History of the League of Women Voters

History of the League of Women Voters

1920 - The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago in 1920, six months before women gained the right to vote. The League’s original mandate was to assist the newly enfranchised women voters in learning the electoral process and in studying the issues. The immediate goal was to teach women how to vote, how to register and how to research candidates. 

1920 - The Pennsylvania League of Women Citizens changed their name to Pennsylvania League of Women Voters reflecting the change in status from mere citizens to enfranchised citizens.

             How long must women wait Mr. President

1920 - On August 26, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified. 

1920 - On August 30 the Philadelphia League had a mass meeting for women to learn “How to Register.”

1920-1947 - The League continued its mission of educating and assisting women voters with one of its most notable achievements being part of the coalition of women who successfully lobbied Congress to create the Women's and Children’s Bureau within the Department of Commerce.

1945 - The League of Women Voters supported the creation of the United Nations.

1954 - The League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area was established under the leadership of John and Martha Zeller.

1957 - The League of Women Voters Education Fund was established. The League had become increasingly active in advocating for issues so the Education Fund was created for the work of educating voters as opposed to advocacy for issues. The League continues to be active both in advocacy and education of voters. 

1957 - Absentee voting was made possible in Pennsylvania after a statewide League study of the issue and League lobbying for the reform.

1971 - Pennsylvania added an Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution. 

                                        ERA logo     

1972 - The League embarked on a major campaign to support the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. Although the ERA fell short of the necessary number of state ratifications in the original ten year time frame, the League continues to support and work for the Equal Rights Amendment. 

1976 - The League sponsored the first presidential debate since 1960 between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. This debate received an Emmy Award and the League continued to sponsor both presidential and primary debates until 1988.

1974 - The League of Women Voters voted to admit men to full membership, but chose to retain the word “women” in the title as a token of respect to the original founders.

1976 - The League started a campaign for voter registration by mail. 

1977 - LWVLA adopted Election Procedures which were updated in 2002, 2010, and 2013 as a part of the ongoing effort on the part of the Lewisburg League to distribute Pennsylvania Voter Registration mail applications.

1988 - The nationwide League campaign led to the enactment of the National Voter Registration Act, better known as 'Motor Voter.' This enabled citizens to register at motor vehicle agencies as well as by mail, greatly facilitating the registration process across the country. 

1990 - In response to a study about the building of a new high school in Lewisburg, the Lewisburg League developed a school position which was again used in 2013 to support the building of a new high school. 

2006 - VOTE411.org, a “one-stop-shop” for election-related information was created by the National League. The Lewisburg League inputs information on local candidates thus providing non-partisan resources to the voting public. 

2007 - LWVLA updated their Regional Cooperation and Union County Planning Position which had been originally adopted in 1970.

2017 - FairDistricts PA was launched by the Pennsylvania League to address gerrymandering problems within the state. This initiative led to a successful lawsuit by the state league to overturn Pennsylvania’s redistricting map for congressional elections. 

2020 - Lewisburg League held large event at the Campus Theater to commemorate the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. 

                               100th Anniversary Event


For more information on the proud history, see the History section of the League of Women Voters of the US website.

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