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VOTERGATE

noun; compounding
An alleged scandal involving president George W. Bush winning the 2004 election through voter fraud. (The widespread use of computerized voting machines has led to Votegate.) The coiner of the word was seeking a way to express 'voter fraud' or 'election fraud', but also make it catchy and also to make it refer specifically to the president allegedly committing this voter fraud. Using the '-gate' formation seen originally in 'Watergate' and more recently in 'zippergate', the term 'votergate' was coined, which does carry the apparent meaning the coiner was seeking. That is, it seems to convey a meaning of a presidential scandal involving the vote and the election. The '-gate' is attached to the root 'voter', which implies a presidential scandal involving voting in some way. 'Voter' is used rather than 'vote' or 'election', for example, because the '-er' suffix sounds similar to the 'er' in 'Watergate'. This formation is also seen in 'zippergate'. The formation is perhaps by a metaphorical comparison to 'Watergate'. In this case, the '-er' on 'voter' would be modeled after the 'Water' in 'Watergate'. Alternatively, it may involve reanalysis of 'Watergate' so that the suffix'-gate' has come to mean presidential scandal. This would be supported by the fact that 'water' is a morpheme on its own, so people might see something attached to it and analyze it as a suffix.
 
The swift rise and fall of 'Votergate'.
Etymology : Formation from voter and -gate, as seen in zippergate and originally Watergate. This is either a reanalysis of Watergate, or a reference to it metaphorically
Source : Houston Chronicle
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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