Smile Politely

Major Leaguers: Champaign County League of Women Voters

Looking for unbiased information this election year that speaks to you as a voting citizen, rather than as a fraction of a percentage point for some political party?

There’s a non-partisan, citizen-run organization that, for the last 85 years, has been dedicated to educating the voters of Champaign County, engaging them in the political process, and acting as watchdogs over local governmental bodies on their behalf.

The Champaign County League of Women Voters has been active since 1924. As an organization that strives to be neither Democratic nor Republican (or, politically, anything else), promoting informed voting has been its primary focus from the beginning, according to Trisha Crowley, the league’s current president (and Deputy City Attorney for the City of Champaign).

The approximately 200-member group holds regular public meetings to address issues of importance in local and state government, goes to Champaign County schools to talk to kids about becoming voting citizens, annually compiles a comprehensive Who’s Who in Champaign County Government directory, and organizes public election forums for local contested races (asking the exact same questions of all candidates to ensure fairness).

Wonder what your local sanitation board’s been up to lately? Ask the League – their Observer Program is formed by members who regularly attend the meetings of more than 25 city and county committees and commissions, who then report back to the league’s membership and the public about what they learned.

Membership is open to anyone – female or male – as long as they’re of voting age (though elected officials are barred from serving on league boards), and meetings are always open to the public.

The League’s also on television, with meetings regularly broadcast on Urbana Public Television (UPTV), channel 6 for local Insight subscribers. In honor of their 85th year, league members produced a three-part documentary about the organization and its history, the first part of which debuted (Jan. 13) on UPTV.

To contact the Champaign County League of Women Voters, to download Who’s Who in Champaign County Government, or to check out their schedule of upcoming voter education and election events, visit their website at

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