Terms Glossary

GoodParty.org'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.


Definition and meaning of unconstitutional: A law, policy, or action is unconstitutional when it violates the Constitution of the United States of America. This means that it is not in line with the fundamental principles of our country that are stated in the Constitution, and thus, it is illegal and not allowed. Unconstitutional acts are often a result of politicians attempting to push their own agenda at the expense of the rights of citizens. Unconstitutionality has been used to restrict voting rights, limit access to healthcare, and even override the will of the people in states like North Carolina. These are just some examples of how unconstitutional acts can restrict the rights of individuals, and how they can be used to advance certain agendas.


Definition and meaning of undervoting: Undervoting is defined as the practice of leaving some offices or ballot issues blank when voting. It is an important form of political expression as it allows citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the candidates or issues presented. Undervoting is especially important in the United States because of its two-party system, which can limit the choices of citizens. This form of protest voting can help to send a message to the political establishment that change is needed. For example, if a large number of voters undervote in a local election, it could indicate that more independent candidates should be included in future elections to give voters more choices. Undervoting can also be used in primary elections to make a statement about the current two-party system and its entrenched interests. In this way, it is a powerful form of protest that can help to shape the political landscape.


Definition and meaning of unenrolled: The term unenrolled refers to the status of an individual who is not affiliated with a political party. This term is often used to describe voters who choose to remain independent and not align themselves with any political party. Unenrolled voters may choose to participate in the election process by voting on ballot initiatives or issues, but they are not considered to be members of the two major parties. Unenrolled voters are often frustrated with the lack of choice in the two-party system, and choose to remain unenrolled so that they can remain independent of the major party platforms. They may find it difficult to identify with either of the two major parties, and thus choose to remain officially unenrolled. Unenrolled voters are an important part of the American political landscape, as they provide an alternative to the two-party system. Unenrolled voters are more likely to be reform-oriented and open to alternative ideas than those who are registered with a major political party. As a result, they often bring a sense of freshness and open-mindedness to the election process. By choosing to remain unenrolled, they are also more likely to be engaged in the political process, as they are not beholden to any particular party platform. This helps to ensure that the voices of all Americans are heard in the political process.

Unenrolled Candidate

Definition and meaning of unenrolled candidate: An unenrolled candidate, also known as an independent candidate, is someone who is not affiliated with any political party and runs for office without the support of the major parties. They are not bound by the same rules or conventions as candidates from the major parties and are free to campaign and govern according to their own beliefs and principles.

In the United States, unenrolled candidates face a number of obstacles, including lack of access to party resources and voter base, difficulty in gaining media coverage, and often having to collect petitions to get on the ballot. However, in recent years, there has been a growing number of unenrolled candidates running for office, and some have been successful in winning elections.

For example, in Maine, two unenrolled governors were elected, James Longley in 1974 and Angus King in 1994 and 2018. In Vermont, Bernie Sanders was elected as an unenrolled candidate to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 and later to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and 2012.

Unenrolled candidates offer voters an alternative to the traditional two-party system and can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to government. They are not beholden to party bosses or special interests and can govern based on the needs of their constituents. They also can increase voter turnout and competition in the election, making it more likely that the elected official will have a mandate from the voters.

In summary, unenrolled candidates, also known as independent candidates, are those who are not affiliated with any political party and runs for office without the support of the major parties. They face obstacles but some have been successful in winning elections, offering an alternative to traditional two-party system, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to government, and increasing voter turnout and competition. They are not beholden to party bosses or special interests and can govern based on the needs of their constituents.


Meaning and definition of unicameral: The adjective "unicameral" describes a legislative system that only has one legislative chamber or house. In a unicameral legislature, all legislative functions, including the drafting, debate, and passage of laws, are handled within this single chamber. This structure contrasts with a bicameral system, which divides these responsibilities between two separate chambers, typically an upper and a lower house.

Unicameral legislatures are often found in countries with unitary systems of government. However, they can also exist in federal systems. In the United States, only one state, Nebraska, has a unicameral legislature.

