League of Women Voters 90th Anniversary

The League of Women Voters (LWV), a nonpartisan political organization that works to improve our system of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy, is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2010. Not coincidentally, the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution that gave women the right to vote celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2010, as well.

"The women who started the movement to give women the right to vote really didn´t know where it would end, how it would end, or when it would end," said League of Women Voters president, Mary G. Wilson. "And yet they persevered. They persevered in a time when it wasn´t fashionable for women to speak out on any issue − let alone try to get some rights for themselves. They worked against all odds − and succeeded."

In 1920, after a 72 year struggle, passage of the 19th amendment appeared to be imminent, and members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association met to form the League of Women Voters, the organization to educate the newly franchised women to effectively use the vote.

The League of Women Voters of Montezuma County will celebrate the 90th anniversary with a cake cutting at the general meeting "Legislative Lowdown" for interested public on Saturday, February 20 at 2 P.M. in the Calvin Denton Room of Empire Electric Association, 801 N. Broadway, Cortez. Our State Senator, Bruce Whitehead and Representatives Ellen Roberts and Scott Tipton are invited to discuss 2010 Colorado Legislative efforts and issues.

In 1920, LWV founder Carrie Chapman Catt urged the new organization to "finish the fight" and to work to end all discrimination against women. Initially, the LWV was primarily concerned with the status and rights of women and women’s issues, but interests were gradually expanded to include issues affecting men as well as women. Today, the LWV works to effect change on a wide variety of issues in the areas of Representative Government, International Relations, Natural Resources and Social Policy.

Many men supported the suffragists in the early days of the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, and men continued to be supportive of the LWV over the years. In 1973, the LWV invited men to join the organization, and their numbers continue to increase. Thirty percent of local members are men.

The LWV of Montezuma County received full, chartered recognition from the national organization three years ago. For many years the local league has provided candidate forums for various elections, educational meetings on health care reform, air quality, sustainability, and climate change and advocate position taken after an issue has been studied. This spring is has partnered with Census 2010 efforts to improve the compliance with the Constitutionally mandated ten year census that will determine federally funded grants and representation for the County.

The LWV is organized on three levels − national, state, and local. The national organization has headquarters in Washington D.C. Fifty state Leagues are mostly headquartered in state capitols. The LWV of Montezuma County is one of more than 850 local Leagues in cities and towns all over the United States.