Absentee BallotAn absentee ballot is completed and typically mailed in advance of an election by a voter who is unable to be present at the polls.
Ballot AccessBallot access refers to the rules and procedures regulating the conditions under which a candidate is entitled to appear on voters’ ballots.
CanvassThe act or process of attempting to secure votes or ascertain opinions, often by going door-to-door.
CaucusA meeting held by members of a party to decide an issue. Most often, caucuses are statewide meetings held in presidential election years. Members of a party choose a candidate to support or they elect members to a state nominating committee.
Community Team LeaderThese leaders will recruit local volunteers and set up/manage voter contact and visibility events like door knocking, phone banking, tabling, parades/festivals, and more in their communities.
ConventionConventions finalize a party’s choice for presidential and vice presidential nominees. To become the presidential nominee, a candidate typically has to win a majority of delegates. This usually happens through the party’s primaries and caucuses. It’s then confirmed through a vote of the delegates at the national convention.
Delegates (Unpledged, Pledged)Someone chosen to represent their district or state at the Democratic National Convention. Pledged delegates pledge their support to a specific Democratic presidential primary candidate when running to become a delegate. The number of pledged delegates a candidate is awarded is determined by that candidate’s performance in a district or state. An unpledged delegate is not bound to support a specific candidate and cannot be elected.
Distributed OrganizingA model of campaigning and activism that prioritizes the work being done by subsets or chapters of the central organization. It is set up to take advantage of the superior campaigning power of people who are local, rather than those who are regional or national.
DNCThe Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the formal governing body for the United States Democratic Party.
Early VotingEarly voting (also called pre-poll voting or advance polling) is a process by which voters in a public election can vote prior to the scheduled election day. Early voting can take place remotely, such as via postal voting, or in person, usually in designated early voting polling stations.
ElectorA person who is certified to represent their state’s vote in the Electoral College.
Electoral CollegeThe process we use to elect the president and vice president. The number of electors a state receives is equal to that state’s number of U.S. senators and representatives. Those electors then gather to cast the state’s votes in the Electoral College. They vote for the candidate who won in their state during a presidential election.
FECThe Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent agency created in 1975 by the U.S. Congress to regulate election campaign finance in the United States. The mission of the FEC is to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) that governs the financing of federal elections.
GOTV“Get out the vote” (GOTV) describes efforts aimed at increasing the voter turnout in elections. In some states with caucuses, this is called “Get Out The Caucus” or GOTC.
HubDialerHubDialer is a virtual predictive dialer that instantly connects volunteers with voters over the phone.
MiniVANA mobile door-to-door canvassing tool, which completely automates the turf cutting and data entry process.
Political Action Committee (PAC)An organization which collects funds from members and then directs them towards political campaigns.
Popular VoteThe votes cast during an election for a candidate or about an issue. Whichever candidate or decision about an issue gets the most votes has won the popular vote. The U.S. president and vice president are determined by an Electoral College vote.
Precinct (Election District, Voting District)Each city, county, or geographic area is divided by address into precincts to assign polling places and gather votes. A precinct can sometimes be called an election district or voting district.
Primary (Open and Closed)An election held to choose which of a party’s candidates will be nominated for the general election. In an open primary, all voters can vote for any candidate they prefer, regardless of the voter’s or candidate’s party affiliation. In a closed primary, voters can only vote for a candidate from the party that the voter belongs to.
P2PThis stands for Peer to Peer Texting, when two or more people communicate over text messaging.
ReachA grassroots canvassing app that lets you meet people where they are and add their information to the voter file for follow-up.
Relational OrganizingThe process by which campaigns, groups, or individuals harness their existing personal relationships to effect community change.
Super TuesdayThe day when the most states and territories hold presidential primary elections or caucuses. The candidates who win on Super Tuesday are more likely to win their party’s nomination. These are the states currently scheduled for Super Tuesday: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Vermont.
UniverseA collection, population, or set of people grouped together on the basis of common or defining characteristics or features.
Voter Activation Network (VAN)A platform or service used by political and social campaigns for fundraising, campaign finance compliance, field organizing, and digital organizing.
Voter FileA database containing information on voters for the purpose of assisting a political party or an individual politician.
Voter Intimidation (Voter Suppression)An attempt to prevent eligible people from voting or forcing them to vote a certain way. The attempt may be made by an official, individual, or group. Some voter intimidation tactics include using verbal or physical threats, threatening with weapons or jail time, tests involving literacy, property ownership, or citizenship, poll taxes, and other types of intimidation to prevent an eligible person from voting freely.
Voter TurnoutVoter turnout shows the percentage of eligible voters who actually cast a vote.