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.” Local study committees should plan on meeting after that date to begin research and planning.

All materials listed will be posted by October 1.

LWVMA Study Documents

What Should Local Leagues and Units Do Now?

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