down-ballot candidates

RORSCHACH

Senior Member
Farsi-persian
Hi,

What does "down-ballot candidates" mean?

“I filled in the bubbles by my name and the down-ballot candidates, walked the ballot over to the scanner, slid it in, and watched it disappear.”

Source: Hillary Rodham Clinton. “What Happened.”
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I suppose this means "candidates whose names were listed farther down on the ballot", Rorshach. I've never heard or seen "down-ballot" in any other source.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In U.S. elections, ballots start with the most important position at the top (in this case President) and work down through senators, representatives in Congress, state treasurer, mayor and so on until they reach members of the town park committee and its dog-catcher. "Down-ballot" candidates are those far down the ballot. The exact starting point of that concept varies from one person to another, but apparently in this case she thought of all the other candidates as down-ballot. Most people who use this term, and I've heard it more than once, would put the line a lot further down.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I haven't heard the expression, but it's a proven fact that for each office, the candidate highest up in the list, has the best chance of being elected.
    When election officials tried to be non-partisan and list candidates alphabetically, it resulted in candidates with surnames beginning with a, b, c, etc having an overwhelming advantage.
    Nowadays, U.S. election ballots are printed in multiple variations with candidates sorted randomly.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I haven't heard the expression, but it's a proven fact that for each office, the candidate highest up in the list, has the best chance of being elected.
    When election officials tried to be non-partisan and list candidates alphabetically, it resulted in candidates with surnames beginning with a, b, c, etc having an overwhelming advantage.
    Nowadays, U.S. election ballots are printed in multiple variations with candidates sorted randomly.
    I think the order in which candidates for one office are listed is a separate issue from "down-ballot" candidates, which refers to the order in which different offices that are up for election are listed. The town park committee may be a down-ballot office, but that doesn't imply anything about the order in which those devoted citizens who want to be on that committee are listed. That said, I've heard the same thing: among the candidates for a single office, being listed near the top improves one's chances of election.
     
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