League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 political organization
An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

 founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt was a women's suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920...

 during the last meeting of the National American Woman Suffrage Association
National American Woman Suffrage Association
The National American Woman Suffrage Association was an American women's rights organization formed in May 1890 as a unification of the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association...

 approximately six months before the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920....

 gave women the right to vote. It began as a "mighty political experiment" aimed to help newly enfranchised women exercise their responsibilities as voters. Originally, only women could join the league; but in 1973 the charter was modified to include men. The league is a grassroots organization with chapters in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The league has approximately 150,000 members (as of 2006).

The League of Women Voters has as its official position that it 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. The league takes a stand on many political issues after studying them and coming to a consensus on a position. The league works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy, as well as through political lobbying of Congress.

The league is organized into two complementary halves: Voter service and citizen education; and program and action.

Program and action

The Program and Action portion of the league studies issues, develops consensus positions and lobbies for changes in law and public policy. Program and Action is divided into four broad categories: Representative Government, International Relations, Natural Resources, and Social Policy.

Representative government

The league supports "an open governmental system that is representative, accountable and responsive."

The league has worked to reduce barriers to voting, to implement campaign finance reform, and to prevent gerrymandering
In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts...

The league is a strong supporter of transparency in government and in Open Meeting Law.
In 2003, the league worked to incorporate key voter protection and civil rights provisions into Help America Vote Act
Help America Vote Act
The Help America Vote Act , or HAVA, is a United States federal law which passed in the House 357-48 and 92-2 in the Senate and was signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002. Drafted in reaction to the controversy surrounding the 2000 U.S...

 (HAVA). In 2004, the league lobbied Congress in favor of the bi-partisan Security and Freedom Ensured Act
Security and Freedom Ensured Act
The Security and Freedom Enhancement Act is legislation proposed by Senators Larry Craig , John E. Sununu and Richard Durbin which would add checks and balances to the USA PATRIOT Act...

 (SAFE) which attempted to scale back some portions of the PATRIOT Act
The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001...

 which affect individual liberties.

International relations

The league believes that the United States should "promote peace in an interdependent world by working cooperatively with other nations and strengthening international organizations".

The league is a strong supporter of the United Nations. During the 1940s, the league launched a nationwide campaign to build public support for the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. The league was one of the first non-government organizations affiliated with the UN.

The league supports a liberal U.S. trade policy aimed at reducing trade barriers and expanding international trade.

Natural resources

The league works to "promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest".

The league has worked to promote clean air, clean water and to manage solid waste in an environmentally sound way.

The league was a strong proponent of the Clean Air Act
Clean Air Act
A Clean Air Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of airborne contaminants, smog and air pollution in general. The use by governments to enforce clean air standards has contributed to an improvement in human health and longer life spans...

 of 1990. The league continues to work for stronger Corporate Average Fuel Economy
Corporate Average Fuel Economy
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy are regulations in the United States, first enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1975, and intended to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold in the US in the wake of the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo...

 (CAFE) standards to improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution.

The league promoted the passage of the Clean Water Act
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Commonly abbreviated as the CWA, the act established the goals of eliminating releases of high amounts of toxic substances into water, eliminating additional water pollution by 1985, and ensuring that...

 of 1987.

Social policy

The league works to "secure equal rights and equal opportunity for all, to promote social and economic justice, and to secure the health and safety of all Americans," yet has previously opposed lowering the voting age.

The league has worked on a broad range of activities under the rubric of Social Policy including ending racial discrimination, providing equal access to quality education, fair housing, health care, and gun control.

Specifically in the area of gun control, according to the organization's website,
The league endorsed and supported the Mother’s Day 2000 Million Mom March
Million Mom March
The Million Mom March was a rally on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14, 2000, designed to promote tighter restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of kids and criminals. Supporters claimed that 750,000 people gathered on the National Mall...

 of the Brady Campaign
Brady Campaign
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence are affiliated non-profit organizations in the United States. They are named after James Brady who was permanently disabled as a result of an assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

 through the activities of many league members across the country who participated in the event, as well as by the official involvement of the organization's leadership and board.

See also

  • U.S. Presidential Debate Sponsorship
  • Becky Cain
    Becky Cain
    Rebecca "Becky" Cook Cain-Ceperley was the president of the League of Women Voters from 1992-1998. Cain is currently the president and CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation in Charleston, West Virginia...

     - President, League of Women Voters of the United States (1992-1998)

External links

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