Supporters of unicameralism argue that it offers several advantages, including greater efficiency, reduced costs, and a simplified legislative process. Critics, however, raise concerns that unicameral systems may lack sufficient checks and balances. They argue that a second chamber provides an essential mechanism for reviewing and refining legislation, ensuring better representation of diverse interests.

Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)

Definition and meaning of Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA): The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act is a federal law that grants the right to vote in federal elections to certain U.S. citizens who are absent from their polling place due to their military service, residence outside of the United States, or other qualifying reasons. The law was enacted in 1986. The act mandates that states provide these citizens with an absentee ballot and the opportunity to vote in federal elections. It also ensures that overseas citizens are able to cast their ballot in a timely manner and that their vote is counted in a fair and accurate manner. This important law helps protect the democratic rights of those who are in service of their country or living abroad and are unable to access the polls on election day. UOCAVA is an essential tool in promoting fair and independent elections. Those living abroad may bring a different perspective to the table and can help to provide a much-needed counterbalance to the partisan rancor that pervades the American political landscape. Ultimately, UOCAVA is a powerful weapon in the fight for fair representation and independent politics.

Unregistered Voters

Definition and meaning of unregistered voters: Unregistered voters are individuals in the United States who are eligible to vote, but who, for a variety of reasons, have not registered with their local election authority. Unregistered voters are often unaware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens, or they may feel disenfranchised by the two-party system. Unregistered voters are also often young, low-income, or minority individuals who may not feel their voice is heard in the political process. To increase the number of unregistered voters, reform-minded individuals advocate for more independent candidates who offer an alternative to the two-party system, and for making voter registration more easily accessible. The hope is that more unregistered voters will become engaged in the political process, and that their participation will lead to more representative and diverse outcomes in American politics.

Utopian Socialism

Definition and meaning of Utopian Socialism: Utopian Socialism is a branch of Socialism that advocates for a society or community where all its members are equal, and all its members work together for the common good. It is different from other forms of socialism in that it does not require a revolution or overthrow of the capitalist system to achieve its goals. Instead, Utopian Socialism seeks to create a more equitable society through reforms such as providing equal access to education and resources, and allowing more independent candidates to stand for election, thus ending the two-party system.

Utopian Socialism also emphasizes the importance of the individual, promoting individual autonomy and self-governance. Examples of Utopian Socialism can be seen in Denmark, where citizens are provided with a high quality of life due to the government's commitment to social welfare, and in the United Kingdom, where the Labour Party has implemented reforms to reduce economic inequality and create a more equitable society.


Definition and meaning of utopianism: Utopianism refers to the belief in creating a perfect society, where all social, political, and economic problems are resolved. Harmony is a key element of utopianism.

Utopianism has often involved visionary and idealistic plans for society that seem desirable but are typically unrealistic or hard to achieve.

The term "utopia" comes from Sir Thomas More’s 1516 book Utopia, which describes an ideal society on a fictional island. Throughout history, utopianism has inspired various movements and communities, including movements for social and political reform. These movements' utopian ideas vary widely, but they generally share a common goal of improving society to create ideal living conditions for all.

In the United States, the nineteenth century saw the rise of multiple utopian movements. Communities such as the Oneida Community and Brook Farm attempted to create self-sustaining societies based on their visions of social harmony and shared property. Meanwhile, early socialist movements (often called "utopian socialists") advocated for societies built on cooperative living and communal ownership, aiming to replace the competitive economy with a more equitable system. For example, Robert Owen funded an experimental socialist community in New Harmony, Indiana. Other examples include the intentional communities inspired by the philosopher Charles Fourier.

In American politics, utopian ideas have often influenced broader reform movements, including civil rights, environmentalism, and workers' rights. While purely utopian societies have rarely been achieved, the principles underlying utopianism continue to inspire efforts to improve the structures of society, advocating for a future where justice and equality are more fully realized.