Why should I become a member of the League of Women Voters of Newton?
Membership in the League of Women Voters (League) is open to all persons 16 years of age and older.
As a member of the League you belong to a network, organized on the local, state and national levels, which is committed to making democracy work. Whether you have time to be an active volunteer or simply want to show your support, you will be part of a movement working toward active engagement of citizens in their government.
Membership in the League provides experience and opportunities in voter engagement, issues research, advocacy, and coalition-building. As a member of the League of Women Voters of Newton (LWVN), you will have an opportunity to engage on the local level in issues that are important to our community.
In addition, being a member of LWVN helps keep you informed on the issues you care about. As a member of LWVN, you will receive:
- Regular emails with information about upcoming events, topic meetings, and book groups; information about The League Presents and other recorded events; opportunities to get involved; issues we are working on; LWVN election information; and more.
- Invitations to annual events such as social gatherings such as the LWVN holiday party, fundraising opportunities, program planning, and Annual Meeting.
- Alerts to encourage you to communicate with your elected representatives at the state and national level.
- Opportunities to participate in League studies, committees, and task forces, and to be part of a national and statewide movement.
What does the Newton League support?
The LWVN only works on issues that have been adopted as official “positions.” Once we have a position, we can act on it.
Our current positions are posted on our Local Positions page. They fall into the following broad categories: City Government, Environmental Quality, Fiscal Policy, Human Services, Land Use, and Transportation. At our Annual Meeting each spring, we vote on any proposed changes to our local positions, as well as on our focus for the coming year’s programming. Our current positions are approved each year by the LWVN membership at the Annual Meeting.
There are also state and national positions that we support and that form the basis on which we make our local position decisions. The positions of the Massachusetts League are found in Where We Stand and fall into the broad categories of Government, including voting and elections; Natural Resources; and Social Policy, including meeting basic human needs and education. The positions of the League of Women Voters US are found in Impact on Issues.
Changes to the state and national positions are made at their respective conventions: a national convention is held by the League of Women Voters US every other year in even years, and a state convention is held by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts every other year in odd numbered years. The LWVN is entitled to send voting delegates to both conventions.
Though the League takes positions on issues, the League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse political parties or candidates.
To further understand League process, and for more detailed information on League principles, program, and positions, see Understanding League Lingo.
How does the Newton League make decisions?
The LWVN makes decisions carefully, following procedures established over many decades on the local, state, and national levels. While this means that we may take longer than other organizations to come to a decision, most League members believe that this approach ensures thoughtful and meaningful action.
Issues or requests for action usually come through one of our committees, although individual members (or groups that aren’t formal committees) are welcome to propose actions as well. For example, a committee might decide that it wants to write a letter to the City Council and/or local media organizations to lobby in support of, or opposition to, a particular item. (Note that such letters are always signed by the current League president, not by the person who actually writes it.)
Proposals for action must be presented to the Board for approval. When an action falls under one of our existing positions, the proposal cites the position the action supports and the reasons action is needed. The Board then votes to decide whether to take a particular action.
When the action does not fall under an existing position, however, the process is a bit more complicated. Before taking action on something new, League procedures require that a formal study process be undertaken. The result of a formal study is a written document that proposes a new position for the League to adopt. The study and proposal are presented to the membership at the next Annual Meeting, and the whole membership votes on whether to adopt the new position.
What is the Newton League working on?
Each committee has its own agenda for the year, as outlined in the Annual Meeting Workbook, available on the Annual Meeting page.
LWVN also follows issues of local concern through our Observer Corps, Topic Meetings, and The League Presents, a regular series created in partnership with NewTV and aired there as well as available on our website.
When does the League of Women Voters of Newton meet?
The LWVN has member meetings at least three times during the course of its fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30. In May or June, we have our Annual Meeting and, in addition to enjoying a nice dinner (in non-pandemic times), we vote in a new board and decide where we will focus our efforts during the next year. At other times of the year, we have other ways for members to get together: holiday or special event parties, consensus meetings, and topic meetings where we learn about or discuss a particular topic of interest to our members and our community. Our topic meetings are publicized within the community and members of the public are welcome to attend (see our Topic Meeting Archives).
Our Board of Directors meets once a month. All members are welcome to come and participate! Contact Us if you are interested in attending a board meeting for date, time, and location.
We also meet in committees (and subcommittees). Members are welcome and encouraged to participate in any committee that they are interested in. Please Contact Us to express your interest and we will put you in touch with the appropriate committee person.
What is the time commitment?
The LWVN offers a wide range of opportunities for involvement, depending upon your availability and level of interest.
Some members support LWVN activities with their dues alone, some attend social events and educational forums, some volunteer for time-limited projects, and some organize major projects or assume board positions.
The level of involvement is up to you. Find what interests you personally and see how you can make a difference. The more involved our members are, the more we can influence what happens in our community.
Have a question that’s not answered here?
Email us using our Contact Us form.