The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue only when we have a position addressing it. If the members have not studied and come to consensus on it, the League has no position and therefore cannot take action. Studies (whether national, state, or local) are a defined process lasting one to three years, during which we undertake thorough pursuit of facts and details, both positive and negative, and come to consensus about policy.
What Studies Are There?
Massachusetts Ballot Question Process
This year, LWV Wellesley has formed a study group to participate in the statewide study of the ballot question process in Massachusetts. The scope of the LWVMA study is to review the Massachusetts laws and regulations that govern statewide citizen-initiated ballot questions (initiative and referendum process); consider the consequences of current laws and regulations; and propose concrete next steps that LWVMA could take to enact change, if the study results in recommended change. This study incorporates the intersection of the League’s areas of mission: voting and advocacy. LWVMA has not studied the initiative and referendum process in MA and has no positions on this aspect of voting/elections.
During the fall of 2018, the LWV Wellesley group will meet semimonthly to read and discuss materials in preparation for a consensus meeting to be held in January. All members are welcome to attend these study group meetings; materials can be found on the LWVMA website. For more information please email the Ballot Question Study Group at lwvwellesley2 [at] gmail.com and visit the LWV Wellesley Google calendar for the most up-to-date list of meetings.
Studies from across the nation are in our League of Women Voters Education Fund Clearinghouse for studies.
What Is The Study Process?
- Study Committee members fashion consensus questions that are then asked of the membership as part of a study kit. Kits often include articles, books, data in the form of charts and graphs, videos, suggested speakers, discussion questions, and other resources. Members use the study kit internally and often with their community to better understand the issue.
- Consensus is the overall decision-making process by which substantial agreement among members is reached on an issue. Often this happens over the course of several meetings, but may include surveys and other methods. If the members reach consensus, the board forms recommended positions based on that consensus. Those recommendations are submitted to the Study Committee.
- The Study Committee then reviews all the submissions. It works to form a consensus statement - the statement resulting from the consensus questions - that becomes a recommended position.
- That recommended position is then reviewed and voted on by our members (usually by delegates at our Convention). The proposal may be approved, amended, or be rejected at that time.
- If a position is adopted, firm action can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action can not be taken on that issue.
Read the national Guidelines for LWVUS Studies.