The work of the League is based on
Study and Advocacy
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.
League Studies Nationwide
The League of Women Voters Education Fund Clearinghouse contains studies and research conducted by League members from around the country.
LEAGUE STUDIES AND THE PROGRAM CYCLE
Study Committees are formed from the program-planning process. Studies usually take two years and involve gathering information through reading source documents about the topics being studied and interviewing experts, elected officials, government agency representatives and others who are involved in working on the issues. The studies conclude with written reports, civic education programs, and member discussions. If there is member agreement about the results of the study, a new or revised advocacy position may be adopted.
- Program is the League term for issues that members have chosen for study and action. At local program planning meetings, members propose topics for local, state and national program.
- Study: Once an issue is approved for study by any level of League, a study committee is established.
- Consensus: Once the study has concluded, the study committee fashions consensus questions for discussion by the local membership. If a substantial agreement on these questions is reached by the members, their recommended consensus is forwarded to the appropriate board.
- Position: If approved by the board, the consensus becomes a new Position.
- Action: Once a Position has been adopted, the League can take action on issues and legislation that relate directly to the position.
- Program Planning: And so the story begins -- during December or January of every year, local Leagues are asked to go through a process of reviewing all current positions for the purpose of recommending whether to propose a new study or update or discard older positions.
This "League Studies and the Program Cycle" section was adapted from League of Women Voters 101: League Basics from LWV of Portland, which goes into much more detail on all of these topics
- For new members, this glossary of League Lingo from LWVUS can be a great help.
- LWVUS explains the the difference between "Advocacy" and "Lobbying"
- The League of Women Voters of Acton Area's Advocacy and Action page describes the study and consensus process -- that lead to new positions -- very well.
- LWV of Newton has a good short description of the study process, while LWV of Maine has a good in-depth overview of the study process,
- New York State's publication In League also has more details. The Program: Study and Action section begins on page 158.
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