Ballotpedia:Index of Terms

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For a full list of terms and definitions, click here.

This page is an editing tool for writers on Ballotpedia. It highlights format standards, key terms and definitions used throughout the site. If you have any questions, please e-mail editor@ballotpedia.org.

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Key voting and election terms:

501(c)(3)501(c)(4)Absentee ballotAbsentee ballot vote fraudBallotBallot box stuffingBradley effectCanvassingCaucusCitizenClosed primaryConstituencyConstitutionConstitutional amendmentDead people votingDelegatesDemocracyDirect democracyEarly votingElectionElection assistance commission (EAC) • Election day registrationElectorElectorateElectronic voting fraudEligible voterExit pollingFederal Election Commission (FEC) • Felon vote fraudHelp America Vote Act (HAVA) • Independent expenditureJim Crow lawsOpen primaryOvervotePhone jammingPlatformPluralityPolitical action committee (PAC) • Poll taxPolling locationPrecinctPresidential primaryPrimary electionProportional representationProtest votePush pollingRegistered voterRunoff primarySame day registrationShy Elephant FactorStraight party votingStraight-ticket votingSuper PACThird-party voter registrationUndervoteVoter caging and purgingVoter impersonationVoter registrationVoter registration driveVoter registration fraudVotingVoting boothVoting machinesVoting more than onceVoting Rights ActWilder effect

...more terms available here.



Search tips

Tips for searching election pages:

To search for pages within the Election project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:

For state specific pages, use:

  • [[STATE elections, YEAR]].

For state specific voting and ballot access information, use:

  • [[Voting in STATE]] or [[Ballot access requirements for political candidates in STATE]].

Tips for searching policy pages:

To search for pages within Policypedia, try searching for the following:

For energy policy pages, use:

  • [[Energy policy in STATE]] or [[Fracking in STATE]].

For environmental policy pages, use:

  • [[Environmental policy in STATE]].

For education policy pages, use:

  • [[Public education in STATE]] or [[School choice in STATE]].

For budget policy pages, use:

  • [[STATE state budget]] or [[Tax policy in STATE]].

For pension policy pages, use:

  • [[Tax policy in STATE]] or [[Public pensions in STATE]].
Contents
1 Federal
1.1 Presidential elections
1.2 Congress
1.3 Federal Affairs
1.4 Federal courts

Presidential elections

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Key Presidential Elections terms:

Possible presidential candidates, 2016Electoral College
To search for pages within the Presidential Elections project on Ballotpedia, please use the following tips:
  • Use the Presidential portal to navigate to the appropriate campaign overview page.
  • If you know the name of the candidate or possible candidate, you can navigate directly to his or her page. Ex: [[Marco Rubio presidential candidate, 2016]].

Congress

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Key Congressional terms:

United States CongressUnited States SenateUnited States House of RepresentativesUnited States Constitution
BicameralismFederal Election CommissionFederal governmentFilibusterEarmarksPork barrel spendingRedistrictingSuper PAC
...more terms available here.



Tips for searching Congressional election pages:

Ballotpedia's first elections coverage began in 2012.
To search for pages within the Congress project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:
  • [[United States Senate election in STATE, YEAR]].
  • [[United States House of Representatives elections in STATE, YEAR]].
  • [[STATE's NUMBER Congressional District election, YEAR]].
  • [[United States Senate special election in STATE, YEAR]] or [[STATE's NUMBER Congressional District special election, YEAR]].

Federal affairs

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Key Federal Affairs terms:

Possible 2016 U.S. Presidential candidatesElectoral College
Healthcare.gov website rolloutHealth insurance policy cancellations since Obamacare
To search for pages within the Federal Affairs project on Ballotpedia, please use the following tips:
  • Use the portal page chart to navigate to the appropriate cabinet, office, appointment and/or nominee.
  • If you know the name of the official, you can navigate directly to his or her page. Ex: [[Janet Yellen]].

