Two lists are available that cover terms used by the League of Women Voters. Also available is a longer discussion of the terms Concurrence and Consensus that are often confused.
Board - Officers and directors who meet monthly, except July, to direct the League's business. Open to all members.
Budget - A detailed estimate of the financial needs and income of the League. Prepared by an appointed committee, presented to the Board, and adopted by members at the annual meeting. Our budget year runs from July 1 to June 30.
Citizen Information Service - A tax-exempt education arm of the Illinois League. Publishes educational material and distributes some League publications. (See also League of Women Voters Education Fund)
CONCURRENCE and CONSENSUS - See next page for discussion of these terms.
General Meeting - Meeting held to present a speaker or to act as a body. At the annual meeting held in May, the membership selects officers and directors, adopts local program, and conducts other business.
Inter-League Organization (ILO) - Members of all the local Leagues in an area organize to promote the purposes of the League and to study and take action on governmental matters of common concern.
League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) - The tax-exempt non-lobbying organization that provides Leagues and the public with research, publications, and other resources.
Non-Partisan Policy - The League is at all levels non-partisan. Our by-laws state: "The League may take action on governmental measures and policies in the public interest. It shall not support or oppose any political party or candidate." Our local non-partisan policy is interpreted and applied to each specific situation by our Board of Directors.
Observer - League member who attends community meetings and writes reports of the proceedings. An observer does not participate in the meetings or speak for the League.
Per Member Payment (PMP) – Set amount of dues payable to LWVUS and LWVIL for each member. PMP is determined by membership at convention.
Program - Governmental issues chosen for concerted study and action.
Study Committee - Research committee formed with a leader to study program items and present information to members in order to reach member agreement (consensus).
Time For Action (TFA) - A call for action by League members to express support for or opposition to legislation. Action may include lobbying, monitoring, and litigation. TFA is usually issued by the Illinois or U.S. League of Women Voters.
Unit Meeting - A general membership meeting to give information and organized discussion of an item in the League program. Goal of the informed discussion is objectivity, with emphasis on achieving tolerance of all points of view, leading to quality consensus. Guests are always welcome.
Voter - Bulletin published at local, state and national levels of the League and sent to every paid member of a local League.
Voter Service - Year round activity of the League intended to help achieve informed citizen participation in government. Service may include compiling and distributing factual information on political parties, issues, candidates, voter’s registration, polling places and other election procedures.
Before the League can act, members must agree in broad terms on what they think about various aspects of the issue. The board chooses from a number of processes that can be used singly or in combination to reach a decision about a program. Regardless of the process used, members should have an opportunity to become informed on the issue either through League or community resources before being asked to decide. The board chooses the approach to be used, recognizing that since issues are different in scope they need not all be treated alike. The nature of an issue will bear on how it is studied and how decisions are reached.
Whatever procedure is used, set ground rules at the beginning so that members will understand the process and the board will be helped in formulating the position based on member input and agreement. For example, if the consensus method (see section below) is combined with a member questionnaire (e.g., a bulletin tear-off), how will the replies of one or the other be weighted? If a questionnaire only is used, must a minimum number of members reply for the results to be valid?
Consensus/group discussion - Utilized as a technique for reaching member agreement, consensus is a process whereby members participate in a group discussion of an issue. The consensus” reached by members through group discussion is not a simple majority, nor is it unanimity, but refers to the overall “sense of the group” as expressed through the exchange of ideas and opinions.
The resource committee frames discussion questions which the board approves. These are presented during the study as a basis for member discussion. They help guide the study and focus discussion on the points that will ultimately be a part of the statement of position.
The board may wish to vary the procedure for some issues. Instead of developing discussion guidelines for consensus, it may design “reaction statements” to lead into and guide discussion. Member agreement emerges from the give and take that comes from group interaction and exchange of viewpoints. The stimulation of listening to and participating in the discussion and decisions can be an exciting experience.
Questionnaires - The board may decide to send a questionnaire to the entire membership or to a sampling. This can be sent in a special mailing or enclosed in the bulletin as a tear-off. It can repeat discussion questions or have completely distinct questions. It can be of the “yes/no/but” variety and may or may not invite comments.
Telephone polls - Member attitudes on issues can be sought on the telephone. If telephone polling is used either for the total membership or for a representative sampling, be sure members know the dates the calls will be made and the questions they will be asked, so they will be prepared to answer.
Concurrence - Concurrence is the act of agreeing with—or concurring with—a position. Concurrence has been a decision-making technique used by the League for some time. Concurrence can take place in many ways. Groups of League members or League boards can concur with:
- recommendations of a resource committee or a unit group;
- decision statements formulated by League boards;
- positions reached by another League or Leagues.