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a mailable paper ballot that is used by voters who will not be able to vote (or choose not to vote) at their home precinct on election day (like military personnel stationed overseas). The voter mails the absentee ballot before election day and it is counted on election day. abstract
a document signed by the members of the board of elections showing the votes for each candidate and ballot proposal on the official ballot in the election. The abstract shall show a total number of votes for each candidate in each precinct and a total for each candidate in the county. It shall also show the number of votes for each candidate among the absentee official ballots, among the provisional official ballots, and in any other category of official ballots that is not otherwise reported. At-Large
At-large refers to offices that are elected by the voters of an entire county or district even though the office may only represent one part of the county or district. audio ballot
An audio ballot means the ability of a voting system to read the contents of a ballot to a voter through the use of headphones. ballot
a piece of paper listing the candidates running for office. A ballot is used to cast a vote.
an instrument on which a voter indicates a choice so that it may be recorded as a vote for or against a certain candidate or referendum proposal. The term "ballot " may include a paper ballot to be counted by hand, a paper ballot to be counted on an electronic scanner, the face of a lever voting machine, the image on a direct record electronic unit, or a ballot used on any other voting system.
also called a ballot measure, referendum or proposition. A ballot initiative is a proposed piece of legislation (a law) that people can vote on. ballot item
a single item on a ballot in which the voters are to choose between or among the candidates or proposals listed. ballot style
the version of a ballot within a jurisdiction that an individual voter is eligible to vote. For example, in a county that uses essentially the same official ballot, a group office such as county commissioner may be divided into districts so that different voters in the same county vote for commissioner in different districts. The different versions of the county's official ballot containing only those district ballot items one individual voter may vote are the county's different ballot styles. bipartisan
supported by members of the two major political parties (the Democrats and the Republicans).
a series of political actions (like advertisements, public appearances, and debates) that are used to help a candidate get elected to office. candidate
a person who is running for an office. A person having filed a notice of candidacy under the appropriate statute for any elective office in this State canvass
The canvass is the process of compiling election results. Canvass begins at the precinct after the polls close on election night. It must be completed before the precinct election officials leave. The canvass continues with the county board of elections. The board compiles election results from all precincts and makes the official report of the outcome of the election within the county. The state board of canvassers approves official results of the election. caucus
an informal meeting at which potential voters and candidates (or their representatives) talk about the issues and their preferred candidate, and then decide which candidate they support and which delegates to send to their political party's convention. Not every US state has caucuses.
an official count of the number of people in a region. The survey is done by a government, usually periodically. certificate of election
a document prepared by the official or body with the legal authority to do so,conferring upon a candidate the right to assume an elective office as a result of being elected to it. Challenge of Voter Registration
A registered voter of a county may challenge the registration of another registered voter in the same county. A challenge must be a statement made in writing alleging that the voter does not meet the qualifications necessary to register to vote. The challenge must be filed with the county board of elections.
A challenged voter is a voter whose right to vote has been challenged. Challenges may be made either at the polls or filed with the county auditor for voters who cast absentee ballots. A voter may be challenged for any of the following reasons: Not a citizen of the United States, Less than 18 years of age on Election Day, Not a resident at the address where the person is registered, Not a resident of the precinct where the person is offering to vote, Convicted of a felony and voting rights have not been restored, or Deceased. closed primary
a primary election in which only those voters who have registered as belonging to a particular political party can vote. For example, if it is a Republican primary election, only those people who are registered Republicans can vote (since that election is to choose the Republican candidate who will eventually run for office in the general election). Congress
the US Congress, which makes the country's laws, is divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are currently 100 Senators (2 from each state) and 435 members of the House of Representatives (Representatives are divided by population among the states, with each state having at least 1 representative). Congressional district
an area within a state from which a member of the House of Representatives is elected. There are 435 Congressional districts. Each district has about 570,000 people. Seats (positions) in the House of Representatives are reapportioned every 10 years; since the number of Representatives is set to 435, some areas lose Representatives and others gain some. conservative
people who generally like to uphold current conditions and oppose changes. Conservatives are often referred to as the right wing. contribution
any advance,conveyance, deposit, distribution, transfer of funds,loan, payment, gift, pledge or subscription of money or anything of value whatsoever, to a candidate to support or oppose the nomination or election of one or more clearly identified candidates, to a political committee, to a political party, or to a referendum committee, whether or not made in an election year, and any contract, agreement, or other obligation to make a contribution. An expenditure forgiven by a person or entity to whom it is owed shall be reported as a contribution from that person or entity. These terms include, without limitation, such contributions as labor or personal services, postage, publication of campaign literature or materials, in-kind transfers, loans or use of any supplies, office machinery, vehicles, aircraft, office space, or similar or related services, goods, or personal or real property. These terms also include, without limitation, the proceeds of sale of services, campaign literature and materials, wearing apparel, tickets or admission prices to campaign events such as rallies or dinners,and the proceeds of sale of any campaign-related services or goods. convention
an official meeting of the delegates of a political party at which they choose their candidates and decide upon their party platform.
