League of Women Voters of Florida

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League of Women Voters of Florida
LWV Logo.svg
Founded 1939
Founder Carrie Chapman Catt
Type Political advocacy
Focus Political action, responsible government
Key people
Pam Goodman (President)
Website thefloridavoter.org

The League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVFL) is a civic organization in the state of Florida. The organization is nonpartisan; the League's Bylaws mandate that the organization will not support any political candidate or party. League promotes political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government, acts on selected governmental issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. League's members do advocate on policy issues.[1]


The Florida State League of Women Voters was founded on March 31, 1921 by May Mann Jennings, at a meeting in Jacksonville.[2] It immediately voted to affiliate with the national League of Women Voters, although unlike the national organization and the Leagues in other states, the FSLWV was not the successor of a suffrage organization.[2] In the 1920s the FSLWV included many of the most prominent women in the state and was a strongly feminist movement, with women's issues at the top of its priorities.[2]

Following a decline in the 1930s, the organization was reorganized in 1939 first as the Florida Non-Partisan League of Women Voters, subsequently renamed the League of Women Voters of Florida.[2] Its first project was a study of state government with a particular focus on the state's Constitution.[3] In 1949, the League worked to pass the 1949 permissive jury service statute.[4] Prior to 1949 and the work done by the LWVFL, women in Florida could not serve on juries.[5]

Early advocacy efforts encouraged the Florida Legislature to end the process of gerrymandering.[6] In 2011, Florida voters approved two gerrymandering-related redistricting amendments [7] which were placed in the State Constitution.[8] The LWVFL and other groups sued over the redistricting.[9] In addition, the LWVFL suspended operation for a year during that time, and when the gerrymandering aspects of the provision were blocked by a federal judge.[10] The gerrymandering was ruled unconstitutional in Florida since it strongly favored one party over another.[11] In 2012, the group worked again to register voters, this time with a five-week deadline.[10] The LWVFL continued to monitor district maps and redistricting.[9] The LWVFL also fought against a 2012 proposal to purge voting rolls which then President Deirdre Macnab called an effort to "disproportionately impact minority voters and erroneously disenfranchise those that are eligible."[12]

Modern League[edit]

More than thirty local Leagues statewide[13] hold candidate forums, issue election year Voters Guides, and sponsor public seminars. Pam Goodman[14] is the current President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. She is the former CEO of Express Limited. The Board of Directors[15] for the Florida League includes Patricia Brigham, First Vice President; Cecile Scoon, Second Vice President; Patricia Drago, Secretary; Theresa Francis-Thomas, Treasurer; and seven additional directors, including former state Representative Mark S. Pafford.

LWVFL encourages civic engagement and is strictly nonpartisan, though it has been accused of partisanship.[16] LWVFL works tirelessly "to educate, mobilize, and register voters..." stated Attorney General Eric Holder.[17]

LWVFL has engaged in a number of statewide and local projects, including recommending the initiation of a recycling program in St. Petersburg;[18] supporting the Central Florida commuter rail network SunRail;[19] endorsing a court case which ended voter purges held 90 days before a federal election;[20] striking down of restrictions on volunteer voter registration efforts;[21][22] the re-institution of early voting days and early voting on the Sunday before election day;[23] and the redrawing of both congressional and state legislative district lines after extensive litigation. As a result of that litigation, new district maps were implemented for the 2016 elections.[24] During election year cycles, LWVFL maintains two comprehensive, fact-based, nonpartisan Florida voter websites, Be Ready To Vote and Vamos A Votar, the Spanish language version. It has lobbied for gun safety for years,[25] but after the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the group became a driving force in a statewide initiative to establish stricter gun safety guidelines through the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.[26] In 2016, the LWVF hosted a screening of the documentary about gun violence, Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA.[27]


  1. ^ "History". League of Women Voters of Florida. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Carver, Joan S. "First League of Women Voters in Florida: Its Troubled History." The Florida Historical Quarterly 63, no. 4 (1985): 383-405. https://www.jstor.org/stable/30152979
  3. ^ "Recollections : a history of the League of Women Voters of Florida 1939–1989". University of Florida Digital Collections. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  4. ^ Kerber, Linda K. (1998). No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship. Hill and Wang. p. 168. ISBN 9780809073849. 
  5. ^ Pavuk, Amy; Hudak, Stephen (15 July 2013). "Did Female Jury Defy Stereotypes With Zimmerman Verdict?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Gerrymandering - Proving All Politics Is Local | Politics & Policy". Politicsandpolicy.org. 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  7. ^ Macnab, Deirdre (August 25, 2014). "League of Women Voters Florida: Fair districts coming to an end". Orlando Sentinel. 
  8. ^ "Redistricting in Florida". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  9. ^ a b Alvarez, Lizette (8 August 2014). "Florida Redraws an Election Map That Was Ruled to Be Unconstitutional". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Alvarez, Lizette (29 August 2012). "Judge to Toss Out Changes in Florida Voter Registration". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  11. ^ Kleinow, Allison (2014). "League of Women Voters of Fla. v. Fla. House of Representative". Urban Lawyer. 46 (3): 724–725. Retrieved 6 September 2016 – via EBSCOhost. (Subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ Man, Anthony (27 March 2014). "Gov. Rick Scott's Administration Retreats From Latest Plan to Purge Voter Rolls". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  13. ^ "Local Leagues". League of Women Voters of Florida. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Man, Anthony (22 May 2015). "Palm Beach County woman takes reins of Florida League of Women Voters". SunSentinel. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 
  15. ^ "Board of Directors". League of Women Voters of Florida. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 
  16. ^ Matt Reed (August 20, 2016). "'Liberal' League of Women Voters has owned GOP". Florida Today. 
  17. ^ Jeremy Leaming (June 21, 2012). "Civil Rights Groups, DOJ Fight to Save Right to Vote in Florida". ACSBlog. American Constitution Society. 
  18. ^ "St. Pete may be on road to recycling". The Tampa Tribune. February 20, 2014. 
  19. ^ "SunRail may help to create urban "villages," advocates say". Orlando Sentinel.com. 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  20. ^ Bousquet, Steve (April 1, 2014). "Florida Gov. Rick Scott's 2012 voter purge violated federal law, court rules". Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau. 
  21. ^ "League of Women Voters of Florida v. Browning | Brennan Center for Justice". Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  22. ^ Declaration of Deirdre Macnab Submitted in Further Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction, United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
  23. ^ "Rick Scott Signs Law Restoring Florida's Early Voting, Limiting Ballot Length, Expanding Polling Places". Huffington Post. May 22, 2013. 
  24. ^ Barone, M. & McCutcheon, C. (2013). The almanac of American politics 2014 : the senators, the representatives and the governors : their records and election results, their states and districts. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  25. ^ Kovac, Jackalyn. "League of Women Voters to lobby for stricter gun laws". WEAR-TV. 
  26. ^ Beth Kassab (June 29, 2016). "League of Women Voters takes on gun control". Orlando Sentinel. 
  27. ^ Inman, Jessica (5 June 2016). "Film About Gun Violence Stimulates Conversation in Orlando". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 

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