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Local Leagues in New Mexico

 

The League of Women Voters was established on February 14, 1920, seven months after Congress passed the women’s suffrage amendment, forty-one years after it was first introduced. Hopeful that the states would ratify the 19th amendment, the National American Woman Suffrage Association transformed itself into the League of Women Voters to educate women about government and public policy. The fierce struggle for suffrage had lasted for more than seventy years. As soon as NM ratified the amendment on February 21, 1920, Carrie Chapman Catt, President of the League of Women Voters of the United States, appointed Ina Sizer Cassidy of Santa Fe as president of LWVNM. The 19th Amendment was formally adopted into the US Constitution on August 26, 1920.

LWV focused on broad subject areas: child welfare, education, public health, safe working conditions, and women’s rights. The League trained volunteer teachers for citizenship schools and organized institutes to study issues in government. It also initiated "Know Your Town" booklets, produced voter guides, conducted candidate forums, and voter outreach campaigns. Voter service efforts remain a hallmark of the League's services to the electorate today. The League works diligently for fair elections, civil rights, and good government.

1920s-1930s

Educated women about voting, government, and civic participation

Worked for child labor laws and humane labor conditions

Participated in the International Alliance of Women to promote women's rights, development, and gender equality around the world

Supported the creation of the League of Nations

Examined liberalizing divorce laws

Advocated for improved laws to suppress prostitution and eradicate venereal disease

1940s-1950s

Wrote “Know Your Town/County” surveys and booklets

Studied local and state government structures, and processes

Studied health and education policies

Studied ways to improve election procedures and functions

Promoted water quality measures

Held meetings on international relations

LWVNM Key Accomplishments Since 1920

1960s-1970s

Recommended changes in election procedures and absentee ballots

Assisted in updating voter registration lists and served as poll watchers

Educated the public on the use of voting machines.

Conducted live radio and TV interviews with candidates for office

Made in-depth studies of urban renewal and Model Cities planning

Supported use of medically indigent funds for prescriptions and nursing home patients

Educated the public about the need for a Constitutional Convention through speakers’ bureau and newsletters, conducted candidate forums for delegates, advocated for revisions, and supported ratification

1970s-1980s

Participated in the Model Cities Program

Produced “Troubled Children” four-part TV series with the NM Humanities Council

Conducted "Dress Up, Dial Down” energy conservation campaign

Produced and distributed publication on practical ways to save energy

Worked to pass ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in NM

Lobbied for the passage of election reform and Open Meetings Act

Conducted studies on financing of public education

Started admitting men in 1974

1980s-1990s

Studied structure of public education with fair and adequate funding

Supported the creation of County Indigent Funds

Encouraged public to recycle and reuse to reduce waste

Published directories of public officials

Provided lobbying workshops before Legislative sessions

1990s-2000

Studied and advocated for health care, education, Motor Voter, campaign finance reform, public transportation, and services for families and children

Studied school finance and advocated for State Equalization Guarantee formula

Studied urban growth and zoning; advocated for public land management and open spaces

Advised Government Ethics Task Force and Legislative Health Policy Commission

Recommended HIPC-Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperative and rural health care

Recommended a Health Information System to collect, manage, and evaluate data, requiring all physicians to report symptoms, treatment, and outcomes

Conducted Nuclear Waste Education Project; advocated for accountability, environmental restoration, and responsible waste management

Conducted Education Study on curriculum standards and site-based management

Studied sexual assault and proposed changes in sexual offense statutes

LWVNM Key Accomplishments Since 1920

Promoted violence prevention programs

Served on Court Monitors Task Force

Advocated for all-day kindergarten

Sponsored “Running and Winning” workshops for women candidates

Advocated for voting reforms: integrity of voting methods; early voting uniformity; centralized voter registration; adequate funding to ensure accurate, fair, efficient elections

2000-2010

Conducted “Open and Ethical Elections Code” study

Advocated for campaign finance laws with penalties for non-compliance, strict ethics rules on lobbying, a commission to receive complaints, conduct investigations, and present cases for enforcement

Promoted compliance with Help America Vote Act; successfully sued NM Secretary of State, leading to US Department of Justice oversight of our elections

Advocated for public financing of Public Regulation Commission campaigns

Lobbied for Medicaid expansion and universal health care with Health Care for All coalition

Held discussion groups as part of a national dialogue on open government and secrecy “The Democracy Agenda”

Educated communities through discussions on balancing civil liberties with homeland security

Advocated for repealing the death penalty and instituting alternative sentencing

Studied sustainability concepts and advocated for clean/renewable energy and other strategies to combat climate change and pollution

Advocated for effective water planning, allocation, and distribution

Studied redistricting practices resulting in a “Fair Representation” position with principles for improved process

2010-Present

Advocated for campaign contribution limits and disclosure of lobbying and advertising to reduce the influence of special interests and money in politics

Promoted increasing accountability, transparency, and public input in government decisions

Advocated for improvements in Public Regulation Commission operations

Advocated for independent redistricting commission

Fought for fair immigration policies including drivers’ licenses for undocumented residents

with alternative identification

Advocated for increase in minimum wage and governmental assistance to reduce poverty

Promoted policies protecting air, water, public lands, and energy

Fought efforts to undo the repeal of the death penalty and increase incarceration

Advocated for strong, independent ethics commission with funding for implementation

Sued State of NM successfully, leading to NM Supreme Court decision to compile voter- approved Constitutional amendments to remove discriminatory language and election barriers

Advocated for consolidation of elections, National Popular Vote, and access to voting

Advocated for enlightened alcohol- and drug-treatment policies instead of criminalization

Advocated for quality mental health services, funding, and access

LWVNM Key Accomplishments Since 1920

Advocated for more affordable housing for moderate- and low-income households

Advocated for improved charter school authorization policies, more financial regulation, and academic and operational accountability

Advocated for increase in pre-K-12 funding and early childhood education and services

Advocated for reproductive healthcare free from governmental interference and insurance coverage for contraception and fought efforts to criminalize and prevent safe abortions

Advocated for Medicare expansion, health care transparency, and medical assistance in dying

Advocated for fair treatment of immigrants, including need for drivers’ licenses

Advocated for firearms background checks and protection for domestic violence victims Advocated for tax system reform to generate more revenue and promote fairness

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2020 Priorities

LWVNM continues to advocate for quality education and health care, natural resources stewardship, fair elections, and sound social policies. It promotes consensus-building and collaborative decision making through civil discourse rather than political means.

LWVNM expands its election efforts by producing voter guides for the whole state, implementing Vote411.org, and improving redistricting process.

LWVNM and local Leagues continue to promote open government decision-making, transparency/accountability in government, and improvements in state and local policies. Leaguers make a difference through their commitment to voter education and empowerment and through countless efforts to strengthen our democracy.