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The League of Women Voters Through the Decades! - The 1980s

To broaden membership and address the issue of membership decline, the 1982 convention amended the bylaws to permit member recruitment by the national and state levels, as well as the local level. Convention delegates also called for the development of a long-range plan for the organization. The plan, which defined the League's mission and outlined goals and strategies for the future, was the subject of spirited debate at the convention. During the 1984-88 period the League s long-range plan was refined and updated, then adopted by the 1988 convention with some modifications. These steps, together with the restructuring and streamlining of League Boards, leadership training and an emphasis on modern techniques of management and communication, were evidence of the League's efforts to adapt to the realities of a changing world and to ensure its place as the leading civic organization in the United States.


The League was in the forefront of the struggle to pass the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1982 and contributed significantly to enactment of the historic Tax Reform Act of 1986. It also adopted a position on fiscal policy and one on US Relations with Developing Countries. In the arms control field, LWV pressure helped achieve Senate ratification of the groundbreaking Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1988. In that same year the League also completed a study of U.S. agricultural policy. And through the Agenda for Security Projects in 1984, 1986 and 1988, the League underwrote some 150 debates focused on national security issues among congressional candidates. The League also sponsored Presidential Debates in 1980 and 1984, but withdrew as a sponsor of General Election debates in 1988. In 1983 the League adopted a position on public policy on reproductive choice.

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