HOW THE APPLETON LEAGUE ARRIVES AT POSITIONS ON ISSUES
It is what the League calls Program Process. It involves a timeline and sequence of steps from study to Position-Making. The League of Women Voters at all three levels has Position Papers on a variety of issues from which the League advocates or takes action.
At the local level, the process begins with a membership meeting to discuss issues facing the community. After lengthy discussion and consideration of a number of issues, one or two may be chosen to present to the membership for study. At the Annual Meeting in May, the membership discusses the items presented and will likely choose one issue for its study.
Now the process of study begins. A Committee is formed and makes decisions on the scope of the study and the timeline. The Committee is charged with gathering information to disseminate to the membership so that all are educated and informed on the specifics of the study. During the study phase, members have an opportunity to examine the facts and to examine key pro/con points. Special speakers may be brought in to offer a variety of perspectives on the issue. It is here that the league invites the public to informational forums to learn about the topic.
The study culminates with a membership meeting called the Consensus Meeting. It is at this spirited meeting that the position begins to take shape. Consensus is the process the League uses to reach member agreement on study issues. The group responds to questions posed by the study committee on the issue under study. Consensus is neither a simple majority nor unanimity; instead, it is an overall sense of the group. In other words, consensus results from answers to questions on which members can find common ground and agreement.
The study committee then assesses the responses from the consensus meeting and formulates a position statement. This statement is presented to the Board of Directors who then presents it to the membership for consideration of adoption at the Annual Membership Meeting. When the position is adopted by the membership, it officially becomes a Position of the League of Women Voters of Appleton.
The study process of the League of Women Voters makes subsequent League action on that issue uniquely credible and respected.