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

A solemn attestation of the truth of what one says or that one sincerely intends to do what one says.

oath of office

An oath or affirmation a person takes to make a public commitment to the duties, responsibilities and obligations associated with holding public office.

Observational Test

Operational test conducted on voting devices during an election by real voters to establish confidence that the voter verifiable paper record is produced correctly when assistive technology is used. Devices subjected to observational testing are used for normal collection of votes; the votes collected are included in the election tally.


Individuals that monitor the opening and closing of voting locations, voting, the counting and tabulation of results, or any other part an election.


Any federal, state, county, town, parish, borough, municipal, school, district or other government position.

office holder

A term used to describe an individual who has been sworn into public office and is currently serving in the position.

office of the registrar of voters

An official responsible for administering an election or an election process.


A term used to describe an individual who has been sworn into public office and is currently serving in the position.


(1) Of or relating to an office, position, or trust (2) Holding an office : having authority.

official ballot

The official presentation of all of the contests to be decided in a particular election. Either in paper or electronic format, the mechanism for voters to show their voter preferences.

official ballot card

An official card or a number of cards upon which are printed, or identified by reference to the ballot, the names of candidates for nomination or election to one or more offices or the ballot titles of one or more measures.

official ballot card secrecy sleeve

A paper, envelope, or folder that encloses a ballot to maintain the secrecy of how a voter marked their ballot.

official envelope

The official inner, outer, and secrecy envelopes used to transport or enclose ballots.

official party affiliation list

A list of the individuals that have registered with a party affiliation on an electoral roll, as a prerequisite for being entitled or permitted to vote.

official roster of voters

A list of the individuals that have registered on an electoral roll where a voter resides, as a prerequisite for being entitled to vote.

official sample ballot

An example ballot provided to voters with information specific to the voter. Sample Ballot booklets often provide additional election information such as the voter's polling place and hours, information about candidates, questions, and instructions for voting.

Online Registration

Online voter registration follows essentially the same process as a traditional paper-based process, by which new voters fill out a paper form that is submitted to election officials, but instead of filling out a paper application, the voter fills out a form via an Internet site, and that paperless form is submitted electronically to election officials. In most states the application is reviewed electronically. If the request is confirmed to be valid, the new registration is added to the state’s voter registration list.

open primary Primary election in which any voters can participate, regardless of their political affiliation. Some states require voters to publicly declare their choice of party ballot at the polling place, after which the poll worker provides or activates the appropriate ballot. Other states allow the voters to make their choice of party ballot within the privacy of the voting booth.
open records

Documents or pieces of information that are not considered confidential and generally pertain to the conduct of government.

Open Source

Computer software with its source code (human readable code) made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner. Voting and election systems that contain open source software have had that software reviewed by multiple professional and amateur programmers. Open source systems are usually not free and are typically licensed like other software. Systems can be fully open source or may have only a portion of their software open source.

operating system

A collection of programs that controls the hardware of a computer system and provides utilities and services to application software that is installed on the device. Operating systems use complex release version numbers to indicate which version is installed and require frequent patches or updates to maintain security and functionality. Managing the software revisions in an election office requires careful coordination of updates to the operating system as well as to the application software.

operation manual

The documentation by which an organization provides guidance for members and employees to perform their functions correctly and reasonably efficiently. It documents the approved standard procedures for performing operations safely to produce goods and provide services.

operational environment All software, hardware (including facilities, furnishings and fixtures), materials, documentation, and the interface used by the election personnel, maintenance operator, poll worker, and voter, required for voting equipment operations

Other candidates for offices up for elections who belong to a different party or who have different aims or policies.


Disapproving of or disagreeing with.

optical scan

A voting system that can scan paper ballots and tally votes. Most older optical scan systems use Infrared (IR) scanning technology and ballots with timing marks to accurately scan the ballot. Newer (digital) optical scan systems can also capture images of ballots as they are tabulated.

optical scan ballots

A card or a number of cards upon which are printed, or identified by reference to the ballot, the names of candidates for nomination or election to one or more offices or the ballot titles of one or more measures, that can be tabulated on an optical scanner.

optical scan system System by which votes are recorded by means of marks made in voting response fields designated on one or both faces of a ballot card or series of cards. An optical scan system reads and tabulates ballots, usually paper ballots, by scanning the ballot and interpreting the contents. Also known as Marksense.

An authoritative command, direction, or instruction.

order on the ballot

The order in which contests and candidates appear on a ballot.


A piece of legislation enacted by a local authority.

original petition

A master document with information about measures, initiatives, referendums, or candidates used to gather signatures from registered voters.


To be outside the physical boundaries of a particular state.

outer envelope

An official envelope used to transport absentee and mailed ballots and protects voter privacy.

overseas ballot

A ballot cast by a member of a uniformed service in active service overseas, or by a civilian living overseas.

overseas citizen

A citizen of the United States who is living or located in another country outside of the United States.