BallotReady Position Naming Conventions

BallotReady uses a set of rigorous guidelines for naming positions. In general, these naming conventions aim to categorize positions so that they are unique and identifiable

  • Unique: all position names are unique names for that state and that election year. 

  • Identifiable: based on the information in the name, a reader should be able to know what this position is and where.

Name Elements

For BallotReady, all position names have 3 key elements, with 4 optional elements.  

  1. County Name (optional).  The county name is ONLY used to begin township positions in townships that have same name in different counties. We separate the county name from the Geographic name by a colon. ex: Washington County: Forest Township Treasurer

  2. Geographic Name.  This is the name of a state, county, municipality, township, or special district.

    • Chicago City Council - Ward 40

    • Middletown Village Board

    • Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board

    • Greenfield Union School Board (Unexpired term)

    • New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge - District 3, Position 2

  3. Geographic Level. This applies to county, city, township, and sometimes state level positions.  This does not apply to special district positions.

    1. Chicago City Council - Ward 40

    2. Middletown Village Board

  4. Position Type. BallotReady uses a standardized naming system to describe position types , which may not match exactly what appears on voters' ballots. For example, BallotReady uses "City Council" for all municipal legislatures, even if a particular city uses "Aldermen" or "Commissioners".

    1. Chicago City Council - Ward 40

    2. Middletown Village Board

    3. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board

    4. Greenfield Union School Board (Unexpired term)

    5. New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge - District 3, Position 2

  5. Subdistrict (optional).  These are separated from the "position type" by a dash.  I.e. " - "

    1. Chicago City Council - Ward 40

    2. New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge - District 3, Position 2

  6. Secondary subdistrict (optional). There will be divided by a comma after the 1st subdistrict

    1. New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge - District 3, Position 2

  7. Parenthetical notes (optional).  This used for various reasons, including 

    • Unexpired terms. E.g."Greenfield Union School Board (Unexpired term)"

    • Different term lengths withing the same position. E.g. "Milberg City Council (2-year term)" and "Milberg City Council (4-year term)"

    • Providing an alternate name for a subdistrict.  E.g. "Swain County Council - District 3 (Dillard Township)".  In this case another name for District 3 is Dillard Township (they are the same).  If instead there were multiple seats in District 3, some of which were in Dillard Township and some of which were in another township, then Dillard Township would be considered a secondary subdistrict, and would be separated by a comma rather than a parenthetical.  

    • Providing a County designation for special district positions within the same state that are identically named, or very nearly so. E.g. "Russell School District (Adams County)" and "Russell Independent School District (Wayne County)"

EXAMPLES

State

Incorrect Name

Correct Name

North Carolina

U.S. House of Representatives (NC-11)

U.S. House of Representatives - North Carolina 11th Congressional District

Washington

Seattle Mayor

Seattle City Mayor

Texas

Arlington City Commissioners

Arlington City Commission

Oregon

Washington County Council - 1

Washington County Council - District 1

Kentucky

Circuit Court Judge - Circuit 30 - Division 4

Circuit Court Judge - Circuit 30, Division 4

Virginia

Commonwealth's Attorney - Eighth Circuit

Virginia Commonwealth Attorney - Circuit 8

North Dakota

North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner

Nevada

Clark County Commissioner District D

Clark County Council - District D

New York

Adams Village Trustee

Adams Village Board

Ohio

St. Clair Township Road Supervisor

Butler County: St. Clair Township Road Supervisor

Illinois

Village of Oak Park Board, Position 2

Oak Park Village Board - Position 2

COMPLEX EXAMPLES

  • Example 1:

    • Original taken from the Webster County sample ballot: Magistrate of the 1st Magisterial District

    • BallotReady modified version: Webster County Magistrate - District 1

      • Note that districts, seat numbers, and division designations are always added to the end of a position, preceded by a dash (e.g.: “- District 1” in the case above)

      • Also note that the county name appears in front of all county position names (Magistrate - District 1 is not specific enough on its own without the county name)

  • Example 2:

    • Original taken from the Webster County sample ballot: Mayor, City of Dixon

    • BallotReady modified version: Dixon City Mayor

  • Example 3:

    • Original taken from county list: Mesa Water District Division 3, Board Member, Division 3

    • BallotReady modified version: Mesa Water District Board - Division 3

  • Example 4

    • Original taken from county list Elizabeth Village Trustee

    • BallotReady modified version: Elizabeth Village Board

  • Example 5:

    • Original taken from county list: Tri-City Healthcare 2nd Division, Healthcare Board, Board Member

    • BallotReady modified version: Tri-City Healthcare Board - Division 2

  • Example 6: 

    • Original Taken from Clinton County: Trenton City Alderman - Ward 1 

    • BallotReady modified version: Trenton City Council - Ward 1

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