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. –LWV Mission
The League of Women Voters was formed in 1920 after the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. In 1974, membership was opened to include men. There are Leagues in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.
The League of Women Voters 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. It is the original grassroots citizen network, directed by the consensus of its members nationwide.
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History of Grinnell LWV
Three years after the establishment of the League of Women of the United States, a chapter of the League was formed in Grinnell under the sponsorship of the League of Women Voters of Iowa City. The April 28, 1923 issue of the Grinnell Herald states that the chapter "will be open to town ladies and Junior and Senior Girls who are interested". The initial meeting, which drew eight prospective members was addressed by Miss Eleanor Lowden who listed the three-fold activities of the League as 1) "the education of women to an intelligent use of the [voting) franchise, 2) work for welfare legislation such as maternity legislation and child labor laws and 3) securing of legislation to remove the legal and political disabilities of women."
Over the years, the Grinnell League has actively involved itself in the ambitious program it set for itself in 1923: "education, public health, social services, public safety, civic improvement, and government and administration in the city." Members have been active in issues on the national and state levels as well as the local, e.g. the United Nations, the Equal Rights Amendment, County Home Rule, Reapportionment, Domestic Violence, the Campbell Fund, the Mental Health Center, and a variety of issues concerning school facilities, finance, and School Board representation.
The League has also provided voter services to the community through voter registration drives, candidate forums, and legislative coffees. From 1975-79 the League sponsored a radio program on KGRN on which League members interviewed members of the community, and in recent years, the League has promoted the taping of school board and city council meetings and other events of interest for viewing on GET 19, the local television channel.
Five members of the Grinnell League have served as presidents of the League of Women Voters of Iowa: Alice Phelps (1939-41), Margaret Strong (1943-44), Louise Ross (1951-53), Candace Lambie (1955-57), and Feme Norris (1957-59). The State Convention was most recently held in Grinnell in 2001.
Past Presidents of Grinnell LWV