Maryland League of Women Voters Takes Heat for 15% Debate Exclusion Rule

The Maryland League of Women Voters is hosting a televised debate for two candidates for the U.S. Senate Democratic nomination, on the evening of August 31. On August 30, three other Democratic candidates for that nomination held a protest in front of the League’s headquarters. The three protesting candidates pointed out that if the League had imposed a 15% poll requirement in 1994, that even Ellen Sauberbrey would have been excluded. She was only polling 14% at the end of August 1994. Yet she went on to win the mid-September 1994 Republican primary for Governor.

Each state League of Women Voters sets its own policy, on whom to invite into televised debates. The Pennsylvania League has a tradition of inviting everyone who is on the ballot into its televised candidate debates, for example.

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  1. citizen1 · · Reply

    Were all the candidate even included in the poll. Most of the time they are not.

  2. Larry Reinsch, Iowa · · Reply

    After having some interaction with the LWV in Iowa , I know now that the LWV is not in favor of open and fair debates for all ballot qualified candidates. Rather they want to usher in the democrat of their choice. The words Non-partisan should never be associated with the LWV ! They need to loose their nonprofit status.

  3. If the organization is a 501(c)(3), the IRS requires them to include all legally qualified candidates if they reasonably can. They can only start applying exclusion criteria in situations where it would be “impractical” to include all candidates.

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