With all the attention on election interference, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts, biased news sources and a deeply divided electorate, why is it that the League of Women Voters (LWV), and by association, the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area (LWVSPA), continue to be relied upon as a source of comprehensive and balanced information for the American voter?
The LWV has been around for nearly 100 years (2020 marks that anniversary). And for nearly 100 years it has been staunchly nonpartisan in providing voter services and other educational activities to further its mission of encouraging informed active participation in government at all levels.
That means that while the LWV engages in advocacy to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influence public policy through education of the electorate, the League will not support or oppose any political candidate or party or make financial contributions to or fundraise for a candidate or a party.
In its historic attention to core issues of good governance such as campaign finance reform and voting rights, there has been a clear demonstration of the absence of party or candidate bias. The focus is not solely on what is good for just one group, but what is good for the largest number of people. It allows the League not only to use its well-honed tools to educate the electorate, but also to inform and educate the public as to the significant issues of the day.
The time-tested, common tools the League uses to accomplish the goal of a well-educated electorate include the compiling and distribution of Voter Guides, the organization and support of candidate forums for the public and the conducting of voter registration drives.
“Voters have come to rely on the League as a trusted source for election and voting information due in large part to the policy of nonpartisanship,” says Raechel Garafalo, a board director and the voter services chair for LWVSPA.
The League in its educational role has a responsibility to lay the “hot” issues of the day out for the consumption and distillation of the electorate.
And the League will remain nonpartisan, neither supporting or opposing candidates or parties, while working on these issues. This action has been foundational in the League’s 99-year history as it strives to educate the American citizen as to what it can do to engage with our democracy.