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absentee ballot - 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. ballot - a piece of paper listing the candidates running for office. A ballot is used to cast a vote. ballot box - a box in which votes are placed. ballot initiative - also called a ballot measure, referendum or proposition. A ballot initiative is a proposed piece of legislation (a law) that people can vote on. Bill of Rights - the ill of !ights is the first "# amendments to the $% &onstitution. These amendments were ratified on 'ecember "(, ")*". The ill of !ights was proposed to ensure that individuals would have civil rights and could avoid the tyranny of an overly-powerful central government. bipartisan - supported by members of the two ma+or political parties (the 'emocrats and the !epublicans). bicameral - consisting of two legislative branches, like the $% &ongress, which consists of the ,ouse of !epresentatives and the %enate. blanket primary - a primary election in which the names of all the candidates for all the parties are on one ballot. butterfly ballot - a type of paper ballot in which the actual voting is done by the central fold of a two-page, pamphlet-like ballot (the two open pages are like a butterfly-s wings. the voting is done where the butterfly-s body would be). campaign - 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. 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. /ot every $% state has caucuses. census - an official count of the number of people in a region. The survey is done by a government, usually periodically.. chad - a tiny bit of paper that is punched from a ballot using a punch-type mechanical voting machine. closed primary - a primary election in which only those voters who have registered as belonging to a particular political party can vote. 0or example, if it is a !epublican primary election, only those people who are registered !epublicans can vote (since that

election is to choose the !epublican candidate who will eventually run for office in the general election). Congress - the $% &ongress, which makes the country-s laws, is divided into the %enate and the ,ouse of !epresentatives. There are currently "## %enators (1 from each state) and 23( members of the ,ouse of !epresentatives (!epresentatives are divided by population among the states, with each state having at least " representative). Congressional district - an area within a state from which a member of the ,ouse of !epresentatives is elected. There are 23( &ongressional districts. 4ach district has about ()#,### people. %eats (positions) in the ,ouse of !epresentatives are reapportioned every "# years. since the number of !epresentatives is set to 23(, some areas lose !epresentatives and others gain some. conservative - people who generally like to uphold current conditions and oppose changes. &onservatives are often referred to as the right wing. convention - an official meeting of the delegates of a political party at which they choose their candidates and decide upon their party platform. debate - A formal, public political discussion involving two or more candidates for office. 5n a debate, candidates state and defend their positions on ma+or issues. 'ebates are often held in public places or are broadcast on radio, T6, and7or on the 5nternet. delegate - a person who is chosen to represent a local political party at a political convention. Democrat - a person who belongs to the 'emocratic political party. Democratic Party - a ma+or $% political party. The symbol of the 'emocratic party is the donkey. The first 'emocratic $% 8resident was Andrew 9ackson. democracy - 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. election - a process in which people vote to choose a leader or to decide an issue. Electoral College - a group of people who formally elect the president of the $%A (their vote happens after the popular vote). The 4lectoral &ollege is composed of delegates from each state (plus the 'istrict of &olumbia). (The number of delegates from each state is e:ual to the sum of that state-s %enators plus !epresentatives.) According to the $% &onstitution, the electors (chosen by popular vote) assemble in their respective state capitals on the first ;onday after the second <ednesday in 'ecember and vote for president. 4lectors 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 4lectoral &ollege votes (1)# out of (3= votes).

Executive Branch - the part of the $% government that administers the laws and other affairs of the government. it includes the 8resident (also called the &hief 4xecutive), the 8resident-s staff, executive agencies (the >ffice of ;anagement and udget, the /ational %ecurity &ouncil, etc.) and &abinet departments (like the %tate 'epartment, the 'ept. of 'efense, the 'ept. of Agriculture, etc.). exit poll - an informal poll taken as people leave the voting booth. 4xit polls are used to predict the outcome of the election before the polls are closed. Federal Election Campaign Act FECA! - a law passed in "*)" (and amended in "*)2, "*)? and "*)*) that limits the financing of campaigns for federal elections. The law re:uires 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 he7she is winning. general election - an election that is being held throughout the country on the same day. gerrymandering - 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. The term gerrymander was coined in "="1 when a county in ;assachusetts was redistricted into a salamander-like shape by @ov. 4lbridge @erry for political purposes. ,is last name was combined with the word salamander to get Agerrymander.A hanging chad - a chad is a tiny bit of paper that is punched from a ballot using a punchtype mechanical voting machine. A hanging chad is a chad that did not completely detach from the ballot. <hen there is a hanging chad, that vote may not be counted correctly. "ouse of Representatives - the ,ouse of !epresentatives is part of &ongress. they propose and vote on legislation (laws). There are 23( members of the ,ouse of !epresentatives (divided by population among the states, with each state having at least " representative). There are 23( &ongressional districts. 4ach district has about ()#,### people. %eats (positions) in the ,ouse of !epresentatives are reapportioned every "# years. since the number of !epresentatives is set to 23(, some areas lose !epresentatives and others gain some. !epresentatives are elected to a term of 1 years. incumbent - a person who is currently in office. independent - a person who is not associated with any political party. #udicial Branch - The part of the $% government that settles disputes and administers +ustice. The +udicial branch is made up of the court system, including $% 'istrict &ourts, many 0ederal courts, the $% &ourt of Appeals (also called the 0ederal &ircuit &ourts), and the %upreme &ourt.

