Glossary Definitions of terms commonly used by the League of Women Voters
Action or Advocacy - Support for or opposition to legislation or policies at the local, state or national level. The League may only advocate for or against issues on which the League has an applicable position. Positions are usually stated as principles or goals.
Action to Educate – The League also provides factual information on such issues as voter registration and public policies such as the Help America Vote Act which changed the election process.
Annual Meeting - The yearly business meeting of local Leagues at which they elect officers and directors, adopt a budget, consider bylaws amendments and adopt program.
Concurrence – The act of agreeing with a statement or position. Concurrence is a decision-making technique sometimes used in the League. The concurrence could be with the report of a League committee, a position previously taken by another League or a decision statement formulated by a League board. Prior to concurrence, local Leagues must be provided information on the subject.
Consensus – Agreement among a substantial number of members representative of the whole membership reached after study and group discussion.
Convention – The biennial business meeting at the state and national levels. State conventions are held in odd-numbered years and the national convention is held in even-numbered years. The business purpose is to elect officers and directors, adopt program and a two-year budget and approve bylaws changes. In addition to the business purpose of conventions, convention attendees have access to workshops, speakers and panels on subjects of League interest.
Council – A biennial business meeting held in even-numbered years between conventions. The purpose is to adopt any revised budget figures for the second year of the budget adopted at the previous convention and to review the work on program items. Workshops and speakers are also part of the Council agenda.
Education Fund – A tax exempt, educational corporation. The LWVAL Education Fund facilitates citizen participation by providing factual information to the public on voter registration, public policy issues and government processes. Also, see Action to Educate – above.
General Fund - The LWVAL General Fund supports the League organization (administration, membership, the Voter) and program that includes study and advocacy.
General Meetings – Meetings to which all members are invited. The public is often invited to general meetings that deal with issues of general or community interest.
Issues for Emphasis – Channeling of League energy and resources toward action or advocacy in an area of one or more League positions. Action can involve lobbying, media releases, public meetings, development of League publications, etc. Local and state Leagues may use the term “Priorities for the Year” instead of Issues for Emphasis.
Mission Statement - The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Note - Mission Statement for Education Fund: The League of Women Voters Education Fund is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy issues.
Orientation – Information to help members understand the purpose of the League, its policies, and how it does business. Leagues hold new member orientations for the above purpose.
PMP (per member payment) - The amount local Leagues pay per member to state and national Leagues to support the League’s work on those levels. The amount of the PMP is determined by convention vote.
Portfolio – The specific area of responsibility of a board or off-board member.
Position – A written statement of the point of view of a League. The position is formulated after study and consensus or concurrence. Positions are the basis for League advocacy. Without position or a principle on which to base action, the League does not have authority to advocate.
Program – Items or issues of governmental concern adopted by members at annual meetings or conventions for study and/or action. The method of adoption of program is described in bylaws. Items for study are not eligible as a basis for action until a position from the study is adopted at a convention or annual meeting. New positions must be adopted at annual meetings or conventions. Existing positions are readopted at the same meetings.
Purpose of League - to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government. (Also, see Mission Statement.)
Study – The process by which members at all three levels of League learn about an issue adopted for study. The League assigns study items to a committee whose responsibility is to research the topic, define the issues, produce study/background material, propose the consensus questions to the appropriate board, provide study consensus materials to local Leagues, consolidate member responses to consensus questions, and propose a position to the appropriate board of directors. The study committee and the relevant board have the responsibility to ensure that the League study upholds the League’s commitment to objective research and definition of the issues and that the consensus/concurrence of members on study issues is accurately reflected in the position statement.
Unit Meetings – Smaller groups of local League members who meet at a set time and place. The size of the League determines the number of unit meetings held. The purpose of unit meetings is to study and discuss program items, register opinions of members if a consensus or concurrency is on the table, learn about new items or deal with organizational issues. In large Leagues that cover a number of governmental jurisdictions, some unit meetings may be devoted to specific local government issues of particular interest to the members of that unit.
Voter Service – Activity to encourage citizens to be politically active. Voter registration, non-partisan information on candidates or issues and candidate forums are voter service activities for which the League is most well known. Voter Service falls under Education Fund activity. – The process by which members at all three levels of League learn about an issue adopted for study. The League assigns study items to a committee whose responsibility is to research the topic, define the issues, produce study/background material, propose the consensus questions to the appropriate board, provide study consensus materials to local Leagues, consolidate member responses to consensus questions, and propose a position to the appropriate board of directors. The study committee and the relevant board have the responsibility to ensure that the League study upholds the League’s commitment to objective research and definition of the issues and that the consensus/concurrence of members on study issues is accurately reflected in the position statement.