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October Surprise

A news event late in a political campaign that has the potential to influence the outcome of an election. Because Election Day is typically held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, surprise events that take place in October can have the potential change the minds of prospective voters.

Office of General Counsel (OFG)

The Office of General Counsel consists of five organizational units: (1) the Policy Division; (2) the Enforcement Division; (3) the Litigation Division; (4) the Law Division; and (5) the Administration Division.

Office-block Ballot

A ballot that groups candidates by office: All candidates for an office are listed together. Also known as the “Massachusetts ballot.”

Open Primary

A primary election that allows voters to select candidates on one party’s ballot without declaring their own party affiliation. Should not be confused with blanket primary, in which all candidates appear on the same ballot and the two highest voted candidates proceed to the runoff, regardless of party affiliation. See also Blanket Primary.

Operating Expenditures

A committee’s day-to-day expenditures for items such as rent, overhead, administration, personnel, equipment, travel, advertising and fundraising.

Opinion Leader

A person whose opinion can shape the opinions of many others.

Organization Type

Certain filers, like separate segregated funds and communication cost filers, identify the types of organizations they are connected with. These connected organizations can be identified as corporations, trade associations, labor organizations, cooperatives, membership organizations or corporations without capital stock.

Outside Game

A term used to describe grassroots activism and other means to influence elections and policymaking.