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EDITORIAL: A League of their Own: League of Women Voters turns 100

EDITORIAL: A League of their Own: League of Women Voters turns 100

League of Women Voters marks a century of civic engagement
EDITORIAL: A League of their Own: League of Women Voters turns 100
Photographer: Adobe Stock

To celebrate its centennial, the League of Women Voters plans to do today what it’s been doing day in and day out for the past century.

Taking action.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of this vital and vigorous organization.

But true to the organization’s goals since its founding in 1920 by leading national suffrage leaders, the day also celebrates the power of active and informed participation in government —  epitomized by the suffrage movement that led later in 1920 to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.

Today honors not only the achievements of the founding members, but also the achievements of the organization that throughout the century has worked to increase public understanding of our political system and public policy issues and to encourage citizens to advocate for themselves to achieve the kind of government they want.

The League is political, but nonpartisan, and has grown to include 750 local affiliates around the country, including several chapters in our region.

Its members work to register voters, to support legislation and to educate the public on important matters. They work to support expansion and availability of voter rights. They host candidate and topical forums for state, local and school elections. And the group hosts citizenship mentoring forums to help eligible permanent residents prepare for U.S. citizenship, including educating them about, and helping them exercise, their right to vote.

Building off the phrase, “Democracy is not a spectator sport,” the League encourages people to get involved in local politics by supporting candidates, going door to door campaigning and carrying petitions, financially supporting campaigns and writing letters to the editor endorsing candidates and positions.

It encourages citizens to get involved in their communities by volunteering for local boards and commissions, sharing their expertise, and speaking in favor or against issues they care about.

One of the ways the League is actively promoting citizenship these days is by educating the public about the 2020 census.

An accurate count of residents is vital to ensure states get the political representation and financial assistance to which they are entitled.

In one current alert on its website, the League is seeking to clarify misleading information being spread about the census, particularly regarding the distribution of unofficial census surveys.

Today happens to be vitally important to voters who wish to change their voter enrollment so they can participate in the upcoming presidential primary on April 28 and the federal, state and local primaries on June 23. League chapters around the state have been reminding New Yorkers about today’s deadline and encouraging those who wish to enroll in a particular party to contact their Board of Elections.

The League has grown and thrived over the century thanks to the active participation of volunteers and through donations.

It needs people to help register voters, conduct candidate forums and collect returns at polling places on Election Night.

To learn more about this vital organization, to donate and to volunteer, visit your local League of Women Voters website or the national website at: https://www.lwv.org/.

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