Making Democracy Work

The Principles That Guide the League of Women Voters

The goal of the League of Women Voters is to empower citizens to shape better communities worldwide.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political membership organization which:

  • acts after study and member agreement to achieve solutions in the public interest on key community issues at all government levels

  • builds citizen participation in the democratic process.

  • engages communities in promoting positive solutions to public policy issues through education and advocacy.

Our Core Values

  • We believe that grassroots initiatives and consensus building are the strengths of our organization.

  • We believe that our organization models the principles of good governance. We consider well before taking action and prepare well before beginning to act.

  • We believe that citizenship requires knowledge, as well as the ability and will to act.

  • We believe that the responsibility for good government rests on citizens.

  • We believe that the rights of citizens at home and abroad are interdependent.

Our Principles

The League of Women Voters believes:
  • in representative government and in individual liberties established by the US Constitution;

  • that democratic government depends on the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect citizens' right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding public 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 that provides equal opportunity for all;

  • that no person or group should suffer legal, economic or administrative discrimination;

  • that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing, and coordination among 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 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 solution of international problems;

  • that cooperation with other nations is essential in the search for solutions to world problems and that development of international organizations and international law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.

Non-Partisan Policy of the League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area

The purpose of the League of Women Voters is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League of Women Voters is non-partisan in that it does not support or oppose any political party or candidate; it political in that it takes positions on selected governmental issues after member study and agreement.

The League recognizes the role of political parties in our form of government and believes that participation in the activities of political parties is an essential ingredient of citizen responsibility. While the League urges its members to be politically active, certain constraints are necessary in order to maintain the non-partisanship of the organization. Only to the extent that the public and elected officials are convinced of the League's genuine non-partisanship will the League be able to render effective voter service and gain a wide base of support for its positions on governmental issues.

The Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area has established the following political activity policy for Board members:

  • The President shall not run for any elective office.
  • Board members shall not run for national elective office, but may run for state or local office regardless of political designation, after consultation with the national Board and the Presidents of the state and local Leagues involved.
  • The President shall not serve in any positions in a political party.
  • Board members shall not serve in political party positions at the national level and shall abide by their state League's political activity policy regarding holding state and local party positions.
  • Board member may attend fundraising events and make campaign contributions.
  • Board members may not chair or administer fundraising or political campaigns for national office, or work in any significant way in the campaign of a candidate national office. Board members may undertake such activities for candidates for state or local office after consultation with the Presidents of the state and local Leagues involved.

    "In the League of Women Voters we have an anomaly: We are going to be a semi-political body. We want political things; we want legislation; we are going to educate for citizenship. In that body we have got to be non-partisan and all-partisan. Democrats from Alabama and Republicans from New Hampshire must work for the same things." - Carrie Chapman Catt at the League's founding in Chicago, 1920

2017 LWV By-laws