POLYAS Election Glossary

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

List Elections

In a list election, eligible voters within a particular constituency vote for a list or lists of candidates. This is in contrast to candidate elections, in which voters are only able to vote for individual candidates. Often there are several election lists and voters cast their votes either for an entire list in a closed list election, or to single candidates across different lists in an open list election.

In closed lists elections, parties predetermine the order in which candidates are ranked, and thus the likelihood that individual candidates will be elected. Those candidates at the top of the list are the first in-line to be elected, whereas those towards the very bottom of the list will not be elected. The voter must therefore vote for the entire list in the order decided by the party. In contrast, open lists allow voters to choose candidates directly and by doing so have the potential to improve their rank on the election list. The allocation of seats to winning parties in list elections is usually done according to proportional representation, however it can also be carried out under a majorit vote model as well.

See also: Proportional Vote, Majority Vote, D'Hondt Method

< Go back