A ballot is a device used to cast votes in an election, and may be a piece of paper or a small ball used in secret voting. It was originally a small ball—see blackball) used to record decisions made by voters.
Each voter uses one ballot, and ballots are not shared. In the simplest elections, a ballot may be a simple scrap of paper on which each voter writes in the name of a candidate, but governmental elections use pre-printed to protect the secrecy of the votes. The voter casts his/her ballot in a box at a polling station.
In British English, this is usually called a "ballot paper". The word "ballot" is used for an election process within an organisation (such as a trade union "holding a ballot" of its members).
Famous quotes containing the word ballot:
“I do not think the mere extension of the ballot a panacea for all the ills of our national life. What we need to-day is not simply more voters, but better voters.”
—Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (18251911)
“We are told it will be of no use for us to ask this measure of justicethat the ballot be given to the women of our new possessions upon the same terms as to the menbecause we shall not get it. It is not our business whether we are going to get it; our business is to make the demand.... Ask for the whole loaf and take what you can get.”
—Susan B. Anthony (18201906)
“Perhaps the fact that I am not a Radical or a believer in the all powerful ballot for women to right her wrongs and that I do not scorn womanly duties, but claim it as a privilege to clean up and sort of supervise the room and sew things, etc., is winning me stronger allies than anything else.”
—Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards (18421911)