ballot

noun
bal·lot | \ ˈba-lət \

Definition of ballot 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a small ball used in secret voting

b : a sheet of paper used to cast a secret vote

2a : the action or system of secret voting

b : the right to vote

c : vote sense 1a

3 : the number of votes cast

4 : the drawing of lots

ballot

verb
balloted; balloting; ballots

Definition of ballot (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to vote or decide by ballot

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Other words from ballot

Verb

balloter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ballot

Synonyms: Noun

enfranchisement, franchise, suffrage, vote

Antonyms: Noun

disenfranchisement

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Did You Know?

When people voted in ancient Athens, they dropped pebbles into an urn. Similarly, when voting was done by the people of Venice during the Renaissance, secrecy was assured by the use of little colored or marked balls. The Italian word for “little ball” is ballotta, from balla, meaning “ball,” and the diminutive suffix –otta. Now any kind of secret voting, by ball, piece of paper, or voting machine, is called a ballot. So is the right to vote itself.

Examples of ballot in a Sentence

Noun

They cast their votes in a secret ballot. She was elected by secret ballot.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor said the city had not met its burden to prevent the SoccerCity initiative from being placed on the Nov. 6 ballot. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Judge gives final OK for SoccerCity on ballot," 13 July 2018 The board has until Aug. 20 to approve putting a bond referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Hinsdale District 86 considers $164 million referendum, including a $24 million pool at Central," 13 July 2018 Street said his fellow Republicans calling for Brown to get off the ballot are being ridiculous. Chris Brennan, Philly.com, "Nancy Pelosi pals around with convicted tax dodger at Dems fundraiser in Philly," 13 July 2018 But no candidate for library board has appeared on a local election ballot in 17 years, county records show. Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, "For years, there's been no financial oversight at the Calumet Park library. Now the state is getting involved.," 13 July 2018 The proposal promised new money for transportation and education, but it was deemed unconstitutional and never made the ballot. Adam Vaccaro, BostonGlobe.com, "A Blue Line to Lynn? Advocates are pushing a new way to fund transportation projects," 12 July 2018 The Democratic lead in the generic congressional ballot (asking respondents which party that want to control the U.S. House of Representatives) hit 8 percent for the first time in nearly four months. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Democrats Look Good Again on Key Midterm Polling Numbers," 12 July 2018 From there, McNamara envisions the project being placed on the November 2020 ballot for voter approval under the provisions of Proposition FF. Steve Dreyer, Pomerado News, "'Agritopia'-inspired development in works for StoneRidge?," 12 July 2018 More states could join them soon, with groups proposing ballot initiatives in Michigan, Utah, and Oklahoma this year, according to the New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice. Andrew Chung, The Christian Science Monitor, "Some US states take initiative to eliminate partisan gerrymandering," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Altuve led the fan balloting with 4.8 million votes. Jay Cohen, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Mike Trout leads stellar AL outfield for All-Star Game," 9 July 2018 Whether that translates to a few more fan votes in the All-Star balloting for J.T. Realmuto is anyone's guess, though. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Realmuto powers Marlins to win over Rockies with grand slam," 23 June 2018 On June 25, the 2018 Teen Choice Awards announced that Meghan is now part of their nomination pool, currently in the balloted running for the Choice Style Icon Award. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Meghan Markle and Harry Styles Are Nominated for the Teen Choice Style Icon Award," 26 June 2018 In 2017, Goldschmidt garnered more than 1.2 million votes and finished third in balloting at his position. Clevis Murray, azcentral, "MLB All-Star Game voting update: Diamondbacks still lacking votes," 18 June 2018 In an 8-2 majority, justices on Wednesday sided with government arguments that the paper trails posed a risk to ballot secrecy, Brazil’s Folha De S.Paulo newspaper reported on Thursday. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "In a blow to e-voting critics, Brazil suspends use of all paper ballots," 8 June 2018 Even before the final day balloting began on Tuesday, more than 441,000 early votes and votes by mail had been cast, according to the State Board of Elections. Rick Pearson, chicagotribune.com, "J.B. Pritzker out to big early lead in Democratic race for Illinois governor," 20 Mar. 2018 With the Crimson Tide, McCarron became the school's all-time passing leader, won the Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting for the 2013 season. Mark Inabinett, AL.com, "AJ McCarron ready to 'let the wins do the talking' again with Buffalo Bills," 18 Apr. 2018 With the Crimson Tide, McCarron became the school's all-time passing leader, won the Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting for the 2013 season. Mark Inabinett, AL.com, "AJ McCarron ready to 'let the wins do the talking' again with Buffalo Bills," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ballot.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ballot

Noun

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1603, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ballot

Noun

Italian ballotta, from Italian dialect, diminutive of balla ball — more at balloon

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Learn More about ballot

Phrases Related to ballot

cast one's ballot

on the ballot

rig the ballot

Statistics for ballot

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ballot

The first known use of ballot was in 1549

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More Definitions for ballot

ballot

noun

Financial Definition of ballot

What It Is

A ballot reflects a shareholder's vote on a corporate decision.

How It Works

Most corporations have an annual shareholders meeting in which shareholders come to listen to presentations by the company's management and to vote on key issues, such as whether to merge with another company, whether to re-elect certain board members, and other issues. Shareholders cast their votes via ballots. Ballots are traditionally on paper, but some companies allow shareholders to cast their ballots via phone or the Internet.

A proxy is a person, agency, or entity authorized to act on behalf of another person, agency or entity. In the finance world, proxy most often refers to an entity authorized to vote on behalf of a shareholder. It also commonly refers to Securities and Exchange Commission Form 14-A (the "proxy statement"), which is the document containing the actual voting ballot and disclosing information related to management compensation and matters on which to vote. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires public companies to file proxy statements annually prior to the companies' annual shareholder meetings; the objective is to inform shareholders of the meeting, what matters are up for a vote, and instructions for voting.

Why It Matters

Ballots are how shareholders vote. Shareholders are the owners of companies, and they have the ultimate say in what a company decides, who serves on the board of directors, and whether to sell the company.

In many cases, shareholders don't actually receive a ballot in the mail if they own shares indirectly, as is the case with mutual funds (in that situation, shareholders own shares of the mutual fund rather than shares of the underlying companies the mutual fund invests in). Investors who hold shares in street name (that is, the shares are registered to the investor's brokerage firm rather than in his or her own name) might also not receive ballots. In these cases, the fund manager or brokerage firm is the actual shareholder in the eyes of the company, and they receive the ballot and can vote the shares. These people are responsible for voting the shares in the best interest of their investors, and in many cases, a mutual fund is a sizeable shareholder -- its vote may have a significant impact on the company.

Source: Investing Answers

ballot

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ballot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a ticket or piece of paper used to vote in an election

: a process that allows people to vote in secret so that other people cannot see their votes

: the total number of votes in an election

ballot

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ballot (Entry 2 of 2)

: to ask (people) to decide something by voting

ballot

noun
bal·lot | \ ˈba-lət \

Kids Definition of ballot

1 : a printed sheet of paper used in voting

2 : the action or a system of voting

3 : the right to vote

4 : the number of votes cast

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Comments on ballot

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