League Basics

League Basics

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(Updated 11/08/2023)


Empowering voters and defending democracy through voter education and engagement, advocating for democracy and
encouraging civic participation.


We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate.


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.



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. Each local league adopts a non-partisan policy. 

See the LWV ABC Non-Partisan Policy.



LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

 There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.



The Principles are the concepts of democratic government to which the League subscribes.  League Principles are the basis for League members taking action at the national, state and local levels.

The League of Women Voters believes...

      • in representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States.
      • that all powers of the U.S. government should be exercised within the constitutional framework of a balance among the three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial.
      • that democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.
      • that every citizen should be protected in the right to vote; that every person should have access to free public education which provides equal opportunity for all; and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination.
      • that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.
      • that responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people; maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation; promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest; share in the solution of economic and social problems that affect the general welfare; promote a sound economy; and adopt domestic policies that facilitate the solution of international problems.
      • 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 world peace.



League members agree to abide by League rules, treat others with respect, act with integrity and value alternative points of view.

See the LWVMN Code of Conduct for details.



League membership is open to any person, age 16 or older, who subscribes to the purpose, policies and principles of the LWV. Joining LWV ABC automatically confers membership in the national and state league. 



The League is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization funded by membership dues and donations. The LWV ABC membership sets the annual membership dues at a level sufficient to pay state and national dues and carry out its activities.  LWV ABC is responsible for collecting annual membership dues and for paying an annual per member payment (PMP) for each local member to the national and state league.  



The national League of Women Voters (LWVUS) grew directly from the women suffragist movement. Initially, created in 1919 as an auxiliary organization of the National American Woman Suffrage Association for states that had achieved suffrage, the League of Women Voters became an independent organization on February 14th, 1920, at the National American Woman Suffrage Association convention.  

The League of Women Voters of Minnesota (LWVMN) was founded on October 29, 1919 after the Minnesota Legislature became the 15th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.  By 1920 the League of Women Voters of Minnesota (LWVMN) had a chairperson in each congressional district, a chairperson in 70 of 86 counties, and an estimated membership of at least 14,000 when including associated local organizations

The Anoka League of Women Voters was first organized in April 1920.  Although this local League later disbanded, as many did during the depression, the Anoka League of Women Voters was re-organized on May 18, 1938.  After merging with the Coon Rapids League, and then the Blaine League, our name was officially changed to the League of Women Voters Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids Area in 1980. LWV ABC now serves all of Anoka County, as well as Champlin and Dayton in Hennepin County. 

From the beginning, LWV ABC, and its predecessors, have been involved in registering voters, informing voters through candidate forums, studying local issues, publishing candidate questionnaires and providing information about the election process.

 See League History for more information. 



The League of Women Voters is organized to parallel the three levels of government: local, state and national.

Each level of League is governed by officers and a board of directors.   As a  grass roots organization,  the membership at each level of League selects (election and/or appointment) its board and decides what issues will be studied, what positions are supported, what actions will be taken and how League money will be spent.  

At the local level, the membership makes these decisions at the annual membership meeting in April.  Officers and board members are elected for two year terms, half in even numbered years and half in odd numbered years. The LWV ABC board meetings are usually held monthly and at least quarterly.   All LWV ABC members are encouraged to attend and participate in LWV ABC board meetings.

At the state and national level, a national convention is held in even-numbered years and a state convention is held in odd-numbered years. The LWV ABC board chooses delegates to the conventions, in numbers proportionate to our membership, from interested members. Delegates debate and vote on the action agenda; adoption of positions, budget and bylaws; and elect officers for the next biennium.  

Council, a much smaller and shorter meeting, takes place on alternate years at both the state and national level to adopt a budget and give direction to the national or state board. The national council, held in odd-numbered years, is composed of two delegates from each state plus the national board of directors.   The state council is held in even years just before the national convention. The LWV ABC board chooses delegates to the state council, in numbers proportionate to our membership, from interested members.



Andover, Anoka, Bethel, Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbia Heights, Columbus, Coon Rapids,  East Bethel, Fridley, Ham Lake, Hilltop, Lexington, Lino Lakes, Linwood Township, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey, Spring Lake Park and St. Francis in Anoka County. Champlin and Dayton in Hennepin County.



LWV ABC generally holds monthly meetings on the second Monday.  Monthly meetings include speakers and discussions on topics and issues of concern to members and our communities.  Our monthly meetings are open to the public.

See our Calendar of Events



The League’s voter services activities are designed to provide the public with unbiased, factual information to understand the election process and reach their own voting decisions. Our activities include voter registration, providing voting information (online and in person) and hosting local candidate forums.



The League observes meetings of local, regional, state, and national governmental bodies to monitor compliance with open meeting laws and to watch for issues on which the League should be taking action.  Observers do not speak for the League but attend meetings to listen and make factual reports of the proceedings.  LWV ABC observes the actions of the Anoka County Commissioners and is always seeking members to observe other local government meetings.



At the state and national level, lobby corps members track legislation, communicate League positions to lawmakers, develop and present testimony, share information with League members and develop action alerts for members. LWVMN provides training for members who wish to participate in lobby corps.  All LWV ABC members are encouraged to take action and contact lawmakers when they receive action alerts from LWVMN and LWVUS.



League is a political organization that takes actions on issues.  Action may only be taken if the League (local, state or national) has adopted a position on the issue. These positions must be consistent with League Principles.

LWV ABC Positions

LWVMN position may be found in the LWVMN Program for Action

LWVUS positions may be found in Impact on Issues: A Guide to Public Policy Positions 



Positions are adopted by the membership using the League consensus process after conducting comprehensive study.  Local leagues participate in national and state studies or conduct studies of their own to determine a League position on an issue. 

At every level, League members may propose an issue for study and a committee is formed to conduct an extensive study, often taking up to two years.  After completing the study, members of the study committee present members with the reliable and balanced information results of the study and propose questions to focus discussion.  After discussion, the study committee seeks a consensus statement from the membership.  Once this consensus statement is ratified by the appropriate board (local, state or national), the consensus statement becomes a position. 

Leagues can also take action based on concurrence with a position. Instead of responding to consensus questions, the local membership or delegates are asked to agree with a position statement that has already been arrived at through study and consensus by another League.  Members of a local League or delegates to a convention are provided with the same kind of thorough and unbiased information as when using the consensus process.



Each year or biennium, every level of League decides on an action agenda, or “program”, which the League will prioritize for action.  At program planning meetings, members consider what parts of the existing local, national or state program need special attention and what new issues, if any, should be studied. Recommendations for issues to be restudied and new program are forwarded by the board of each local League to the appropriate level. A local League’s annual meeting and the state and national conventions use these recommendations to help decide what parts of the existing program need special emphasis and whether to begin a new study.



League action takes many forms:

          • providing information to members and the public
          • influencing public opinion
          • circulating petitions
          • forming and joining coalitions
          • urging governmental action
          • supporting or opposing legislation
          • meeting with or contacting elected officials
          • lobbying



“Speaking with one voice” ensures a consistent League voice throughout the nation.  At the local level, only the president (or designee) is permitted to speak for the League in an official capacity.  League members must receive approval of statements from the LWV ABC president and/or board when writing a letter to the editor as a League member, but members are also encouraged to speak and write as informed individuals.