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The Fast Facts on an Election

Election

What is an Election?

An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population of a given area chooses an individual to hold a position of public office.

Elections are the mechanism by which modern democracies operate; since the 17th century, elections have been used to vote and subsequently swear-in an individual to govern or operate under within a public platform.

Elections may fill offices in a legislature, sometimes in the judiciary and executive branches for either regional, local, or federal governments. That being said, elections are not held solely for political purposes; an election may also be used as the formal process to denote or elect officers or private business organizations or corporations.

In a universal sense, elections are used as a tool for selecting representatives in modern forms of democracy. To ‘elect’ a candidate or an officer means “to choose or make a decision.” As a result of this definition, the election process is used to gauge the public opinion in regards to which candidate they would want to fill a position of public office.

In a government sense, elections are held depending on the locale. In the United States (a representative democracy), some positions are not filled through elections—specifically those functions that require a specific skill set (for example judges, who are appointed rather than elected).

In the majority of democratic political systems, there are a range of different types of elections; each election corresponds to different layers of public governance or geographical jurisdiction.

The most common types of election are: The General Election, the Presidential election, the Primary election, a Local election, a Co-option, and a By-election.

NEXT: Election Polls

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