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choosing a candidate for office in an organization by the vote of those enfranchised to cast a ballotballot,
means of voting for candidates for office. The choice may be indicated on or by the ballot forms themselves—e.g., colored balls (hence the term ballot, which is derived from the Italian ballotta,
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General History

In ancient Greek democracies (e.g., Athens) public officials were occasionally elected but more often were chosen by lot. In Rome the popular assemblies elected the tribunes. In the Middle Ages elections were abandoned, except for such processes as elections to the papacy and, in a more limited sense, of the Holy Roman emperor by a small and partly hereditary body of electors.

In the modern period, elections have been inseparable from the growth of democratic forms of government. Elections were associated with the parliamentary process in England from the 13th cent. and were gradually regularized by acts prescribing the frequency of elections (the Triennial Act of 1694, and the Septennial Act of 1716), by successive reform bills widening the franchise in the 19th cent., and by the adoption of the secret ballot in 1872.

Elections in the United States

In colonial America the election of church and public officials dates almost from the founding of the Plymouth Colony, and the paper ballot was instituted in elections to the Massachusetts governorship in 1634. Under the U.S. Constitution the right to hold elections is specified, but the method and place are left to the states, with Congress having the power to alter their regulations. The Constitution specified that elections to the House of Representatives be direct, or popular, and that the election of the Senate and of the president and vice president be indirect, Senators being chosen by the state legislatures and the president and vice president by electors selected by the people (see electoral collegeelectoral college,
in U.S. government, the body of electors that chooses the president and vice president. The Constitution, in Article 2, Section 1, provides: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the
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). The Seventeenth Amendment (1913) provided for popular election of senators.

Political candidates are usually chosen by delegate convention, direct primary, nonpartisan primaries, or petition. The candidate who receives the most votes is usually elected, but an absolute majority may be required; a majority has not been required in the U.S. federal elections since 1850 except in the electoral vote cast for the president and vice president. (In presidential nominating conventions an absolute majority is required; the Democrats required a two-thirds vote of the delegates from 1832 to 1936.)

Since 1824, when John Quincy Adams was elected president by the House of Representatives when no candidate had a majority in the electoral college (Adams' leading opponent, Andrew Jackson, had greater popular and electoral vote totals), the electoral-college system has many times permitted a president to be chosen without a majority of the popular vote (1844, 1848, 1856, 1860, 1876, 1880, 1884, 1888, 1892, 1912, 1916, 1948, 1960, 1968, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2016); in 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016 candidates without even a plurality succeeded in winning office.

Voting frauds and disorder at the polls were common after the rise of political machines, and the enactment of registration laws after 1865 did little to ameliorate conditions. Corrupt practicescorrupt practices,
in politics, fraud connected with elections. The term also refers to various offenses by public officials, including bribery, the sale of offices, granting of public contracts to favored firms or individuals, and granting of land or franchises in return for
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 acts, poll watching, the institution of primaryprimary,
in the United States, a preliminary election in which the candidate of a party is nominated directly by the voters. The establishment of the primary system resulted from the demand to eliminate the abuses of nomination by party conventions, which were often open to
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 elections, and the introduction of voting machinesvoting machine,
instrument for recording and counting votes. The voting machine itself is generally positioned in a booth, often closed off by a curtain to assure secrecy for the voter.
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 after 1892 have been more effective in ensuring honest elections. Nonetheless, the disputes over the counting of the votes in Florida in the 2000 presidential election clearly revealed that some machine voting systems are more reliable than others and that less reliable systems can potentially distort the results.

All states have some residency requirements as a condition for suffrage. Originally the vote was typically restricted to white men who met certain property qualifications; such restrictions were later liberalized and removed. The Fourteenth Amendment (1868) and Fifteenth Amendment (1870) were designed to forbid the disenfranchisement of African-American men after the Civil War, and the Nineteenth (1920) conferred the vote on women. The Twenty-third Amendment (1961) permitted residents of the District of Columbia to vote in the presidential elections, while the Twenty-fourth Amendment (1964) outlawed payment of poll or other taxes as a condition for voting. The Twenty-sixth Amendment (1971) lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. The so-called motor voter law (National Voter Registration Act, 1993) was designed to reverse declining voter registrations by permitting registration at motor vehicle departments and other agencies. Certain classes of felons and some others are deprived of the vote.

Types of Representation

In the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and many other nations, usually the one candidate who receives the most votes is elected from a district. If an absolute majority is needed to win, a run-off election maybe required. In Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, and other nations (including some local elections in the United States), proportional representation is used to more adequately represent political or other minorities within the electorate. Two methods are used—the voter ranking system in a multiseat district, and the party list system in which parties gaining a threshold vote win one seat and those well above the threshold dividing the remaining seats proportionally. While a proportional system provides representation for minorities and eliminates gerrymandering, primaries, and run-off elections, it can weaken the representative-constituent relationship, encourage multiple parties, and necessitate coalition rather than majority governments. Some nations, for example, Italy, Germany, and Spain, use a combination of direct election and proportional representation.


See E. Lakeman, How Democracies Vote (1970); E. H. Rosebloom, A History of Presidential Elections (3d ed. 1970); H. A. Bone, American Politics and the Party System (4th ed. 1971) and Politics and Voters (3d ed. 1971); J. M. Clubb, ed., Electoral Change and Stability in American Political History (1971); J. H. Silbey et al., The History of American Electoral Behavior (1978); S. A. and B. G. Samore, Candidates, Parties, and Campaigns (1985); W. R. Neuman, The Paradox of Mass Politics (1986).


1. the selection by vote of a person or persons from among candidates for a position, esp a political office
2. Christianity
a. the doctrine of Calvin that God chooses certain individuals for salvation without reference to their faith or works
b. the doctrine of Arminius and others that God chooses for salvation those who, by grace, persevere in faith and works
References in classic literature ?
It may be easily discerned also that the national government would run a much greater risk from a power in the State legislatures over the elections of its House of Representatives, than from their power of appointing the members of its Senate.
I shall not deny, that there is a degree of weight in the observation, that the interests of each State, to be represented in the federal councils, will be a security against the abuse of a power over its elections in the hands of the State legislatures.
Myth One: The partisan, "Democrat-dominated" Florida Supreme Court screwed up its own state law in its eagerness to give the election to Al Gore, so the U.
A majority of Americans consistently support direct election of the President.
The logic at work was that a 1992 parliament would control the election of the next president in 1995 (who would in turn serve until 2001), while a 1991 parliament would not be able to control the presidential election.
Omitting income that otherwise would be excluded under a duly filed election from a tax return is not sufficient evidence of intent.
In the February 2004 draft legislation, Finance responded to this criticism by "unbundling" some of the provisions from the global election and creating separate elections to apply those provisions retroactively.
The final regulations provide the procedures and requirements for making the election; rules regarding the tax treatment of the trust and estate while the election is in effect; and rules regarding termination of the election.
Crawford, who remained on the ballot when election officials overruled the challenge against him, finished a distant third.
In ongoing work, he has been using tools from chaos theory to identify just which scenarios of voter preferences will give rise to disturbing election outcomes.
The main focus of the Federal Election Commission's project to develop standards for election equipment is to ensure that the U.