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Related to ballot: ballot box, Preferential ballot


means of voting for candidates for office. The choice may be indicated on or by the ballot forms themselves—e.g., colored balls (hence the term ballot, which is derived from the Italian ballotta, meaning "little ball"), printed tickets, or mechanical or electronic devices—or by the depositories into which the ballots are put.

The ballot was used in Athens in the 5th cent. B.C. by the popular courts and, on the question of ostracism, by the people as a whole; in India before 300 B.C.; and in Rome by the popular assemblies and occasionally by the senate. Ballots were not used during the Middle Ages, but reappeared in the Italian communes and in elections to the papacy during the 13th cent. In the 16th and 17th cent. the ballot appeared in English borough and university elections.

The General Court of Massachusetts elected governors by ballot after 1634; corn and beans were occasionally used as ballots. Early American ballots were known as "papers": the name ballot does not occur in America before 1676. The British colonies in America were the first to elect representatives by secret ballot, and its use was made obligatory in all but one of the state constitutions adopted in the United States between 1776 and 1780. In the 19th cent. the use of the ballot became widespread in local and national elections in Europe.

Groups wishing to intimidate popular governance have opposed the ballot. The effort to reform election abuses led to the widespread use of the Australian ballot, which was adopted in Victoria in 1857, in Great Britain in 1872, and grew increasingly popular in the United States after 1888. In the latter country it gradually replaced earlier methods of voting such as the lengthy "tickets" distributed by political parties. In the Australian system all candidates' names are printed on a single ballot and placed in the polling places at public expense, and the printing, distribution, and marking of the ballot are protected by law, thus assuring a secret vote.

The Australian ballot is now used in many European countries and in almost all sections of the United States. Separate ballots are frequently distributed for referendums and constitutional propositions. Mechanical, computerized, electronic, or optically scannable means of voting (see voting machinevoting machine,
instrument for recording and counting votes. The voting machine itself is generally positioned in a booth, often closed off by a curtain to assure secrecy for the voter.
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) are now used to record about 90% of all votes in the United States. Estonia used an Internet website as alternative means of voting for local candidates in 2005 and national candidates in 2007. The institution of official ballots and the use of voting machines have helped bring political parties under the scope of the law.

Some critics have denounced the excessive length of the United States ballots, claiming that voters are thus too pressed for time in their decisions. The use of the presidential short ballot, listing only the candidates, not the electors pledged to them, has not much alleviated this problem.



an electoral document for secret voting, the form of which is established by the state bodies involved in a particular election. In the USSR the ballot indicates the surname, given name, and patronymic of the candidate for deputy registered in the given electoral district (in the elections to the people’s courts, the ballot gives the name of the candidate for people’s judge) and gives the name of the organization that has nominated him. The ballot is printed in the language of the population of the corresponding electoral district. In accordance with the Election Statute, special rooms are set aside or separate booths are equipped on the election premises for filling out the ballot.


1. the democratic practice of selecting a representative, a course of action, or deciding some other choice by submitting the options to a vote of all qualified persons
2. an instance of voting, usually in secret using ballot papers or a voting machine
3. a list of candidates standing for office
4. the number of votes cast in an election
5. a random selection of successful applicants for something in which the demand exceeds the supply, esp for shares in an oversubscribed new issue
References in periodicals archive ?
That state merely modified two paragraphs in the state's election laws to require voting machines to be of the kind that "reads the voter's choice on a paper ballot.
Most TAPPI members received electronic ballots via email in November.
However, large numbers of provisional ballots did mean delays in final vote tallies as states determined each voter's eligibility before counting their provisional ballot.
Around 400 ballot papers had to be returned to voters because witness declarations had not been signed.
Bishop Spence emerged last during the third ballot and was dropped as a candidate, leaving only Bishops Ferris and Hutchison in the election.
Prior to the announcement of the ballot results, however, a written appeal of the matter was submitted to the NFPA Standards Council on December 10, 2002, on behalf of 18 appellants--PRISM International and 17 commercial storage providers.
The ballot access proposal, which was supported by a bevy of third parties, including the Libertarians, Greens, and Socialists, won unanimous initial approval from the committee.
To ensure balloting is secret, each voting member will be instructed to place the envelope containing the marked ballot inside a return envelope, which is to be signed by that member and returned to the independent counter.
It offers mail ballot tracking and audit capabilities to meet public and political demands for transparency.
Dag Robinson, Harney County Clerk said, "Before seeing Clear Ballot, I was seriously considering reverting back to hand counting ballots.
The IEC was directed to recount ballot boxes from the presidential election which meet the following criteria: * Where the total number of votes is equal to or greater than 600, which was the maximum number of ballots allocated to each polling station; * Where any one presidential candidate received 95 or more of the total valid votes cast in a polling station (if the total number of votes cast exceeds 100).