Making Democracy Work

LWV of Smithtown

FROM THE Suffolk County Historical Society Archives

Old Schoolhouse, Smithtown, erected circa 1802. The schoolhouse was built around 1802 in the Village of the Branch, Smithtown, on the land of Epenetus Smith II, between his tavern and the Presbyterian Meeting House. The one-room school had a large fireplace but the classroom had no maps or blackboards, so the students wrote on pieces of slate with chalk. The classroom also had no plumbing and was heated by a small, wood stove.

When the school district was organized under state law in 1816, the district purchased the building. Walt Whitman taught at the school in 1837-38. The original schoolhouse was replaced in 1869 by New Academy. James Darling bought the old building for $300 in 1868, and moved it to its present location on Singer Lane (old Route 111), where it's been used as a residence and as the site of local businesses.

Suggested Readings: Noel J. Gish, Smithtown, New York, 1660+ 1929: Looking Back Through the Lens, and NYSRTA, Old Schoolhouses of Long Island.

Student Day at the Suffolk County Legislature

Deadline Approaching for "Student Day at the Suffolk County Legislature" Registration

Jointly-sponsored by the Suffolk County League of Women Voters and the Suffolk County Legislature, this year's "Student Day at the Suffolk County Legislature" will be held on March 29 at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge.

A small group of students from each western Suffolk Legislator's district will be selected to participate, in partnership with the high schools the students attend. Students who are interested in the full-day "behind-the-scenes" experience should either check with their school social studies department or contact the youth program's coordinator, Lisa Scott, at Since space is limited, it is important to respond as soon as possible. Completed Registration Forms/Permission Slips must be returned by March 21.

A full day of valuable activities is planned, beginning with a "Welcome" from the Presiding Officer's Chief of Staff followed by brief comments from the Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officer. Small sessions, leading to a Mock Legislative Session, will focus on "How a Bill Becomes Law," "What Legislators do in their District Offices," "How ideas Become Resolutions," The Value of Community Meetings" and " Working with the Press and Social Media." Also planned is a presentation by the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office on the subject of Suffolk County as a Sanctuary County--that topic becoming the Resolution which students will consider in the mock legislative session.

There is no cost to the student, but each student participating must be responsible for his/her own transportation to and from the Legislative Building.

Celebrating 100 Years of Woman Suffrage in NYS

Women in New York State won the right to vote in 1917 after decades of struggle. LWV Smithtown launched our centennial celebration at the Nesconset branch of the Smithtown Library by hosting a community viewing of the film Iron Jawed Angels, the true story of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. This film gave us a fresh and contemporary look at a pivotal event in American history, the story of how a pair of defiant and brilliant young activists took the women's suffrage movement by storm, putting their lives at risk. A brief discussion followed the film.

Community Conversation Lunch with Hwy. Spt. Murphy

Robert Murphy, Smithtown Superintendent of Highways, joined 15 LWV Smithtown members for a Community Conversation Lunch at the Old Street Pub on Tuesday, January 10. We heard about innovations planned in the Highway Department, as well as a better understanding of the structure and functions of this highly-regarded Town department.

League Celebrates Smithtown 350 In Style

LWV of Smithtown celebrated the Town of Smithtown's 350th Anniversary in style at the September 26, 2015 parade on Main Street. Jim Dowling, WWII Vet and truly one of the "Greatest Generation" (still going strong at 94!) graciously allowed Smithtown Leaguers to ride in his 1931 Model A Woody Station Wagon. We received lots of cheers and attention, and were honored to be sharing the car with a much-written about WWII hero. Thanks Jim, and congratulations to our hometown of Smithtown at 350!

Voter Bulletin of LWV Smithtown

Learn more about LWV Smithtown

The Smithtown League of Women Voters is always ready to welcome new members. Accordingly, anyone wishing to learn more about the League and its activities, with the potential for membership, is invited to call 499-0107.

The Smithtown League meets socially every last Friday of the month at Bagel Express - 264 W. Main St. in the Hilltop Shopping Center (Smithtown). We get together for breakfast and discussion at 9:00 AM and would welcome anyone who is interested in civic affairs, wants to improve local, state and national government and is willing to work in a nonpartisan way to accomplish this.

