|Subject:||RE: Election Terminology|
|From:||Michael Zolotarev (mich...@baltimore.com)|
|Date:||Jun 25, 2001 7:00:51 pm|
I'm not the best person to judge the terms, but I personally prefer making clear distinction between a "ballot", and a "voted ballot". To me, a "voted ballot" is a "vote". Of course we can still refer to a "voted ballot" as just a "ballot", as long as there is always the word "voted" in front of it :)
Michael - Thanks for the ballot/vote explanation (http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/election-services/200106 /msg00038.html).
Kevin - Thanks, also, for the feedback on this (http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/election-services/200106 /msg00040.html).
I'd be interested in hearing other opinions on this, especially from those who are familiar with the terminology used by election administrators.
Since, sooner or later, we'll need to decide on specific terms and definitions, here are some further thoughts and suggestions on this topic ....
As for defining "ballot", there seems to be some consistency and some differences among our views. A ballot would look something like ....
- ballot (begin) - contest 1 - option 1A - option 1B - option 1C - contest 2 - option 2A - option 2B - contest 3 - option 3A - option 3B - option 3C - option 3D - ballot (end)
(+) A "ballot" contains one or more "contests". (+) With each "contest", either an "office" or an "issue" is being contested. (+) Each "contest" offers a voter one or more "options" (usually two or more, when at least two options are available). (+) Each "option" listed where an "office" is being contested would contain a "candidate". (+) The "options" listed where an "issue" is being contested would generally be "for" or "against" (or synonyms of these). (+) The voter is allowed one or more "selections" (i.e. votes) per "contest".
With the term "ballot", however, there seems to be a definite difference in how it's used.
I tend to think it would be best for our terminology to align as closely with paper-based balloting as it can, simply to avoid confusing people. With paper balloting, the base term used to refer to a ballot is not affected by where that ballot is in the voting process. Whether it just came off the printing press, is being handed to a voter, is being marked on by a voter, is sitting in a ballot box, or wherever - it's still referred to as a "ballot".
Once a voter makes their selections, the term for the object doesn't change. To denote where a ballot is in the voting process, adjectives are used to modify "ballot" (i.e. unvoted ballot, voted ballot, spoiled ballot, unused ballot, etc).
From my view, at least, it would be best for us to stick with this same usage of the word "ballot" - in both its modified and unmodified forms.
There is a difference between paper ballots and electronic ballots, as Michael alluded to.
With paper ballots .... (a) The amount of information on a ballot only increases, it does not decrease. (b) Information is only added to a ballot, it is not removed.
With electronic ballots .... (a) The amount of information on/in a ballot can both increase and decrease. (b) Information can be both added to a ballot, and removed from a ballot, as it is needed.
Even with these differences, however, I don't see sufficient reason to call a "ballot" by a different name once a voter has made their selections.
As for defining "vote", there also seems to be some consistency and some differences among our views. However, "vote" can be a confusing word to use in an unmodified form since, commonly, it is used to refer to at least three different concepts - a verb and two nouns. (a) The act of casting a ballot. (b) An individual selection on a ballot. And, (c) a voting event.
To avoid confusion, perhaps it would be best for us to use the word "vote" to refer to only one of these concepts and use other terms to refer to the other concepts.
(+) The verb tense of "vote" (i.e. to vote, the act of voting) would be difficult to replace. In thinking about it, I haven't come up with any good alternative verbs to effectively replace "vote". So, my thinking is we should only use the word "vote" as a verb.
(+) The noun "vote" which refers to an individual selection on a ballot could be referred to as a "selection". The "options" (mentioned above) would go from voting-system-to-voter and "selection(s)" would go from voter-to-voting-system.
(+) The noun "vote" which refers to a voting event could, obviously, be referred to as an "election".
These suggestions would have no effect on use of derivatives of the word "vote" - such as voting, voter, voted, etc - since they are less likely to be misunderstood.
Michael, Kevin, everyone - what are your thoughts on all of this?
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