Topics: Voting system, Plurality voting system, Elections Pages: 8 (2565 words) Published: September 23, 2013
Election has derived from the Latin word “eligere” which means to choose or pick out. An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office.[1] Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century.[1] Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the executive and judiciary, and for regional and local government. This process is also used in many other private and business organizations, from clubs to voluntary associations and corporations.Electronic ballots are used in Brazilian elections.The universal use of elections as a tool for selecting representatives in modern democracies is in contrast with the practice in the democratic archetype, ancient Athens. As the Elections were considered an oligarchic institution and most political offices were filled using sortition, also known as allotment, by which officeholders were chosen by lot. Electoral reform describes the process of introducing fair electoral systems where they are not in place, or improving the fairness or effectiveness of existing systems. Psephology is the study of results and other statistics relating to elections (especially with a view to predicting future results).To elect means "to choose or make a decision"[2] and so sometimes other forms of ballot such as referendums are referred to as elections, especially in the United States. Technically, it means an organized process in which people vote a person or a candidate to a position of public importance. History

Elections were used as early in history as ancient Greece and ancient Rome, and throughout the Medieval period to select rulers such as the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope.[1] In medieval India, around 920 AD, in Tamil Nadu, palm leaves were used for village assembly elections. The leaves, with candidate names written on them, were put inside a mud pot for counting. This was known as the Kudavolai system.[3][4][5] The Pala king Gopala in early medieval Bengal was also elected.[6] Elections were carried out to select rajas by the gana during the Vedic Period.Ancient Arabs also used election to choose their caliph, Uthman and Ali, in the early medieval Rashidun Caliphate.[7] The modern "election", which consists of public elections of government officials, didn't emerge until the beginning of the 17th century when the idea of representative government took hold in North America and Europe.[1] Questions of suffrage, especially suffrage for minority groups, have dominated the history of elections. Males, the dominate cultural group in North America and Europe, often dominated the electorate and continue to do so in many countries.[1] Early elections in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States were dominated by landed or ruling class males.[1] However, by 1920 all Western European and North American democracies had universal male suffrage (except Switzerland) and many countries began to consider women's suffrage.[1] Despite legally mandated universal suffrage for males, political barriers were sometimes erected to prevent fair access to elections Functions of Elections

There are several functions of elections :
First, elections are the ways to hold governments accountable. It means if the government does not work according to the commitment or they govern poorly, people will remove their positions of power through the election. In other words, elections are the instruments which the electors exercise influence over public policies. Second, elections are the means to choose those who will guide and direct affairs of the government. An election must give voters a choice between candidates or a choice whether a particular policy is to be followed. Three, elections provide legitimacy to the government. It means elections give a feeling of choice to voters and as a result the authority of governments over the voters is...

References: 1. a b c d e f g h "Election (political science)," Encyclpoedia Britanica Online. Retrieved 18 August 2009
2. Wiktionary – Elect
3. "Panchayat Raj, Policy notes 2011–2012". Rural development & panchayat raj department, TN Government, India. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
4. "Pre-Independence Method of Election". Tamil Nadu State Election Commission, India. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
5. "Handbook on Kongu archaeological treasures". The Hindu (Coimbatore, India). 27 June 2005.
6. History of Buddhism in India, Translation: A. Shiefner.
7. Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (2004), vol. 1, p. 116-123.
8. Reuven Hazan, 'Candidate Selection ', in Lawrence LeDuc, Richard Niemi and Pippa Norris (eds), Comparing Democracies 2, Sage Publications, London, 2002
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