LWV Santa Barbara
Our local League (LWVSB) was founded in 1938 and our first President was Winifred Fry.. The National League of Women Voters of the United States was founded 18 years earlier, six months before women obtained received the right to vote after a 72-year struggle. Since 1920, when its leaders began the work of helping 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters, the League has been an activist, grassroots organization.
Acknowledging that the suffrage movement did not include all women—it excluded women—and men--of color, the League today fights to protect and expand voting rights for all people across the country. Because other battles are not yet won either, the League works for adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive rights, LBGTQ rights, fair redistricting, efforts to save the environment, and immigration reform.
We respond to state and national issues with calls to action.The local League also takes its own positions, based on study and agreement by consensus. Examples of positions LWVSB has taken over the years include support for open and ethical government, regional planning, coordination of social policy and natural resources, a corrections system based on rehabilitation, increasing low- and moderate-income housing, programs for those experiencing homelessness, and adequately funded health care services. Since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, LWVSB has opposed offshore oil drilling.
Based on these positions, League volunteers work in committees on issues of local importance, such as housing, the environment, and criminal justice reform. LWVSB often collaborates with other community organizations on issues of mutual concern.
At all levels, the League is committed to “Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy.” In election years, LWVSB’s voter service teams are involved in registering new voters and efforts to get out the vote. They help inform voters about candidates and ballot measures by organizing forums, distributing Easy Voter Guides prepared by the State League, and collecting election information for our monthly newsletter, the Channel Voter.
The Santa Barbara League is an all-volunteer organization with membership open to everyone 16 and older. A statement from the National League explains our mission this way: “We envision a democracy where every person has the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate. We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy.”