We are a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. We work to increase understanding of major public policy issues influenced through education and advocacy. We empower New Yorkers to raise their voices for the betterment of their communities.



NYC Volunteers


meetings held in 2022 with NYS Assembly and Senate legislators


voters reached in 2022 at Get Out the Vote events


trained in 2022 on how to conduct voter registration events throughout NYC


reached with Civics Education on-line and in-person courses


attend monthly current events lectures featuring experts on critical topics

issues & commitees

Board of Elections

Elections Specialist: Kate Doran

Kate Doran attends the weekly meetings of the Commissioners of the NYC Board of Elections. Kate prepares and delivers testimony to the NYC Council and the NYS legislature on election/voter related matters. She works with the state League’s Elections Specialist in Albany and with a NYC coalition of nonprofit, good government groups to improve election administration and push for reforms in accordance with LWV positions.

LWVNY Election Law Reform

Census/Redistricting Committee

Chair: Laura Quigg

The vision of this new committee is to ensure that every person living in NYC is counted in the upcoming 2020 Census. The Census committee will work to increase city-wide participation in the upcoming 2020 Census in hard-to-count communities by educating and partnering with local leaders and organizing representing those communities. After the Census is completed in 2020, this committee will work to ensure fair redistricting.

This committee is in formation and we welcome interested members to join us for this important mission. Email [email protected] for more information.

City Affairs Committee

Chairs: Tavonia Davis 

Criminal Justice Reform Committee

Chairs: Akyla Tomlinson, Tiffany Khan and Michele Figueroa

The Committee for Criminal Justice Reform envisions establishing the League of Women Voters NYC as an influencer around issues of criminal justice in New York City and State. Towards this end, we will work in collaboration with community-based organizations and those directly impacted by the criminal justice system to advocate and lobby for legislation and policy that focuses on criminal justice reform.

The Committee’s work with Katal Center was successful in helping to advocate for “Less Is More” being signed into law. We currently support “Beyond Rosies, the Tuition Assistance Program, Clean Slate”and other criminal justice reform campaigns. Email [email protected] for more information on our committee.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

Chairs: Sherletta McCaskill and Laura Quigg 

The vision of the DEI Committee is to provide tools and open forums for discussion within the League so that it will comprehensively conduct its work – both internal and external – with an eye towards diversity, equity and inclusion. We believe such introspection and openness are important for us to truly represent the city we serve; reflect the racial, ethnic, geographic, socioeconomic and ability status of our constituents; and empower all of our voices and representation concerning voting rights and civic engagement.

For more information, please contact [email protected]

Education Committee

Chair: Jane Hatterer

We advocate for New York City and State policies and programs that support equal access to a sound basic education and to provide resources for Civic Education.

From the founding of the United States, a primary purpose of education has been to prepare individuals to become capable citizens. For almost 100 years the League of Women Voters of New York City has supported equal access to education so that students are prepared to become informed and contributing citizens who understand their rights and responsibilities.

To that end we:

  • Support a greater emphasis on Civic Education in the curriculum
  • Support funding for Universal Pre-K
  • Support the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) demands that NY State provide adequate funding for high needs school districts
  • Oppose State tax credits for donors to private and parochial schools
  • Oppose school vouchers
  • Support at least a 3-year extension of Mayoral control of NYC public schools to enable the Department of Education to engage in long-term planning
  • Support inclusion of the Department of Education’s governance responsibilities in the New York City Charter as is done with every other city department

We are currently working on a proposal for Professional Development for NYC Social Studies teachers in the area of Civics Education.

Join us to work on these and other issues related to public education in New York City.

We usually meet on the second Wednesday of the month at 5:30 PM. Check our website calendar for meeting dates. Email [email protected] for more information.

*Teaching High School Students How to Engage in Politics: The state League and the NYS Social Studies Supervisory Association (NYS4A) are pleased to announce the publication of seven lesson plans on state and local government for teachers of the New York Grade 12 Participation in Government course. Please see Topics and Lesson Plans here

Program Committee

Chair: Joanna Leefer

Join us if you’re interested in planning events that educate people about public policy issues. We meet on the first Monday of the month; join us at either 10:30am or 6pm. The Chair meets twice to accommodate committee members who prefer daytime meetings and those who prefer evenings. Email [email protected] for more information.

