Election Types

Election Types

Election: Types of Election:s

Introduction to Election Types

In most nations, political party leaders select candidates for office in a general election. The United States is one of the few nations to hold primary elections prior to the general election campaign. In these elections, voters select the party’s candidates for office. Progressive Era reformers introduced the primary at the beginning of the 20th century as another way to weaken the influence of political party machines in general elections.

The primary is followed by the general election, which normally is the decisive electoral contest. In some states, however, a runoff election between the two candidates receiving the largest number of primary votes may precede the general election.

Some states also provide for referendum voting. The referendum is a process that allows citizens to vote directly on proposed laws or other governmental actions. Voters in several states have voted to set limits on tax rates, to block state and local spending proposals, to prohibit social services for illegal immigrants, and to deny special legal protection for homosexuals.

Although it involves voting, the referendum is not an election. The election is an institution of representative government. In an election, voters choose officials to act for them. The referendum, by contrast, is an institution of direct democracy. In a referendum, voters govern directly without intervention by government officials. The validity of referendums, however, is subject to judicial review. If a court finds that a referendum outcome violates the state or federal constitution, it can overturn the result. For example, federal court judges set aside most of the provisions of the 1994 California referendum curtailing social services to illegal aliens.” (1)


Notes and References

Guide to Election Types

In this Section

Election, Voter Registration, Electoral Systems, Election Types, How Voters Decide, Electoral Realignments, Electorate (including Electorate Historical, Electorate Gender, Electorate Race and Social Position, Electorate Property and Poll Tax and Residence) and Electronic Voting (including Electronic Voting Origins and Electronic Voting Problems)