POLYAS Election Glossary

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


A candidate is ultimately an applicant for a position. The term most commonly refers to candidates standing for election for political offices.

Origin of the word candidate is the Latin term candidare toga, which means the white robe of candidates standing for a position. The term later began to be used for candidates for political positions.

The candidate is, during their application, under observation by the public and is tested regarding their political, economic and social views and policies as well as their personal background. In election campaigns, only a handful of candidates are in the political party and media focus, the so-called top candidates. 

The front runners are the candidates that are expected to compete for the overall victory in the election and who are, therefore, most likely to be the next leader, senator, representative etc. 


See also: Elections, Election Campaign, Proportional Vote, Write-in Candidate

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