Voter intent

1. A cognitive construct, formed by the voter, that they attempt to express through actions taken to mark, verify, and cast the issued ballot.

Source: Election Terminology Glossary - Draft, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),

2. The determination of voter intent can be an issue under certain circumstances, such as when a voter has improperly or unclearly marked his ballot (for example, with a punch card ballot, not making a clean punch) and the state provides for resolving the situation by determining the “intent of the voter.” State direction to election officials in making such a determination can be set out as a general or a specific standard by which the election official should judge such a ballot.

Source: ELECTIONS: The Nation’s Evolving Election System as Reflected in the November 2004 General Election, U.S. Government Accountability Office,