|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: Martha Patzer|
|February 11, 2010|
American Institution Turns 90
League of Women Voters Celebrates Milestone Birthday
Washington, D.C. – The League of Women Voters celebrates its 90th birthday on Sunday, February 14th. Known widely for its voter education efforts, this non-partisan, government watchdog group has been an American institution since 1920.
"More than 850 state and local Leagues across the country will celebrate this milestone birthday throughout 2010," said Mary G. Wilson, national president of the League of Women Voters. "But most importantly, we’ll be doing what we always do: discussing the important issues, challenging the status quo and demanding accountability."
In 1920, after a 72-year struggle, and when passage of the 19th amendment appeared to be imminent, members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association met to form the League of Women Voters. Carrie Chapman Catt first proposed the creation of a League to "finish the fight" and to work to end all discrimination against women. While initially concerned with the status and rights of women, the League of Women Voters gradually expanded its interests to include issues affecting the whole community. Today, the League works to effect change on a variety of issues including health care, climate change, election and campaign finance reforms, land use and education.
"The women who fought for voting rights in the first part of the 20th century did not know if they would be successful," Wilson continued. "And yet they persevered – changing our democracy and society. Today we are equally committed to improving our democracy at all levels, making sure it represents the common good—not special interests and big money."
"Because of our long-standing nonpartisan and unbiased approach to educating voters and reforming governmental systems, the League is a well-known and highly credible voice on reforms that affect the public. National polling data continues to show that the League of Women Voters is the most-trusted independent validator that proposed reforms are in the public interest."
"Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages," Wilson continued. "We have members that have been League activists for over 50 years and members who have just joined – inspired by a particular issue or after attending an event. If a particular issue attracts new members, they will keep coming back after meeting the wonderful people who are similarly dedicated to change in their communities.
"For the last 90 years, the League of Women Voters has left its footprint on American history, and our democracy is stronger for it," Wilson concluded. "We look forward to continuing this work over the next 90 years."
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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.