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Opinion Letters League respects freedom of speech rights

Recently, the League of Women Voters started a membership campaign and in our invitation, we stated that at campaign forums conducted by the League, to maintain the spirit of a non-partisan informational forum, there should be no partisan or candidate signs, banners, t-shirts, hats, or other campaign paraphernalia. We have had objections to this policy from the local leadership of one of the political parties, based on the right to freedom of speech.

The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public. (For more information on League positions and history, please visit www.lwv.org.) We have worked for voters’ rights and voter education throughout our 92-year history. At our forums, we wish to provide a balanced, fair, educational, comfortable space to all candidates and to all of those in attendance, and this is the reason for our preference for no campaign displays. We have been conducting forums in Macon County for over 15 years, and are well-regarded for the quality and fairness of our forums.

However, in respect for freedom of speech, we will not apply the no campaign display rule to non-objectionable tshirts or other apparel.

Campaign signs and banners cannot be displayed. Those officially representing the League may not wear or display any candidate or partisan materials, though individual members may, at their own discretion.

We do ask that guests respect the fact that we choose to conduct educational forums rather than rallies.

Susan Ervin and Maethel Shindelman
Co-coordinators, League of Women Voters


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