POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy


Delegates are people authorized to vote on behalf of others in an indirect election. A classic example of delegates acting on behalf of a wider electorate in order to elect a representative is the United States presidential election. During US presidential elections, voters in each state elect delegates (also known as “electors”) in the electoral college who then elect the president.

Delegates also appear in non-state elections, such as in cooperatives. In some larger cooperatives, it is common practice for delegates representing different regions to elect the board of directors, rather than it being directly elected by the wider membership base.


See also: Presidential Election, Proxy Vote, Direct Elections

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