With less than 48 hours left to the British General Election, things are really starting to hot up in the media. Here’s the second part of our glossary of election terms to help you follow all the latest developments.
Nicola Sturgeon in Dunfermline yesterday. Photograph: Chris Norrie/Demotix/Corbis
To abstain is to refuse to take sides in a vote.
A by-election occurs when a seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant during the lifetime of a parliament (i.e. between general elections), for example when an MP dies or resigns.
A bill is a proposal for a new law, or a proposal to change an existing law, that is presented for debate before parliament.
The box in which you place your vote.
A piece of paper containing a list of the people, parties or other options you can vote for. This is the document you use to vote.
The area, usually screened, where you vote at the polling station.
An election exit poll is a poll of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations. Unlike an opinion poll, which asks whom the voter plans to vote for or some similar formulation, an exit poll asks whom the voter actually voted for.
The Cabinet is made up of about 20 senior ministers chosen by the Prime Minister. It decides on government policy and co-ordinates the work of the different government departments.
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the principal Finance Minister of the Government and one of the most important members of the Cabinet.
Whips are MPs appointed by each party to maintain party discipline. Part of their role is to encourage members of their party to vote in the way that their party would like in important divisions.
You can see part one of our election terms glossary here