Ballot Question Consensus Meeting
Feb. 2, Florence Civics Center, 10 – 2 pm, Lunch provided
Why this study?
This study incorporates the intersection of the League’s areas of mission: voting and advocacy. LWVMA has not studied the ballot (initiative and referendum) process in MA and has no positions on this aspect of voting/elections.
The scope of the study is to review the Massachusetts laws and regulations that govern statewide citizen-initiated ballot questions (initiative and referendum process); consider the consequences of current laws and regulations; and propose concrete next steps that LWVMA could take to enact change, if the study results in recommended change.
How does the whole consensus process work?
- Local leagues across the state are holding consensus meetings for member to learn about the ballot process in MA, and to determine whether they approve of the current process or recommend changes to it.
2. A LWVMA Study Committee has done exhaustive research on the ballot question process in MA and in other states. They produced a study guide with background information and written questions to be used at the consensus meetings.
3. Before the meeting it is recommended, but not necessary, that members look at the study guide and suggested background info (as little or as much as you wish). Link to study documents:
4. This is the interesting, stimulating part. The meeting begins with a lengthy, in-depth discussion of the issues, led by a facilitator who understands the material.
How do the questions get on the ballot? Think back to the mid-term questions — Were the questions understandable to everyone? Did you have enough information to make an informed decision? Were you comfortable with the amount of money spent to shape voter opinions?
5. Members vote and look for consensus on questions prepared by the state league Study Committee. Responses are recorded (consensus, no consensus).
6. The state Study Committee tallies responses from all leagues and crafts position statements.
7. Position statements are voted on at the state convention in June. Those that are ratified become the official position of the LWV of Massachusetts.