POLYAS Election Glossary

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

Voter Education

Voter education means providing citizens of a democracy with basic information about participating in elections. Voter education is often provided by the state itself, often through a national electoral commission, so it is therefore important that it is politically non-partisan. Government departments that focus on voter education are often highly scrutinized by a third party. In addition, there are various private institutions whose mission it is to strengthen democratic values by increasing voter education. The focus is often on how to vote rather than who to vote for. An appropriate voter education would provide citizens with knowledge regarding:

  • How to register to vote - most democracies require citizens to first register as a prerequisite to voting in elections or referenda
  • How to complete ballot papers - filling out ballots incorrectly can mean an individual’s vote is misrepresented in the final count or counted as invalid. Therefore, clearly demonstrating how ballots are to be correctly filled out is essential
  • The electoral system - it is important that citizens know how their votes will contribute to the final result in an election. Is the election conducted under a system of proportional representation or first past the post? Does it involve a more complicated preferential voting system?
See also: Proportional Vote, First Past The Post, Electoral System

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