The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920, the year U.S. women won the right to vote. Created to teach this new bloc of voters how to vote, the league now fosters public interest in voting and enhances access to the voting booth. Above, a woman exercises her right to vote.
The league is a decentralized group with more than 800 chapters located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its grass-roots structure and large network of chapters help the league to educate voters and influence policy at all levels of government.
Members of the league engage in local, low-cost activities, such as visiting schools to talk to children and attending naturalization ceremonies to teach new citizens how to register to vote. They provide voter guides and information about getting transportation to the polls. In addition, the league hosts debates and forums to allow voters to hear candidates’ views.
As a nonpartisan group, the league does not endorse political candidates. Instead, it focuses on educating people and supporting specific issues, such as civil rights and environmental protection, to influence policy. Its goal is to explain complex and controversial issues to less-informed citizens. The league also provides information on how to use social media to organize online.
The League of Women Voters Education Fund researches and publishes public-policy information to help inform voters about issues it deems important. Issues are researched, sometimes for years, before the league votes by chapter to take a position supporting or opposing an issue. The league has supported hundreds of issues on topics as diverse as fair housing, arms control and campaign finance.