Federal courts

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Key judicial terms:

AffidavitAppellate CourtArbitrationBlue slipCapital punishmentCertiorariChief JusticeCivil law (common law)Civil procedureCourt of last resortCourt of recordCriminal lawCum laudeEn bancFamily lawSenior statusGubernatorial appointment of judgesHabeas CorpusJudge shoppingJudicial activismJudicial minimalismJudicial restraintJuris DoctorJurisdictionJuryLimited jurisdictionLL.B.LL.M.MandamusMandatory RetirementMinor (law)Original jurisdictionOriginalismPer curiamPhilosophy of lawPrerogative writProcedendoProcedural lawProhibition (writ)Purposive theoryQuo warrantoRead lawRecess appointmentRestitutionRules of evidenceScire faciasSeriatimStare decisisSubject-matter jurisdictionSubpoenaSubstantive due processSui jurisSupernumeraryTextualismTrial courtTrier of factVicinageWarrant (legal)Workers' compensationWrit


Tips for searching federal court pages:

You can find links to the federal court pages through the United States federal courts page.
  • Appellate (Circuit) courts:
[[United States Court of Appeals for the NUMBER Circuit]] (Example: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit)
  • District court pages are named:
[[United States District Court for the (NORTHERN/EASTERN/SOUTHER/WESTERN/MIDDLE/CENTRAL) District of STATE]]
Or, simply [[United States District Court for the District of STATE]]
  • Bankruptcy courts follow similar naming conventions to their associated district courts:
[[United States bankruptcy court, District of STATE]] (or "Northern District of STATE", etc.)
  • Pages about former Chief Justice eras are titled: [[The LAST NAME OF JUSTICE Court]] (Example: The Burger Court)


Contents
1 State
1.1 State ballots
1.2 State courts
1.3 State executives
1.4 State legislatures

State ballots

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Key ballot measure terms:

Advisory questionApproved for circulationBallotBallot accessBallot initiativeBallot measureBallot titleBond issueCirculatorCirculation periodCitizen referendumConstitutional amendmentDemocracyDirect democracyDirect InitiativeDistribution requirementElectionElectorElectronic petition signatureEligible voterFiscal impact statementForged signatureFraudulent signatureIndirect initiated constitutional amendmentIndirect initiated state statuteIndirect initiativeIndirect initiative statuteInitiated constitutional amendmentInitiated state statuteInitiative and referendumInitiative proponentsInvalid signaturesLaws governing recallLegislative referralLegislative tamperingLegislatively-referred bond measureLegislatively-referred constitutional amendmentLegislatively-referred state statuteOut-of-state circulatorPaid circulatorPetitionPetition drivePetition drive managementRecallReferendumRegistered voterResidency requirements for petition circulatorsSignature certificationSignature challengeSignerSingle-subject ruleStatuteStatute referendumValid signatureVeto referendumVolunteer circulator

...more terms available here.


Tips for searching statewide ballot measure pages:

Ballot measuresMeasures by topicMeasures by yearMeasures by state

To search for pages within the statewide ballot measures project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:
  • By Year - an aggregate of ballot measures that appeared on the ballot by year - follow the format of [[YEAR ballot measures]] (example: 2011 ballot measures). A list of all ballot years can be found here.
  • By State & Year pages - an aggregate of ballot measures that appeared on the ballot on a particular year and in a particular state - follow the format of [[STATE YEAR ballot measures]] (example: Washington 2009 ballot measures).
  • By State with all Ballot Years - pages by state with lists of all years in which ballot measures were featured - follow the format of [[List of STATE ballot measures]] (example: List of Montana ballot measures).
    • A list of all ballot measures by state can be found here.
  • By Topic - ballot measures sorted by various political topics.
    • A list of political topics can be found here.

State courts

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Key judicial terms:

AffidavitAppellate CourtArbitrationBlue slipCapital punishmentCertiorariChief JusticeCivil law (common law)Civil procedureCourt of last resortCourt of recordCriminal lawCum laudeEn bancFamily lawSenior statusGubernatorial appointment of judgesHabeas CorpusJudge shoppingJudicial activismJudicial minimalismJudicial restraintJuris DoctorJurisdictionJuryLimited jurisdictionLL.B.LL.M.MandamusMandatory RetirementMinor (law)Original jurisdictionOriginalismPer curiamPhilosophy of lawPrerogative writProcedendoProcedural lawProhibition (writ)Purposive theoryQuo warrantoRead lawRecess appointmentRestitutionRules of evidenceScire faciasSeriatimStare decisisSubject-matter jurisdictionSubpoenaSubstantive due processSui jurisSupernumeraryTextualismTrial courtTrier of factVicinageWarrant (legal)Workers' compensationWrit

