League of Women Voters (LWV)

  • <p>In 1964, Nellie Ottenberg rode in a carriage to campaign for Home Rule and voting rights in Washington, DC.</p>

1233 20th St NW

In 1920, when it was founded the League of Women Voters occupied a headquarters near the White House (above left). Today, its national headquarters is in an office building just southwest of Dupont Circle (above, right).

"We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy. That's been our vision since 1920, when the League of Women Voters was founded by leaders of the women’s suffrage movement. For 100 years, we have been a nonpartisan, activist, grassroots organization that believes voters should play a critical role in democracy." - League of Women Voters

League members come from across the country to Washington, DC to make their views known to Republican and Democratic legislators, leaders and parties. Here, the Minnesota League of Women Voters bring a petition with a mile-long list of signatures in favor of the United States becoming a member of the International Court of Justice.

A skilled political strategist, Carrie Chapman Catt directed the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) proposed the creation of a "league of women voters to finish the fight and aid in the reconstruction of the nation." In 1920, she founded the League of Women Voters to bring women into the political mainstream.

By the time the 19th Amendment was ratified in August 1920, many Leagues were already active at the state level. They held rallies and citizenship schools to prepare newly-enfranchised women to vote. This rally was held less than two weeks after ratification in St. Louis, Missouri on Sept. 13, 1920.

The League has been a pioneer in the use of technology to educate and inform voters from radio broadcasts in the 1930’s to televised Presidential debates (above) to its national Vote 411 site launched in 2006.

In recognition of their 100th anniversary in 2020, the League of Women Voters revisited their own history to better document the significant contributions made by women of color to suffrage and women's movements. The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters adds a new dimension to these conversations.

The Washington, DC League has long been named “The League of Voteless Women” and has campaigned actively for representation and Home Rule for the District of Columbia.

Vote 411 is a “one-stop-shop” for election information nationwide, Launched in 2006, Vote 411 provides the latest nonpartisan national and state-specific information on how to get a ballot, election dates, and where to vote.

Deborah Turner, MD, JD, 20th President of the League of Women Voters addresses around 150 activists and women’s rights leaders from across the country gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to rally for removal of the arbitrary timeline placed in the preamble of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Since 1920, the League has focused on training for active, responsible citizenship by improving public knowledge, contributing to civic issue resolution, widening a diverse public voice, creating social capital through combined activity, and empowering personal growth through engagement in the democratic process. The LWV Education Fund works to register voters, provide voters with election information through voter guides as well as candidate forums and debates.