The LWVMA Study on the Massachusetts Ballot Question Process

Study Timeline

June-November 2018 Local Leagues form study committees
September 7, 2018 Final Study Guide and Study Report posted
October 1, 2018 All materials posted
October 15, 2018; 7:30 pm Webinar*
October 17, 2018 ; 11 am Webinar*
November 13, 2018; 7:30 pm Webinar*
November 14, 2018; 3 pm Webinar*
Dec. 1, 2018 – Feb. 15, 2019 Local Leagues hold consensus meetings
February 16, 2019 Deadline for consensus reports to be submitted
Spring 2019 Convention New position is circulated to local Leagues and adopted by Convention delegates

*The four webinars will all cover the same subject matter and will be about 1 hour long.

Why a League Study?

This study incorporates the intersection of the League’s areas of mission: voting and advocacy. LWVMA has not studied the initiative and referendum process in MA and has no positions on this aspect of voting/elections.

Two key study documents, the Study Guide (including consensus questions) and Study Report (background information), are posted below under “LWVMA Study Documents.”

LWVMA Study Documents

Consensus Meeting Documents

What Should Local Leagues and Units Do?

Join a Webinar—Open to All Members

The Study Committee will present four webinars, each covering the same material and about an hour long. Topics covered will include an overview of the study, study materials, role of local Leagues/Units/members-at-large, consensus meetings, reporting consensus results, and getting further help. These webinars will not present the content of the study report or consensus questions.

Register for one of the webinars at the links below. Choose your date/time first, then register. You will receive an email from Zoom telling you how to join the webinar. Each person’s link is unique, so you must register and cannot share links. If you need to change to another time, just register for a second webinar.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Identify a Study Contact

The LWVMA Study Committee is asking each participating League/Unit to identify a Study Contact. This person will receive periodic information about the study and updates. Please email with the League/Unit name and Study Contact name and email address.

Save your red booklets “Information for Voters 2018”

All League members should save their red booklets, which were distributed by mail to the households of all registered voters starting September 24. Bring them to the consensus meeting as a reference for several consensus questions.

Form a local study committee

The study committee will use the materials provided to become familiar with the subject and the consensus questions. It will coordinate a consensus meeting and report the results to the LWVMA. The committee should check the LWVMA website regularly and begin reading the materials posted. The committee will become the local “experts,” and an important link between local Leagues and the LWVMA study committee.

Schedule local consensus meetings

As you plan your calendar, include at least one time for a consensus meeting. Some Leagues may want to schedule two, one in the daytime and one in the evening. It is up to the local League to determine the best format. Consensus meetings should be held within December 1 to February 15. The local board must approve the consensus report, so be sure to leave time to complete this step. Each League’s consensus report is due to the LWVMA by February 16.

How can my League or Unit get help?

  • Plan to attend one of the webinars
  • Contact with questions, requests for assistance, etc.

The Study Scope

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.

Study Committee

Karen Price, Co-Chair, LWVMA board, LWV-Needham
Donna Hooper, Co-Chair, LWVMA board, LWV-Lexington
Karen Callanan, LWVMA Member at Large
Carol Patey, LWV-Needham
Florence Seldin, LWV-Cape Cod Area

To contact the study committee email