Our Work

 

PROMOTING DEMOCRACY

The Bellingham/Whatcom County League organizes events which provide in-depth understanding and opportunities for civil discussion of local, state and national issues. Our events include [link to each section below] election forums, educational programs, and interest groups.  

The LWVBWC promotes participatory democracy:

  1. Registering voters throughout the year at events throughout Whatcom County
     
  2. Publishing and distributing an updated Directory of Government Officials, “They Represent You” or TRY [link to TRY pdf].  This comprehensive directory provides contact information for all of the elected officials who represent Whatcom County - municipal, county, state, and national legislators, local school boards, courts and public agencies.
     
  3. Contributing questions and referring citizens to the League’s Vote 411 website which offers candidates’ responses to questions on issues and their qualifications for office.
     
  4. Providing an on-line Toolbox (link) for voters which includes information on registering to vote, candidates, status of voter registration, legislative districts, and other useful tools.  

Action & Advocacy

As a non-partisan political organization, the League of Women Voters® works to understand policy issues and advocate for those policies that are in alignment with officially adopted national, state, and local league positions.  League positions [link to positions page] are adopted after thorough study and with consensus of the membership. 

League Advocacy consists of:

  1. Letters or public statements to local officials from the LWVBWC which are based on League positions and have been vetted and approved for release by the co-presidents. 
     
  2. Alerts to members recommending individual comments on local, state, and national legislation or policy.  
     
  3. Meetings with elected officials to lobby on League positions.

The League does not endorse candidates. 

Recent LWVBWC letters written to local officials covered a variety of issues including: shipping of fossil fuels, land use policies, equity and inclusion in city policies, paid safe and sick leave, changes in bus routes and service options, and a proposed resolution affirming safety of residents in Bellingham.

 

Education Programs

The League of Women Voters® Bellingham/Whatcom County presents educational program meetings 5 - 6 times a year between September and April that feature a guest speaker or panel of experts addressing a topic of importance to our local community. Topics often have state and national relevance as well. The educational programs are open to the public and are advertised in local media.  Programs are filmed by our media partner KMRE.  

Future program information can be found on our calendar (link to calendar).

Past program videos are available here (Link to videos - they are on current web page), or you can read follow-ups in our news section (link).

Interest Groups

We have several Interest groups in which members explore a specific topic in depth and have the opportunity to visit site of interest and discuss issues with experts in small group settings.  The groups may be composed entirely of League members or they may be open to guests and prospective members.  

Check our calendar [link] to learn when our interest groups meet. For more information contact us at info@lwvbellinghamwhatcom.org or (360)734-2366.

 

Studies

Before adopting positions, the League conducts extensive studies to examine all sides of an issue. League Studies usually take one to two years. When completed, members collectively review the information and come to consensus on positions related to the topic. Effort is made so that the resulting positions reflect not simply a statement about the current controversy, but guidance for addressing similar issues that will arise in the future.  

The Bellingham / Whatcom County League completed its most recent study on Women’s Economic Security in Whatcom County. Date was compiled into a report (link to WES report) that provides an overview of the economic status of women, factors affecting that status, and the barriers to improvement in their economic status. Positions [link to WES study positions] adopted in response to that study enabled us to advocate for policy changes that improve the lives of women and families in Whatcom County.

The National LWV provides guidelines for conducting league studies and subsequent consensus meetings.

Election Forums

The League of Women Voters® teams up with our media sponsor the Bellingham Herald to bring you candidate and ballot issue forums. The City of Bellingham provides the facility for forums held in Bellingham. Our forums are known for being non-partisan and balanced. 

Candidate forums feature candidates running for local office. Everyone whose name is on the ballet is invited to participate. The League has a “no empty chair rule” so we do not hold forums where only one candidate is in attendance. Issue forums feature spokespersons identified by groups supporting and opposing measures which appear on the ballot. 

The forums air on BTV 10 in Whatcom County, and low-powered radio stations KMRE and KVAZ.  Videos of forums may be viewed here. (LINK on old web page)

 

Voter Services

The League of Women Voters of Bellingham and Whatcom County is committed to providing citizens with the tools, skills, and information they need to participate in the democratic process.  In addition to organizing and running our election forms (link), we register voters throughout the year,  provide quick links for voter registration and election information in our Toolbox (link), update and publish yearly a Directory of Government Officials (link to TRY), and offer meaningful educational programs on issues critical to voters (link to Educational Programs).