Making Democracy Work

About the League

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

Chicago is a very proud league with a rich history. The League of Women Voters of the United States was founded here in Chicago on February 14, 1920. It was founded in anticipation of the ratification of the 19th Amendment which grants women nationwide the right to vote.

The new organization's founders realized that the right by itself was not enough: it had to be exercised. When women cast their first votes, the League was there to provide accurate, unbiased election information. The League helped American women exercise their new political rights and responsibilities in a way that was "political...but not partisan."

The Illinois League, followed by its local chapters, was formed shortly after the national organization. Membership is open to all persons, men and women, ages 16 and older.

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.

To conduct our voter service and citizen education activities, we use funds from the League of Women Voters of Chicago Education Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit educational organization. The League of Women Voters, a membership organization, conducts action and advocacy and is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation.

Our Vision, Beliefs, and Intentions guide our activities.

Affiliated League Organizations

The League of Women Voters is organized by bodies of government, starting with local entities and rolling up to state and national level.

Members of LWVChicago are also automatically members of:

Inter-League Organizations (ILO) are formed by local and state Leagues within a metropolitan area or region to act on issues that are beyond one local League's area in scope.

LWVChicago is part of these ILO:

History of the League of Women Voters

Women's Suffrage and LWV