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
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 for ballot

Synonyms: Noun

vote

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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

Proposals are frequently excluded from ballots by the SEC. Gabriel T. Rubin, WSJ, "Shutdown Ties Companies’ Hands on Unwanted Shareholder Proposals," 15 Jan. 2019 The milestones for women in politics this year are undeniable: more women on the ballot than ever before, a record number of women elected to Congress, and historic firsts like the first Muslim women in Congress, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. Anna North, Vox, "Women made historic gains in 2018. But in so many ways, it was still the Year of the Man.," 27 Dec. 2018 The idea of gambling in the state has been controversial for decades; in fact, anti-casino activists were able to gather enough signatures to get a question back on the November 2014 ballot that would have outlawed casinos once more. Andrea Bennett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Will New Casinos Bring a "MassVegas" to New England?," 17 Dec. 2018 Some of you even had to use provisional ballots because of harsh voter ID laws. Marie Claire, "One Week Post-Midterms Here's What We Know," 13 Nov. 2018 The race had been too close to call over the past week and early votes and mail-in ballots had to be counted. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Kyrsten Sinema Becomes First Female and Openly Bisexual Senator from Arizona," 13 Nov. 2018 The votes are then printed out onto a paper ballot. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Nearly 150 West Virginians voted with a mobile blockchain app," 10 Nov. 2018 Currently, there are two pending cases over previous San Francisco ballot measures that could either strengthen or weaken Prop C’s legal footing. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "San Francisco’s Prop C homelessness tax was a big win for Marc Benioff, but legal challenges may be coming," 8 Nov. 2018 Ross Morales Rocketto, co-founder of Run for Something, a group fielding progressive candidates under 40 years of age in down-ballot state and local elections, told Curbed. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Why mayors and urban leaders will have a bigger impact in 2018 elections," 21 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As Ars reported in September, a US district judge called Georgia's voting security efforts inadequate after major vulnerabilities were found in balloting systems in the run-up to a Georgia congressional special election. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The ugly truth about voting security: States won’t fix it," 6 Nov. 2018 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

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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Statistics for ballot

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ballot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ballot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ballot

Spanish Central: Translation of ballot

Nglish: Translation of ballot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ballot for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ballot

Comments on ballot

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