With more than 700 leagues in the U.S., including in Sumter County, the League of Women Voters is celebrating 100 years of promoting the right of women and everyone to vote and have their voices heard.
"It's a nonpartisan political organization …
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"It's a nonpartisan political organization that addresses the concerns of the community, and that's everyone in the community," said President Dee Woodward of the Sumter County league.
Woodward joined the League of Women Voters to help people understand the importance of voting and that everyone has a voice, regardless of gender, disability, race and ethnicity.
On Feb. 14, 1920, the League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago, just six months before the 19th Amendment was ratified and women gained the right to vote.
The League of Women Voters is an organization that encourages citizens to participate in governmental activities and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.
Mayor Joe McElveen proclaimed February 2020 as "League of Women Voters Centennial Month" on Monday and congratulated the League of Women Voters of Sumter County on the organization's 100th anniversary.
"Pushing 50 years in some level of public service, the league has always been there," McElveen said. "Major things needing to be corrected and examined, if there's been a major issue in Sumter, a community wide concern, the league has been there."
The proclamation stated: "The League of Women Voters of Sumter County was started in 1967 as an undiversified Provisional Unit. In 1972, the Sumter County League of Women Voters became a bona-fide league with a small, diverse group of women and men. The league continues the commitment of 'Making Democracy Work' for all, protecting and expanding voter and voting rights, providing nonpartisan information about political candidates and public policy issues. The League of Women Voters of Sumter County publicly affirms a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion so everyone has a seat at the table in continuing to make Sumter and America a more perfect democracy."
Woodward said this is the best year to celebrate the overall group's 100th-year anniversary, as the organization can encourage citizens to attend its events throughout the year, as well as encourage citizens to register to vote in the 2020 elections.
"What better time than now to talk about voting?" Woodward said.
No matter what political side you're on, the League of Women Voters of Sumter County welcomes all and encourages the community to take part in the elections.
On March 21, the League of Women Voters of Sumter County will hold a tea social at Covenant Place where past presidents will talk about the local organization and its changes throughout the years since 1967. All of the community is welcome to attend.
For information about the tea social and the League of Women Voters of Sumter County, contact Dee Woodward at (803) 651-9215.
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