Tips for searching state court pages:

Comprehensive judicial elections coverage on Judgepedia.org began in 2010.
Election pages by year: [[Judicial elections, YEAR]]
Election pages by state: [[STATE judicial elections]] (general judicial election info) or [[STATE judicial elections, YEAR]]
Supreme court elections: [[STATE Supreme Court elections, YEAR]] (started in 2014)
All states have the following main pages:
[[Courts in STATE]]
[[Judicial selection in STATE]]
[[STATE judicial elections]]
[[STATE salaries and budgets]]
Additionally, there are pages for judges appointed by each current governor (unless the state does not have gubernatorial judicial appointments):
[[Judges appointed by FIRSTNAME LASTNAME]]

State executives

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Key State Executive Officials terms:

RecallRedistricting
State executive offices:
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney generalTreasurerControllerAuditorSuperintendent of SchoolsInsurance CommissionerAgriculture CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Services Commissioner
...more terms available here.


Tips for searching State Executive Official pages:

If you are writing about specific state offices (example: the Governor of Kentucky), there are three state executive positions that are written as "Office of State."
  1. Governor of State
  2. Lieutenant Governor of State
  3. Attorney General of State
The rest of the executive positions use a "State Office" format (example: the Rhode Island Director of Labor) but the specific titles vary from state to state. We've created a chart that links to every office for every state.
To search for pages within the State Executive Officials project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:
  • [[State executive official elections, YEAR]].

State legislatures

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Key state legislative terms:

State legislatureUpper houseLower houseUnicameralRedistricting
Leadership positions:
State Speaker of the HouseState House Speaker Pro TemporeState House Majority Floor LeaderState House Assistant Majority Floor LeaderState House Majority WhipState House Majority Caucus LeaderState House Majority Caucus SecretaryState House Minority Floor LeaderState House Assistant Minority Floor LeaderState House Minority WhipState House Minority Caucus LeaderState House Minority Caucus Vice ChairState House Minority Caucus SecretaryPresident of the SenateState Senate President Pro TemporeState Senate Majority Floor LeaderState Senate Assistant Majority Floor LeaderState Senate Majority Caucus LeaderState Senate Majority WhipState Senate Minority Floor LeaderState Senate Assistant Minority Floor LeaderState Senate Minority Caucus Leader
...more terms available here.


Tips for searching State Legislatures pages:

To search for pages within the State Legislatures project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:
  • [[State legislative elections, YEAR]].
  • [[STATE State Senate elections, YEAR]].
  • [[STATE House of Representatives elections, YEAR]].
  • [[STATE State Assembly elections, YEAR]].
  • [[State legislative special elections, 2013]].
  • [[STATE state legislative special elections, 2013]].
Contents
1 Local
1.1 Municipal government
1.2 School board elections
1.3 Local ballot measures

Municipal government

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Key Municipal Government terms:

Key mayoral and city council terms:

CityChamber of commerceChartered local governmentChief administrative officerCityCity managerCollective bargaining, private-public sector differencesCommonwealthConstitutional officersCouncil-manager governmentCountyCounty commissionCounty councilCounty executiveCounty mayorCounty seatLocal government budgetsLocal taxesMayorMayor-council governmentMunicipalityRecall

Key judicial terms:

AffidavitAppellate CourtArbitrationBlue slipCapital punishmentCertiorariChief JusticeCivil law (common law)Civil procedureCourt of last resortCourt of recordCriminal lawCum laudeEn bancFamily lawSenior statusGubernatorial appointment of judgesHabeas CorpusJudge shoppingJudicial activismJudicial minimalismJudicial restraintJuris DoctorJurisdictionJuryLimited jurisdictionLL.B.LL.M.MandamusMandatory RetirementMinor (law)Original jurisdictionOriginalismPer curiamPhilosophy of lawPrerogative writProcedendoProcedural lawProhibition (writ)Purposive theoryQuo warrantoRead lawRecess appointmentRestitutionRules of evidenceScire faciasSeriatimStare decisisSubject-matter jurisdictionSubpoenaSubstantive due processSui jurisSupernumeraryTextualismTrial courtTrier of factVicinageWarrant (legal)Workers' compensationWrit


