Local League of Women Voters chapters approve merger

The three local Leagues of Women Voters – Cuyahoga Area, Shaker Heights and Cleveland Area – have voted to merge, forming one single League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. The central League now encompasses all of Cuyahoga County, with nine chapters – Bay Village, Westlake/North Olmsted, Fairview Park, Lakewood, Rocky River, Cleveland Heights/University Heights, Hillcrest, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland Area. This merger will help the organization better meet its mission of encouraging an informed and engaged electorate.

“A single strong League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland will provide voters with more timely and complete information before every election in Cuyahoga County and its municipalities,” said the new League’s first president, Maryann Barnes of Cleveland Heights. “Our goal is to provide nonpartisan information about candidates before elections, but also to support and promote policies that match our good-government positions.”

Since its inception in 1920, the League has provided factual information about candidates and issues. In the past five years, the three local Leagues have worked together to support the passage of the county charter that led to the creation of a new form of county government; sponsored forums for candidates at the city, county and state level; produced voters guides; lobbied for amendments to the county charter that would assure greater openness and high ethical standards; and advocated for regional solutions to regional problems.

This merger will not affect local chapter functions or activities. Local chapters will continue to hold regular open meetings with a variety of guest speakers, offer forums to educate the public about issues, host local candidate forums, publish local voters' guides, observe local and Westshore Council of Governments meetings, and take stands on local issues after study and consensus.

The mission of the League, a nonpartisan political organization, remains the same at every level – local, state and national – to encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government; work to increase understanding of major public policy issues; and influence public policy through education and advocacy.

League membership is open to all U.S. citizens of voting age, both women and men. A new website, LWVGreaterCleveland.org, will be up and running soon. In the meantime, visit LWVCuyahogaArea.org or call 216-781-8375 for more information or to become a member.

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Volume 6, Issue 14, Posted 10:05 AM, 07.08.2014