19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The establishment of the League of Women Voters (League) was an outgrowth of the women's suffrage movement in the United States. The long struggle to gain women's right to vote at the national level entered a critical phase on June 4, 1919, when the U.S. Congress approved a 19th Amendment to be ratified by three fourths of the states:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Minnesota became the 15th state to ratify the 19th Amendment on September 8, 1919. Almost a year later—on August 18, 1920—Tennessee became the final and 36th state to ratify. The Amendment was then certified and added to the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920, a date now commemorated annually as Women's Equality Day.
National League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters was created on February 14, 1920, during a convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The purpose of the new organization was to unite existing suffrage organizations nationwide in the common cause of passing the 19th Amendment and encouraging women to vote after its adoption. The Minnesota League of Women Voters, established on October 29, 1919, joined forces with the national League shortly after its founding.
St. Cloud Area League of Women Voters (LWVSCA)
On April 16—17, 1920, the Minnesota League of Women Voters held a district convention in St. Cloud. Ruth Mitchell of St. Cloud was elected President of the sixth district, an eleven-county area. That summer, local women worked individually and through community groups to lay the groundwork for creating a “St. Cloud council.” The first organizing meeting, including election of officers, was held on September 3, 1920, in the home of district chair Mitchell. This event is considered the founding date for what was to become the St. Cloud Area League of Women Voters (LWVSCA).