Voter & Information Services Committee

Co-Chairs: Laura Quigg, Diane Burrows and Gerry Russo

The Voter & Information Services Committee conducts voter registration drives throughout the five boroughs, trains organizations and individuals on how to conduct voter registration drives, and provides speakers to organizations and schools about why voting is important and what to expect on the ballot.

The Volunteers who staff our Telephone Information Service provide callers with vital voting information and related matters. We also have a Committee member who is an observer at the NYC Board of Elections Commissioners’ weekly meetings. This volunteer advocates to improve election laws, simplify and modernize the registration and the voting process.

If you’d like to join this committee, all are welcome. We currently have three work groups addressing: Voter Registration Events, Voter Registration Volunteers, and Get Out The Vote. Click here for calendar of next meeting date as well as training dates.

To volunteer to help staff one of the many Voter Registration Drives, please complete this form.

Voting Reform Initiative

Chair: Bella Wang

The Voting Reform Initiative advocates on issues relating to elections in New York City and New York State, through activities such as meetings with legislators, op-ed writing, and voter education and activation projects. For 2021, we are focused on the following issues:

  • Same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting
  • Restoration of voting rights for people on parole and the New York Voting Rights Act
  • Board of Elections reform
  • Municipal voting rights for non-citizen residents of New York City

To stay updated on our activities, please join our Facebook group or sign up at the bottom of this page. Email [email protected] for more info.

diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at the league

The League of Women Voters 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.

Diversity – means that participants in an organization reflect the community that they want to serve.

Equity – is to go a step further and give those participants an equal opportunity to be in leadership, to have their voices heard and to advance the organization.

Inclusion – means that all voices are heard when they speak up, comment, or make suggestions, and are made to feel and actually
are included.

The LWVNYC DEI Committee welcomes all participants and input. Our role is to help assure that we engage in all League functions, both internal and external, “through a DEI lens”.

More information on the DEI Committee is available here.

“Even during the Civil Rights movement, the League was not as present as we should have been. While activists risked life and limb to register black voters in the South, the League’s work and our leaders were late in joining to help protect all voters at the polls. It wasn’t until 1966 that we reached our first position to combat discrimination. Still, our focus on social policy was from afar—not on the front lines.

Today, we acknowledge this shortcoming and that we have more work to do.

The League of Women Voters serves millions of voters in underrepresented communities across America every year, but as an organization, our membership does not always reflect the communities we serve. As we approach our 100th anniversary, we are not only striving for better, we will do better.”

by Chris Carson, LWVUS president & Virginia Kase, LWVUS CEO

Click Here To View Full Statement

“The path to women’s suffrage was complicated, and sometimes ugly. History books tend mostly to credit the courage and tenacity of white women. It is past time to amend the history books and tell the real story of the suffrage movement.

…It is past time we all celebrate the women of color…

who were at the center of the movement alongside their white counterparts. And it is past time for our country to acknowledge that when the 19th Amendment was ratified, many women still weren’t able to cast a ballot because of Jim Crow laws that denied them full enfranchisement.”

by Virginia Kase, LWVUS CEO

Click Here To View Full Statement

Our History

The League of Women Voters of the City of New York, founded in 1919 by leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, serves the people of New York City as a nonpartisan, activist, grassroots organization that believes we, the people, should engage actively with our democracy and all parts of civic life.


Women of all races obtained leadership experience
through their anti-slavery and temperance work


The First women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, NY: “A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition of women…” Frederick Douglas is the only African American in attendance.


National Women’s Rights Convention, Worcester, MA. Sojourner Truth speaks of the ‘trampled women of the plantation’

THE 1860’S

A short blub of copy would go here explaining
this era and in a more general way.


Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the American Equal Rights Association with intention to seek suffrage for all men and women, regardless of race


14th Amendment is ratified; citizens and voters are limited to men. In subsequent decades, voting rights for Black men are steadily eroded.