Tips for searching Municipal Government pages:

To search for pages within the Municipal Government project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:
  • [[CITY, STATE]]
  • [[CITY, STATE municipal elections, YEAR]]

School board elections

School Board badge.png

Key School Board Election terms:

Academic bankruptcyAcademic performanceBlaine AmendmentBlended learningCarnegie unitCharter schoolsCommon CoreCompetency-based learningDropout rateDual enrollmentHomeschoolingImmersion learningLiberal educationMagnet schoolsNo Child Left Behind ActOnline learningParent trigger lawsProgressive educationRecallRace to the TopSchool boardSchool bond electionSchool choiceSchool districtSchool vouchersTeacher merit pay
...more terms available here.



Tips for searching School Board Election pages:

To search for pages within the School Board Elections project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:
  • [[School board elections, YEAR]]
  • [[STATE school board elections, YEAR]]
  • [[STATE school districts]]
  • [[DISTRICT NAME, STATE]]
  • [[DISTRICT NAME elections (YEAR)]]

Local ballot measures

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Key Local Ballot Measure terms:

Advisory questionApproved for circulationBallotBallot accessBallot initiativeBallot measureBallot titleBond issueCirculatorCirculation periodCitizen referendumDemocracyDirect democracyDirect InitiativeDistribution requirementElectionElectorElectronic petition signatureEligible voterFiscal impact statementForged signatureFraudulent signatureIndirect initiativeIndirect initiative statuteInitiative and referendumInitiative proponentsInvalid signaturesLaws governing recallLegislative referralLegislative tamperingLegislatively-referred bond measureOut-of-state circulatorPaid circulatorPetitionPetition drivePetition drive managementRecallReferendumRegistered voterResidency requirements for petition circulatorsSignature certificationSignature challengeSignerSingle-subject ruleStatuteStatute referendumValid signatureVeto referendumVolunteer circulator

...more terms available here.



Tips for searching Local Ballot Measure pages:

Local ballot measuresLocal measures by topicLocal measures by yearLocal measures by state

To search for pages within the Local Ballot Measures project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:


Tips for searching Ballot Law pages:

Ballot measure lawChanges to laws governing ballot measures by yearLawsuits by yearLaws governing ballot measures by stateLaws governing the initiative process by state

To search for pages within the Ballot Law project on Ballotpedia, try searching for the following:
  • Law changes by year - articles that provide a list of proposed, approved and defeated laws relating to ballot measure law - follow the format [[Changes in YEAR to laws governing ballot measures]] (example: Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures).
    • A list of such articles can be found here.
  • Lawsuits by year - articles that provide a list of lawsuits relating to ballot measure law and ballot measures by state and year - follow the format [[:Category:Ballot measure lawsuits, YEAR]] (example: Category:Ballot measure lawsuits, 2010).
    • A list of such articles can be found here.
  • Laws by state - articles that provide a list of various direct democracy law articles - follow the format [[Laws governing ballot measures in STATE]] (example: Laws governing ballot measures in Alaska).
    • A list of articles relating to laws governing ballot measures by state can be found here.
  • Initiative laws by state - articles that specifically relate to initiative and referendum laws - follow the format [[Laws governing the initiative process in STATE]] (example: Laws governing the initiative process in Arkansas).
    • A list of such articles can be found here.
Contents
1 Public policy
1.1 Redistricting
1.2 Interstate compacts

Redistricting

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Key Redistricting terms:

Redistricting


Tips for searching Redistricting pages:

Articles about redistricting follow the format of: [[Redistricting in STATE]]
(example: Redistricting in California).

To search for pages within the Redistricting project on Ballotpedia, try searching the following:

Interstate compacts

InterstateLogo finaltrans.png

Key Interstate Compacts terms:

Interstate compact


Tips for searching interstate compact pages:

Articles about interstate compacts are titled according to the formal interstate compact name
(example: Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact).
Interstate CompactsChart of interstate compactsInterstate compacts by stateInterstate compacts by topic

To search for pages within the Interstate Compacts project on Ballotpedia, try searching the following:
  • Categories: each article features the relevant state categories and topic categories. For example, the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact includes the following categories:

Education policy

Policypedia/Education Policy

Energy policy

Policypedia/Energy Policy

Environmental policy

Policypedia