The League of Women Voters (LWV) is an American civic organization that was formed to help women take a larger role in public affairs after they won the right to vote. It was founded in 1920 to support the new women suffrage rights and was a merger of National Council of Women Voters, founded by Emma Smith DeVoe, and National American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Carrie Chapman Catt, approximately six months before the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote. The League of Women Voters began as a "mighty political experiment" aimed to help newly enfranchised women exercise their responsibilities as voters. Originally, only women could join the league; but in 1973 the charter was modified to include men. LWV operates at the local, state, and national level, with over 1,000 local and 50 state leagues, and one territory league in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The League of Women Voters is officially nonpartisan--it neither supports nor opposes candidates or parties. It does, however, support a variety of progressive public policy positions, including campaign finance reform, universal health care, abortion rights, climate change action and environmental regulation, and gun control.
The LWV sponsored the United States presidential election debates in 1976, 1980 and 1984. On October 2, 1988, the LWV's 14 trustees voted unanimously to pull out of the debates, and on October 3 they issued a press release condemning the demands of the major candidates' campaigns. LWV President Nancy Neuman said that the debate format would "perpetrate a fraud on the American voter" and that the organization did not intend to "become an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."
In 2012, LWV created National Voter Registration Day, a day when volunteers work to register voters and increase participation.
The League sponsors voter's guides including Smart Voter and Voter's Edge, which was launched in collaboration with MapLight.
League of Women Voters members in front of the White House
The League lobbied for the establishment of the United Nations, and later became one of the first groups to receive status as a nongovernmental organization with the U.N.
The League has opposed voter ID laws and supported efforts at campaign finance reform in the United States. LWV opposed the decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The League supports increased regulation of political spending.
The League pushed for adoption of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires states to offer voter registration at all driver's license agencies, at social service agencies, and through the mail.
The League endorsed passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which banned soft money in federal elections and made other reforms in campaign finance laws.
LWV supports the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Kyoto Protocol. LWV opposes the proposed Keystone Pipeline project.
In January 2013, the League of Women Voters in Hawaii urged President Obama to take action on climate change under his existing authority, the Clean Air Act of 1990, which the League supported.
The League supports the abolition of the death penalty.
LWV supports universal health care and endorses both Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act.
The League supports a general income tax increase to finance national health care reform for the inclusion of reproductive health care, including abortion, in any health benefits package. The League supports abortion rights and strongly opposed the passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Act.
The League actively opposed welfare reform legislation proposed in the 104th Congress.
The League opposes school vouchers. In 1999, LWV challenged a Florida law that allowed students who were attending failing public schools to use school vouchers to attend other schools.
The League supports a system for illegal immigrants already in the United States to earn full citizenship. It lobbied for passage of the DREAM Act.
The League advocates gun control policies including regulating firearms and supporting licensing procedures for gun ownership by private citizens to include a waiting period for background checks, personal identity verification, gun safety education and annual license renewal.
A national board of directors consisting of four officers, eight elected directors, and not more than eight board-appointed directors, most of whom reside in the Metro Washington D.C. area, govern the League subject to the Bylaws of the League of Women Voters of the United States. The national board is elected at the national convention and sets position policy.
Local Leagues and state Leagues are organized in order to promote the purposes of the League and to take action on local and state governmental matters. These Leagues (chapters) have their own directors and officers. The national board may withdraw recognition from any state or local League for failure to fulfill recognition requirements.
- Inez Mee Boren, president of the Northern Section
- Woodnut S. Burr, president of the Los Gatos Branch
- Becky Cain, former organization president
- Frances St John Chappelle, State president of the Nevada League of Women Voters
- Minnie Fisher Cunningham, first executive secretary
- Naomi Deutsch, early member
- Nan B. Frank, very active in California League of Women Voters, president of the San Francisco Center of California League of Women Voters
- Edith Jordan Gardner, member of the Oakland Forum
- Betty Gilmore
- Harriet A. Haas
- Fanny M. Irvin, drafted a resolution to Congress which was passed by the State Legislature, endorsing Woman's Suffrage, and lobbied for the passage of the Constitutional Amendment
- Achsa E. Paxman, president of State League of Women Voters
- Leonora Pujadas-McShine, founder of the Trinidad and Tobago affiliate
- Edith Dolan Riley, chairman of the Spokane County Democratic Central Committee
- Zelia Peet Ruebhausen, longtime LWV observer at the UN, appointed 1946
- Orfa Jean Shontz, member
- Mary Jane Spurlin
- Helen Norton Stevens, treasurer
- F. Josephine Stevenson, State Chairman of Uniform Laws of the National League of Women Voters (1920-21).
