Election Vocabulary for English Language Learners 

Submitted by CCCL_AlbertG

Regional, State, and National elections can be confusing for anyoneHere is a list of words and definitions to help with the upcoming elections for English Language Learners: 

  • Ballot: either in paper form or electronic, the way voters show their vote preferences or a list of candidates. (ballot box: the box used to hold ballots to be counted). 
  • Candidate: the person running for elected office. 
  • Contributor/donor: a person or organization that donates money to a candidate’s campaign for office. 
  • Convention: a meeting where a political party chooses its presidential candidate. 
  • Delegates: the people who have been chosen to represent each state at a political party’s convention. 
  • Democracy: a form of government in which people hold power, either by voting for measures directly or by voting for representatives who vote for them. 
  • Incumbent: a person who already holds an office and is running for reelection 
  • Independent voter: A person who chooses to register to vote with no party affiliation. The decision to register as an independent voter does not register a voter with any third party although these third parties are often referred to as independent parties. 
  • Nominee: the candidate a political party chooses or nominates, to run in the national election. 
  • Platform: A political party's formal statement of basic principles, stands on major issues, and objectives. 
  • Political parties and symbols: The Republican Party is symbolized as an elephant. The Democratic Party is symbolized as a donkey. 
  • Polling place: a place where voters go to cast their votes in an election. 
  • Popular vote: a tally of all the votes citizens have cast in the presidential election. 
  • Representative: a member of the House of Representatives, also called a congressman or congresswoman. 
  • Running mate: a candidate who is running for office with another candidate on the same ticket. (Example: president and vice president.) 
  • Suffrage: the right, privilege, or act of voting. 
  • Swing voters: voters who do not have a commitment to a particular political party.

For more information, visit ccclib.org for books on the election process and the library’s Digital Resources for current articles about the upcoming election.   

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