A formal, public political discussion involving two or more candidates for office. In a debate, candidates state and defend their positions on major issues. Debates are often held in public places or are broadcast on radio, TV, and/or on the Internet. delegate
a person who is chosen to represent a local political party at a political convention.
a form of government in which people hold the power, either by voting for measures directly or by voting for representatives who vote for them.
a person who belongs to the Democrat political party.
a major US political party. The symbol of the Democratic party is the donkey. The first Democratic US President was Andrew Jackson.
the event in which voters cast votes in ballot items concerning proposals or candidates for office in this State or the United States. The term includes primaries, general elections, referenda, and special elections. election cycle
The period of time from January 1 after an election for an office through December 31 after the election for the next term of the same office. Where the term is applied in the context of several offices with different terms, "election cycle" means the period from January 1 of an odd-numbered year through December 31 of the next even-numbered year. Electoral College
a group of people who formally elect the president of the USA (their vote happens after the popular vote). The Electoral College is composed of delegates from each state (plus the District of Columbia). (The number of delegates from each state is equal to the sum of that state's Senators plus Representatives.) According to the US Constitution, the electors (chosen by popular vote) assemble in their respective state capitals on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December and vote for president. Electors are supposed to vote for the candidate who received a plurality of votes in the state or area they represent. To become president, a candidate must get more than half of the Electoral College votes (270 out of 538 votes). exit poll
an informal poll taken as people leave the voting booth. Exit polls are used to predict the outcome of the election before the polls are closed.
Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)
a law passed in 1971 (and amended in 1974, 1976 and 1979) that limits the financing of campaigns for federal elections. The law requires that candidates and their political committees let the public know who gives them money and how they spend that money. The law also regulates the public funding of presidential elections. front runner
a front runner is the political candidate who looks as though he/she is winning.
an election that is being held throughout the country on the same day.
a process in which a voting district is broken up or the physical boundaries of a voting district are changed in order to make it easier for one political party to win future elections. (see redistricting) The term gerrymander was coined in 1812 when a county in Massachusetts was redistricted into a salamander-like shape by Gov. Elbridge Gerry for political purposes. His last name was combined with the word salamander to get "gerrymander." House of Representatives
the House of Representatives is part of Congress; they propose and vote on legislation (laws). There are 435 members of the House of Representatives (divided by population among the states, with each state having at least 1 representative). There are 435 Congressional districts. Each district has about 570,000 people. Seats (positions) in the House of Representatives are reapportioned every 10 years; since the number of Representatives is set to 435, some areas lose Representatives and others gain some. Representatives are elected to a term of 2 years. incumbent
a person who is currently in office. liberal
people who generally like to reform current conditions. Liberals are often referred to as the left wing. Libertarian
a person who belongs to the Libertarian political party. lobbyist
people who are associated with groups (like labor unions, corporations, etc.) and who try to persuade members of the government (like members of Congress) to enact legislation that would benefit their group. majority
more than half of the votes.
public money that is given to presidential candidates in an amount equal to the amount that they have raised privately. During the primary season (before the convention), candidates who use matching funds may get up to $250 in matching funds for each individual contribution they get. The matching funds are mostly financed by U.S. taxpayers (they can check a box to give $3.00 of their taxes when they pay their federal income taxes). McCain - Feingold Law
also called the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It is a law that attempted to reduce the influence of people giving "soft money" to politicians. The law limits the amount of "soft money" that can be given to a political party and how much can be spent on political advertising. This law was named for its sponsors, John McCain, Republican Senator from Arizona, and Russell Feingold, Democratic Senator from Wisconsin.
a general election that does not coincide with a presidential election year, but occurs two years into the term of a president. In a midterm election, some members of the US Senate, all members of the House of Representatives, and many state and local positions are voted on.
motor - voter bill
a bill passed by Congress in 1993 that lets US citizens register to vote when they apply for a driver's license and is officially termed the National Voter Registration Act or NVRA.
political advertisements that attack a candidate's opponent, often trying to destroy the opponent's character.
