Polyas Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

  • Absentee voting allows people to vote without having to be physically present on election day.
  • An abstained vote means voting neither for nor against any candidate or motion.
  • An Act of Parliament is a piece of primary legislation which has been passed into law by Parliament.
  • Advance voting allows voters to cast their ballots before the scheduled election day or period.
  • An association's bylaws are essentially the constitution of the association.
  • Associations are organizations whose members share a common interest or work towards the same goal.
  • Authentication is the process and result of verification. Online voting is only possible for authenticated voters.
  • The ballot box election is a classic form of attendance voting where voting takes place directly at the polling place.
  • The ballot paper is a card with which eligible voters excercise their voting right
  • Bellwether states are those states in the US whose electorates tend to reflect the voting behavior of the entire country.
  • The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution
  • A block checksum ensures the safe transfer and storage of ballots in an online election
  • Brokered conventions occur when no candidate receives a majority in the primaries.
  • The BSI is responsible for IT security in higher federal administraion, and has a main seat in Bonn
  • The introduction and implementation of BSI standards is important for the functioning of IT risk management. The standards allow testing IT security and obtaining an IT security certificate.
  • By-elections are held to fill vacancies which arise before the end of the legislative term.
  • Bylaws comprise of contractual specifications which substantiate legal regulations of a corporation, association, cooperative and other institutions.
  • Caucus is part of the primary election process where party members vote for their preferred Presidential candidate.
  • Chambers of commerce are associations of businesses which exist to influence and lobby government on issues impacting on business.
  • Cloture is a procedure used in the U.S. Senate to end stalling debates
  • A code of ethics is a set of guiding principles that help members of organizations, professionals or employees act with integrity as they carry out their roles.
  • Codetermination is a system of corporate governance under which employees of an organization can vote for representatives on its board of directors.
  • Common Criteria are internationally recognised security standards for the testing and assessment of IT products.
  • Compulsory voting refers to the practice of forcing a population to vote in a given election by law.
  • A conflict of interest arises when a person or organisation has multiple interests, one of which threatens to corrupt the decision-making process of the person or organisation with regards to the other interest.
  • A constituency is a geographically defined area in which voters elect a representative to a legislative body such as a parliament.
  • A constitution is a set of fundamental rules that determine how a country or state is run.
  • Cooperatives are member organizations which share a common interest and are owned by the members
  • In a council vote, the members of an employee representation body are elected in the public sector.
  • Credit unions are financial co-operatives which are owned by their members.
  • Cumulative voting allows voters to cast several votes for one candidate in an election.
  • In a proportional representation system, the number of votes won by each party needs to be translated into seats. The D'Hondt-method is one way of allocating seats amongst parties.
  • The production of security copies for the purposes of re-establishing data in case of data loss
  • Data protection generally refers to securing data against loss or damage.
  • Data security generally refers to securing data against unauthorized use.
  • Delegates are people authorized to vote on behalf of others in an indirect election.
  • A digital key consists of random strings, which combined with an algorithm convert data in a coded text.
  • Digital Single Market stands for a strategy for strengthening digital economy within the EU.
  • Digital voting (also known as web voting) refers to systems which make use of digital technologies, specifically the internet, to allow people to vote in an election and votes to be counted online.
  • In direct elections single persons are elected in an certain administrative body.
  • Early voting occurs when voters can cast their vote before the official election day.
  • During an election campaign, candidates or parties compete for votes.
  • Election day refers to the day that voters participate in an election, and election night is the evening after in which the results are normally announced.
  • Voter fraud, electoral fraud or vote rigging are intentional, illegal actions aimed at changing or influencing or forcing the results of an election.
  • Here are the core principles of a democratic election for political elections as established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
  • An election is a democratic procedure through which one or more persons are chosen as executives or representatives in certain bodies.
  • E-voting means voters can cast their vote electronically
  • Filibuster is a tactic used by minorities in the U.S. Senate to stall parliamentary decisions by prolonging debates.
  • First past the post is the electoral system which is used in UK and U.S. elections.
  • George Pólya was a mathematician and is the namesake of Polyas.
  • A hanging chad is a fragment of a punched card ballot paper, which remains attached to it, resulting in an incompletely filled out ballot.
  • Hard money is a donation or contribution made directly to a specific political candidate.
  • The Hare-Niemeyer method is a mathematical method to calculate the allocation of seats in a proportional representation election.
  • In-house elections is a classic form of direct vote casting in a poll site. There is also the option of in-house voting with voting devices.
  • An Independent politician is someone who it not affiliated with a political party.
  • Internet elections (also: internet voting) comprise of various forms of electronic elections where the ballot paper is filled out digitally.
  • An invalid vote is a vote which doesn't count towards the final election result.