American Equal Rights Association breaks up over strategy to support 14th and 15th Amendments. National Woman Suffrage Association is founded in Brooklyn.



National American Woman Suffrage Association formed.


Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Frances E.W. Harper form National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.


Mary Dreier, Rheta Childe Dorr and Leonora O’Reilly form the Women’s Trade Union League of New York.


Mabel Ping-Hua Lee leads thousands of marchers in NYC suffrage parade.


Women’s March on Washington. 8000 marchers on the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Initially to appease its white southern members, Black marchers were relegated to the end of the parade, but were integrated into state delegations as a negotiated compromise.


25,000 women march up 5th Avenue. Despite facing opposition from police and men who attended their rallies to mock them, the women of New York City fought on.


New York State Women’s Suffrage Party was instrumental in having New York State adopt women’s suffrage in 1917, effective 1918.


The League of Women Voters of the City of New York is founded.


NThe 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote is passed. The League achieves its first legislative successes with passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act providing federal aid for maternal and child care programs.


A short blub of copy would go here explaining
this era and in a more general way.


UN Established and LWV Named NGO Observer

After World War II, the League carried out a nationwide public support campaign to establish the United Nations and to ensure US participation, after which President Truman invited the League to serve as a consultant to the US delegation at the UN Charter Conference. One of the first organizations officially recognized by the UN as a non-governmental organization (NGO), the League still maintains official observer status today.


Campaigned for civil rights, emphasizing protection of individual rights and testified against abuse of congressional investigative powers.

THE 1960’S

Supported equal access to education, racial
integration of schools, fair employment & housing.


The Civil Rights Act

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.


The Voting Rights Act

Prohibits racial discrimination in voting. About 100 years after the Reconstruction Amendments and 40 years after the 19th, Black men and women finally had access to the ballot box in practice. Many portions of the VRA gutted in the 2000s in a series of Supreme Court cases.


The Fair Housing Act

Prohibits discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and sex.

THE 1970’S-1980’S

The League supports the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and advocates for reproductive rights.
League. Develops position on Meeting Basic Human Needs to combat poverty and discrimination.


The Voting Rights Act

Prohibits racial discrimination in voting. About 100 years after the Reconstruction Amendments and 40 years after the 19th, Black men and women finally had access to the ballot box in practice. Many portions of the VRA gutted in the 2000s in a series of Supreme Court cases.


Adopts voting rights as part of the national Program. Joins the fight to pass the Voting Rights Amendments of 1982, strengthening the VRA.

THE 1990’S

Advocate for campaign finance reform, effective gun
safely legislation and the environment.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. (Amended in 2008 with League support)


Supported passage of the National Voter Registration Act which simplified voting procedures.

THE 2000’S

League continues support for education and advocacy, engaging in studies on
representative government, international relations, natural resources, and social policy.


The Affordable Care Act (ACA)

League develops a comprehensive position supporting a health care system that provides access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans and protects patients’ rights. Since 2010, the League continues to defend the ACA from challenges in Congress and the courts, as well as reproductive rights broadly.

2011 + Beyond

The LWVNYC continues to work with our partners to advocate for election reforms and access to the ballot box and to encourage active and informed participation in civic life. The League facilitates meetings with legislators, hosts speakers on topics of community interest, conducts hundreds of events to register voters and help get out the vote each year, and gives talks on civics and matters of public interest, among our many other acts of public service


The League of Women Voters launches Women Power Democracy in the face of a general assault on our reproductive and civil rights.


The League of Women Voters is active in 50 states as well as Guam and the Virgin Islands. It is a grassroots, non-partisan, multi-purpose organization that encourages its members to educate the public about, and lobby for, government and social reform legislation.

erased suffragist project

The League of Women Voters of the City of New York has begun a project to lift up women who were erased from the history of women’s suffrage, primarily women of color. We will be publishing and maintaining research on them for all interested in learning more about these brave women who fought for suffrage for all people.