For more information contact LWV Smithtown President

Impact on Issues 2012-2014 A Guide to Public Policy Positions of the League of Women Voters of the United States

Immigration Position of the League of Women Voters of the United States

The League's History
In the 111th Congress, the League lobbied in support of the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act that would provide a path to citizenship for young immigrants who complete a college degree or serve in the military, thereby enabling them to be a fully productive part of American society. The legislation passed the House, but lacked enough votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

The League's Position
Statement of Position on Immigration, as Announced by National Board, April 2008:
The League of Women Voters believes that immigration policies should promote reunification of immediate families; meet the economic, business and employment needs of the United States; and be responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises.

Provision should also be made for qualified persons to enter the United States on student visas. All persons should receive fair treatment under the law.

The League supports federal immigration law that provides an efficient, expeditious system (with minimal or no backlogs) for legal entry of immigrants into the United States. To complement these goals the League supports federal policies to improve economies, education, job opportunities and living conditions in nations with large emigrating populations.

In transition to a reformed system, the League supports provisions for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status.

The League supports federal payments to impacted communities to address the financial costs borne by states and local governments with large immigrant populations.

Criteria for Legal Admission to the United States
The League supports the following criteria for legal admission of persons into the United States:

  • Family reunification of spouses or minor children with authorized immigrants or citizens;
  • Flight from persecution or response to humanitarian crises in home countries;
  • Economic, business and employment needs in the Unites States;
  • Education and training needs of the United States;
  • Educational program opportunities; and
  • Lack of a history of serious criminal activity.

Administration and Enforcement
The League supports due process for all persons, including the right to a fair hearing, right to counsel, right of appeal and right to humane treatment. The League supports:
  • Improved technology to facilitate employer verification of employee status;
  • Verification documents, such as status cards and work permits, with secure identifiers;
  • Significant fines and penalties for employers who hire unauthorized workers;
  • Improved technology for sharing information among federal agencies;
  • More effective tracking of individuals who enter the United States; and
  • Increased personnel at borders. The League also supports programs allowing foreign workers to enter and leave the United States to meet seasonal or sporadic labor needs.

Unauthorized Immigrants Already in the United States
In achieving overall policy goals, the League supports a system for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status, including citizenship, by paying taxes, learning English, studying civics and meeting other relevant criteria. While policy reforms, including a path to legal status, remain unachieved, the League does not support deporting unauthorized immigrants who have no history of criminal activity.

LWV Smithtown Recent Events

Upcoming Programs

Who We Are and What We Do

The League of Women Voters of Smithtown is a local division of the League of Women Voters of the United States, a nationwide, non-partisan organization dedicated to strengthening democracy through citizen education and advocacy. The League grew out of the movement to give women the right to vote. Membership is open to all women and men.

Our work consists of voter service activities, education and advocacy.


  • Assist and advise new voters with registration
  • Conduct and moderate candidate meetings
  • Produce and distribute non-partisan information about candidates and ballot issues
  • Provide speakers to discuss the election process and ballot issues
  • Encourage voter turn-out
  • Observe government, library board, and school board meetings

  • A unified state court system
  • Affordable housing
  • Alternatives to incarceration
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Civil liberties
  • Ethics and lobbying reform
  • Global climate change
  • Health care reform
  • Local and county land use and preservation
  • Redistricting
  • Statewide guidelines for all levels of law enforcement
  • Statewide use of optical scan voting machines that have a paper backup

  • Information on a wide range of important regional and national issues
  • LWV publications - local, state and national
  • Smithtown LWV newsletter The VOTER
  • Facts for Voters and the annual Directory of Public Officials
  • Enhanced skills in discussion, lobbying, writing, speaking
  • Training for local community and governmental leadership
  • Increased awareness of how your government works
  • Chance to influence public policy
  • Meet a diverse and interesting group of friends in your community

Keep informed,
Educate the public,
Lobby our Legislators,
Encourage all those eligible to vote
Help us succeed in our mission to:
Let the people know
Make the people care
Help the people act

Information on the League of Women Voters of Smithtown

For more information contact LWV Smithtown co-President
For youth programs contact


History of the League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held just six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 72-year struggle.

The League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy. From the beginning, the League has been an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.

This holds true today. The League is proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public. The League has a long, rich history,that continues with each passing year.