About the League
The League of Women Voters of the United States was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in February, 1920, six months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The League began as a “mighty political experiment” designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It was only expected to exist for 3 to 4 years, but the fascination and challenge of the many timely issues was too strong and the League continued. From the beginning, the League has been a nonpartisan organization. The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government.
According to an April 28, 1920 article in the Bismarck Tribune, the North Dakota Votes for Women League officially became The North Dakota League of Women Voters in April 1920 at a convention held in Fargo.
Several resolutions were adopted by the North Dakota League at this meeting. Strikingly, most of these would still be applicable in the current day. They included, among others, a resolution calling attention to the teacher shortage and recognizing that low wages were the primal cause driving teachers from the profession. And a “demand for sufficient appropriation for the control of venereal disease” including “the establishment of free clinics for venereal diseases” and calling for “the betterment of public health, especially along the lines of tuberculosis and sex education.”
During the 1930s, the League of Women Voters in North Dakota was mainly led by women professors at colleges around the state. There were chapters in Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, and Jamestown. Many of these chapters disappeared in the 1940s, but there was a resurgence starting in the early 1950s, led by the efforts of women such as Katherine Rogne of Kindred, who traveled around the state organizing local League chapters. She encountered some resistance, especially from people who still believed that civic issues were all men’s work and women shouldn’t be involved.
The local chapters grew and flourished in the 1960s & 1970s. In Fargo, during those years, there were five separate study groups that met every other week in members' homes. They studied topics as diverse as local water management and trade with China. Each member of a study group would research an area and present her findings to the entire group, after which they would try to come to a consensus decision.
In the 1970s, the League began its effort to achieve a national Equal Rights Amendment. Many of our local leaders got involved in the League during the effort to pass the ERA. In 1974, the national bylaws were amended to allow men to become full voting members of the League, though it was decided to keep the name of the organization as it was.
The League of Women Voters sponsored televised presidential debate in 1976, 1980, and 1984 but withdrew support as a sponsor of those debates in 1988. In North Dakota, local League chapters have hosted candidate, legislative and issues forums for many years. The North Dakota League has also produced non-partisan Voters' Guides covering all initiated measures on the ballot.
Our Mission, Vision, and Value
Empowering voters. Defending democracy.
We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate.
We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.
There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.