Making Democracy Work

League Lingo

Glossary of League Terminology

This page provides a glossary of LWV-VA specific terminology that should be used to ensure that league members use the same terms when communicating. For a downloadable pdf version, click here

LWV-VA League Lingo

ACTION/ADVOCACY

Promoting the League's positions on local, state (regional) and national public policy issues to government officials, the media and the public.

ACTION ALERT

Request from the LWVUS, state or LL to take action in support of a League position (a/k/a: "Call to Action") - may or may not be related to specific legislation. Members respond as individuals. Only the president or designated representative speaks officially for a League.

ACTION with Advocacy

Promoting a League position not connected to specific legislation; Advocacy activities can sometimes be funded with tax-deductible monies (501(c)3), even when only one side of an issue is presented, as long as no call to action on a particular piece of legislation is issued.

ACTION with Lobbying

Contacting government officials, media or the public, either in support of or against, specific legislation, using a League position as the basis for the action (a 501(c)4 activity). Action in the name of the League is taken only by the League president or designee. League members take action as individuals ONLY and do not mention the League.

ADVOCACY AGENDA

Priorities for legislative action; issues on which the League intends to take a leadership role.

ANNUAL MEETING

Local equivalent of a convention. Local year-end business meeting to elect officers and directors, vote on bylaw changes and adopt a budget and program of work for the next year or biennium.

ASSOCIATE MEMBER

A non-voting member of the League, such as a person under 16 years of age.

CONCURRENCE

Agreement by League members with a position on an issue reached by another League, study committee, task force or League board.

CONSENSUS

Collective opinion of a substantial number of members, representative of membership as a whole, reached after objective study and discussion of an issue.

CONVENTION

A state or national League meeting held every other year at which delegates elect officers and directors for the biennium, adopt program, make bylaw changes and adopt a budget. LLs and MAL Units send delegates to state convention, local and state Leagues send delegates to national convention. (State conventions are held in odd-numbered years; national conventions in even-numbered years.)

COUNCIL

An assembly of delegates held in even-numbered years (state) and odd-numbered years (national) to adopt a budget and assess program developments. LLs send delegates (President or designee plus one) to state (LWV-VA) Council; state Leagues send delegates (President or designee plus one) to national (LWVUS) Council.

DATABASE

League membership list maintained online via the LWVUS website.

DEBATE/FORUM

A public event convened to discuss public issues, or an event to question candidates for public office in a structured format.

DELEGATE

A member appointed by a LWV board to vote at Convention or Council

EDUCATION FUND (a/k/a Ed Fund)

The tax-deductible arm of national, state and large LLs, handling funds to be used only for educational purposes, not for lobbying action on issues (Ed Fund is a 501(c) 3 organization).

Forum.LWV.org

LWVUS Internet site for League Management Resources.

ILO

Acronym for an Inter-League Organization, formed by local and state Leagues within a metropolitan area or region to act on issues that are beyond one Local League's area in scope (such as: LWVNCA).

ITEM

An issue selected for study.

LIFE MEMBER

A person who has been a member of the LWV for at least 50 years. Life members are excused from dues payment and their Leagues pay no per member payment (PMP) for them.

LL

Local League, e.g., LWV of the Fairfax Area (LWVFA)

LWVNCA

The League of Women Voters of the National Capitol Area (an Inter-League Organization composed of LWVs of DC, VA, Arlington, Fairfax Area, Falls Church, Loudoun Co., MD, Howard, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties).

LWVUS

The League of Women Voters of the United States (the national League).

LWV-VA

The League of Women Voters of Virginia (a state League).

MAL UNIT

A state-recognized group of Members at Large, in an area where there is no LL. They may become a full League when they meet specific criteria.

MEMBER-AT-LARGE (MAL)

A member who resides outside the area of, and is not enrolled in, a LL; groups of MAL members in the same geographic area can form a MAL Unit of the state League.

PMP

Acronym for Per Member Payment, the amount of money paid annually to the LWVUS and state Leagues (and ILOs) on the number of members in the LL and MAL Unit traditionally as of February 1.

PORTFOLIO

Area of responsibility; one's League job.

POSITION

A statement of the League's point of view on an issue, arrived at through member study and agreement (consensus or concurrence), approved by the appropriate board and used as a basis for League action.

PRINCIPLES

The Principles (which come from LWVUS) govern what the League does and apply to every position. They constitute the authorization for adoption of program at all levels.

PROGRAM

Selected governmental issues chosen by members at the local, state and national levels for study and action. Program is for a two-year period (biennium) and adopted by delegates at annual meetings or state and national conventions

PROGRAMS

Plans for speakers, discussion or other activities for League meetings.

RESOURCE PERSON

The person serving as a "background expert" for a discussion topic - helps the discussion leader with questions about the subject under discussion - is usually a member of the study committee.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Media portals to help communicate League interest and activities between Leagues and the public online (Facebook, Twitter, etc).

STUDY [RESTUDY]

Adopted at annual meeting or convention in order to pursue consensus on a new position or add to an existing position.

TASK FORCE

Group of members working on a particular project.

UNIT

Groupings of members within large LLs to provide more opportunity for discussion. Units may be time-oriented (day, evening, lunch hour) or geographically oriented, or both.

VIRGINIA VOTER

Newsletter of the LWV-VA. It is distributed via email, USPS for those without email, and posted on the LWV-VA website. Also, a more frequent email publication called the Virginia Voter Express, distributed by email only, was instituted in 2016.

VIRGINIA VOTER EXPRESS or VOTER EXPRESS

The Voter Express, is sent out as needed for more timely distribution of news. It is only sent out electronically to members and friends of the League. The Voter Express is also posted on the LWV-VA website

VIRTUAL MEETING

Meeting of a League board where a decision is recorded via email or other electronic or conference method.

VOTE411.ORG

Web portal of LWVUS for election information. (http://www.VOTE411.org )

VOTERS GUIDE

Nonpartisan publication giving candidates' qualifications and positions on selected issues. VOTE411 is a League voters guide.

VOTER SERVICES

Year-round activity to help citizens be politically effective and to encourage their participation in the political process. Registering voters and presenting factual, nonpartisan information on candidates and election issues are basic voter services activities, i.e., all election related projects, activities.

VOTING MEMBERS

League members who are at least 16 years old. (Note: As of June, 2016, LWVUS redefined a voting member of the League is an individual who is 16 years of age or older - citizenship no longer required).

WLRT

Women Legislative Roundtable; a nonpartisan forum moderated by the LWV-VA in Richmond during the General Assembly session for discussion of public policy issues and the legislation to address them. All legislators and non-profit groups are invited to speak about pending legislation and the issues they are tracking. (Adapted from LWVUS "League Lingo" by LWV-VA, 2011 and 2015)

Last Updated August, 2016 by Sherry Zachry