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Elections | English Lesson

Aug 24, 2021

Today’s topic is “near and dear” to the hearts of many economists, and anybody else who takes an interest in the economy. Our topic today is elections.

So, let’s get started. Our vocabulary list is a little longer than usual today, so pay close attention. Here goes 

VOCABULARY

  • Run for office: to seek political power via an election
  • Platform: a political party’s formal written statement of its principles and goals
  • Poll: a survey of people taken to find out which candidate they might vote for
  • Front runner: the political candidate who looks as though he/she is winning
  • Polling station: location where people vote
  • Voting booth: a small enclosure in which a person votes
  • Paper ballot: a piece of paper on which you indicate your choice
  • Cast a ballot: to vote in an election
  • Spoiled ballot: ballot paper that is invalid
  • Voter turnout: percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election
  • Landslide: a victory in which one candidate’s votes far surpass those of other candidates
  • Electoral fraud: illegal interference with the process of an election

Alright, now listen for the words in this reading so you can hear how they are used in context.

DIALOGUE

Economists pay special attention to elections since government policies have a very big impact on the economy.

The way elections are held vary from country to country, but they all have several things in common. First, politicians decide to run for office. Maybe they run for mayor or run for a seat in congress or the senate, or maybe they run for president.

During the race, politicians make a lot of promises. These promises are part of their so-called “political platform”. Their platform is basically what they represent, and what they promise to do if they get elected.

Now, before the election, everybody wants to know who the favorites are, and that is where the polling companies come in. The polling companies conduct polls –– which is like a survey of the voters –– and ask them who they think they will vote for. Once we see the results of the poll, we know who the front-runners are. In other words, we know who is leading (if you are leading in the polls, you are a “front-runner”).

Finally, after lots of promises, election day finally comes around, and voters go to the place they are supposed to vote –– the so-called “polling stations” — and they identify themselves and go into a small, private space called the polling booth. Inside, there might be an electronic device for electronic voting, but probably voters will just mark their choice on a special piece of paper called a ballot.  When they fold and drop the paper ballot into the box, that’s called “casting a ballot”. Sometimes the voter doesn’t like any of the candidates and wants to make a protest statement, so they don’t write anything down, or they make some other kind of mark. We call that “spoiling the ballot”, and that ballot doesn’t count towards any candidate, but still, the voter sends a message.

In some countries, people are very interested in politics so there is a high voter turnout. In other countries, there isn’t much interest at all, and that leads to a low voter turnout.

On rare occasions, when a politician is particularly popular, that candidate wins in a landslide. That is a way to say that the candidate has won big! They won with a large majority. But sometimes, a candidate can win in a landslide, but not because they got a lot of legitimate votes, but it´s because they cheated (dishonestly). We call that “electoral fraud”.

So that’s an overview of some of the most common election terms in context. Now, here is the list one more time.

VOCABULARY REVIEW

  • Run for office: To seek political power via an election
  • Platform: a political party’s formal written statement of its principles and goals.
  • Poll: a survey of people taken to find out which candidate they might vote for.
  • Front runner: the political candidate who looks as though he/she is winning.
  • Polling station: location where people vote.
  • Voting booth: a small enclosure––a small space––in which a person votes.
  • Paper ballot: a piece of paper on which you indicate your choice.
  • Cast a ballot: to vote in an election.
  • Spoiled ballot: ballot paper that is invalid.
  • Voter turnout: percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election
  • Landslide: A victory in which one candidate’s votes far surpass those of other candidates (they have many more votes than the others: they vote in a landslide).
  • Electoral fraud: illegal interference with the process of an election (cheating=fraud)

CONCLUSION

That is all for today. The “English for Economists” podcast is new, so this is a good time to share it with your friends and colleagues. Also, if you have any suggestions or comments, or if you are interested in business English classes with a focus on economics, write to me here. I would very much enjoy hearing from you.

Image credit: Steven Fruitsmaak. CC BY 2.5

 

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