The League of Women Voters of The Wilkes-Barre Area is a nonpartisan organization that presents citizens of the Wikes-Barre area with information so that theycan make informed decisions when they vote on election day.
The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 as an outgrowth of the suffragist movement. When women were finally granted the right to vote, the suffergetts evolved into the League of Women Voters to provide education on voting and the political process. The newly enfranchised citizen women were not just voting for the sake of voting, but instead, were responsible and active participants in the process because of the education received from the founding League members. The legacy continues today. Your local League educates the community on voting and the democratic process. We do this through sponsored debates, the Voters' Guide and the Government Directory.
The purpose then and now is to present information to citizens so that they can make informed decisions when they go to the polls. The state and national league works for congressional reform. For example, in 1993 the League won passage of the National Voter Registration Act, the "motor voter" law. Currently, the state and national Leagues are lobbyists and activists for the new voter machines through the passage of the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA.
Our nonpartisanship was inspired by the experience of the women's suffrage movement - clearly, women needed support of men in both parties to win the right to vote. After gaining this right, leaders in the suffrage movement considered two options: founding a separate political party for women or forming a group that could work toward certain political goals and legislation, as well as educating all citizens on voting while working within existing political organizations. As we know, the League's founders decided on the latter option, though it was not until the mid-1930s that nonpartisanship was institutionalized in the LWV.
Nonpartisan status allows us to work effectively in voter education. The community knows that candidates' meetings and the Voters' Guide will present information without bias. We educate high school students about the voting process, and help with voting machine instruction and registration. We are respected in our community because our citizens know that we will be fair in our presentations.
We never support political candidates or parties, nor do we do things that would appear to support one over another. Our local W-B League focuses on education, while our state and national affiliates take positions on political issues and work hard to preserve our rights and better our society.
While the League is nonpartisan as an organization, its members are encouraged to be active in politics and their political party as long as they act for themselves, and never in the name of the League. Members of the League with political affiliations should not be involved in activities such as registering voters, observing public meetings for the League, or participating in candidate meetings sponsored by the League. Board members are not permitted to run for or hold political office or campaign publicly for political candidates.
To provide an environment for members to become politically knowledgeable through education and discussion. To provide political debates and education on issues, which leades to informed citizens and a healthy democratic system.