The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania is a left-of-center voter project that runs various activities in support of its political ideals, such as feminism, abortion access, and environmentalism. 1 It was founded in 1920 as part of the wider Progressive movement, succeeding groups that campaigned for women’s suffrage.
In 1920, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania was established to be the successor to the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association, with the purpose of providing “education to increase the effectiveness of women voters and to further better government.” The LWVPA has been active in its 501(c)(3) Education Fund, which was established in 1970 with the aim of educating the public on government; Pennsylvanians Assess Coal Today, a periodical that publishes studies on the uses and environmental impact of coal on Pennsylvania, local governments, environmental projects, and national issues generally; and Time for Action, a program that aims to involve local groups in state legislative issues. 2
The LWVPA claims to not support any political party or candidate; 3 however, it supports left-of-center policy such as government involvement in environmentalist efforts and gun control. 4 In 2011, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania’s Citizen Education Fund started an educational project called “The Straight Scoop on Shale Drilling.” The purpose of this project was to discuss and report on information regarding the extraction of natural gas from Marcellus Shale. The LWVPA also created its “Reimagine” program, a program where it collaborates with community groups, Indiana County League members and local government to discuss and develop concepts and ideas towards building communities based on left-of-center environmentalist ideas. 5
The LWVPA has been a part of various court cases throughout its history such as League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where the LWVPA and group of Democratic Pennsylvania voters filed suit on June 15, 2017, to have Pennsylvania’s 2011 congressional map invalidated on grounds that it was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander according to the state constitution. 6 As of 2023, LWVPA was involved in League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Deagraffenreid 7 and League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Kathy Boockvar. 8
Meghan Pierce is the executive director of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Pierce has worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, the Women’s Law Project of Pennsylvania and multiple city and state-level campaigns in Pennsylvania. She joined the League in October 2020. 9
Rev. Carolyn C. Cavaness is member of the board of directors for the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. 10 She has been the pastor of Bethel AME Church of Ardmore for about 5 years and is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary of New York City. 11 In July of 2017, Cavaness was a campaign staffer to Philadelphia Judge Jimmie Moore and pled guilty to submitting false Federal Election Commission filings to conceal a $90,000 payout from then-Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA) to persuade Moore to drop out of a 2012 Democratic primary race. 13 The money was routed through two political consultants, “who created false invoices to generate a paper trail intended to justify the payments from Candidate A’s campaign committee,” according to the U.S. attorney’s statement. 14
In 2020, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania reported revenue of $159,566, expenses of $115,233, and net assets of $99,498. 15
- “Mission & Activities — League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.” League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Accessed May 7, 2023. https://www.palwv.org/who-we-are.
- “League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Records.” Historical Society of Pennsylvania – Public Files. Accessed May 7, 2023. http://www2.hsp.org/collections/manuscripts/l/LoWVPA2095.html.
- “League Policies — Nonpartisan Policy.” League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Accessed May 7, 2023. https://www.palwv.org/nonpartisan-policy.
- “WHERE WE STAND Positions on Issues 2021 – 2023.” League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Accessed May 7, 2023. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/612fcbe71d4091159942be60/t/629f65a3e8ab054a69ce2810/1654613412657/Where+We+Stand+2021-2023.pdf.
- “Environmental Policy – Shale Project & Reimagine Program.” League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Accessed May 7, 2023. https://www.palwv.org/environmental-policy.
- “League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania V. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Brennan Center for Justice. Last modified October 29, 2018. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/court-cases/league-women-voters-pennsylvania-v-commonwealth-pennsylvania.
- “League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania V. Degraffenreid.” Juvenile Law Center. Last modified April 12, 2021. https://jlc.org/cases/league-women-voters-pennsylvania-v-degraffenreid-0.
-  “League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania V. Kathy Boockvar.” Campaign Legal Center. Last modified August 7, 2020. https://campaignlegal.org/cases-actions/league-women-voters-pennsylvania-v-kathy-boockvar.
- “Our Team — League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.” League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Accessed May 7, 2023. https://www.palwv.org/our-team
- “Our Team — League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.” League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. Accessed May 7, 2023. https://www.palwv.org/our-team.
- “Rev. Carolyn C. Cavaness | Interfaith Philadelphia.” Interfaith Philadelphia. Accessed March 9, 2022. https://www.interfaithphiladelphia.org/carolyn-cavaness.
- “Woman Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Pay off Brady Challenger.” POLITICO. Last modified July 25, 2017. https://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/25/brady-philadelphia-primary-bribe-240948.[/note[ In addition, Moore and Cavaness used some of the funds for “personal expenses” as stated by the formal charge. 12 “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v.CAROLYN CAVANESS.” Politics, Policy, Political News- POLITICO. Last modified June 27, 2017. https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000015d-7b8e-d70f-a75d-fb9e56160000.
- Neumann Nicky, Lowell. “Guilty Plea Widens Scope of Political Corruption in Philadelphia.” Courthouse News Service, July 26, 2017. Accessed May 7, 2023. https://www.courthousenews.com/guilty-plea-widens-scope-political-corruption-philadelphia/.
- Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. 2020. Part I, lines 12, 18, 22.