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Term Definition
Political Party An association of voters with broad common interests who wants to influence or control decision making in governments by electing the party's candidates to public office.
Two-Party System A system of government in which two parties compete for power.
Third Party A party that challenges the two major parties.
Platform A series of statements expressing the party's principles, beliefs, and positions on election issues.
Plank Each individual part of a political party's platform.
National Committee Representatives from the 50 state party organizations who run a political party.
Caucus A meeting of political party members to conduct party business.
Precinct A geographic area that contains a specific number of voters.
Ward Several adjoining precincts making up a larger election unit.
Political Machine A strong party organization that can control political appointments and deliver votes.
Direct Primary An election in which voters choose candidates to represent each party in a general election.
Closed Primary An election in which only the declared members of a party are allowed to vote for the party's nominees.
Open Primary An election in which voters need not declare their preference to vote for the party's nominees.
Plurality The most votes among all those running for a political office.
Majority A number that is more than 50 percent of the total.
Petition A process by which candidates who are not affiliated with one of the two major parties can get on the ballot for the general election in most states.

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