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.

To conduct our voter service and citizen education activities, we use funds from the League of Women Voters 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.

Other League Organizations

LWV/Yakima: PH: 509-452-3419


LWV/Kittitas Valley: Ellensburg

LWV/Spokane Area: League of Women Voters of the Spokane Area 2404 N. Howard St Spokane, WA 9920

History of the League of Women Voters of Washington

LWV of Washington History: Arthur Denny, founder of Seattle, proposed woman suffrage in the first legislative meeting in Olympia in 1854. He lost an eight-to-nine vote. The Washington Territory Woman Suffrage Association was formed in 1971 in Olympia. The territorial legislature gave women the vote in 1883. Women lost their vote in 1887 when the Territorial Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not intend to give territories the power to enfranchise women.

Women were unable to vote for delegates to the State Constitutional Convention in 1889. Woman suffrage was submitted to the voters as a separate amendment to ratification of the constitution. It failed again in an 1897 vote.

In 1895 the first convention of Washington State's Equal Suffrage Association was held. With differing styles, the persistent Emma Smith DeVote and the direct and indomitable May Akwright Hutton worked for the common cause of women's suffrage in Washington State. By 1907, the Washington Equal Suffrage Association had several thousand members, and in November 1910 the amendment to the State Constitution allowing women to vote carried by nearly two to one. This made Washington the fifth state to give women the right to vote -- nine years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution extended the vote to all the nation's women.

The League of Women Voters of the United States was first projected at the Jubilee Convention of the National American Women Suffrage Association in 1919. The League of Women Voters of Washington was organized the next year. Seattle and Tacoma were the first two local Leagues in the state. In the early days the LWVWA supported state legislation pertaining to protection of children in fields of labor, health, and education.