What is the Mission of the League of Women Voters?
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. We influence public policy through education and advocacy. Our goal is to empower citizens to take an active role in shaping better communities worldwide.
When and why was the League formed?
The League of Women Voters operates at three different levels: national, state, and local. In 1920, six months before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed to grant women the right to vote, Carrie Chapman Catt founded the League during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The goal of the new organization was to help educate the 20 million women who would take on the responsibility of voting for the first time.
What does the League do?
As a national organization, the League of Women Voters educates its members and the general public regarding issues that affect citizens of the U.S. The League takes positions on issues after a thorough study and consensus and then advocates for those positions. However, as a nonpartisan organization, the League never endorses nor opposes candidates.
What roles do the state Leagues play?
Today there are Leagues in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hong Kong. The League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVF) was founded in 1939 by women in Winter Haven, Winter Park, and St. Petersburg. Today, LWVF monitors statewide issues, and it often studies those issues, adopts official positions on those issues, and advocates for those positions.
What do local Leagues – and especially the League of Women Voters of Collier County – do?
The League of Women Voters of Collier County (LWVCC) is an active, informed organization of local citizens (both women and men!) who care deeply about issues that affect our local community.
Since LWVCC was founded in 1975, some of our local activities have included:
- Candidate forums – During election cycles, LWVCC holds candidate forums, to give voters the opportunity to hear candidate positions on issues. Many of our local candidate forums are televised, and whenever possible, they are available to view online after the forum has taken place.
- Issue forums – LWVCC holds forums devoted to issues such as local referenda and amendments to the Florida Constitution. We often partner with other local organizations to host these forums.
- Monthly meetings during “season” – We hold monthly membership meetings (from October through April of each year) that feature speakers on a variety of topics. These meetings are held at lunchtime on the second Monday of each month, at the Naples Hilton. While there is a charge for lunch at these meetings, anyone can attend the speaker’s presentation at no cost.
- Committee meetings – Our issue committees (Environmental Affairs, Social Policy, Justice, Government, and Education) hold their own meetings each month during the October through April season. These committees delve deeply into specific issues, based on the LWVCC program (include link?), and the meetings also sometimes features speakers who specialize in topics specific to the interests of the committee.
- Study and Action – Like the state and national Leagues, local Leagues study issues that affect the local community. They sometimes adopt positions on these issues, and work to educate their members and the public. Local Leagues advocate for their positions, to influence decision making by government officials. In recent years, LWVCC has taken positions on a Collier County Public Schools referendum issue, and has adopted a position on workforce housing in Collier County.
- Outreach efforts – In addition to our more well-known efforts to register people to vote, we also co-sponsor a teen citizenship program called “Know Your County Government,” and we serve as poll-workers.
How long has LWVCC been a part of the Collier Community? How is it organized?
The League of Women Voters of Collier County and the League of Women Voters of Collier County Education fund were founded in 1975.
The League of Women Voters of Collier County Education Fund, which is responsible for voter education voter registration initiatives, and voter service activities such as candidate and issue forums, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
The League of Women Voters of Collier County, which is responsible for study and advocacy efforts, is a 501(c)4 organization. Click here to download League 101, a presentation on the basics of LWVCC.