Contributed by Joanne Baptiste

Zitkala-Sa, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a musician, writer and activist who fought for Native Americans’ rights during the early years of the 20th century. At the age of eight, she was taken to a Quaker missionary school in Wabash, Indiana called the White’s Manual Labor Institute. It was there she was assigned the name, Gertrude Simmons, forced to cut her hair and pray as a Christian. She also learned to play the violin and piano, ultimately becoming a music teacher at the Institute. At age 19, against her parents’ wishes, she enrolled at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana where she began collecting Native American stories and translating them into Latin and English. After studying violin at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, she became a music teacher at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, a boarding school for Native American children. She published short stories and essays in “The Atlantic” and “Harper’s” that portrayed Indigenous people without the racist stereotypes promoted by white American society. Her writings were very critical of the boarding school system. In 1901, she published an anthology of retold Dakota stories called The Old Indian Legends to preserve the traditional stories of her people.

In 1916 she became the secretary of the Society of American Indians which advocated for citizenship for Native people. She was vocal in her criticism of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ assimilationist policies and practice. She reported the abuse of children when they refused to pray as Christians. Her husband, who worked for the BIA, was fired that year. They moved to Washington, DC and she continued to work for the Society of American Indians, as editor of their journal. She traveled extensively and lectured about Indigenous citizenship and suffrage. Zitkala-Sa believed that Native Americans should be American citizens and should have the right to vote and be represented in government since they were the “original occupants of the land”.  Although the federal Indian Citizenship Act granted US citizenship rights to all Native American’s in 1924, it didn’t guarantee the right to vote, that was left to the states. In 1926, she and her husband created the National Council of American Indians which supported universal suffrage. She continued to work for the Indigenous communities, influencing the Federal government to investigate exploitation of Native people and leading to the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. She died on January 26, 1928 and is buried with her husband at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Zitkala-Ša (Red Bird / Gertrude Simmons Bonnin) (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/people/zitkala-sa.htm.

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Contributed by Rahima Khatun

“For no nation can ever make real and lasting progress in civilization unless its women are following close to its men, if not actually abreast with them.”

— Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Born in 1896 in Guangzhou, China, Lee moved to New York with her family during the era of the Chinese Exclusion Acts. From 1882 to 1943, these acts aimed to curtail immigration from China through strict immigration requirements; only exceptions were made for groups such as students and missionaries. Her father was a missionary and, thus, was granted this exception. Furthermore, the Chinese Exclusion Acts prevented Chinese immigrants from becoming American citizens, thereby disenfranchising them.

This did not discourage Lee. Influenced by her father’s religious and nationalistic views of China and by New York’s tolerant environment, she began to write and speak publicly about suffrage. In 1912, she led a pro-suffrage parade on horseback in New York City to promote the enfranchisement of all women. In 1917, women finally acquired the right to vote in New York; Lee, unfortunately, she was not given this right since the Chinese Exclusion Acts were still in place.

Nevertheless, Lee did not give up and was determined to continue to advocate for Chinese-Americans. In 1926, she developed a community center in Chinatown intending to provide support and a feeling of freedom to those who were marginalized in American society. The center offered English classes, a medical clinic, and a kindergarten. She dedicated the remaining portion of her life to assisting Chinatown’s community.

Ultimately, Lee is a pivotal symbol of social change and perseverance for all women. Her dedication to suffrage and marginalized communities will be remembered for years to come.


Annual Meeting Reports

Our annual meeting reports inclue a full wrap up of each year. Our reports include Letter from the co-presidents, nominations, annual meeting financials, and so much more. Check out our annual reports, we make them just for you to easily digest information and understand the impact that we prommise to make every year!


Major Event Reports (Journals)

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Impact Report

Our impact reports are an easy way to get an understanding of all that we have done this year. We update our impact reports every six months to keep you up-to-date and in the loop with all of the current events and news.

the league in the news

August 22, 2022

Kate Doran joins “In Focus” on NY1 to encourage voters to make their voices heard on important issues.

Check out the video:

October 8, 2021

Diane Burrows appears on PIX11 Morning News to explain how New Yorkers can register to vote.

View the article and video: