Making Democracy Work

Voter Education and League Studies

Our Education Fund

The League of Women Voters Education Fund conducts voter service and citizen education activities. It is a nonpartisan nonprofit public policy educational organization, which:

  • Builds citizen participation in the democratic process through voter registration projects, non-partisan candidates' forums, and other activities.

  • Studies key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner. Background materials developed by study committees are provided to local League members who then participate in "consensus meetings" to answer study questions. The answers, once compiled, form the basis for League positions that lead to advocacy.

  • Enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management. The LWVDE publishes a downloadable brochure, This Way to the Voting Booth for distribution to the public. It provides details on registration and voting.

Donations to the Education Fund, a 501(c)(3)corporation, are fully tax-deductible where allowed by law. To support our local League's work, please click on the donate tab below.

The League Study - Consensus Process

Studies are part of League "Program" and, in League parlance, League Program includes all of the positions the League uses to affect public policy as well as the procedure for adopting these programs. Program has three parts: 1) selection of an issue, 2) study of that issue, consensus and formulating a position, and 3) use of that position to influence public policy.

What is a consensus?

It is easier to say what consensus is not, than what it is. Consensus is not a vote; rather, consensus is mutual agreement of League members arrived at through discussion. During discussion, everyone has an opportunity to express their viewpoints, and the issue is examined from all sides. Consensus questions, created by the appropriate study committee and approved by the Board, provide structure for the meeting. Members discuss the pros and cons until it becomes apparent that consensus has/has not been reached on each question. The study committee analyzes the consensus responses and, using this information, creates a position statement.

LWVDE Studies

Property Tax Reassessment. Existing League policies call for fairness in tax structures. As a result, the Delegates to the 2009 LWVDE Convention voted to approve a study committee to "determine the impacts of the counties' failure to reassess and to develop facts that could provide a basis for elected officials to support reassessment". It was noted in the study proposal that the most recent property reassessment took place in Kent County in 1986. New Castle County last reassessed in 1983 and Sussex County last reassessed in 1974. Ann C. Case was the Principal Author of the report in consultation with LWV Members Susan Marbury, Susan Mathe, Micky McKay, and Bob Taggart. Outside Support and Resources included Edward C. Ratledge and Peter M. Ross.

Read the report.

LWVUS Studies

Agriculture Study. The League of Women Voters of the U.S. is currently preparing a study to update its agriculture position. More information, including a timeline for the study, is here. The update will focus narrowly on:

  • current technology issues in agriculture including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), herbicides, pesticides, agriculture water pollution, aquifer depletion, antibiotics in livestock, and accurate food labeling; and

  • current agriculture finance issues including consolidation in agriculture industries, crop subsidies and the federal agricultural regulatory process.

Two studies were completed in 2012:

  • The Federal Role in Education. The LWVUS Board approved a new Education position at the March 2012 (March 25, 2012) Board meeting. The position is based on responses received from the 377 Leagues across the country who participated in the Education Study and states that "The League of Women Voters believes that the federal government shares with other levels of government the responsibility to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children pre-K through grade 12. A quality public education is essential for a strong, viable and sustainable democratic society and is a civil right." The new policy provides a basis for advocacy by Leagues at the national, state and local levels. Questions addressed in this study are here.

  • Privatization A second study was also completed in 2012. It identified parameters and policy issues to be considered in connection with proposals to transfer federal, state or local government services, assets and/or functions to the private sector. Using the LWV Study Guide, local Leagues reviewed the stated goals and the community impact of such transfers, and identified strategies to ensure transparency, accountability, and preservation of the common good. The LWVUS Board adopted a national consensus and resulting positions in June 2012.

    Here are some readings that were suggested as part of the study process:

    Government Privatization: History, Examples, and Issues, prepared by the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability
    Paul Starr, The Meaning of Privatization, Yale Law and Policy Review 6 (1988): 6-41.
    General Accounting Office, Privatization: Lessons Learned by State & Local Governments (1997). Includes a glossary of terms.

LWVSC cartoon

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