Polyas Election Glossary

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

  • The term absentee voting means voting from a place other than the poll site.
  • Abstaned vote is a form of exercising of the voting right, by which the voter voters neither for or against the motion in question.
  • An Act of Parliament is a piece of primary legislation which has been passed into law by Parliament.
  • 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
  • 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 constituency is a geographically defined area in which voters elect a representative to a legislative body such as a parliament.
  • 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
  • Protection of the private sphere in the face of illegal usage of your personal data
  • Data security gives a level to which data is protected against unauthorised access, damage and accidental losses.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Proxy voting means having someone else cast your vote for you.
  • Regulations are legal norms, issued by the executives.
  • 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.
  • Safe Harbour was a decision made by the EU Commission in order to protect personal data transfer in the USA.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Swing states are those in US presidential elections that could potentially be won by either candidate.
  • Codetermination is a system of corporate governance under which employees of an organization can vote for representatives on its board of directors.
  • Write-in candidates are candidates whose names do not appear on the ballot but are filled in regardless.