ETYM French élection, Latin electio, from eligere to choose out. Related to Elect.
Process of appointing a person to public office or a political party to government by voting. Elections were occasionally held in ancient Greek democracies; Roman tribunes were regularly elected.
Among all the sovereign contemporary states, only five— Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates —do not have, and never have had, any political institutions that can, even in the loosest sense, be described as popularly representative. In other countries citizens have the right to vote for a government, but they do not necessarily have a free or wide choice.
The qualifications for voting in elections were liberalized during the 20th century. New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote, in 1893, and, among economically advanced states, Switzerland was the last, in 1971. The minimum age for voting was almost universally lowered to 18, and some countries adopted an even lower age; the age qualification in Iran for presidential elections is 15. In the 1980s began a worldwide movement away from one-party politics, where elections are limited to endorsing the party in power, to multiparty systems, where there is more choice. Instead, access to media and funds for political campaigning have become more and more decisive.
1. A vote to select the winner of a political office.
2. The act of selecting someone.