Making Democracy Work

Observer Program

We actively observe officials doing their work in public!

In pursuit of our interest in good government, the League of Women Voters of Merced County encourages volunteer observers to attend meetings of local governing boards. This League program is based on the principle that elected officials need to be kept aware that they are held publicly responsible and accountable for decisions with which the voters have entrusted them and which are made in full view of a public that has been informed beforehand of the issues being considered. League observers are requested to write a report of the meetings they attend for our monthly newsletter, The Voter.

This kind of observation is best done by a member who is willing to commit to fairly regular attendance at a particular board's meetings. It is personally rewarding for the observer to get to know the participants and issues in front of that board, and it signals to that board that there is at least one person attending who is actively and consistently interested in their processes. For the local League, the observations of a regular observer are also more informative. Any member interested in participating as an observer can email Mary Hofmann at lwvmercedco@gmail.com.

Which policy board meetings should we observe?

All policy boards that have elected officials are important to consider having an official League observer attend, especially boards adopting and implementing policies on which League has advocacy positions. Also important would be County, City or School commissions or committees that also adopt or recommend policies.

League observers could attend meetings of:

  • Merced County Board of Supervisors
  • City Councils (there are 6 cities in Merced County with elected Councils)
  • Planning Commissions
  • School Districts' Board of Trustees meetings