A way people can vote if they must be out of town or are unable to get to their polling place on Election Day. They vote on a paper ballot and mail it in to their local elections office. Voters may also be able to cast an absentee ballot in person in advance of the election at their local elections office. In Virginia and some other states, absentee ballots are counted on Election Day, but in others, the absentee ballots may be counted as much as a week after the election. [top]
Associated with, or a member of, a political party or political organization. [top]
At-largeCandidates for certain types of offices can be elected one of two ways. They may be elected to represent certain geographic areas within the jurisdiction, such as a district or ward. Only the residents of the district may vote for the office. But if a candidate is elected at-large, he represents the entire jurisdiction, and all voters may vote for the office. [top]
The list of all candidates and issues upon which a voter is entitled to vote in an election. [top]
A leaning in favor of or against something or someone; partiality or prejudice. [top]
A series of planned actions for getting someone elected. [top]
A person who seeks, or who has been suggested for an office or award. [top]
A person who is a member of a country or state; citizens have certain duties and rights. [top]
A primary election in which only a political party's members may vote on its nominees. [top]
Congressional District (CD)
A political subdivision in which the nation is divided for the purposes of elected U.S. Representatives. Each district contains about 570,000 people. [top]
All of the voters in a particular district. [top]
Having the right to vote or elect; any of the voters represented by a particular official. [top]
A city, county, or state office established by a state's Constitution. In Arlington, our Constitutional Officers are the Clerk of the Court, Commonwealth's Attorney, Sheriff, Commissioner of Revenue, and Treasurer. [top]
Face-to-face discussion of candidates' views on issues. [top]
Government by the people, through free and frequent elections. [top]
Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) equipment
Also known as electronic or touch-screen machines, this type of voting equipment projects the ballot on a computer screen in front of the voter. The voter touches the screen to make selections and cast the ballot. [top]
A subdivision of the state or of a county, city or other unit of local government in which all registered voters residing within the district are entitled to participate in the election of one or more candidates to serve as the district's representatives. [top]
Expressed opinions intended to persuade viewers and listeners by taking a side. [top]
The process whereby eligible persons vote to determine who will hold a political office. [top]
The day reserved for people to vote. In general elections, it is by tradition the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Primary elections are also usually held on Tuesdays. [top]
The voters of each state to formally elect the U.S. President and Vice President. Each state has as many electors as it does U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators. In all but two states the candidate who receives the plurality of popular vote in the state receives all of its electoral votes. [top]
Of or describing a union of states having a central government or pertaining to that government. [top]
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)
An office within the Department of Defense responsible for administering the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). This law requires states and territories to permit members of the Armed Forces and overseas U.S. citizens living abroad to register and vote absentee in all federal elections. [top]
Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
A form used by members of the armed forces, overseas citizens, and dependents residing with them to both register to vote, if necessary, and to request absentee ballots. [top] Franchise The constitutional right to vote. [top]
An election, other than a primary election, that recurs at fixed dates. [top]
Letters that stand for Grand Old Party, the nickname of the Republican party. [top]
The involvement of common citizens. [top]
The selection of a governor by a state's voters. [top]
Slang for political ads. e.g. slick short TV commercials. [top]
A person now holding an office. [top]
A candidate not belonging to one of the major political parties. [top]
A power granted to voters in some states and local governments to introduce a matter before the governing body or to place it directly before the voters for their approval, without consideration by the appropriate legislative body. [top]
Problems, ideas to be talked about, questions, decided upon and voted on. [top]
An election in which one candidate defeats the other by a very large margin. [top]
A voting machine that requires users to pull levers next to the name of candidates or selections on the ballot. [top]
A question or proposal submitted in an election to obtain an expression of the voters' will on the matter. [top]
A nickname for the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, so named because it required motor vehicle divisions to provide voter registration services. [top]
Negative, often personal, frequently inaccurate or exaggerated attacks of the opposition. [top]
National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)
This 1993 federal law requires that states allow residents to obtain voter registration materials as they apply for a driver's license as well as utilize given public services. Completion of a voter registration form at one of these facilities does not guarantee registration, however, as in most cases the forms must first be forwarded to the appropriate election officials for verification and processing. [top]
The person that a political party chooses to represent it in a general election. This is called nomination. [top]
Not supporting or controlled by a group or a cause. [top]
A primary election that differs from a closed primary in that all voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote for a party's nominee. [top]
Optical scan ballot
A paper ballot that requires voters to use a special marking device to either fill in a bubble or connect two arrows in order to cast a vote. Once the ballots are marked, they are inserted into a special counting machine that reads the markings and tabulates the votes. [top]
A strong, often emotional supporter of a person or cause; can apply to a group as well as individuals. [top]
A group of people who join together because they share many ideas about what the government should do. [top]
A public statement of the principles, objectives, and policy of a political party, a plan. [top]
Political Action Committee (PAC)
An organization of 50 or more people that is created to raise money for favored political candidates and is registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). A PAC may be formed by any group, including businesses, labor unions, and special interest bodies. [top]
A place where votes are cast; also refers to a survey to assess public opinion or to forecast an election. [top]
A person or company that researches public opinion. [top]
A division of voters by neighborhood; smallest political unit in U.S. politics. Cities and counties are divided into precinct polling districts, each containing 200 to 5,000 voters and a polling place. [top]
Of or having to do with the people as a whole. [top]
The legal process of submitting to the voters for their approval or rejection of proposed state or local laws or constitutional amendments. [top]
Without favor or blame, objective. [top]
Source: Project Vote Smart and other sources.