- Reah Whitehead, prepared the Drafts of Bills for and assisted in procuring passage of laws for Women's State Reformatory and Filiation Proceedings
- Wilhelmine Wissman Yoakum, treasurer of the California League of Women Voters
- Valeria Brinton Young
- Juanita Jones Abernathy, member of the board of directors of the Atlanta Fulton County League of Women Voters
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- ^ Lefler, Dion (July 17, 2012). "Voters group seeks city resolution against Citizens United decision". Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2015.
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- ^ "Representative Government - Voting Rights". Impact on Issues 2016-2018 - Online Edition. League of Women Voters. League Management Site (member resources). forum.lmv.org. Retrieved 2018-03-18. "In May 1993, the years of concerted effort by the League and other organizations paid off when both houses passed and the President signed the National Voter Registration Act.... The 'motor-voter' bill enabled citizens to apply to register at motor vehicle agencies automatically, as well as by mail and at public and private agencies that service the public."
- ^ Curry, Tom (August 19, 2004). "Why 'reform' equals more campaign spending". NBC News. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ Malbin, Michael (2003). Life After Reform: When the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act Meets Politics. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 29. ISBN 9780742528338.
- ^ "Environmental Protection and Pollution Control". League of Women Voters. Archived from the original on September 14, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ Huse, Carl (May 25, 2011). "Voter Group Flexes Muscle in Ads Aimed at Senators". New York Times. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ Savage, Melanie (October 20, 2014). "League of Women Voters holds discussion on climate change". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2015.
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- ^ Dickson, Amelia (March 6, 2013). "Bill to abolish death penalty gets hearing". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ Redmond, Pat (April 6, 2015). "League of Women Voters support the expansion of Medicaid". Juneau Empire. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ Burr, Carol (April 9, 2015). "A national necessity". Chico News Review. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ Vanzi, Max (May 5, 1995). "Women Voters League Accused of Liberal Bias". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ Moses, John (July 29, 2014). "Candidate boycotts League of Women Voters debate". Jackson Hole News & Guide. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ "Health Care". League of Women Voters. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ Hoover, Tim (March 15, 2010). "League of Women Voters comes under attack as Republicans call it 'left of center'". Denver Post. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ "Meeting Basic Human Needs". League of Women Voters. Retrieved 2012.
- ^ Dunkelberger, Lloyd (August 6, 2014). "League's influence felt as special session begins". Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ Hachiya,, Robert; Shoop, Robert; Dunklee, Dennis (2014). The Principal's Quick-Reference Guide to School Law: Reducing Liability, Litigation, and Other Potential Legal Tangles. Corwin Press. p. 47. ISBN 9781483333342.
- ^ "Immigration". League of Women Voters. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ "Gun Control". League of Women Voters. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ a b "Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation". May 3, 1946. Retrieved 2012.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Binheim, Max; Elvin, Charles A. (1928). Women of the West: A Series of Biographical Sketches of Living Eminent Women in the Eleven Western States of the United States of America. Los Angeles: Publishers Press. Retrieved 2017.This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- ^ "But One Woman Seeks Election to Legislature - 29 Aug 1926, Sun o Page 18". Oakland Tribune: 18. 1926. Retrieved 2017.
- ^ Brereton, Bridget (4 January 2012). "Lenora: activist for women in politics". Port of Spain, Trinidad: Trinidad Express Newspapers. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 2017.
- ^ "Edith Dolan Riley papers, 1876-1965". Retrieved 2017.
- ^ "League Studies Recession" Pittsburgh Press (March 27, 1958): 24. via Newspapers.com
- Handbook for Members. Boston: League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.
- Impact On Issues: 2004 - 2006. Washington,D.C.: League of Women Voters of the United States. ISBN 0-89959-446-8.
- Lee, Percy Maxim; Young, Louise Merwin; Young, Ralph B. (1989). In the public interest: the League of Women Voters, 1920-1970. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-25302-1.
- Stevens, Jennifer A (2010). "Chapter 9 Feminizing Portland, Oregon: A History of the League of Women Voters in the Postwar Era,. 1950-1975". In Laughlin, Kathleen A.; Jacqueline L. Castledine. Breaking the Wave: Women, Their Organizations, and Feminism, 1945-1985. Routledge. pp. 155-72. ISBN 0-415-87400-9.