a ballot that has been certified by the State Board of Elections and produced by or with the approval of the county board of elections. The term does not include a sample ballot or a specimen ballot. platform
a formal written document that states a political party's stances on important issues and its goals for the future.
in most elections, the person who gets more votes than anyone else is the winner (even if it isn't more than half of the votes). That person is said to have a plurality of the votes. Political Action Committee (PAC)
a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a matter of state and federal law. Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, an organization becomes a "political committee" by receiving contributions or making expenditures in excess of $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election. political party
an organized group of people with common values and goals, who try to get their candidates elected to office. The Democrats and the Republicans are the two major political parties in the USA today. politician
a person who is running for office or has won an election and is already in office. poll
a survey of people (usually voters) that is taken to find out which candidate or issue they might vote for.
money that must be paid in order to vote. There used to be poll taxes in some places in the USA; this tax kept many poor people from voting since they could not afford to pay the tax. The 24th Amendment to the Constitution (ratified in 1964) made poll taxes illegal.
the site within a precinct where voting takes place.
the result of the votes of the eligible voters. The winner of the popular vote usually wins the election (but not always - sometimes the outcome of the vote of the Electoral College is different).
Chief Judges, Judges and all assistants serving at the precinct.
an election that chooses a political party's candidate for office. The winning candidates from each party will later go up against each other in the general election.
a complaint concerning the conduct of an election which, if supported by sufficient evidence, may require remedy by one or more of the following: a. A correction in the returns. b. A discretionary recount as provided in G.S. 163-182.7. c. A new election as provided in G.S. 163-182.13. protest vote
a vote for a third party candidate (who is not likely to win) that is meant to show displeasure with the mainstream candidates or parties.
an official ballot that is voted and then placed in an envelope that contains an affidavit signed by the voter certifying identity and eligibility to vote. Except for its envelope, a provisional official ballot shall not be marked to make it identifiable to the voter. A provisional is used when the voter cannot be found in the voter registration records. It is counted after research has been completed to confirm the voter is eligible to vote.
a process in which the physical boundaries of a voting district are changed.
the event in which voters cast votes for or against ballot questions other than the election of candidates to office. Also called a ballot measure, initiative or proposition. It is a proposed piece of legislation (a law) that people can vote on.
A form of government where the powers of the sovereignty are delegated to a body of men, elected from time to time, who exercise them for the benefit of the whole nation. republic
a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to the voters and governing according to law. Republican
a person who belongs to the Republican political party.
a major US political party also known as the G.O.P. (standing for the Grand Old Party). The symbol of the Republican party is the elephant. The Republican party was founded as an anti-slavery party in the mid 1800s. The first Republican US President was Abraham Lincoln. Senate
the Senate is part of Congress. Senators propose and vote on legislation (laws). There are 100 members of the Senate (two Senators for each state). Senators are elected to a term of 6 years. soft money
money that is given to a political party but is not given specifically to support a particular candidate. This money is supposed to be used for purposes such as voter registration drives, administrative costs and general political party expenses, but is often used by the parties to help particular candidates. straw vote
an unofficial vote used to predict how an election might turn out.
the right or privilege of voting. suffragette
a person who campaigned for the right of women to vote. The 19th amendment (ratified in 1920) to the US Constitution gave women the right to vote.
a special delegate chosen by the party (not elected); their convention vote is not bound by the popular vote or caucus votes. Super delegates are seated because of their position in the party or government, or are chosen by their state party. Democrats have super delegates.
a day on which many primaries are held. This term began in 1988, when many southern states decided to hold their primaries on the same day to try to boost their political importance (in relation to the importance of the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses).
voters who do not have allegiance to a particular political party.
limits on the length of time that a politician can stay in office. For example, the President of the United States is limited to two four-year terms of office. third party
any political party other than the two major parties (the two current major parties are the Democrats and Republicans). town meeting
a meeting of the voters of a town in order to discuss and sometimes decide upon issues. vote
a way to show your preference and choose elected leaders or decide on initiatives. People can vote by marking a piece of paper, raising their hand, or filling out a form on a computer. voting booth
the private space in which a voter is to mark an official ballot. voting enclosure
the room within the voting place that is used for voting. voting machine
a mechanical device used for voting. In Mecklenburg County, the iVotronic is used for in-person voting.voting system
a system of casting and tabulating ballots. The term includes systems of paper ballots counted by hand as well as systems utilizing mechanical and electronic voting equipment.
On July 1, 2021 Mecklenburg County will increase service capacity. Read the latest service availability update.