The League of Women Voters of the United States 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.
So many issues today are framed in partisan terms that it can feel impossible to communicate at all without being accused of taking a side. “If you believe this, then you must be a progressive.” “If you oppose that, then you align with conservatives.” Being painted into ideological corners because of a stance our organization takes is not a new phenomenon, but it continues to be one that undermines a vibrant democracy: discussion, discourse, and listening to other points of view are what makes democracy work.
More than one hundred years ago, the League of Women Voters of the U.S. was founded to be a nonpartisan voice for American women who wanted free, fair, and open elections, above all else. Our founders believed that voters must always have the facts, no matter how difficult those facts could be to accept, especially when it challenges one’s deeply held beliefs about a candidate or political party. Our founders were attacked for taking positions rooted in fact back then, and today, not much has changed. League leaders continue to face this challenge and often stand accused of being partisan for our efforts to advance democracy.
ISSUES ARE NOT PARTISAN
The League’s advocacy work is issue based, and we arrive at our positions based on careful study and input from our members in communities across the country. We never derive our positions from politicians, and even when candidates or parties support the same issue, we never endorse them.
Issues may evolve over the years, but our allegiance will always be first and foremost to the voters. If a party changes its position on an issue, that doesn’t mean the League has to change our position to remain neutral. And one politician taking a similar position to the League on any one issue does not make the issue or the League partisan.
However, in this hyper-partisan environment, political connections and assumption are made that simply aren’t accurate. Supporting the democratic processes of registering eligible voters and casting and counting ballots is seen by some as subverting one political party, even though these are sacred tools of our democracy. Likewise, empowering voters who previously have been left out of the process and supporting the anti-racism movement does not mean we are in alliance with one ideological segment of American government; rather, it means we are doing what we were founded to do: stand up for what is right.
Wanting every eligible voter to have equal access to the ballot box is not partisan. Wanting a robust democracy in which everyone has an equal voice and equal representation is not partisan. Wanting to see more elected officials who reflect the diverse makeup of our country is not partisan – it is American.