POLYAS Election Glossary

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

Direct Elections

Direct elections are those in which the electorate cast their votes directly for a candidate, candidates or political parties. The opposite of a direct election is an indirect election, in which the electorate votes for another body (made up of delegates or electors) which then in turn is responsible for electing the candidate, candidates or political parties up for election.

Varieties of direct elections

Direct elections can be held either with a single candidate or with multiple candidates, depending on the electoral system in question. If just one candidate is standing for election, the voter can usually vote (YES), (NO) or (ABSTAIN). There is also the option to have more than one candidate standing for election.

Voters may also be able to cast more than one vote on the ballot. If so, then cumulative voting and panachage could apply. 

See also: Majority vote, List elections, Proportional representation

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