Making Democracy Work

About the League

What is our mission? How are we structured? What is our history?

Our Mission and Roles

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. We never support or oppose any political party or candidate.

The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles.

  • Voters Service/Citizen Education: we present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.

  • Action/Advocacy: we are also nonpartisan, but, after study, we use our positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest.

Our Vision, Beliefs, and Intentions guide our activities.

Other League Organizations

League of Women Voters of New Jersey website: http://www.lwvnj.org

History of the League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey, 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.

League History from the Rutgers Library Web site by Dr. Fernanda Perrone, assisted by Luis C. Franco and Michele Gisbert, as part of the "Women in Public Life Project," July 1996-December 1998, funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission The League of Women Voters was founded in 1919 as an auxiliary to the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The League was designed as a non-partisan organization dedicated to educating women for their new political role. As was anticipated, the League of Women Voters replaced NAWSA after women were granted the right to vote in 1920. In the same year, state suffrage associations throughout the country reorganized themselves as state Leagues of Women Voters. The state Leagues had particular importance in that one of the League's goals, as outlined by NAWSA president Carrie Chapman Catt, was removal of legal discrimination against women at the state level.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey, originally known as the New Jersey League of Women Voters, was founded in Newark in April 1920 as a successor to the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association. Its broad objectives were the advancement and clarification of women's political and legal status, promotion of legislation to protect women workers, reform of state governmental structure and institutions, social reform and support of world peace.

Organizational Structure The New Jersey League of Women Voters was directed and controlled by the Executive or State Board, which consisted of elected officers (the president, one or more vice-presidents, the recording secretary, corresponding secretary, treasurer and eight directors), the county chairmen elected by local leagues in each county, departmental chairmen, and presidents of local leagues. Local Leagues applied for membership to the State Board, or individuals could be members-at-large of the state league. The state league had several standing committees--Child Welfare, Education, Efficiency in Government, International Cooperation, Legal Status of Women, New Voters, Organization, Social Hygiene and Women in Industry--as well as special committees including Legislation, Finance and Program. (1) These committees had parallels at the national and local levels. The State Board was empowered to draw up a program of study items to be submitted for approval at the annual convention, which, along with the national program, would then go to the local Leagues for study. After reports from the local Leagues and careful consideration by the appropriate committees, the state League arrived at consensus and a final program of recommended legislation would be adopted.