An Introduction to LWVCC Studies
Purpose, Process and Opportunity
A foundational underpinning of the League since its inception in 1920 is the participation of informed citizens in their political process. Hence, since its creation in 1957, the League Education Fund has served as a citizen education and research organization providing a process for thorough and balanced examination of important issues. The Fund’s archived studies are available to some 800 national, state, and local Leagues in addition to the public. From the LWV Education Fund Clearinghouse for studies web page “Year in and year out, the men and women of the League are committed to providing fact-based information and open discussion forums to help voters make their own decisions….Our goals have always been to widen democratic participation; insist on both governmental and campaign funding transparency; and encourage full researched, fact-based decision-making in both foreign and domestic policies.”
“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 through pursuit of facts and details, both positive and negative, and come to consensus about policy.”
Study committee members draft consensus questions, utilizing articles, books, videos, data, interviews, and other resources to examine an issue. The information is brought to the membership for consensus on the questions, and then to the Board for recommended positions based on the membership consensus. The study committee reviews the Board recommendations, and forms a consensus statement which becomes the recommended League position. This proposed position then goes back to the members who vote to approve, amend, or reject it.
Study committees are chaired by one or two Board members, who help to enlist members who will be as neutral or balanced as possible, representing all sides of the study issue. Specific roles for each member are determined based upon their experience with the issue.
The Calvert League has authored many studies in its 50- plus years history: on transportation, housing, the needs of children, transparency in government, the county’s environmental practices, etc. The studies directly or indirectly led to the formation of the Collaborative for Children, the swimming pool, the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center, the Housing Authority, the Green Expo, etc. Let’s keep the possibility of initiating a study in mind as we identify civic problems.
The local studies underway can be found under Calvert.
Legislative priorities and ISSUES publications from LWVMD, which can be found under Maryland.
Legislative priorities and position papers from LWVUS, which can be found under National.