What is Roster?

Definition and meaning of roster: A roster is a list or register of people or things. The term is used in various contexts, from sports teams listing their players to organizations charting their members or employees. The term originates from the early Dutch word "rooster," meaning a grid or schedule, reflecting its organized nature in listing names or items systematically.

In politics, a roster is a list of candidates running for office. This list is typically organized by political party, often with major-party candidates listed before minor-party and independent candidates. This conventional use of a roster in elections can inadvertently reinforce the two-party system, creating an electoral environment where only candidates associated with the major political parties are seen as viable contenders. This system can stifle the voices of independent and third-party candidates, who often struggle to gain visibility and support in a landscape dominated by the two major parties, the Republicans and Democrats.


Explore free resources for voter education

Learn more about elections and American politics
Frame 30 (1)