The League of Women Voters is an outgrowth of the suffragist movement. Carrie Chapman Catt founded the organization in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held only six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 57-year struggle.

The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy. From the beginning, the League was an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan status would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

The League of Women Voters (LWV) mission is to encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. LWV takes position on issues, but we do not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Membership is open to men and women.

The League activities are coordinated into two distinct but complementary organizations. The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) is the political advocacy and membership organization. The League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) is the citizen education and research organization. It also funds the publication of the nonpartisan voter guide.