Learn About Elections

As with any business, there are terms that are used specifically with elections, candidates and the voting process, which may have a slightly different meaning than when used outside the industry. Some of the terms are outlined below:

CANDIDATES

Filed Candidate: Any person who has appointed a campaign treasurer, designated a financial institution for the purposed of depositing campaign contributions, and filed Form 410 - Statement of Organization, with the Registrar of Voters.
Campaign can now accept contributions and expend funds. Within 10 days of collecting $1,000 in donations, this form must be filed. A Consolidated Campaign Disclosure Form (Form 460) have various due dates; a calendar can be found here (http://www.fppc.ca.gov/index.html?ID=222).

Qualified Candidate: Any person who files all of the required forms with the Registrar of Voters during the qualifying period (112-88 days before an election).
The candidate's name will be printed on ballot.

Write-in Candidate: Any person seeking election by write-in. Must file forms with the Registrar of Voters during the write-in period 57-14 days before an election).
Name will not be printed on the ballot. Space will be provided on ballot for write-in candidate. Candidate must educate voters to write-in in candidate's name in the space provided on the General ballot.

VOTING EQUIPMENT, LOCATIONS, AND PROCESS

Early Voting : Casting a paper ballot prior to Election Day at the Elections Office, and depositing the voted ballot in the ballot box.

Early Voting Area: The area at which early voting activities occur.

Early Voting Site: The location and building in which early voting occurs.

Election: Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election or presidential preference primary election.

Election Board: The Clerk and inspectors appointed to conduct an election. This includes all poll workers serving a precinct on Election Day.

Elector: Synonymous with the word "voter" or "qualified elector or voter," except where the word is used to describe presidential electors.

General Election: An election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in the even-numbered years, for the purpose of filling national, state, county, and district offices and for voting on constitutional amendments not otherwise provided for by law.

Military Voter: Members of the uniformed services while in the active service who are permanent residents of the state and are temporarily residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia; members of the Merchant Marine of the United States who are permanent residents of the state and are temporarily residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia; and/or other citizens of the United States who are permanent residents of the state and are temporarily residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia - who are qualified and registered to vote as provided by law.

Overseas Voter: Citizens of the United States who reside outside of the boundaries of the territorial limits of the United States.

Overvote:The elector marks or designates more names than there are persons to be elected to an office or designates more than one answer to a ballot question, and the tabulator records no vote for the office or question.

Polling Place: The building or facility which contains the polling room where ballots are cast

Primary Election: An election held preceding the general election for the purpose of nominating a party nominee to be voted for in the general election to fill a national, state, county, or district office.

Provisional Ballot: A paper ballot, voted in a polling place, when the eligibility of the voter cannot be immediately determined. The validity of which is determined by the canvassing board.

Registrar of Voters: The elections official for the county, charged with administrating elections and maintaining the list of registered voters in the county.

Special Election: A special election called for the purpose of voting on a party nominee to fill a vacancy in the national, state, county, or district office.

Special Primary Election: A special nomination election designated by the Governor, called for the purpose of nominating a party nominee to be voted on in a general or special election.

Undervote: The elector does not properly designate any choice for an office or ballot question, and the tabulator records no vote for the office or question.

VRC: Voter Registration Cards, available from your local elections office, the DMV, or the public library.

Voting Booth: Means that the booth or enclosure wherein an elector casts his/her ballot for tabulation.

Voting System: A method of casting and processing votes that functions wholly or partly by use of electromechanical or electronic apparatus or by use of optical scan ballots and includes, but is not limited to, the procedures for casting and processing votes and the programs, operating manuals, supplies, printouts, and other software necessary for the system's operation.