The League of Women Voters was established in February 1920, six months before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, which gave women the right to vote following a 70 year struggle. The League of Women Voters of Amherst was founded in 1939, when the League reorganized to parallel the three levels of government: national, state and local.
League members study issues of local, state, and national significance and establish positions through member participation and agreement through consensus. Official League action comes after members agree on a position. The League may act by providing information to the public, obtaining public support for a position, lobbying, initiating legislation, or participating in court action.
The League of Women Voters promotes political responsibility through its Voter Service and Citizen Education activities. Members register voters, organize candidates’ forums, publish voting guides and disseminate general information on the legislative process and the function of government on the local, state, and national levels. Voter Service and Citizen Education are designed to provide citizens with unbiased, factual information as a basis for reaching their own decisions.
League Action, on the other hand, is based on member study and agreement on selected issues and involves concerted efforts to achieve public policies consistent with League positions. However, the League neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office. The League is thus political but nonpartisan. This policy, adopted in 1920, has added strength to the League's positions on issues while enabling wide acceptance of League voters service and other educational activities.
The League does encourage members to participate fully in the party of their choice as individuals. It is an advantage to the League to have politically active members and, equally important, it can be a personally satisfying experience.