Terms Glossary

Good Party's Terms Glossary is a list of definitions of words from the political and elections world. These terms are from an independent's perspective with an eye toward reform. If you have a suggestion for a new definition, send it to ask@goodparty.org.

Railroad Commission

Definition and meaning of Railroad Commission: The Railroad Commission is a state agency responsible for regulating the railroad industry in the United States. It is typically composed of three commissioners and has jurisdiction over aspects of the railroad industry such as freight rates, operations, safety and environmental concerns. The Railroad Commission was created in the late 19th century in response to the growth of the railroad industry and its potential to harm public interests. It is an example of a government agency that has become increasingly politicized, with many commissioners appointed based on their political connections, rather than expertise. This has resulted in a two-party system that often fails to adequately address the public's needs. In order to ensure that the Railroad Commission is fair and independent, reform-minded candidates should be elected who are dedicated to serving the public interest and not just the interests of the two major parties.

Rank Choice Voting

Ranked choice voting is an electoral system that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. Instead of simply selecting one candidate, voters are able to indicate which candidate they would most prefer to win, as well as which candidates they would be willing to accept as an alternative if their first choice does not win. This system is designed to ensure that the winner of an election has the broadest possible support, rather than just a simple plurality of votes.

One of the main advantages of ranked choice voting is that it helps to reduce the influence of the two major political parties and promotes the participation of independent and third party candidates. In a traditional first-past-the-post system, these candidates often struggle to get elected because they are perceived as "spoilers" who might split the vote and help the major party candidate win. With ranked choice voting, however, these candidates can be ranked as a second or third choice, which means that they can still be influential even if they do not win outright.

There are several examples of ranked choice voting in action. In 2018, Maine became the first state to use ranked choice voting in a statewide election. According to a survey conducted by the Center for Election Innovation and Research, 89% of Maine voters said that they found the system easy to use, and 84% said that they would support its continued use in future elections.

Other places that have adopted ranked choice voting include San Francisco, California and Minneapolis, Minnesota. In both of these cities, ranked choice voting has been credited with helping to promote more civil and productive campaigns, as candidates are more likely to appeal to a wider range of voters in order to secure their second and third choice rankings.

Overall, ranked choice voting is an innovative and effective way to ensure that elections are more representative of the will of the people. By giving voters more choice and allowing them to rank candidates in order of preference, it promotes greater participation and helps to reduce the influence of the two major political parties.

Reagan Republican

The definition of a Reagan Republican is a term used to describe a segment of the Republican Party that supports the policies of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Reagan Republicans usually advocate for lower taxes, smaller government, more limited government regulations, and a strong national defense. They also support a free-market economy, protecting individual rights, and a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Reagan Republicans often take a hard line on social issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and drug use. The term Reagan Republican is used to distinguish those who support the policies of Reagan from the more moderate faction of the party, which is sometimes referred to as the Rockefeller Republicans. Reagan Republicans tend to be more conservative than the Rockefeller Republicans, and the two groups often disagree on a range of issues. In recent years, a growing number of Reagan Republicans have sought to move the party away from its traditional stances and toward a more independent and reform-minded approach. This has led to increased support for candidates who are not affiliated with either major political party, and a push for an end to the two-party system.

Recall Election

A recall election is a type of election in which voters are given the opportunity to remove an elected official from office before their term ends. This is a powerful tool for citizens to use to ensure that elected officials are living up to their campaign promises and serving the people rather than special interests. The definition of a recall election can be seen as a way for citizens to hold their elected officials accountable and to ensure that their will is represented in the political system. One example of a successful recall election was the 2003 gubernatorial recall election in California. The election was triggered by massive public outcry over the state's budget and tax policy. Governor Gray Davis was removed from office and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The recall election was a sign of a citizen's ability to use the ballot to make their voices heard and to push for change in the political system. In a democratic society, recall elections are essential to ensure that elected officials are held accountable and that the citizens’ will is represented in government. They provide an opportunity for citizens to express their unhappiness with their elected officials and to push for change without having to wait for the next election. This is why recall elections are necessary for a healthy democracy, and why reformers are advocating for more independent candidates and an end to the two-party system.


A recount is the process of re-examining the vote cast in an election to ensure accuracy, in order to verify the declared result. It is usually done in close or contested elections where the margin of victory is small and can be overturned. Recounts are an important part of the democratic process, as it allows for citizens to have confidence in the legitimacy of the results. Recounts can also be used to challenge the fairness of the voting process, such as in the case of voter suppression or electoral fraud. These challenges are crucial to protecting the rights of all citizens and ensuring that the electoral process is fair and free from corruption. Recounts can be conducted in a variety of ways, including manual recounts, which involve recounts of each ballot paper, or automated recounts, which involve the use of computer software to analyze the results. The recount process is often expensive, time consuming and highly contested, as each political party is usually eager to ensure that their candidate or party is declared the winner. This can lead to a lack of trust and disillusionment in the electoral process and the two-party system. To ensure the integrity of elections, it is important to have an independent recount process and independent candidates to create more choice and competition in elections.


A referendum is a direct vote by eligible citizens in which they can express their opinion on a specific political issue or proposed law. It is a form of direct democracy, allowing citizens to have a say in the political process without relying on their representatives in the legislature. Referendums are often seen as a way to bypass the two-party system by allowing citizens to directly express their opinion on a particular issue. This can be a powerful tool to promote independence in politics, as issues can be voted on without the influence of political parties. It can also be used to hold representatives accountable to the public, as public votes can override decisions made by legislators. Examples of referendums in the United States include ballot initiatives in many states, and in some cases, even the popular vote for President.

