Making Democracy Work


Frequently asked questions about the League of Women Voters

Does the League endorse candidates?

No, the League has a non-partisan policy and encourages education in the voting process. We do not endorse candidates but we do host election forums to help voters learn about the candidates.

What is a League Position?

A League Position is a defined statement of support derived after thorough research and study of a topic. The position is used for advocating either for or against issue(s) in government and in our community. League positions can be taken at the local, state, and national levels of League. A local League may use positions from all levels to advocate. A State League may use their State positions and National positions, but not local League positions. And the National League may only use National positions for advocacy. If a local League would like their position to be adopted at a higher level, they would usually (but not always) seek support of the position from the State League, and then take it to National.

If the League is non-partisan why do some of their positions sound like they align with certain party positions?

The League of Women Voters has a long and respected history of studying issues carefully from all sides. Only after thorough and rigorous discussion are positions taken on issues of importance. These positions are utilized in determining whether or not we support a ballot measure, or issues in the communities, cities, states, & country in which we live. To read through our positions (national, state and local) please check out our Positions on Issues page

What does concurrence and consensus mean to the League?

These are terms that refer to how the League determines agreement on positions.

  • Concurrence is when a statement is issued by National or a state league and local leagues are asked to either agree or disagree with the statement.

  • Consensus is a process in which a League studies a subject and comes to a form of agreement that embraces the general sense of the group. If a strong minority opinion emerges, it will be included in the report from the consensus process. Each local League will study a subject and respond to the National League with the results of their consensus from which National assembles the overriding results to get a formal position statement.

Can men join the League?

Absolutely, our name comes from our history in helping women obtain the right to vote, but men have long been members of the League of Women Voters.

Why do you refer to National, State, and Local Leagues? Aren't they all just the League of Women Voters?

Yes, they all are just the League of Women Voters. It is a form of organization, and there are different levels of responsibility and work at each level. It is possible for any of our members to work at any of the levels. It is a volunteer organization and people are elected to the boards at all levels.

What is PMP?

PMP refers to per member payment. When you pay your dues to your local League (in this case - the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County) you are supporting League at the local, the state and the national levels.

If you join the League and it does not specify LWV of Bellingham/Whatcom County on the form, you will only be a member at the national level. We hope you will always join at the local level, which gives us a stronger voice for our local community. Our fiscal year starts July 1st, so dues are payable at that time. Join your local league now.

What is Program Planning?

Program Planning happens at all levels of League. It is the time when we consider what issues we wish to study, and what current positions may need revising. Local Leagues like ours usually spend time in the beginning of each year getting together and discussing the issues that are important to them, and then they send feedback totheir state league, and to the National League to give guidance. This is one of the ways the League is still a vital grassroots organization with voices being heard throughout.