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Words Related to Democratic Elections

Fair elections are an essential part of a working democracy. It's important to know the English words relating to elections when you read or hear the English-language news about an election. The recent US presidential election has been in the media a lot this month, and you may have heard many of the following words in news reports.


The verb "to vote" means "to choose" the person you are voting for: 


We try really hard to persuade people

that we're right,

and then people vote.

Captions 47-49, Barack Obama - On Trump Presidential Victory - Part 2

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There is also the noun "vote," and a synonym for a vote is a ballot. A ballot is also the actual paper that you use to write your vote on.


The place you go to vote is called a "poll":


When it comes to election day, the public go to the polls to vote for one presidential ticket.

Caption 66, US Elections - How Do They Work?

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But a "poll" is also a survey that asks people who they intend to vote for:


That supports Jeb Bush, who has been struggling in some polls.

Caption 19, ABC News - The Broncos Win Super Bowl 50

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The person who is running for political office is a candidate:


So the candidate with the most votes wins.

Caption 48, US Elections - How Do They Work?

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Candidates often confront each other before the election in a debate:


Remember, he was just on the stage with Joe Biden at that debate.

Caption 19, ABC News - President Trump and First Lady Test Positive for COVID-19

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If somebody has "been elected," it means that they got the most votes and won the election:


Senators, like members of the House of Representatives,

are also elected to their seats by the public.

Captions 42-43, US Elections - How Do They Work?

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When a candidate for US President has won the election in November, he does not take office until the 20th of January the following year. In the two and a half months before he takes office, he is called the "President-elect." After the 20th of January, he is called the "President" and the person who left office is called the "former President."


So I have instructed my team to follow the example

that President Bush's team set eight years ago

and work as hard as we can

to make sure that this is a successful transition

for the President-elect.

Captions 25-28, Barack Obama - On Trump Presidential Victory - Part 1

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla English and watch the US Elections: How Do They Work? video for a detailed description of the US national elections process.


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