Register to vote

Register to vote is the act of officially enrolling oneself on a list of eligible voters in a given electoral district. It is a crucial part of the democratic process that allows citizens to cast a ballot and express their opinion on the issues facing their community, country, and world. Registering to vote is a simple process that can be done online, in person, or by mail. The meaning and definition of registering to vote is an important step in ensuring that independent voices are heard in the political process. By registering to vote, citizens can make sure their voices are heard through the electoral system and help to shape the future of the country. Registering to vote is also an important step in challenging the two-party system and opening the door for independent candidates to have a greater voice in politics. In order to register to vote, citizens are required to meet certain criteria such as being a US citizen, being of a certain age, and being a resident in a given district. After meeting these criteria, citizens can register to vote either online, in person or by mail. Once registered, citizens can participate in their local, state, and federal elections and help to shape the future of the country.


The definition of repeal is the process of formally withdrawing or ending a law, policy, or decision. It is the opposite of enacting or creating a law, and it is often used as a tool of political reform. As a reform-minded individual, I believe repeal has the potential to change the political landscape and create room for independent candidates to come forward and challenge the two-party system. By repealing laws or policies, we can create space for new ideas and challenge existing norms. For example, in 2020, Colorado voters repealed a law that had led to the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters. This repeal created a more accessible and equitable voting system for everyone in the state. Additionally, repeal can be used to end partisan gridlock. In 2021, the U.S. Senate repealed a law that had prevented the passage of several key pieces of legislation. By repealing the law, the Senate was able to pass bills that had been stuck in limbo due to the partisan gridlock. Ultimately, repeal is a powerful tool for political reform. By repealing laws and policies, we can open the door for new ideas and challenge existing norms. In addition, repeal can be used to end partisan gridlock and create a more equitable and accessible system.


Representation is the act of having a voice in the political system. It is when a person, group, or organization is given the opportunity to express their wishes, concerns, and beliefs in the political process. Representation is considered essential for democracy and is an important part of the political system. In the US, representation is traditionally provided through the two-party system, which has been the mainstay of American politics since the 19th century. While this system has its advantages, it has also been criticized for limiting the representation of third-party candidates and independent voices. As a result, there is a growing demand for more independent candidates and an end to the two-party system. Representation is also crucial for minority voices, which are often marginalized in the current political system. Minorities should have an equal voice in the political process and should be represented in a way that reflects their unique perspectives and needs. Representation can also come in the form of advocacy and activism, in which people are empowered to take action on their own behalf. Ultimately, representation is a vital part of democracy and an essential tool for ensuring that all people have their voices heard. Representation allows people to engage in meaningful dialogue, express their opinions, and shape the political process. It is essential for a healthy and functioning democracy.


The definition of a republic is a state or country in which the people possess the supreme power, and elect representatives to exercise their power for them. It is a form of government in which power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and not by a monarch or by any other single individual. A republic is a state that is governed by the consent of the people, not by a ruler or an oligarchy. In the United States, the country is a republic, in which the people have the right to vote for their leaders and representatives who will act on their behalf. The two-party system that has been in place for over 200 years has been a source of much debate, with some reform-minded citizens advocating for more independent candidates and an end to the two-party system. In a republic, the government is based on the rule of law and the protection of individual rights. The government is responsible for protecting the people from external threats and ensuring that their rights are respected. In a true republic, the people have the right to choose their leaders and representatives and to hold them accountable for their actions. The people also have the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and to exercise their right to free speech. This ensures that people are free to express their opinions, even if those opinions are unpopular.


The definition of a roster is a list of candidates running for office, typically organized by political party. Roster voting encourages the two-party system to continue by creating an electoral process where the only viable candidates are those associated with the two major political parties. This system stifles independent and third-party candidates, and is a major obstacle to reform-minded candidates who seek to challenge the status quo. By relying solely on a roster of candidates, the voting public is being denied the opportunity to choose from a broader range of candidates who may have different perspectives and solutions to the issues facing their constituency. The use of a roster in the electoral process further reinforces the duopoly of the two major parties, and renders independent and third-party candidates virtually invisible. This is a disservice to the voting public and the reform-minded candidates who seek to challenge the two-party system. The roster system has the potential to limit choices and limit the opportunity for new ideas and solutions to emerge from the electoral process. Reform-minded voters should advocate for a system that allows for a more diverse roster of candidates, and encourages more independent candidates to participate in the electoral process.

Rule of law

The definition of the Rule of Law is a legal doctrine that maintains that no one is above the law, and that individuals, institutions, and governments must be held accountable to the law. This means that all citizens are subject to the same laws, regardless of their position or status, and that the laws must be fair and consistent. This concept is closely tied to the idea of democracy and the protection of individual rights and freedoms. In the United States, we have a two-party system that has been in place for centuries, which can lead to a lack of diversity in political representation. In order to uphold the rule of law and ensure that all voices are heard, it is important to challenge the status quo and promote independent candidates and the end of the two-party system. This can be done by encouraging people to vote in local elections, pushing for redistricting laws, and working to increase voter turnout. By doing this, we can ensure that the rule of law is upheld and all citizens have their voices heard.

Run-off election

A run-off election is a definition meaning a second round of voting in which the two candidates with the most votes from the first round face off in a single-winner contest. This type of election is used when no one candidate receives an absolute majority of the vote. In America, run-off elections are regularly held for state and local offices, to decide key congressional races, and even for the presidency. While run-off elections are a key part of the American electoral system, they often lead to the entrenchment of the two-party system, with independent candidates and other third-party candidates being eliminated. This can lead to a lack of choice for voters and a lack of representation for those communities which do not align with either of the two major parties. In order to reform the American electoral system and create a more fair and democratic system, the use of run-off elections should be reformed to ensure that independent candidates have a greater chance of advancing to the second round of voting.