Formed around the time of the passage of the 19th amendment, the League of Women Voters has always been clear about its mission – help women carry out their newly won right to vote by providing education on the issues and protection of their voting rights. It’s a mission they have continued to the present day. In North Carolina, that has meant consistent presentation of election-year forums in which voters hear from candidates on issues important to them; yearly celebrations of our women in elected office; and, lately, legal action to protect the right of all North Carolina citizens to easily and accessibly vote.
This latest action has certainly ruffled some feathers in the state, and drawn accusations of partisanship. Considering the long reputation of the League as solidly non-partisan, the reaction to this rather surprising accusation has been swift, and we couldn’t agree more with that reaction. NCWU stands with the League against this unjustified attack on their work and reputation. In all of our work with the League over the years, we have always been impressed with their commitment to rising above party politics for the greater good of our democracy, steadfastly celebrating all women in elected office, no matter their party.
Just because the League is now using the tools of our judicial system – tools offered to citizens as a way of checking government overreach and protecting our civil rights – in an effort to stay true to their mission, it doesn’t mean their work can now be dismissed as one-sided. Being consistently on the side of the average citizen – the voter – is a position we always believe to be the non-partisan one.
Join is in supporting our League, on the state and local level. Look for a candidate forum near you, and let the League know you appreciate the hard work they do for our democracy. You can even consider joining, and we hope you do!
Tara Romano, NCWU, President
(Below is a letter to the editor from Tara Romano, president, that ran in the September 05 edition of the News & Observer).
Regarding the Sept. 3 editorial “ The Four Nos”: Having partnered with the N.C. League of Women Voters for a number of years on issues of voter education, I have always been impressed with its commitment to remaining staunchly nonpartisan, focusing first and foremost on what voters need to participate fully in our democracy.
Born out of the suffrage movement, its mission has always been clear: Leave party politics to others as the league focused on making sure women could exercise their newly won right easily and responsibly.
Based on a solid history of nonpartisanship, it was surprising to hear of the actions of some of the Wake County commissioners, who broke with election-year tradition to declare the LWV forums biased and not worthy of their time.
Although the LWV never endorses candidates, it does endorse issues, and, yes, protecting voting rights is its mission. The N.C. LWV’s participation in the lawsuit against the state’s new voting laws is not a partisan issue (nor did it sue the county, as suggested in the commissioners’ letter).
These commissioners did indicate they would be at other forums, such as ones sponsored by local Chambers of Commerce – groups that, at the state level at least, do endorse candidates. Yet that group is considered more nonpartisan than the LVW? Let’s hope the commissioners reconsider their decision, for the good of democracy.