- Legislature: Assembly or body of representatives with the authority to make laws.
- Bicameral Legislature: Legislature with two chambers, which may have equal or unequal powers.
- Chamber: An assembly or body of a legislature, often referring to one of two such bodies in a bicameral legislature.
- Lower Chamber: In a bicameral legislature, the house that typically has a large number of legislators than upper chambers, and often represents the national vote either more proportionally or through smaller geographic constituencies.
- Upper Chamber: The chamber in a bicameral legislature that is usually smaller in number of legislators, often representing larger geographic constituencies such as states or provinces.
- Unicameral Legislature: Legislature with a single chamber.
- Congress: A form of legislature typically associated with a presidential system in which there is a separation of powers.
- Parliament: A type of legislature often associated with systems in which the legislators vote on the executive branch and the formation of a government.
- District System: An electoral system in which voters select representatives from specific geographic constituencies.
- Constituency: A group of voters or a geographic district that legislators or other elected officials represent.
- Single Member District: Electoral system in which voters choose a candidate and the winner is elected by the most votes earned or through winning a runoff vote.
- First-Past-the-Post: Electoral system in which the candidate with the most number of votes is elected, regardless of whether a majority has been attained.
- Runoff: Electoral system in which the top candidates after a first round of voting compete in one or more additional rounds of voting until a candidate receives a majority.
- Multi-Member District (MMD): Electoral system in which district constituencies have more than one representative.
- Proportional Representation: Electoral system in which voters choose a preferred party and seats are allocated to parties according to the percentage of the vote the party wins.
- Open List Proportional Representation: Electoral system in which voters choose a candidate but votes are aggregated by political party to determine the allocation of seats across parties.
- Alternative Vote: Voting system in which voters rank candidates and the votes of low ranking candidates are reallocated until a winner is determined.
- Single Transferable Vote (STV): Electoral system in which voters rank candidates and the winners’ surplus votes are reallocated to other, lower ranking candidates until a slate of representatives is chosen.
- Strategic Voting: Voting in a way that does not reflect a voter’s ideal preference, so as to prevent a less-desired outcome.
- Indirect Election: Electoral system in which representatives are chosen by other elected officials, rather than directly by the citizenry at large.
- Representation: In legislatures, the process by which elected legislators reflect the interests and preferences of voters in their constituencies.
- Apportionment: The process by which legislative seats are distributed among geographic constituencies.
- Districting: The process by which districts or other geographic constituencies are created for the purposes of elections.
- Gerrymandering: Creation of districts of irregular shape or composition in order to achieve a desired political result.
- Malapportionment: Apportionment in which voters are unequally represented in a legislature such as through relatively greater numbers of legislators per capita for low population areas and lesser number of legislators per capita for high population areas.
- Committee: In a legislature, a body composed of a group of legislators convened to perform a certain set of tasks.
- Executive-Legislative Relations: The set of relationships between the executive and the legislative branches of government.
- Does a PR or SMD voting system benefit minorities more and why? How does gerrymandering affect this?
- What are the drawbacks to a first-past-the-post voting system?
- Are indirect elections more or less democratic then direct elections?
- Do district system elections disadvantage political minorities?
Elections: A process in which people vote to choose a person or a group of people to hold an official position.
PR (Proportional Representation): the seats in the electoral system are gained in proportion to the numbers of votes they receive
SMD (Single Member District): An electoral district or constituency having a single representative in a legislative body rather than two or more