The Political Process

The Political Process - Elections Although American...

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The Political Process Although many world governments claim to act in the best interests of the people they govern, only democracies actually represent the will of the people. Elections give voice and agency to every person in the political community and allow all interested citizens to directly engage in politics and participate in the discussion of how the society will be ruled. Elections are therefore the most fundamental component of democracies. Not all elections are the same. In fact, national, regional, and local governments employ a variety of voting systems to meet their constituents’ needs. Also important is the question of which people in the community are allowed to vote. Elections can serve different purposes too, for that matter. Some elections determine who will lead the community, whereas other elections ask voters to express their opinions on specific laws, taxes, and other issues. For these reasons, understanding elections and voting systems is essential to understanding democratic systems of government.
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Unformatted text preview: Elections Although American citizens age eighteen and older in all states have the right to vote, the manner in which they vote varies considerably from state to state and even from county to county. The U.S. Constitution gives states the right to determine how elections are run (with some limits), but states often delegate some of this power to local governments. Types of Ballots The ballots used in elections have changed significantly in American history. Originally, political parties printed their own ballots, listing only their candidates. Voters took ballots from the party of their choice and deposited them in the ballot box within full view of other voters. As a result, vote choices were public. Since 1888, however, state governments have printed ballots that list all candidates for all offices. Votes are cast in secret. Because Australia was the first country to adopt the secret ballot, this ballot is called the Australian ballot....
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