The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League neither supports nor opposes political candidates and parties but does take action on issues. League membership is open to all U. S. citizens (women and men) of voting age. Associate membership is open to young people and noncitizens.
The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles:
- Voter Service/Citizen Education: We present nonpartisan information about elections and the voting process, and are actively involved in voter registration. We conduct forums on key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner.
- Action/Advocacy: We are nonpartisan, but, we form positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest after a thorough study process. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is rigorous in its pursuit of facts and details.
To conduct our voter service and citizen education activities, we use funds from the League of Women Voters of California 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.
The Principles that Guide Our Organization...
- respect for individuals
- the value of diversity
- the empowerment of the grassroots, both within the League and in communities
- act with trust, integrity and professionalism
- operate in an open and effective manner to meet the needs of those we serve, both members and the public
Our Southwest Santa Clara Valley League is one of five local Leagues in Santa Clara County. The others are:
Our members are also members of:
- League of Women Voters of the Bay Area,
- League of Women Voters of California, and
- League of Women Voters of the United States.
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 72-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 has been 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 history section of the League of Women Voters of the US website.