Making Democracy Work

About the League

Your Local League

This local chapter of the League of Women Voters covers Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties in North Carolina.

  • LWVODC has ongoing studies and programs for citizen education and participation and for advocacy.

  • A local, state, or national position is arrived at through lengthy membership study of an issue. After the study, a position on the issue is debated and either approved or disapproved by the membership. If a position is approved, the League may then develop advocacy plans to support their position.

  • The League sends a quarterly electronic newsletter to its membership highlighting its activities and programs.

  • Our service to voters includes sponsoring candidates forums, information on ballot initiatives, voter registration, and absentee voting.

  • LWVODC Officers and Board of Directors

  • Bylaws

Our Mission and Roles

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The League influences public policy through education and advocacy. We never support or oppose any political party or candidate and strictly adhere to the League's Nonpartisan Policy.

The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles.

  • Voters Service/Citizen Education: we present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.

  • Action/Advocacy: while we are nonpartisan, after studying issues and adopting a position, we use our positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest.

Action and Advocacy

The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause. Positions result from a process of study at the Local, State, and/or National level. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. As the study progresses, a continuing discussion of pros and cons of each situation occurs. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.

Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.

It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.

Vertical Action is the ability for the League to act under positions from another League level. If the LWVODC Board of Directors judge that its members are knowledgeable and support the action to be taken, it can undertake action at the Local, and/or State level under a National position or positions without clearance from LWVUS board.

History of the League of Women Voters and Bibliography of Related Topics

Carrie Chapman Catt first proposed a League of Women Voters to "finish the fight" and work to end all discrimination against women. To that end, the League of Women Voters was founded on Valentine's Day in 1920, six months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

Today, the League of Women Voters remains a grassroots organization. In 2018, the League of Women Voters had more than 300,000 members and supporters and 700 state and local Leagues throughout all 50 states. Though the League is known widely for its voter education efforts, it also brings its expertise to critical issues such as health care reform, global climate change, redistricting reform and many others.

The League continues to do what it has been trusted to do since 1920:

  • discuss the important issues;
  • ask the difficult questions; and
  • demand accountability from our government.

The League of Women Voters is the organization where hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. We hope you will stand with us in this work.

North Carolina Suffragettes' Crusade to Cast a Ballot

North Carolina suffragettes went head to head with a state legislature that opposed the 19th Amendment. In the end, the suffragettes' fight helped ensure a victory for women. Read more about the suffragettes efforts and how the League of Women Voters in NC evolved from it.