Making Democracy Work

About the League

Mission and Principles, History, Other Leagues, How We Work

Mission and Principles

Mission

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization, encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government, working to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influencing public policy through education and advocacy.

The League is Non-Partisan: As an organization, the League does not support or oppose political parties or candidates.

The League is Political: The League takes action on selected governmental issues based on a firm foundation of positions derived from careful study. The League uses these positions as a basis to support or oppose governmental policies. The Board of Directors makes decisions to support, to oppose or to take no position on an issue.

The League is a volunteer, member-directed organization. Any citizen over 18 may become a member of the League. Joining a local League automatically confers membership at state and national levels and with that membership comes the opportunity to work on local, state, regional and national issues.

Principles

The League of Women Voters believes in representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States.

The League of Women Voters believes that good democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens.

The League of Women Voters believes that the right to vote must be protected for every citizen.

The League of Women Voters believes that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing, and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.

The League of Women Voters believes that government should be representative, accountable and responsive to the will of the people

The League of Women voters believes that cooperation with other nations is essential in the search for solutions to world problems and that the development of international organization and international law is imperative in the promotion of peace.

History

The League of Women Voters was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

The convention was held just six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 57-year struggle.The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy.

From the beginning, the League was an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

This holds true today. 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. The League has a long, rich history, that continues with each passing year.

For additional historical information about the League, please visit the Issues section at the LWVUS website.

Other Leagues

LWV Champlain Valley

LWV Central VT

Southeast (Brattleboro) MAL

How We Work

As noted above, the League is both nonpartisan and political, advocating on issues it has studied at the local, state and national levels. For more information on how the League arrives at its advocacy positions, see League-l-Ese.