Aussie Life

Aussie Language

5 February 2022

9:00 AM

5 February 2022

9:00 AM

As we approach a federal election, for the next few weeks I’ll look at  some ‘election lingo’.

ballot: Why do we call elections ‘ballots’? Well, this comes from the French ballotte and means ‘balls’ (you can see ‘ball’ surviving in our English word). The reason is that the oldest form of secret voting (secret ballot) was done with balls. Every person qualified to vote had two small smalls (one white and one black) and each person placed one of the balls in an urn. If the white outnumbered the black the matter was passed, if the black outnumbered the white it was lost. In some English gentlemen’s clubs this is how people nominated for membership were chosen. In that case even one black ball would exclude them (‘blackball’ them).

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Contact Kel at www.ozwords.com.au

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