$egislative Branch - the part of the $% government that makes the laws and appropriates funds. The Begislative ranch includes the $% ,ouse of !epresentative and %enate (plus congressional staffs and committees) plus support agencies (like the @eneral Accounting >ffice, the &ongressional udget >ffice, the Bibrary of &ongress, etc.). liberal - people who generally like to reform current conditions. Biberals are often referred to as the left wing. $ibertarian - a person who belongs to the Bibertarian 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 &ongress) to enact legislation that would benefit their group. ma%ority - more than half of the votes. matching funds - public money that is given to presidential candidates in an amount e:ual to the amount that they have raised privately. 'uring the primary season (before the convention), candidates who use matching funds may get up to C1(# in matching funds for each individual contribution they get. The matching funds are mostly financed by $.%. taxpayers (they can check a box to give C3.## of their taxes when they pay their federal income taxes). &cCain'Feingold $a( - also called the ipartisan &ampaign !eform Act. 5t is a law that attempted to reduce the influence of people giving Asoft moneyA to politicians. The law limits the amount of Asoft moneyA that can be given to a political party and how much can be spent on political advertising. This law was named for its sponsors, 9ohn ;c&ain, !epublican %enator from AriDona, and !ussell 0eingold, 'emocratic %enator from <isconsin. midterm election - a general election that does not coincide with a presidential election year, but occurs two years into the term of a president. 5n a midterm election, some members of the $% %enate, all members of the ,ouse of !epresentatives, and many state and local positions are voted on. motor'voter bill - a bill passed by &ongress in "**3 that lets $% citiDens register to vote when they apply for a driver-s license. negative ads - political advertisements that attack a candidate-s opponent, often trying to destroy the opponent-s character. open primary - a primary in which all registered voters can vote, regardless of which party they have registered under. platform - a formal written document that states a political party-s stances on important issues and its goals for the future.

plurality - 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! - 8A&-s are political groups that are not formally related to a particular political party, but are associated with other groups (like labor unions, corporations, etc.). 8A&-s try to influence elections and candidates by giving money to them so that they can later have laws passed that would favor their group. political party - an organiDed group of people with common values and goals, who try to get their candidates elected to office. The 'emocrats and the !epublicans are the two ma+or political parties in the $%A 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. poll tax - money that must be paid in order to vote. There used to be poll taxes in some places in the $%A. this tax kept many poor people from voting since they could not afford to pay the tax. The 12th Amendment to the &onstitution (ratified in "*?2) made poll taxes illegal. popular vote - 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 4lectoral &ollege is different). precinct - the smallest geographic area in $% voting subdivisions, in which local party officials are elected. A precinct usually has from 1## to ",### voters in it. 4ach precinct has an elected precinct captain (the neighborhood party leader). The purpose of a precinct is vote for a candidate and to elect delegates who will go to the city or county convention, and relay the precinct-s vote for that candidate. primary election - 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. 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. redistricting - a process in which the physical boundaries of a voting district are changed. referendum - also called a ballot measure, initiative or proposition. A ballot initiative is a proposed piece of legislation (a law) that people can vote on.

representative democracy - a government in which the adult citiDens of the country vote to elect the country-s leaders. These elected leaders make the governmental decisions. Republican - a person who belongs to the !epublican political party. Republican Party - a ma+or $% political party also known as the @.>.8. (standing for the @rand >ld 8arty). The symbol of the !epublican party is the elephant. The !epublican party was founded as an anti-slavery party in the mid "=##s. The first !epublican $% 8resident was Abraham Bincoln. )enate - the %enate is part of &ongress. %enators propose and vote on legislation (laws). There are "## members of the %enate (two %enators for each state). %enators are elected to a term of ? 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. stra( vote - an unofficial vote used to predict how an election might turn out. suffrage - the right or privilege of voting. suffragette - a person who campaigned for the right of women to vote. The "*th amendment (ratified in "*1#) to the $% &onstitution gave women the right to vote. super delegate - a special delegate chosen by the party (not elected). their convention vote is not bound by the popular vote or caucus votes. %uper delegates are seated because of their position in the party or government, or are chosen by their state party. 'emocrats have super delegates. )uper *uesday - a day on which many primaries are held. This term began in "*==, 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 /ew ,ampshire primary and 5owa caucuses). s(ing voters - voters who do not have allegiance to a particular political party. term limits - limits on the length of time that a politician can stay in office. 0or example, the 8resident of the $nited %tates is limited to two four-year terms of office. third party - any political party other than the two ma+or parties (the two current ma+or parties are the 'emocrats and !epublicans). to(n meeting - a meeting of the voters of a town in order to discuss and sometimes decide upon issues.

+) Constitution - the official document that is the basis of government and law in the $nited %tates. 5t was written in ")=), and ratified in ")=*. ;any amendments have been added since then. vote - a way to show your preference and choose elected leaders or decide on initiatives. 8eople can vote by marking a piece of paper, raising their hand, or filling out a form on a computer. voting booth - a small enclosure in which a person votes. voting machine - a mechanical device used for voting. There are many different types of voting machines.