History of the League
The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. From the beginning, the League was an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders fought to improve our systems of government and to impact public policy through education and advocacy.
It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day.
The League of Women Voters is organized to parallel the three levels of government: local, state, and national. At each level, the League is governed by a volunteer president and board of directors.
State and Regional
The League of Women Voters Wisconsin (LWVWI) operates on the state level with leadership from the League of Women Voters United States (LWVUS) and grassroots support from the 20 local Leagues in Wisconsin.
In some areas, local Leagues have formed Inter-League organizations to address regional concerns. The League of Women Voters Ozaukee (LWVOZ) Inter-League affiliation is the League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region (LWVLMR).
At the 2017 LWVOZ Annual Meeting, past presidents gathered around a cake commemorating our League’s 60th anniversary. L to R front row: Marge Palleon, Vonna Pitel, Gina Taucher, Kit Keller, Martha Watts (one of the League’s founding members), incoming president Barbara Hunt, outgoing president, Donna Fowler, and Dorothy Nowicki. Back row L to R: Claire Vanderslice, Judy Schwengel, and Carol Hertz.
The formation of the League of Women Voters in Ozaukee County began in February 1954 with a group of active and dedicated Ozaukee County women. A meeting was held with representatives of the Milwaukee League of Women Voters to discuss the possibility of forming a League in Ozaukee County. The Ozaukee County women learned that the first step in the process, at that time, was to become a unit of the Milwaukee League, followed by becoming a “Provisional League”.
The “Provisional League” status was granted on March 17, 1957. To achieve full-league status, certain conditions were required. These conditions included researching a “Know Your Town” study, conducting a finance drive, completing a voters’ service project, and facilitating a program study, with the first topic being a discussion of civil liberties. The League of Women Voters Ozaukee was granted full League status on March 18, 1958.
Today the League of Women Voters Ozaukee continues to focus on issues of local, state, and national importance. This focus is reflected in the activities held throughout the year. These activities include facilitating candidate forums, conducting voter registration events, and offering film and book discussions. These activities continue the work begun nationally in 1920, and locally in 1957, serving to strengthen our democracy and our communities.
For a more complete history of the LWV, go to lwv.org/about-us/history.
League of Women Voters-Ozaukee County was represented at the LWV National Convention in Chicago, June 2018