POLYAS Election Glossary

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

Ballot Paper

A ballot paper (or election paper) is a form which voters fill out in order to excercise their right to vote. Ballot papers list the candidates running for an election and the voter can mark their preferences accordingly. Ballot papers can be considered official documents.

In order to ensure the election is legally valid, the creation and distribution of ballot papers must fulfill certain requirements. For instance, all voters must receive identical ballot papers (print, size, color etc.).  Moreover, the boxes displaying each candidate have to be the same font and size.

The traditional form of ballots are paper ballots, but ballots can also be created online and used digitally, or filled out by using a voting machine. 

See also: In-house election, ballot box election, postal vote, voting machine

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