1

ballot

play
noun bal·lot \ ˈba-lət \

Definition of ballot

1 a :a small ball used in secret voting
b :a sheet of paper used to cast a secret vote
2 a :the action or system of secret voting
b :the right to vote
c :vote 1a
3 :the number of votes cast
4 :the drawing of lots

Examples of ballot in a Sentence

  1. They cast their votes in a secret ballot.

  2. She was elected by secret ballot.

Recent Examples of ballot from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of ballot

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


2

ballot

verb

Definition of ballot

intransitive verb
:to vote or decide by ballot

balloter

noun

Recent Examples of ballot from the Web

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.

First Known Use of ballot

1603


Financial Definition of BALLOT

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.



BALLOT Defined for English Language Learners

ballot

play
noun

Definition of ballot for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of ballot for English Language Learners

  • : to ask (people) to decide something by voting


BALLOT Defined for Kids

ballot

play
noun bal·lot \ ˈba-lət \

Definition of ballot for Students

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

History for ballot

Long ago, the Italian city of Venice was a republic. The people of Venice had secret voting. They used balls with different colors or marks to vote. The Italian word for a ball used to vote, ballotta, meant literally “little ball.” The English word ballot came from this Italian word. Anything used to cast a secret vote, such as a piece of paper, can be called a ballot.



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