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
fail-safe ballot

A ballot cast by a voter who was not on the list of eligible voters, whose information was incomplete or not accurate, or who had already received a ballot in the mail and was allowed to vote. Fail-safe ballots are usually kept separate from the other ballots until an election official can determine if the voter is eligible to vote. These ballots are sometimes called provisional ballots.

fail-safe voter

A voter who was not on the list of eligible voters, whose information was incomplete or not accurate, or who had already received a ballot in the mail but was allowed to vote. Fail-safe ballots are usually kept separate from the other ballots until an election official can determine if the voter is eligible to vote. These ballots are sometimes called provisional ballots.

Fault

Flaw in design or implementation that may result in the qualities or behavior of the voting system deviating from the qualities or behavior that are anticipated, including those specified in the VVSG or in manufacturer-provided documentation.

Fault-tolerant

A system that continues to operate after the failure of a computer or network component.

Federal Election

Any primary, general, runoff, or special election in which a candidate for Federal office (President, Senator, or Representative) appears on the ballot.

Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)

Strict limits on the amount of money a particular corporation, union, or private individual could give to a candidate in a federal election. It also required candidates and political action committees (PACs) to disclose their receipts and identify their contributors. A 1974 amendment specified additional contribution limits and imposed spending limits for candidates in primary and general elections; however, the Supreme Court struck down the latter provision as unconstitutional in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976). The 1974 amendment also set up the Federal Election Commission and established public funding of presidential elections. Two additional amendments (1976, 1979) were aimed at regulating PACs and boosting the level of party participation.

Federal Election Commission (FEC)

Independent agency responsible for administering and enforcing laws that cover federal election campaigns. The FEC oversees the public financing of presidential elections, ensures public disclosure of campaign finance activities, monitors campaign contributions and expenditures, regulates the campaign activities of political action committees (PACs), and investigates reports of violations. It is composed of six commissioners appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Federal election inspector

A U.S. federal inspector general (IG) is the head of an independent, non-partisan organization established within each executive branch agency assigned to audit the agency’s operation in order to discover and investigate cases of misconduct, waste, fraud, and other abuse of government procedures occurring within the agency.

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Standards for federal computer systems developed by NIST. These standards are developed when there are no existing industry standards to address federal requirements for system interoperability, portability of data and software, and computer security.
Federal observer

The Voting Rights Act permits federal observers to monitor procedures in polling places and at sites where ballots are counted in eligible political subdivisions.

Federal office

United States President, member of the U.S. Senate, or member of the House of Representatives.

Federal Postcard Application (FPCA)

Among the challenges military and overseas voters face are the wide variability in rules and procedures governing registration and voting across states. The FPCA serves as a uniform registration and ballot request application accepted in all U.S. states and territories.

Federal service voters

Active-duty military and family members and individuals, who vote while living abroad.

Federal services ballot

Ballot of active-duty military and family members and individuals, who vote while living abroad.

Federal voting assistance

Assistance available from the Federal Voting Assistance Program to voters serving in the military and overseas civilians.

Federal Voting Assistance Officers

Voting Assistance Officers (VAOs) work to ensure that military and overseas voters understand their voting rights, how to register to vote absentee, and have access to accurate nonpartisan voting information and assistance. VAOs may be members of the Uniformed Services, civilians, or members of overseas U.S. citizen organizations.

Federal Voting Assistance Program

Voter assistance and education program to ensure that members of the U. S. armed forces, their eligible family members, and U.S. citizens overseas are aware of their right to vote and have the tools to do so.

Federal Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

Federal Voting Systems Standards (FVSS)

The Federal minimum standards that each voting system used in an election for Federal office must meet.

Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB)

A blank ballot provided by the Federal Voting Assistance Program by which military and overseas voters can vote by writing in their choices and returning the ballot to their elections office.

federally recognized tribes

Indigenous tribal entities that are recognized as having a government-to-government relationship with the United States, with the responsibilities, powers, limitations, and obligations attached to that designation, and are eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Furthermore, federally recognized tribes are recognized as possessing certain inherent rights of self-government (i.e., tribal sovereignty) and are entitled to receive certain federal benefits, services, and protections because of their special relationship with the United States.

Felony Disenfranchisement

A crime regarded as more serious than a misdemeanor and usually punishable by loss of voting rights for a period of time.

file for office

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

filing deadline

The last day to file election or voting documents for a specific election and process. Examples include paperwork to circulate a petition, to file paperwork to become a candidate, or to file campaign financial disclosures.

filing electronically

The process of submitting election paperwork via the internet.

filing fees

The amount of money due when filing election paperwork, such as when filing to become a candidate for public office.

filing petitions

Formally submitting a petition to the governing authority.

fill in the oval

On certain ballots, voters are instructed to fill in an oval to vote for a candidate or measure, instead of marking an X or connecting an arrow.

finalize your vote

The final action a voter takes in selecting contest options and irrevocably confirming their intent to vote as selected.

financial disclosure reports

Reports that detail information about the source, type, amount, or value of the incomes of public officials and candidates for public office, required to be filed by a governing authority.

fine
firmware Computer programming stored in programmable read-only memory thus becoming a permanent part of the computing device. It is created and tested like software.
First-Time Federal Voter

A voter who registers to vote or votes for the first time in a federal election. Pursuant to the Help America Vote Act, these voters must provide identification before they can vote.

first-time registrant

The first time that a citizen registers to vote.

first-time voter

The first time that a citizen votes.

fiscal statement

A report that details political contributions and expenses required to be filed by a governing authority.