THE LWV advocacy program takes place at local, state, and national levels. It consists of those governmental issues that members choose for concentrated study and action.
At each year’s local program planning meeting, members discuss their ideas for local, state, and national program. Their proposals are submitted to the respective boards of directors. The board at each level then considers the proposals forwarded to it, formulates a recommended program, and presents it to the membership at the annual meeting or to the delegates at the state or national convention.
Certain criteria are used when considering an issue for study and action. The issue must fall within the Principles of the LWV and be one on which governmental action can be taken. Final decisions on state and national program are made by a vote of the delegates to the respective conventions. At the local level, this is done by the voting members in attendance at the annual meeting.
Once a study has been adopted, a study committee is formed. Taking part in a study is an excellent way to become familiar with and involved in the LWV as well as becoming educated and informed on public policy. The study process often includes tours, guest speakers, interviews, as well as document research.
The study committee gathers information, analyzes the information, clarifies the issues, and identifies the policy problems. The committee attempts to present all sides of the issue to members for their consideration.
After the study information is presented to members, consensus is sought through group discussion. Members come to an overall “sense of the group” as expressed through the exchange of ideas and opinions. It is from this agreement that League formulates a position statement for action.
Once members reach agreement and a position is stated, local, state, or national LWVs take action by:
- collaborating in advocacy with other organizations
- encouraging member action as individuals
- publishing and distributing educational materials
- testifying at legislative and administrative hearings
- litigating to improve or clarify laws in the public interest.
LWV members often observe meetings of local, regional, state, and national governmental bodies. Observers do not speak for the League but attend meetings to listen, to learn, and to make factual reports to their respective Board and membership of the proceedings.