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An absentee ballot is a vote cast by someone who is unable to visit the official polling place on Election Day. This type of vote is normally submitted by mail. Increasing the ease of access to absentee ballots are seen by many as one way to improve voter turnout, though some jurisdictions require that a valid reason, such as sickness or travel, be given before a voter can participate in an absentee ballot.


The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 as amended (2 U.S.C. §§431-455).

Administrative Adjudication:

The bureaucratic function of settling disputes by relying on rules and precedents.

Administrative Expense

For party committees, rent, utilities, office equipment, office supplies, routine building maintenance and other operating costs not attributable to a specific candidate.


A staffer sent ahead to prepare for the arrival of a politician at an event, rally, or media appearance.

Advisory Opinion (AO)

A formal ruling from the Commission regarding legality of a specific activity proposed in an advisory opinion request (AOR).

Affiliated Committees

Committees and organizations that are considered one committee for purposes of the contribution limits. Affiliated committees include (1) All committees established or authorized by a candidate as part of his or her campaign for federal or nonfederal office; and (2) All committees established, financed, maintained or controlled by the same person, group or organization.


The power of the media to determine which issues will be discussed and debated.


Any person who has actual authority, either express or implied, to engage in certain campaign activities on behalf of a federal candidate or officeholder.


Political propaganda, usually espousing a left-wing ideology and disseminated through literature or performing arts. The term is derived from the combination of the words “agitation” and “propaganda” and originally came from Soviet Russia as a shortened name for the Department of Agitation and Propaganda set up by the Communist Party of the USSR. The word had no negative connotations in Russia, meaning simply the “dissemination of ideas,” but in Western countries it became synonymous with activities that encouraged acceptance of left-wing ideology.

Allocation Account

A separate federal account into which funds from either a committee’s federal and nonfederal accounts, or (for party committees) from its federal and Levin accounts, are deposited solely to pay expenses that must be allocated. A party committee must have separate allocation accounts for its federal/nonfederal allocation and for its federal/Levin allocation.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (ADRO)

ADRO provides parties in enforcement actions with an alternative method for resolving complaints that have been filed against them and for addressing issues identified by the Reports Analysis Division or an FEC audit. The program is designed to promote compliance with the Act and Commission regulations and to reduce the cost of processing complaints by encouraging settlements outside the agency’s normal enforcement track.

Appointment Powe

The president’s power to appoint people to key federal offices.


The act of Congress formally specifying the amount of authorized money that an agency can spend.


An artificially-manufactured political movement designed to give the appearance of grassroots activism.

Authorized Committee

Any political committee, including the principal campaign committee, authorized in writing by a federal candidate to receive contributions and make expenditures on his or her behalf. Authorized committees are often called “candidate committees. See also Campaign Committee.