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?
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.
How Does The League Select Issues for Emphasis?
In League, Program means the issues that we choose for concerted study, education and action at local, state and national levels. Program can include both education and action.
The Program Planning process is part of what makes the League a grassroots organization; each League member has the opportunity to influence the selection of issues where the local, state, and national League will focus time, talent and money.
Every two years, members of local Leagues engage in Program Planning. Based on the results of this, the Board of Directors makes recommendations to the biennial convention delegates about the program to be adopted for the coming two year period.
The League of Women Voters of Bucks County, in conjunction with the the National and State organizations, provides education and discussion opportunities on important public issues.
If you are new to League, you may never have been involved in a League study. The Bucks County League had not participated in a study in several years.
In 2015 and 2016, our League conducted four studies: two National studies and two PA State studies.
The National League has published a Handbook for Successful Consensus Meetings which can help both new and old members understand studies. Consensus is not a vote; rather, a mutual agreement process by League members through a discussion of the issues.
The League has many positions which can be found in a document called Impact on Issues. These positions were formed by taking Consensus or Concurrence after "studying" the issues. Periodically the League reviews the positions for possible updating.