Making Democracy Work

About the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island

What is our mission? How are we structured? What is our history? Who are our Leaders?

Our Mission

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy. We never support or oppose any political party or candidate.

We are nonpartisan. Belle Sherwin, League president from 1924 to 1934, institutionalized the League's nonpartisan stance. We do advocate for issues, but we never support or oppose candidates for office. Each League establishes and follows its own non-partisan policy. In developing the policy the League considers its community. The LWVRI has prepared a handbook of informative articles about non-partisanship; the LWVRI non-partisan policy is included in the handbook.

We are a grassroots action-oriented organization. Members act on behalf of the League when authorized by the appropriate board. Working with our membership and through coalitions, we make our voice heard.

We promote citizen education. Part of the League's mission is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation in government.We believe that democracy is not a spectator sport.

We advocate for issues. The League's mission also includes taking action on governmental measures and policies in the public interest. Study before action became standard during the presidency of Belle Sherwin.

We reach agreement through consensus.Belle Sherwin introduced the consensus process to achieve member support for issues.

Our Role in Rhode Island

The League of Women Voters has two separate and distinct roles.

  • Voters Service/Citizen Education: we present unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.

  • Action/Advocacy: we are also nonpartisan, but, after study, we use our positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest.

To conduct our voter service and citizen education activities, we use funds from the League of Women Voters Rhode Island Education Fund, which is a 501(c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit educational organization, the League of Women Voters of RI Education Fund.

Local Leagues in Rhode Island

Officers and Board of Directors

Officers & Board of Directors 2017-2018

Jane Koster, President, Jamestown; email:

Jill Kassis,1st Vice President, Portsmouth, email:

Susan Wells, 2nd Vice President, Newport

Rosemary Forbes-Woodside, Treasurer, Jamestown

Linda Poole, Secretary, East Providence

Board of Directors

Pam Ancheta, Wakefield

Christine Davidson, Westerly

Susan Escherich, Riverside

Patty MacLeish, Newport

Derwent Riding, Bristol

Marian Styles-McClintock, Providence