chapter 9

Term Definition
political party an association of voters with broad common interests who want to influence or control decision making in government 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 votes.
ward several adjoining precincts making up larger election units.
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 that party's nominees.
open primary an election in which voters need not declare their party preference to vote for the party's nominees.
plurality the most votes all those running for a political office.
majority a number that is more than 50 percent of the total.
petition a formal request for government action.

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