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
paper ballot

A piece of paper, paper roll or multiple card stock, on which all voter selections are either hand marked or printed, depending on the particular voting system.

Paper Ballot Sheet

A single piece of paper that forms part of a paper ballot. Paper ballots may contain multiple sheets.

paper printout

A piece of paper on which information from a computer, scanner or similar device has been printed.

paper record Paper cast vote record that can be directly verified by a voter
paper trail

A series of documents providing written evidence of a sequence of events or the activities of a person or organization.

paper-based voting system

Voting system that records votes, counts votes, and tabulates the vote count, using one or more ballot cards or paper ballots.

parallel monitoring

Testing a number of randomly selected voting stations under conditions that simulate actual Election Day usage as closely as possible, except that the actual ballots seen by ‘test voters’ and the voting behavior of the ‘test voters’ are known to the testers and can be compared to the results that these voting stations tabulate and report.


A small administrative district corresponding to a county in other states, such as in the State of Louisiana.


A committed member of a political party who strongly supports their party's policies.

partisan election

An election in which candidates run for offices as representatives of a political party, often in which their party affiliation is printed on the ballot.

partisan office An elected office for which candidates run as representatives of a political party.
partisan office declaration of candidacy

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

Partisan Primary

Election in which political parties choose their nominees for a general or run-off election.


An organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific ideological or policy goals.

party affiliation

Refers to a candidate or elected official's relationship to a particular party, not necessarily to a particular set of philosophical beliefs. In terms of voting, this usually refers to voters registering with a recognized political party.

party candidate

A candidate who is running as representatives of a political party for an elected office.

party convention

A meeting where states and territory parties convene to select a presidential nominee.

party designation

The political party printed with the name of a candidate on a ballot or election materials.

party enrollment

The act of registering to vote and selecting a political party affiliation. Note, some states refer to registering with a party preference, and not formal enrollment or affiliation.

party label

The political party printed with the name of a candidate on a ballot or election materials.

party preference

The act of registering to vote and selecting a political party preference. Note, some states refer to registering with a party as party enrollment or affiliation.

Pattern Voting

Selecting contest options across multiple contests in a predetermined pattern intending to signal one’s identity to someone else. The possibility of pattern voting can be an issue for publishing Cast Vote Records (CVR) because it may compromise voter privacy if there are enough selections in each published CVR to make it likely a selection pattern might be unique.

Penetration Testing

An evaluation method that enables researchers to search for vulnerabilities in a system. Election systems, such as the Voter Registration system, are periodically submitted to Penetration Tests to determine their vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks. Also called Pen Testing.

people’s veto referenda

A proposal to repeal a law authorizing what was previously enacted by a governing body, and that is placed on the ballot by a citizen petition.

permanent absentee application

An application to automatically receive an absentee ballot in the mail for all future elections.

permanent absentee voter

A voter who has applied to use an absentee ballot to vote for all elections and has met the qualifications to be a permanent absentee voter in their jurisdiction.

permanent absentee voter status

A term used by election officials when a voter has applied for and is eligible to use an absentee ballot for all elections.

permanent advance voter

Synonymous with permanent absentee voter.

personal assistive device A device that is carried or worn by an individual with some physical impairment whose primary purpose is to help compensate for that impairment.
persons with disabilities

The disability community is rapidly evolving to using identity-first language in place of person-first language. This is because it views disability as being a core component of identity, much like race and gender. Some members of the community, such as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, prefer person-first language. In this column, the terms are used interchangeably.


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

petition drive

An organized effort to collect sufficient valid signatures to support an initiative, candidate, measure, or referendum.

petition fund

The act of raising and spending funds for purposes related to a petition.

petition signature gathering

The act of attempting to gather signatures from voters for initiatives, referendums, or candidates.

petition verification

Term used when elections officials examine submitted petitions and determine whether they are in proper form, if the signatures of voters are valid, and if the requisite number of valid signatures have been filed to accomplish its purpose.

Physical Configuration Audit (PCA) Inspection by an accredited test laboratory that compares the voting system components submitted for certification testing to the vendor’s technical documentation and confirms that the documentation submitted meets the national certification requirements. Includes witnessing of the build of the executable system to ensure that the certified release is built from the tested components