Over 20% of the U.S. presidents did not attend college! (George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Harry Truman)
Abraham Lincoln won the presidency in 1860 even though he wasn't on the ballot in 9 states, representing 1/5 of the electoral vote!
Grover Cleveland hanged two murderers when he served as public executioner of Oneida County NY.
In 1912, Woodrow Wilson defeated two presidents in one election - incumbent President William Howard Taft, and former President Theodore Roosevelt.
In 1933, for the first time in history, all the members of the Electoral College were invited to a presidential inauguration (to witness Franklin Roosevelt take the oath of office).
November 7, 1848 , was the day of the first national election held on the same day in every state. Zachary Taylor was elected president.
John Tyler was the first vice president to take office after the death of a president, earning him the nickname "His Accidency."
At 28, James Buchanan was engaged to be married. Because of untrue rumors, his fiancée broke off the engagement. She would die young. A heart-broken and grief-stricken Buchanan vowed never to marry, and to this day is the only president to remain a bachelor his entire life.
William Henry Harrison was born in Charles City County, Virginia in 1773. His vice president, John Tyler, was born in the same county in 1790.
There were, in fact, eight presidents who were born in Virginia: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
To supplement his income as a lawyer, Gerald Ford worked as a model, and actually appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan in 1942.
Not old enough to vote himself, a nineteen year old Grover Cleveland worked on Democrat James Buchanan's successful bid for president in 1856. Cleveland probably would have been shocked at the time to learn that the next Democrat to win the White House would be himself, 28 years later in 1884!
In 1925, Calvin Coolidge became the first president to be sworn in by a former president, Chief Justice William Howard Taft.
Q: Who was the youngest president? Who was the oldest?
A: The youngest elected president was John F. Kennedy at 43. The youngest president to be inaugurated was Theodore Roosevelt at 42, following the assassination of William McKinley. At 77, Ronald Reagan was the oldest president at the time he left office. The oldest living former president is George W. Bush, who was born in 1924. [top]
Q: Who was the tallest president? Who was the shortest?
A: Tallest: Abraham Lincoln. Shortest: James Madison. [top]
Q: Who was the heaviest president? Who was the lightest?
A: Heaviest: William Howard Taft, who weighed more than 300 lbs. He was said to have installed a special bathtub in the White House that could fit four normal sized men. Lightest: James Madison at about 100 lbs. [top]
Q: Which presidents were related?
A: There have been two sets of presidents who were father and son: John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and George Bush and George W. Bush. Other presidents who were related: William H. Harrison and Benjamin Harrison (grandfather and grandson); James Madison and Zachary Taylor (second cousins); and Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt (fifth cousins). [top]
Q: How many presidents have died in office?
A: Eight presidents have died in office (four by assassination):
Q: Who would become president if the president and the vice-president both died?
A: The Presidential Succession Law of 1947 deals with what would happen if both the president and the vice-president were simultaneously disabled. Under the law, the Speaker of the House would succeed to the Presidency. [top]
Q: Has any president ever died inside the White House?
A: Two presidents have died in the White House: William Henry Harrison died there in 1841, and Zachary Taylor died there in 1850. [top]
Q: Which president is buried in Washington , D.C.?
A: Woodrow Wilson is the only president buried in Washington , D.C. He is buried at the Washington Cathedral. [top]
Q: Which president was not a citizen of the U.S. when he died?
A: The one president who was not a U.S. citizen when he died was the 10th President, John Tyler. A native of Virginia, he died in that state on Jan. 18, 1862 as a citizen of the Southern Confederacy. Incidentally, Tyler also has the distinction of being the first president to be born in the United States, in 1790. All previous presidents were born before the War for Independence. [top]
Q: Who was the first president to fly in an airplane?
A: The first president to fly in an airplane while in office was Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1943. The first ex-president to fly in an airplane was Theodore Roosevelt, who flew as a passenger in a 4-minute flight in one of the early Wright biplanes on October 11, 1910 , a year after he had left office. [top]
Q: Who was the first president to get a pilot's license?
A: The first president to get a pilot's license was Dwight Eisenhower, issued on 11/30/39. [top]
Q: Who's the first President to appear on television?
