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History of the League 

The League of Women Voters was organized  in St. Louis, Missouri, in March, 1919, at the convention of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association. During her keynote address to the convention, Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the Association, called for a “league of women voters as a memorial to suffrage pioneers.”   

On the day after the convention adjourned, the Missouri and St. Louis suffragists met to plan the organization of an interim League.  At an October, 1919, convention, the Missouri League of Women Voters was formally established. The following March, 1920, the national League was officially organized in Chicago. Its principal aim was to help the newly enfranchised women become politically responsible, educated voting citizens. 

At the 1974 national League convention, the delegates voted to welcome men to full voting membership.

For a history of the League of Women Voters, decade by decade, visit the  national website.   

At right, President Harry S Truman with members of the Board of Directors
of the National League of Women Voters, Sept. 17, 1945. LWVUS photo.  

Local History

The Kansas City League of Women Voters was organized in 1920 by Mrs. A. Ross Hill. The newly-formed group had its roots in the Kansas City Women’s Suffrage League, formed in 1910.  

Kansas City

Studying and addressing local issues has always been a priority for the organization. Early in its history, the League opposed the Pendergast regime and supported the Missouri Non Partisan Court Plan, which remains a model for other states. 

Suburban Leagues

In Independence, that League was instrumental in passage of the city charter that codified the City Manager form of government. The League also was active in school desegregation and establishing  the Metropolitan Community College network.  

The Raytown LWV was formed in 1954 and disbanded in 1981 with local members joining the Independence League.  The Independence League was established in May 1959, and was instrumental in the passage of the Independence City Charter with a City Manager.  

In 1997 the Independence League was renamed LWV Eastern Jackson County to better reflect its membership.  

In 1966 the local Leagues of Jackson County formed a County Council to handle study and action on a county level.  

In 1972 the Council was transformed into the Council of the LWV of Jackson, Clay and Platte or Tri-County League.The purpose of this Council was to provide the League with the ability to deal with governmental issues which are metropolitan in scope. The Council disbanded in 1982. 

Lee’s Summit also had a LWV but due to a change in times and declining membership the group disbanded in 1982 and interested parties joined the Independence League.

Metropolitan area League
In 2004 the Eastern Jackson County League and the Kansas City League merged and was renamed the League of Women Voters of Kansas City, Jackson, Clay and Platte Counties.

Above right: In 2020, Secretary of State Ashcroft presented the League with a proclamation honoring the League for its 100 years of work educating voters. Center left, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft with Sandy Eeds, League president 2020-2022, flanked by members of the organization.