Women's March for Voting Rights, New York City, May 6, 1912 2016 Mayoral Forum
The League of Women Voters has fought since 1920 to improve our systems of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy. The League is the original grassroots organization, working at the national, state and local levels.
The League of Women Voters is strictly nonpartisan; it neither supports nor opposes candidates for office at any level of government. At the same time, the League is wholeheartedly political and works to influence policy through advocacy. It is a citizen network, directed by the consensus of its members nationwide. 900 state and local Leagues comprise a vast grassroots lobby corps that can be mobilized when necessary.
What We Do
Empower and Educate We empower voters to make a difference by providing information they need to make informed decisions. The methods we uses to educate voters include publications, candidates' forums and public forums on issues such as transportation, health care, transparency in government and education.
Study and Advocate In addition, we study specific issues concerning government and come to consensus on our conclusions. We then advocate for these positions by speaking out and by writing for publication.
How We Accomplish Our Goals
We research all aspects of an issue, be it local, regional, state or national.
We extend this information to others through membership in coalitions and through public forums.
We present nonpartisan public meetings on ballot measures and public forums for candidates for elective office.
We lobby for causes for which our organization has reached consensus.
We encourage broad-based citizen participation in the democratic process.
To learn more about the organization and operation of League, visit League Basics, published by the League of Women Voters US.
The League of Women Voters was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held just six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 72-year struggle.
The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy.
From the beginning, the League was an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy.
It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.
Riverside's League began in 1953 and graduated to full League status in 1954. Ruth Brill was President of the new League and they immediately began taking action. Their first accomplishments included a City requirement that all sidewalks be included in residential neighborhood plans and they were instrumental in creating the position of Traffic Engineer to work on City traffic planning.
On the County level, our League urged the creation of the County
Executive Officer position. They supported the creation of a County Adoption Agency which still operates today. Riverside's Jefferson House for chronic mental illness began with a League study. Another local League study of the California aqueduct prompted action to save the Santa Ana
River. After an arduous battle, the river is now considered saved.
Our League has been at the forefront of ethics reform, education, transportation and air quality issues. Over the years we have held countless candidate forums, hosted public information meetings and distributed thousands of voter information guides.
We take our legacy of voter education and advocacy very seriously. In fact, our dedication makes the League the organization where hands-on civic involvement leads to civic improvement.
The suffragettes who started the movement to give women the right to vote didnít know if they would succeed. But, they persevered. Today, with over 850 local Leagues, 50 State Leagues and our National League, we remain equally committed to improving our democracy and the quality of life for all our citizens.
Itís been 90 years, but civic participation never goes out of style. The League of Women Voters look forward to continuing our efforts and hope our fellow citizens will join us.