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LWVO: 1924 to 2024

Highlights from Across The Years


OCTOBER 3, 1924
Oakland Forum (predecessor to LWVO) founded
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Founded as the Oakland Forum "to create an informed, investigated, and active electorate along strictly non-partisan lines."


Mission as described in Oakland Outlook article announcing formation of Forum: " women of the Eastbay an opportunity to hear speakers of the country discuss timely topics without having to cross the Bay; to encourage local women to take greater interest in government, education, child welfare; and to give helpful cooperation in the improvement of all public institutions."

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The Oakland Forum and the Eastbay League of Women Voters separate
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The Oakland Forum of the League of Women Voters splits into the Oakland Forum and the Eastbay League of Women Voters.


"The league will be county-wide in its work, the program of the National League of Women Voters will be carried out, separate from the activities of the Forum."

The Eastbay League changes its name to Oakland League of Women Voters
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The Eastbay League of Women Voters changes its name to the Oakland League of Women Voters.


“We feel that from every standpoint it is better to give our league the name of the community in which most of its work and membership is concentrated,” said league president Mrs. F. L. Burckhalter.


May 1940
Milk Ordinance
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The Oakland League celebrates the city council’s passage of a milk safety ordinance strongly advocated by league members.


Hailed as one of the most sweeping regulations of its kind in the country, the measure required that all liquid milk products be made with Grade A milk from sealed and approved containers.


“Our organization stands for the protection of the health of our children,” said Mrs. W. L. Forward, a league officer and leading proponent of the new safety guidelines.

September 1940
School for Voters
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Invites the public to an all-day School for Voters devoted to a full discussion of measures on the November ballot.   Over the years LWVO’s Speakers Bureau has continued to make pro/con presentations on ballot measures, fostering an informed electorate.

Distributes Wartime Information
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League members distribute 1,000 broadsides (posters) throughout the community exploring wartime issues such as:

  • “What is Rationing?” 

  • “Why Buy War Bonds?”


Another poster offers an explanation of the Lend-Lease Act.

April 1947
League Studies Plight of
War Refugees
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October 1947
League Studies Nuclear Issues
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League Opens U.N. Workshop
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Report on Oakland's Government

Published its first report on the Oakland Government. 


Over the years, LWVO produced and updated a  “Guide to Local Government”, which was used as a reference in Oakland schools. 


Currently, the League publishes “Who Represents Oakland” after each election.

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Report on Oakland's Government
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LWVO studied programs and policies for providing housing for low income families. The league published housing bulletins to provide information on public housing and related programs


Report on Checks and Balances in the
Federal Government
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League publishes checks and balances in the federal government. 


KTVU and LWVO partner for Election '82
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Public Ethics
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Oakland’s Public Ethics Commission is established by a voter approved charter amendment largely inspired by the League.

Transparency in Government

Oakland’s Sunshine Ordinance: The League tackled this issue starting in 1995-96, and brought it  to a successful vote of the City Council this year.


It recognized that:

"Commissions, boards, councils, advisory bodies and other agencies of the City exist to conduct the people's business. This Ordinance is intended to assure that their deliberations and that the City's operations are open to the public".


Local Voter Guide

The Oakland Easy Voter Guide was first published in English, Spanish and Chinese.  Hundreds of thousands of copies have been distributed since then.

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Ranked Choice Voting

LWVO advocated in support of Alameda County Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for the election of city/school board.  RCV was implemented for the 2010 election.



First Voter Registration Drive in HS

First registration drive in Oakland High Schools.  Since then, we have registered thousands of students through our YOUth Decide committee.


Supported an independent redistricting commission and participated in writing the 2014 Oakland ballot measure that voters approved.  Has since closely monitored the work of the Redistricting Commission.

First Videos of Pros & Cons

First videos of the pros & cons of local ballot measures.  About 50 have been created since then.

Below is recent example of a pros & cons video:


Campaign Finance
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Oakland voters approved the Fair Elections Act (FEA) to introduce Democracy Dollars to Oakland - an innovative approach to campaign finance reform that LWVO strongly advocated and supported.

LWV0 Celebrates 100 Years

October 13th, 2024, marks 100 years that the League of Women Voters of Oakland has empowered voters and defended democracy. Over the last century, we’ve fought for election protection, democratic reforms, and equal access to the ballot—all while maintaining our commitment to nonpartisanship and fostering an informed electorate. As we look into our next hundred years, we aim to build power for the next generation of women leaders and voting rights activists. 

Please join us!

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