  • IT risk management describes a catalogue of security measures from the BSI, for the purposes of protecting IT systems against various hazzards.
  • IT-Security means the confidentiality, integrity and availability of IT systems.
  • iVoting refers to systems which allow people to vote in an election or referendum from any device connected to the internet.
  • Labor unions are the representation of a body of workers who band together in order to protect their interests and rights through collective bargaining.
  • Law
    Laws come about in an intended constitutional legislative process due to an act of will by the legislation organs of a state.
  • A legal rule is an official, abstract and general directive, which substantiates legal regulations.
  • The legislative term is the period of time for which an elected official holds office.
  • Licensing boards are bodies which have the authority to grant licenses to people so that they can work in a particular profession.
  • In a list election several candidates are elected together 'en bloc' from the so-called election lists.
  • Majority vote is an election system in which a candidate with the majority of votes wins the elections.
  • The term mandate refers to an order or authorization, and in political terms specifically describes the authority given by an electorate to act as its representative.
  • Mutuals are member organizations which operate for the benefit of their members and provide services to them.
  • Net neutrality is a concept that Internet service providers have to treat all data equally.
  • None of the above is an option that allows a voter to not cast vote for any of the candidates on a ballot.
  • An appointed official acting as an external examiner on government institutions that works independently to protect the rights of the people.
  • Online polling describes a digital decision-making process
  • An online election is a legal election with vote casting over the Internet, free from space and time constraints.
  • Panachage allows voters to allocate their votes to candidates across different party lists.
  • Parliamentary sovereignty means that parliament is superior to the executive and judicial branches of government
  • Polls allow decision-making through vote casting
  • A polling card (also known as a poll card) provides information about the logistics of how and where people can vote in an election or referendum.
  • A polling place is a physical location where people go to cast their vote during an election
  • A form of long-distance voting, not dependent on place or time of the ballot
  • The Presidential election process is a complex process to elect the President of the United States.
  • Primaries are conducted to select a candidate within a party, especially in the Presidential election.
  • The Prime Minister in the UK is the head of government and the most powerful member of the core executive.
  • Proportional representation e is an election system where the seats are allocated to the proportion of the votes cast according to determined methods.
  • Provisional ballots ensure that all qualified voters have a chance to cast a ballot even if their eligibility is questioned at the polls.
  • Proxy voting means having someone else cast your vote for you.
  • Pushing polling is a controversial form of negative campaigning in which pseudo opinion polls are used to influence the views and beliefs of voters.
  • The Canadian Regulated Health Professions Act establishes the regulatory and legal framework for all health professionals in Canada.
  • Regulations are legal norms, issued by the executives.
  • Council members of regulatory colleges make up the governing body (the Council) of those organizations.
  • Regulatory colleges are legal, governing bodies which regulate the practice of a particular profession.
  • A resolution is a decision an organization makes to take a particular course of action.
  • Royal colleges are regulatory colleges in Commonwealth countries which have had royal patronage and been allowed to use “royal” in the title of their organization.
  • Safe Harbour was a decision made by the EU Commission in order to protect personal data transfer in the USA.
  • Sealing the ballot box means closing it off so that its contents can’t be tampered with.
  • Single transferable vote (STV) is a electoral system in which seats are allocated to candidates in order to achieve proportional representation, and where each candidate is ranked in order of preference by voters.
  • Social clubs are organizations that consist of members that have a common interest.
  • Soft money is a donation or contribution made to a political party.
  • A spoilt vote is a ballot that has been declared void and will not be included in the vote count.
  • Staff council is the term for for works councils in public institutions.
  • Swing states are those in US presidential elections that could potentially be won by either candidate.
  • Tactical voting refers to the practice of voting for a candidate that is not one's favorite in order to prevent a less desirable candidate from winning.
  • The Democratic Party in the US is one of the two major political parties in the country today.
  • The Republican Party in the US is one of the two major political parties in the country today.
  • The US census is a count of the population of the country held every ten years by the United States Census Bureau
  • Voter fatigue refers to the apathy and disengagement an electorate may feel.
  • Voter secrecy is a fundamental democratic principle whereby voters are free to anonymously cast their vote in an election or referendum.
  • Voter suppression occurs when a certain group is prevented from voting.
  • Voter turnout shows the percentage of eligible voters who actually cast a vote.
  • Voting booths are small, usually enclosed, spaces when voters can secretly cast their vote.
  • Electronic voting machines are special devices which are created for the electronic voting and elections used in the polling station.
  • The Webster or Sainte-Laguë/Schepers method is used to calculate the allocation of seats in an election.
  • Write-in candidates are candidates whose names do not appear on the ballot but are filled in regardless.