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Ballot has a variety of meanings: 1) a method or process of casting a vote, 2) the actual paper, card, or machine that indicates a voter’s choices in an election, 3) the total number of votes cast in an election, and 4) a list of candidates running for office.  

Ballots record a voter’s choice in any kind of election from political elections to corporate elections. In political elections, voters are provided printed ballots and voters must check the empty box next to the person they are voting for. Some jurisdictions provide electronic monitors, which allows people to vote by clicking the box of the person’s name they wish to vote for. Towns can require ballots to be obtained in person, or towns may mail ballots to voters and give them the option to mail their ballots instead.  

The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984, and The Help America Vote Act of 2002 all require jurisdictions to make accessible arrangements for people with disabilities, so they are able to cast their ballots. For example, a braille ballot can be provided to a voter who is blind. 

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team