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

The fourth candidate on the ballot, Carney resident Kevin Marron, did not buy any TV ads. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore County Democrats spent nearly $1.7M on TV ads in primary," 14 July 2018 Since 1993, only three candidates for the Calumet Park Library Board have had their names printed on the ballot — one in 1995 and two in 2001. 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 Gender quotas work because parties control access to the ballot. Magda Hinojosa, Washington Post, "Women won big in Mexico’s elections — taking nearly half the legislature’s seats. Here’s why.," 11 July 2018 It's been on hold since a coalition of opponents gathered enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot. Allison Kite, kansascity, "Could Missouri's right-to-work vote be a 'turnaround' for labor? Unions hope so.," 10 July 2018 Jenkins' complaint doesn't include any request to be added to the ballot. Patrick Svitek, star-telegram, "After failing to crash Texas’ Senate race, independent candidate alleges Cruz campaign derailed him," 7 July 2018 Council members have 60 days from the clerk’s certification to decide on whether to pass the ordinance themselves or to send it to a ballot. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "Paid sick leave initiative signatures said to be enough," 6 July 2018 The high court will decide whether the lawmakers acted constitutionally, or whether I-940 or I-940 and the compromise proposal should go to the ballot. Rachel La Corte, The Seattle Times, "Court weighs lawmakers’ change to deadly force measure," 29 June 2018 Last year, an effort dubbed Calexit sought to bring the question of whether California should secede from the US to this year's ballot. Madison Park, CNN, "Initiative to break California into 3 states to go on November ballot," 13 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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Statistics for ballot

Last Updated

26 Oct 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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