The League of Women Voters turns 102 years old on Monday. The League was founded by suffrage leaders 102 years ago to help American women exercise their new right to vote.
Their vision for the enfranchised woman was not merely as an educated voter, but to be a committed activist for true equality. For 102 years, leagues have registered voters, informed their communities on the issues, advocated in their legislatures, and helped shape their communities and their country.
The League celebrates the power of women to achieve a more perfect democracy. In the hour of victory in Tennessee, Carrie Catt wrote: “Our mothers began it. So it came on to us as, in a way, a sacred trust. A great part of our rejoicing today in the hour of victory is compounded of our feeling of loyalty to the past and our satisfaction that we have stood faithful to its trust. Now that it is over, the feeling of “ceaselessness” is probably the sensation uppermost with us all … for women cannot stop. With a new purpose, the purpose of making the vote register for an improved citizenship, the women of the National are already lined up under a new name, the League of Women Voters.” Women have powered – and continue to power – the vote. At the same time, the league appreciates the male membership which stands beside us.
In Chautauqua County, the local league connects with the community to register voters, get out the vote, share information about voting reforms, and provide voters with election information through voter guides as well as candidate forums and debates. We proudly celebrate women’s fundamental role in shaping an inclusive and active electorate.
Its founders produced a monumental achievement in getting the 19th Amendment passed 102 years ago, after a long and bitter struggle against bitter opposition. The suffragists worked with legislatures from both sides of the aisle to meet their goals of education and advocacy. We have aimed to continue this tradition. We honor their fight by continuing to push our democracy forward so that every voter can play a critical role in shaping our country. We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and confidence to participate.
Democracy depends on what voters choose. We encourage men and women to join the league in its important and fulfilling work.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership is open to men and women of all ages. With over 750 affiliates across the county, the League is one of the nation’s most trusted organizations.
To join the League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County, contact: LWV Chautauqua, P.O. Box 42, Fredonia, New York 14063.