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Voting and Elections

conventional political participation

Political participation that attempts to influence the political process through ell-accepted, often moderate forms of persuasion

unconventional participation

Political participation that attempts to influence the political process through unusual or extreme measures, such as protests, boycotts, and picketing


The proportion of the voting-age public that votes


Voting for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election

retrospective judgement

A voter's evaluation of the performance of the party in power

prospective judgement

A voter's evaluation of a candidate based on what he/she pledges to do about an issue if elected

authoritarian system

A system of government that bases its rule on force rather than consent of the governed


The citizens eligible to vote


A command, indicated by an electorate's votes, for the elected officials to carry out their platforms

primary election

Election in which voters decide which of the candidates within a party will represent the party in the general election

closed primary

A primary election in which only a party's registered votes are eligible to vote

open primary

A primary in which party members, independents and sometimes members of the other party are allowed to vote

crossover voting

Participation in the primary of a party with which the voter is not affiliated


An organized attempt by voters of one party to influence the primary results of the other party

runoff primary

A second primary election between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes in the first primary

general election

Election in which voters decide which candidates will actually fill elective public offices

ballot measure

An election option such as the initiative or referendum that enables voters to enact public policy


An election that allows citizens to propose legislation and submit it to the state electorate for popular vote


An election whereby the state legislature submits proposed legislation to the state's voters for approval


An election in which voters can remove an incumbent from office by popular vote


The tendency of states to chose an early date on the primary calendar

unit rule

A traditional party practice under which the majority of a state delegation can force the minority to vote for its candidate


Delegate slot to the Democratic Party's national convention that is reserved for an elected party official

Electoral College

Representatives of each state who cast the final ballots that actually elect a president


Member of the Electoral College chosen by methods determined in each state


The reallocation of the number of seats in the House of representatives after each decennial census


The holding of an office


Redrawing congressional districts to reflect increases or decreases in seats allotted to the states as well as population shifts within a state


The legislative process through which the majority party in each state legislature tries to assure that the maximum number of representatives from its political party can be elected to Congress through the redrawing of legislative districts

midterm election

An election that takes place in the middle of a presidential term

regional primary

A proposed system in which the country would be divided into five or six geographical areas and all states in each region would hold their primary elections on the same day

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