NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – This year, the League of Women Voters is celebrating providing voter services across the country for 100 years.
The national league was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held just six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 72-year struggle.
The League of Women Voters of New Mexico was founded in 1920 and originally served the Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County area before breaking off into four leagues around the state. Kim Douglas, Co-President of the Central New Mexico division, said the organization membership has grown within this election cycle.
“We have about 200 members, we’ve picked up quite a few members this election year,” Douglas said. “We were worried about voter turn-out, but that seems to be remarkable this year so we’re quite pleased with that.”
She said the organization is promoting voting by absentee ballot to respect the social distancing guidelines, though they will provide information on local voting locations if requested. The league provides services to help educate the public on voting and the various methods of doing so as well as information on local legislation and policy.
“We have many issues we study and developed official positions on and may advocate for legislation regarding that, supporting or opposing,” Douglas said. “But we’re a non-partisan organization, we don’t endorse or oppose candidates or parties.”
Douglas said the organization right now is focused on encouraging people to vote, regardless of who they vote for.
“We want people to vote, regardless of their stance or political party. We think it’s important that in order for this country to remain a democracy, that all across the spectrum of opinion exercise the right to vote,” Douglas said.
Newly registered voters taking the oath in 1965
Photo courtesy of Albuquerque Museum