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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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.)


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.


League membership list maintained online via the LWVUS website.


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


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).

LWVUS Internet site for League Management Resources.


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).


An issue selected for study.


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.


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


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).


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


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


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.


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.


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.


Area of responsibility; one’s League job.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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


Group of members working on a particular project.


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.


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.


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


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


Web portal of LWVUS for election information. ( )


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


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.


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).


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

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