including those held in gated communities, are open to the public and publicized. The commitment for League to sponsor candidate forums should be made in the context of available man/woman power and timing.

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  • "Candidate Meeting/Debates - from LWVUS Website "Sponsoring candidate debates requires careful decision-making by the whole board to protect the League's nonpartisanship. Leagues are strongly advised to adopt careful objective candidate participation criteria before each election season gets underway and before the candidates are known (e.g., at the League's January board meeting). For example, the League might require evidence that a formal campaign is being waged, i.e., existence of headquarters, campaign staff, issuance of position papers and campaign appearances. Such criteria can then be used to determine which candidates are eligible to participate in the League's debate, should the League choose not to invite all candidates. A League may stage a debate even if some invited candidates decline to appear as long as the debate is not televised and more than one candidate for a given office appears. FCC regulations require that a debate sponsor not proceed with a debate unless at least two candidates for the same office appear at the same event. Some states may have comparable requirements for state and local elections. Leagues should refer to the Guidelines for State and Local Debates including "empty chair" debates (on the League Web site) and the LWVEF publication Face to Face for step-by-step guidance on legal requirements and technical considerations in staging candidate debates. Sample candidate participation criteria also are available on the League website."

4/9/16