A: The first president to appear on black & white television was Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 30, 1939 at the opening ceremonies for the World's Fair. But, Harry S. Truman was the first president to give an address from the White House on October 5, 1947. The first president on color television was Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 6, 1955, when he appeared at his 40th class reunion at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. [top]
FYI: Warren G. Harding was the first president to give a speech over radio. This happened on June 14, 1922, when he spoke at the dedication of the Francis Scott Key memorial at Ft. McHenry, Baltimore , Md. on station WEAR. [top]
Q: Who was the first president to be born in a hospital?
A: Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital. [top]
Q: Who was the first president to have electric lights at the White House?
A: The first president to have electric lights in the White House was Benjamin Harrison. A Compton 's encyclopedia article about Harrison states: "Congress appropriated $35,000 to have the White House renovated, and Mrs. Harrison spent the money carefully. When the White House was wired for electricity, the Harrisons asked one of the electricians to stay on because they were afraid to turn the lights on and off. The man they selected was Ike Hoover, who remained on the White House staff for 42 years." [top]
Q: Which Presidents lost the popular vote but still became President?
A: There have been four cases of this happening thus far. In 1824, John Quincy Adams was awarded the presidency by the House of Representatives, despite not having won the popular vote or the electoral college vote (neither he nor opponent Andrew Jackson had an electoral college majority). In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes became President despite losing the popular vote to Samuel J. Tilden, because Hayes had a one vote advantage in the electoral college. In 1888, in a much more clear-cut example of a candidate losing the popular vote but winning the electoral college vote, Benjamin Harrison was elected President over Grover Cleveland. Finally, in 2000, George W. Bush became president after losing the popular vote to Al Gore, but winning the electoral vote. [top]
Q: What does the law say about the number of terms/years a President can serve?
A: A lot of people believe that the law only prohibits Presidents from serving more than two consecutive terms, when, in fact this is not the case. They also wonder what limits are placed on someone who becomes President during the middle of a term. Amendment 22 of the Constitution covers both of these issues. Here is the applicable text from this Amendment:
"No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once." [top]
Q: Which presidents have stood trial for impeachment?
A: President Andrew Johnson stood trial for impeachment in 1868. The impeachment vote did not pass in the Senate. The House Judiciary Committee issued three articles of impeachment against President Nixon on July 30, 1974, but President Nixon resigned before the impeachment process could continue to trial. President Clinton stood trial for impeachment. The Senate acquitted Clinton on Feb. 12, 1999. [top]
Q: I understand that there was a President of the United States that served for only 24 hours. Who was he?
A: David Rice Atchison , a mid-19th century Senator from Missouri was president of the U.S. for one day: Sunday, March 4, 1849 , between the expiration of James Polk's term at noon of that day and the official oath of office taken by Zachary Taylor on Monday. The law at that time specified that the President was to be sworn in on March 4th, a date that fell on a Sunday in 1849; but President-elect Taylor refused to be sworn in on the Sabbath (Sunday). Atchison had been elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate a couple of days before and was thus technically third in line of succession behind the President and Vice President, of which (arguably) on that day were nonexistent. [top]
Q: Is is true that George Washington was not the first President of the United States?
A: Yes. There were actually SEVEN presidents before George Washington. They are known to history as the "Presidents under the Articles of Confederation" and had the official title of "President of the United States in Congress Assembled." The first was John Hanson (1781-82), and the next six presidents were Elias Boudinot (1783), Thomas Mifflin (1784), Richard Henry Lee (1785), Nathan Gorman (1786), Arthur St. Clair (1787), and Cyrus Griffin (1788). There were actually sixteen Presidents of the Continental Congress, but John Hanson, the ninth, was the first to serve as President under the Articles of Confederation and the first to hold the title "President of the United States." [top]
Q: Which American president lived with a bullet in his chest most of his life?
A: Andrew Jackson (1829-37) who was wounded in a duel with Charles Dickenson in May of 1806. [top]
Q: How many presidents have changed their names legally? A: Seven:
Q: The president lives in the White House, but what about the Vice President?
A: Since 1974 the U.S. Vice-President has lived in a large, white-painted, Victorian house on the southeast corner of 34th Street and Massachusetts Avenue in the District of Columbia . It is located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory. The official title of the home is "The Admiral's House." [top]
Q: Which Presidents were/are left-handed?
A: James A. Garfield (1831-1881) 20th; Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) 31st; Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 33rd; Gerald Ford (1913-2006) 38th; Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) 40th; George Bush (1924- ) 41st; Bill Clinton (1946- ) 42nd; Barack Obama (1961- ), 44th. [top]
Q: Which President could write Greek with one hand and Latin with the other?
A: James Garfield. [top]
Q: What President became Chief Justice after his presidency?
A: William Howard Taft. [top]
Source for most trivia: University of Michigan