Making Democracy Work

Action and Advocacy

The League of Women Voters takes action on an issue or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause.

LWV Chicago Where We Stand


Positions result from a process of study. Any given study, whether it be national, state, or local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. As the study progresses, a continuing discussion of pros and cons of each situation occurs. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.

Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.

It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.

Positions taken by the League of Women Voters of Chicago are included in Where We Stand. Topics included are Chicago government, Chicago Public Library, education, handguns, housing and land use.


Once the League has a position, League members will advocate for that position on pending legislature and policy initiatives.

Advocacy includes:

  • visits with representatives
  • letters to the editor
  • hosting educational forums on position topics

Members also receive action alerts from the League, which encourage contacting representatives at local, state and national levels to support or oppose legislation, depending on whether it aligns or not with a League position.

LWV Chicago Action Alerts

NOVEMBER 2, 2017 - Ban Coal Tar-Based Sealants

Ask your alderman to support City Council ordinance O2017-3273, which would ban coal tar-based sealants. This toxic substance is used to pave and repave driveways and sidewalks. Numerous cities and states around the country have already enacted such a ban, including several communities in Illinois.

Recent studies have revealed the dangers of coal tar sealants. They contain high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can cause birth defects, learning disabilities, and even cancer. A study by Baylor University and the U.S. Geological Survey found that living next to coal-tar-sealed pavement increases your cancer risk by 38 times. The American Medical Association has called for bans on pavement sealcoats containing PAHs.

You can absorb PAHs by touching coal-tar-sealed surfaces, ingesting dust that contains sealant particles, or breathing fumes while sealant is fresh. Children who play on coal-tar-sealed driveway or sidewalk surfaces are especially at risk of direct contact. PAHs are also released into our air and water as coal tar sealant naturally breaks down over time.

The ordinance is currently in the City Council Committee on Health and Environmental Protection. If your alderman serves on this committee (find the full list here), your call or letter is especially important.

LWV Chicago Environmental Committee, Sarah Bury and Andy Daglas, Chairs

State Positions and Action Alerts

The Illinois League (LWVIL) has several individuals dedicated to monitoring legislation in Springfield and alerting members when action is required on League positions.

State positions and information can be found on LWVIL's Issues webpage.

To subscribe to LWVIL alerts, please visit their website at

LWV Chicago members are automatically enrolled in state alerts when they join.

National Positions and Action Alerts

National League (LWVUS) positions can be found in the Online Edition on the website.

You can register directly on the LWVUS website for national action alerts Get Involved.

LWV Chicago members are automatically enrolled in national alerts when they join.