Venetian patricians could not do any kind of electoral campaigns and were told by the Republic to vote for the worthiest candidate instead of a member of the family, a client or a friend. Venetians solved those problems through the creation of a political and informal language that ran parallel to elections. It was called « broglio » and the term covered offenses like soliciting votes, exchanging votes or thanking one’s electors. In order to underline the importance of that informal language, the author analyses first the official discourse of the Republic enclosed in the electoral legislation. It shows that the Republic of Venice developed a « public transcript » that patricians had to respect. Then the author studies the concrete manifestations of the « hidden transcript » of patricians through the language of « broglio » that used to rely partially on the same official discourse in order to legitimize its own existence.
Keywords: Elections, Republic, language, broglio, procedure, informality.