A (77) | B (72) | C (171) | D (54) | E (99) | F (47) | G (15) | H (23) | I (15) | J (5) | K (1) | L (18) | M (54) | N (39) | O (40) | P (173) | Q (18) | R (132) | S (185) | T (69) | U (29) | V (152) | W (29) | X (6) | Y (1) | Z (4)
Glossary Term Definition
Damaged Ballot

A ballot that has been torn, bent, or otherwise mutilated or rendered unreadable such that it cannot be processed by the ballot tabulating equipment designed for use with the ballot.

data accuracy (1) Data accuracy is defined in terms of ballot position error rate. This rate applies to the voting functions and supporting equipment that capture, record, store, consolidate and report the specific selections, and absence of selections, made by the voter for each ballot position. (2) The system's ability to process voting data absent internal errors generated by the system. It is distinguished from data integrity, which encompasses errors introduced by an outside source.
data integrity Invulnerability of the system to accidental intervention or deliberate, fraudulent manipulation that would result in errors in the processing of data. It is distinguished from data accuracy that encompasses internal, system-generated errors.
data security

The practice of protecting digital information from unauthorized access, corruption, or theft throughout its entire lifecycle.

deadline for voting

The latest time and date that a citizen can vote.


Hearing loss so severe that there is very little or no functional hearing.

decertification Revocation of national or state certification of voting system hardware and software.
declaration of assistance to vote

A form completed by a disabled voter to either request or deny assistance during the voting process.

declaration of candidacy

The act of completing the required paperwork to become a candidate for public office.

declaration of intent

The act of completing the required paperwork to declare a person's intent to become a candidate for public office.

declaration of intent to solicit and receive contributions

A document filed with a governing authority to declare a person's intent to raise and spend political contributions.

Declaration of Write-in Candidate

A document filed with a governing authority to declare a person's intent to seek election to an office where their name will not be pre-printed on a ballot but need a voter to write in the candidate's name on a blank space for that contest.

decryption Process of changing encrypted text into plain text.
defective ballot

A ballot that has been torn, defaced, or marked in a way that it cannot be tabulated by a scanner.


Multiple levels of logical and physical security measures that deny a single point of security failure in a system. Also called the “Castle” approach.


An authorized person sent to represent others, in particular an elective representative.


A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.


A person who is empowered or authorized to act on behalf of a person in authority. Election officials can administer an oath to citizens to carry out official election duties as their deputies in some States.


A description, name, or formal title. In some jurisdictions, a candidate may submit a descriptive designation to be printed under their name on the ballot.

device Functional unit that performs its assigned tasks as an integrated whole.
Digital Certificate

A technology by which systems and their users can employ the security applications of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). PKI is a set of roles, policies, and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store, and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption.

digital signature An asymmetric key operation where the private key is used to digitally sign an electronic document and the public key is used to verify the signature. Digital signatures provide data authentication and integrity protection.

To convert analog data to digital format for storage and use on a computer. The digital form of the character “A” is the byte: 01000001 (ASCII value 65). Any data stored in a computer must be digitized.

direct democracy

A form of democracy in which citizens decide on policy initiatives directly, such as when voters decide on initiative, propositions, and referendums.

direct primary

A primary election in which members of a party nominate its candidates by direct vote.

direct recording electronic (DRE)

A vote capture device that allows electronic presentation of a ballot, electronic selection of valid contest options, and electronic storage of contest selections as individuals vote. It also provides a summary of these contest selections.

direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system An electronic voting system that utilizes electronic components for the functions of ballot presentation, vote capture, vote recording, and tabulation which are logically and physically integrated into a single unit. A DRE produces a tabulation of the voting data stored in a removable memory component and in printed hardcopy. Version 1.0 Volume I: Voting System Performance Guidelines Appendix A: Glossary A-9
directly verifiable Voting system feature that allows the voter to verify at least one representation of his or her ballot with his/her own senses, not using any software or hardware intermediary. Examples include a Marksense paper ballot and a DRE with a voter verifiable paper record feature.

A file storage architecture in which individual files are stored in separate, hierarchical directories. The directory is the map to where the file is stored. Most systems will store files in a default directory unless otherwise specified.

disability With respect to an individual: (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; (3) being regarded as having such an impairment (definition from the Americans with Disabilities Act).

An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

disabled voters

Voters that may require assistance during the election process to interact with systems not designed using universal design.


Unequal treatment.


To deprive someone of the right to vote.

displaced voters

Voters who have had to leave their homes, typically because of a natural disaster.


The action of disqualifying a candidate or voter from participating in an electoral process.