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Line breaks: bal¦lot
Pronunciation: /ˈbalət

Definition of ballot in English:


1A system of voting secretly and in writing on a particular issue: a strike ballot [mass noun]: the commissioners were elected by ballot
More example sentences
  • Every district secretary, every regional secretary was elected by ballot.
  • Teachers in four other schools are to hold consultative strike ballots over the same issue.
  • Eurotunnel train drivers are to hold a strike ballot over the issue of trade union recognition, it was announced this week.
1.1 (the ballot) The total number of votes cast in a ballot: he won 54 per cent of the ballot
More example sentences
  • The turnout for the ballot was 68 per cent, and of those, the vote was 2,947 in favour of action and 2,246 against.
  • There was a low turnout in the ballot with just 30 percent of teachers voting.
  • With less than 1 percent of ballot votes counted, the U.S.-backed Karzai is ahead with 56 percent of the vote.
1.2The piece of paper used to record a person’s vote: there were fifty-three abstentions and twenty-eight spoilt ballots
More example sentences
  • The paper ballots will be checked at election offices while votes recorded in the machines will be examined at an army base.
  • Which is worse: e-voting without a paper record or paper ballots?
  • The voting machines and paper ballots for said election shall carry the following designation, which shall be the title and submission clause.
1.3A lottery held to decide the allocation of tickets, shares, or other things among a number of applicants: a ballot decides which investors will be successful in buying the stock
More example sentences
  • The Ticket Window, sometimes known as a ticket ballot or lottery, will give every applicant an equal chance of getting seats for individual matches.
  • Now they are holding a ballot to decide which of the villains will win the dubious honour of having his or her effigy burned on a Guy Fawkes bonfire next month.
  • Maureen was one of 1,000 lucky people to have won tickets for the event in a competition ballot, and among an estimated 200 to have seen both events.

verb (ballots, balloting, balloted)

[with object] Back to top  
1(Of an organization) ask (members) to vote secretly on an issue: the union is preparing to ballot its members on industrial action
More example sentences
  • Last April's NUT annual conference unanimously voted to ballot members on a boycott of the SAT's.
  • Union members were balloted and voted for the one-day strike next Wednesday.
  • At its annual conference in April, the National Union of Teachers voted to ballot its members on boycotting the testing of pupils at ages seven, 11 and 14 in England.
1.1 [no object] Cast one’s vote on an issue: [with infinitive]: ambulance crews balloted unanimously to reject the deal
More example sentences
  • Firefighters in York have voted unanimously to ballot for county-wide strike action in protest at the controversial sacking of a colleague.
  • Cabin crew will ballot for industrial action this week.
  • A mass meeting of over 500 Unison members held at the end of November voted unanimously to ballot for further action in support of the social workers.
1.2Decide the allocation of (something) to applicants by drawing lots: if the offer is oversubscribed acceptances will be balloted
More example sentences
  • If you're interested in 2 Arsenal tickets let me know - my husband and I balloted for tickets before we knew the fixture list.
  • I balloted for tickets, did whatever I was asked to do to "increase my chances of getting tickets" but still - no tickets.
  • The Junior concert has 'caught on' to such an extent that tickets will soon have to be balloted for.


mid 16th century (originally denoting a small coloured ball placed in a container to register a vote): from Italian ballotta, diminutive of balla (see ball1).

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