What Is the League of Women Voters' Mission?
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. We never support or oppose any political party or candidate.
The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles:
- Voters Service/Citizen Education: we present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.
- Action/Advocacy: we are also nonpartisan, but, after study, we use our positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest.
To conduct our voter service and citizen education activities, we use funds from the League of Women Voters Education Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit educational organization. The League of Women Voters, a membership organization, conducts action and advocacy and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation.
Our Vision, Beliefs, and Intentions guide our activities.
Important League Documents
- Mission Statement
- Nonpartisan Policy
- League Basics: Organization Guidelines
- Principles of the LWV
- Through the Decades
- Butte County Water Protection
- Local League Action Positions
- 2014 LWVUS Agriculture Update Study
What Does the League Do Now?
The League of Women Voters is a peoples' organization that has fought since 1920 to improve our government and engage all Americans in the decisions that impact their lives. We operate at national, state and local levels through more than 800 state and local Leagues, in all 50 states as well in DC, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong. We never endorse or oppose political parties or candidates, but we are political.
Formed from the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the centerpiece of the League’s efforts remain to expand participation and give a voice to all Americans. We do this at all three levels of government, engaging in both broad educational efforts as well as advocacy. Our issues are grounded in our respected history of making democracy work for all Americans.
What Does the LWV of Butte County Do Now?
At present we are focusing on city and county long-range planning for the preservation of clean water, agriculture, open space, and development that pays for itself. We continue to send observers to key governmental meetings, organize candidate forums for local, regional, state, and national elections, and collaborate with other organizations to educate and involve the community in issues that affect their quality of life.
Whatever the issue, the League believes that government policy, programs, and performance must meet these criteria:
- competent personnel with clear responsibilities
- coordination among agencies and levels of government
- adequate financing
- effective enforcement
- well-defined channels for citizen input and review Some Common League Terms
Program/Study: Governmental issues on the local, state, and national levels chosen by the membership for concerted study and action. Issue must be one on which government action is needed, on which government can solve, and one for which League can help seek the solution. Issue must have current need, community interest, and foreseeable effective citizen action.
Consensus: Agreement among a substantial number of members representing the membership as a whole, reached after sustained study and group discussion.
Position: A statement of conclusions drawn from a study, usually with specific objectives that League would like to see implemented.
Vertical Position: Authorization for one level of League to take action on a basis of a position reached by another level of League.
Action: Directed toward influencing what governmental decisions are made; may be writing letters, distributing issue-oriented materials, lobbying, speaking, monitoring governmental activities<limited only by the ingenuity of League members. League action must be approved by the Board.
Unit Meetings: The traditional system of League to provide give-and-take on issues within a small group.
Non-Partisan: The League may take action on governmental measures and policies in the public interest. It shall not support or oppose any political party or candidate.
Why Should I Support the League of Women Voters?
The League is different from many organizations in that what it accomplishes comes directly from the involvement of its members. It is a grassroots organization providing every member with opportunities to learn and educate others about government, and take action on public policy. We walk our talk: we believe that we need everyone to participate in order for our community to be strong, safe and vibrant. Whether you contribute your time, your money, or both you can feel confident that your investment in democracy goes further in the League.
Groups of League members meet to discuss topics in a respectful setting. They learn effective techniques for public discussion, how to advocate on specific policies, and what the issues beneath the rhetoric are. Our study and consensus process ensures that we are fully informed on issues before we take a stand. We also host public forums and debates which are well known for being fair, transparent and civil. This approach has earned the League a global reputation for integrity and thoroughness.
Your participation in League will expose you to a breadth of experiences and issues that will not only inform you but create greater possibilities for civic engagement than you might imagine. You can spend as much or as little time as you wish. Whether you aspire to leadership or are keen to follow the lead of experienced members, the League will excite, use, and nurture your civic curiosity, ideals, or desire for action. We offer our members webinars, conference calls, workshops, other events and mentorship opportunities throughout the year, at the local, regional, state and national levels.