The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles.
Voters Service/Citizen Education: We present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.
Action/Advocacy: We are also nonpartisan, but, after a two-year study of an issue, we may take position to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest.
Principles are concepts of government, supported by the League as a whole, which constitute the authorization for adoption of national, state and local Program.
The League of Women Voters (LWV) believes
- In representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States.
- That democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen's right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings and making public records accessible.
- That responsible government should maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation, promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest, share in the solution of economic and social problems which affect the general welfare, promote a sound economy, and adopt domestic policies which facilitate the solution of international problems.
- That efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing, and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.
- That cooperation with other nations is essential in the search for solutions to world problems, and that the development of international organization and international law is imperative in the promotion of world peace.
- That every citizen should be protected in the right to vote; that every person should have access to free public education which provides equal opportunity for all; and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic, or administrative discrimination.
A Brief History of the League in Oklahoma
Women in Oklahoma won the right to vote via ballot measure in 1918, two years before the 19th Amendment passed nationally. Oklahoma women were involved in the formation of the National League of Women Voters (NLWV) in 1919, and the Oklahoma League was formed in 1920.
Excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture
A Brief History of the League in Oklahoma City/County
The League of Women Voters of Oklahoma City was incorporated on March 25, 1974. The official name of the group was amended to be the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma County on November 23, 1988. The group was formally disbanded in either late 2012 (based on bank statements) or early 2013. In March of 2018, a rebuilding effort began with the help of the State League. In the last year, we have received a very generous donation of $50,000 to fund a part-time office person, office equipment and construction of a website. In partnership with, and under the auspices of, the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma, we undertook a fundraising event on November 8 th , 2018, to celebrate the centennial of Oklahoma Women winning the right to vote in November of 1918. The event was very successful, yielding $35,000 for the OKCLWV and $35,000 for the LWVOK. On January 26, 2019, the Oklahoma City/County League members voted to become an independent, self-managed Local League. We elected three officers: Rebecca Greenhaw, Chair; Rhonda McLean, Secretary and Cheryl Husmann,Treasurer. It is now time to review and evaluate what is necessary for the rebuilding effort to succeed as a fully functional Local League of Women Voters. Helping all members to find what and how they wish to be a part of this Local League is now our focus. We invite the full engagement of each officer, member and volunteer in this process.
What Does the League Do Now?
The League of Women Voters is a peoples' organization that has fought since 1920 to improve our government and engage all Americans in the decisions that impact their lives. We operate at national, state and local levels through more than 800 state and local Leagues, in all 50 states as well in DC, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong. We never endorse or oppose political parties or candidates, but we are political.
Formed from the movement that secured the right to vote for women, the centerpiece of the League’s efforts remain to expand participation and give a voice to all Americans. We do this at all three levels of government, engaging in both broad educational efforts as well as advocacy. Our issues are grounded in our respected history of making democracy work for all Americans.
Why Should I Support the League of Women Voters?
The League is different from many organizations in that what it accomplishes comes directly from the involvement of its members. It is a grassroots organization providing every member with opportunities to learn and educate others about government, and take action on public policy. We walk our talk: we believe that we need everyone to participate in order for our community to be strong, safe and vibrant. Whether you contribute your time, your money, or both you can feel confident that your investment in democracy goes further in the League.
Groups of League members meet to discuss topics in a respectful setting. They learn effective techniques for public discussion, how to advocate on specific policies, and what the issues beneath the rhetoric are. Our study and consensus process ensures that we are fully informed on issues before we take a stand. We also host public forums and debates which are well known for being fair, transparent and civil. This approach has earned the League a global reputation for integrity and thoroughness.
Your participation in League will expose you to a breadth of experiences and issues that will not only inform you but create greater possibilities for civic engagement than you might imagine. You can spend as much or as little time as you wish. Whether you aspire to leadership or are keen to follow the lead of experienced members, the League will excite, use, and nurture your civic curiosity, ideals, or desire for action. We offer our members webinars, conference calls, workshops, other events and mentorship opportunities throughout the year, at the local, regional, state and national levels.
- Attend an event on our calendar
- Contact us to get involved
What is the History of the League of Women Voters?
"The League of Women Voters is not to dissolve any present organization but to unite all existing organizations of women who believe in its principles. It is not to lure women from partisanship but to combine them in an effort for legislation which will protect coming movements, which we cannot even foretell, from suffering the untoward conditions which have hindered for so long the coming of equal suffrage. Are the women of the United States big enough to see their opportunity?"
Maud Wood Park became the first national president of the League and thus the first League leader to rise to the challenge. She had steered the women's suffrage amendment through Congress in the last two years before ratification and liked nothing better than legislative work. From the very beginning, however, it was apparent that the legislative goals of the League were not exclusively focused on women's issues and that citizen education aimed at all of the electorate was in order.
Since its inception, the League has helped millions of women and men become informed participants in government. In fact, the first league convention voted 69 separate items as statements of principle and recommendations for legislation. Among them were protection for women and children, right of working women, food supply and demand, social hygiene, the legal status of women, and American citizenship.The League's first major national legislative success was the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act providing federal aid for maternal and child care programs. In the 1930's, League members worked successfully for enactment of the Social Security and Food and Drug Acts. Due at least in part to League efforts, legislation passed in 1938 and 1940 removed hundreds of federal jobs from the spoils system and placed them under Civil Service.
During the postwar period, the League helped lead the effort to establish the United Nations and to ensure U.S. Participation. The League was one of the first organizations in the country officially recognized by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization; it still maintains official observer status today.