ABOUT THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
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The League of Women Voters of the United States was established in 1920, when the 19th amendment to the Constitution granted women the right to vote.
 
It evolved from the Women’s Suffrage Movement.  The League of Women Voters of Connecticut (LWVCT) was formed in 1921; the Weston League in 1963.
 
There are local leagues in communities across the country, representing 51,000 members and supporters nationwide.  Together, these Leagues comprise the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS).
 
PURPOSE:
 
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy through education and advocacy.
 
We are a group of men and women who seek to improve the quality of democracy in our country by increasing voters’ knowledge of candidates and issues.  We work for good government at the local, state and national levels.
 
LEAGUE’S WORK IS THREE-FOLD:
 
 



NONPARTISANSHIP:
 
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization.  We do NOT endorse candidates.  We DO take stands on issues after careful study and consensus.  Our stand on issues is strengthened by our nonpartisanship.
 
League members, as individuals, are encouraged to join a political party, to involve themselves in party decision-making and to actively work for the candidates of their choice.  But speaking out and action must be done in member’s own names and not in the name of the League or with reference to a member’s League ties.
 
STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
 
The League of Women Voters of Weston operates outside its traditional by-laws which include elected officers, appointed Directors and portfolios for all Board members.  Instead, with the blessing of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, a Steering Committee meets monthly, except during July and August, and collectively undertakes traditional work described in Board member portfolios.
 
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE LWV OF WESTON
 
The League of Women Voters of Weston operates under a Non-Partisan Policy and Guidelines for Action adopted originally in 2002
 

 
 
MEMBERSHIP
 
Membership is open to any United States citizen of voting age.  An associate membership is available to resident non-citizens and person under eighteen years of age.
 
DUES
 
Membership dues of $50.00 per year include State and National membership.  Dues are payable on July 1st of each year and are delinquent if not paid by November 15th.  Dues for two members of one household are $75.00.
 


 

MEETINGS:
 
Steering Committee meetings are usually held monthly (except in July and August) and are open to all interested members.  A “Convener” presides and a “Scribe” takes notes. these positions being determined for the year at Annual Meeting.  Local  League roles: Treasurer, Membership, Finance Drive Coordinator, “Speak Up” Coordinator/team, Voter Service Coordinator, Website Manager, and other positions as needed, are agreed to by consensus.
 

General Meetings are usually held monthly (except in July, August and December) and are typically open to the community as well as the League.  “Forum on Demand” is the Weston League’s way of reacting to specific issues as they arise, which are at the forefront of the community’s interests, and which the League determines need open discussion.

TYPICAL CALENDAR:
January “Program Planning” for the next year’s activities and points of action to recommend to Annual Meeting.
February “Speak Up”- a specialty of the LWV of Weston, who began this exercise in open government in 1992; an annual event where the Board of Selectmen and the Chair. of Boards, Commissions and Committees as well as State Legislators are invited to answer questions from the public (League moderator in charge) as the budget process and the new year get underway.
March and April-  Open programs
May - Annual Meeting & “Betty Hill Forum on International Affairs” since Year 2000.  Picture stories available and new in 2012, online video.
June - we try to hold a “Legislative Wrap-Up” depending on the availibility of our Legislators.
July and August - the League continues work on upcoming Fall elections, cooperating regionally on Congressional debate (s) as well as Legislative contests, and prepares for the election season coming and reviews non-partisan policies.  Work also begins after Party conventions and August Primaries to begin acquiring photographs of candidates for use in “Online Voter’s Guide,” (sample).
September and October - Voter Service activities including debates for contested officies.  Other activites as needed to assure great turnout on Election Day!
November
- Election Night Reporting with Associated Press and preparation for new version of League of Women Voters of Weston’s “Know Your Town” (which has names and contacts for all National, State and Local officials and lots, lots more).  Work with Weston Forum to produce “Voter’s Guide" in local election years, including supplying photos of all candidates on the ballot.
December -  in addition to celebrating the holiday season, the Weston League begins planning for its upcoming “Speak Up” as well as “Program Planning” exercises.  In addition there is coordination with LWVCT (“The League of Women Voters of Connecticut”) on lobbying our Legislators prior to the upcoming session (s) either in January (“long session” thru June in odd numbered years) or February (“short session thru May in even numbered years).
 
On a personal note:  Weston LWV began as an independent local League, breaking away from the LWV of Westport, in 1962 - our 50th year in independent operation came and went!  From our history:

In 1962, the League became a Provisional League. Local program focused on preparing the "Know Your Town" booklet.  Nov. 1963, Weston received its League charter.  Dec.1963, 3,000 copies of "Know Your Town" went to press at a cost of $850. The booklet continues to be updated after local elections and is invaluable to new and long-time residents.



 

HOW THE LEAGUE DEVELOPS A POSITION AND TAKES A STAND
 

First of all, some definitions of terms are necessary.  Every profession has its own “lingo” and League vocabulary for those seeking change and those advocating for positions as League representatives, whether locally or at other levels, should be familiar with this "lingo" - offered below:
 
ACTION - Implementing League program positions or principles by making public statements, lobbying legislators, litigating, monitoring and through citizen education.
 
CONCURRENCE - Agreement, by League members or boards, with a position reached by another League, for example.  The LWVCT “concurred” with positions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Leagues on gambling and education topics in the past.
 
CONSENSUS - An agreement among a substantial number of members through study and discussion of an issue.  It is the most often used in the League for reaching member agreement.
 
CONVENTION - A biennial meeting at which League delegates elect officers, adopt a budget, and choose study and action priorities.   Conventions are held at State and National levels.
 
COUNCIL - A biennial meeting of LWV delegates held in years between conventions and with a more limited representation to review programs and adopt a budget.
 
OBSERVER CORPS - League members who attend and report on meetings of public boards and commissions.  Reports may be presented to the League and the public:  Weston LWV began an online “Observer Corps Report” at the time of the Charter Revision Commission’s meetings of 2003, the first entries, and it is kept up in reverse chronological order.
 
PMP - Per member payment or assessment - monetary support for State and National levels decided by convention delegates and paid by local Leagues.
 
PORTFOLIO - particular areas of Steering Committee members' focus.
 
POSITION - The LWV’s positions on governmental issues are determined through member study and consensus, concurrence or through judicious application of the League’s principles.
 
PROGRAM - Those issues chosen by the members for study and action at each level of the League.  For example:  in the upcoming year, action will be taken on many positions including “Water Supply Protection in Weston.”  The 2012-2013 Weston LWV “action agenda” can be seen here
 
VOTER SERVICE - this includes voter registration, distribution of non-partisan citizen information encouraging turnout, including producing voter’s guides in print or electronically, candidates’ events including local and regional League moderated debates, poll reporting and more.
   
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CONNECTICUT - STATE ACTION PROGRAM
 
USEFUL LEAGUE ADDRESSES FOUND IN KNOW YOUR TOWN
 
Weston, Hamden and Washington D.C. are the physical locations of the three levels of League in Connecticut for our members!  Have any questions?  Contact League electronically!
 
To contact our representatives in government we recommend a more personal touch.  The offices of our elected governmental officials at State and National levels can be found at the back of “Know Your Town.”