Are Elections And Effective Means Of Furthering Democracy?


The majority of countries on this planet claim to be run democratically. This means that their leadership is chosen through a consultation with the public in the form of an election. This process is seen as a much more inclusive way of selecting presidents, prime ministers and other representatives than through bloodlines or conquer. There are many who disagree with this system however and this paper seeks to examine whether or not elections are effective in the furtherance of democratic systems.

Yes, they are

To those who agree generally this is barely a question at all. They see the process as if not perfect then very much the best we can do with the resources available. To protect the confidentiality of the voters’ choice, the process is done via secret ballot in an enclosed area that others cannot see into. Checks and balances are set up to make it near impossible for a person to get more than the single vote that he or she is due. In many systems, candidates engage in debates so that they can pit their wits against their opponents in public. They also canvas their respective districts so that people who live within them can decide from personal experience how well they could be represented by that person. The system has many measures in place to keep it fair.

No they are not

To those who disagree, the system is dysfunctional at its most basic levels. There are choices but they are limited so that voters only get to choose between two true contenders and neither of these may be acceptable. If they do not vote, their opinion is not counted but if they select the lesser of two ‘evils’ they still have to live with the consequences. There have also been cases where discriminatory legislature was passed in order to make it more difficult for people who are ethnic minorities to cast their votes. These measures are subtle in that they do not obviously harm the democratic process and only under closer scrutiny can their true intent be learned.

There are problems with the electoral process but the fact remains that it is the best method we have at present for deciding who has power. There may be other methods waiting to be discovered and some may even be superior but this is still better than anarchy or civil unrest.

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