Education

Elections: Meaning And Importance Of Elections In A State

We are going to highlight all you need to know about the election in this article. This article aims to provide you the knowledge about the importance of elections in a state, the types, and most especially the free and fair elections with the factors that make it possible.

 

What Are Elections?

  1. An election may be defined as an act of choosing or selecting candidates who will represent the people of a country in parliament and other positions in the government. The election is also said to be a contest between competing political parties or groups for government power.

Elections became imperative as a result of the impossibility of direct representation in the modern states. Direct representation as practiced in the small ancient Greek city gave way to indirect representations as a result of the growth of modern nations.

In these indirect representatives, citizens through elections choose those who will represent their interests and opinions in the legislature and other government positions.

However, we can simply define elections as a system/process by which the people of any democratic state elect their representatives.

What Are The Procedure For Conducting An Election

We defined an election as the process of selecting representatives for positions in government. Now let’s look into the ways of conducting an election to get that representative:

1. Delimitation Of Constituency:

A constituency is an electoral district. For elections to be successfully conducted, the country must be delimited into constituencies. There is a single-member constituency in which only one person is elected from each constituency. Nigeria operates this system.

The multi-member constituency has two or more people elected to represent a particular constituency. India uses this system. Constituencies must be divided in such a way that gerrymandering is avoided (I.e. manipulation of constituencies in such a way that unfair advantages are given to one party or class in elections) is avoided.

2. Nomination Of Candidates:

Each political party nominates candidates that will contest the election on its platform. Where more than one candidate is interested in a particular post from one political party, the party conducts the primary election to present just one candidate.

3. Campaign:

The political parties use this period to canvas votes. They use it to sell their manifesto to the electorate.

4. Voting:

This is the actual period when voters go to the poll to choose candidates of their choice. Voting takes place at polling stations.

5. Counting Of Votes:

At the close of voting, the ballot box is taken to a counting center where the votes are counted.

Types Of Elections

There are two types of elections which are: direct and indirect elections.

1. Direct Elections:

This is a method by which citizens of a country who are qualified to vote in an election by casting their votes directly to elect those that will represent them either in the legislature or the executive arm of government.

2. Indirect Election:

This is a method by which citizens of a country elect their representatives indirectly through the electoral college. Direct election is more democratic than indirect election because the elected representatives reflect popular choice as all qualified adults are allowed to participate in the election of their representatives.

Now let’s talk about free and fair elections.

Free And Fair Elections:

A free and fair election refers to one conducted in an atmosphere devoid of harassment, intimidation, and other coercive means to bend the will of the voters and according to the constitutional procedure. In this type of election, all election vices are eliminated; the will of the majority of voters prevails. Candidates who did not win the election are never imposed on the voters in a free and fair election.

 

Factors That Will Aid Free And Fair Election

1. The country should be divided into constituents on an equal population basis to ensure equal representation.

2. A body to conduct the election known as the electoral commission should be made to be independent and non-partisan.

3. The electoral commission should make proper arrangements to compile names of eligible voters.

4. Voters lists should be publicly displayed for objections and complaints that may arise from voters.

5. Adequate security arrangements must be made to create a conducive atmosphere during polling day devoid of any form of harassment and intimidation of voters.

6. All necessary election materials like ballot boxes, ballot papers, etc. should be adequately supplied at the appropriate time to avoid problems of logistics.

7. People of transparent honesty and proven integrity should be selected as officials of the electoral commission.

8. Officials to conduct elections should be given adequate training.

9. Secret voting should be adopted.

10. Public counting of votes at places where voting took place should also be adopted.

11. Results of the elections should be announced as soon as counting is completed.

12. Certain persons like lunatics, underaged persons, criminals, bankrupts, etc. should not be allowed to vote.

13. Provision should be made for the challenge of election results in the court of law.

14. Double voting, impersonation, and other election vices should be properly checked.

15. There should be adequate remuneration for electoral officers and ad-hoc staff.

16. The electoral commission should be adequately backed up with laws to enable it to command respect and obedience from political parties and candidates which will ensure free and fair elections.

elections

Disadvantages Of Election

1. Elections cause polarization of the people of a country into antagonistic groups.

2. The division of the people caused by elections does not make for peace and unity in a country.

3. Elections enthrone political demagogues who deceive the people with their hypnotizing manifestos and sugar-coated tongues.

4. A lot of public funds are wasted in conducting elections.

5. As a result of the fact that politics is a game of numbers, minority groups are not favored by elections.

6. Elections breed nepotism, divisionism, and ethnocentrism.

7. As a result of rigging and other vices associated with elections, mediocre get elected into office.

8. Elections cause uneven development as a result of neglect of areas that failed to vote for the party in power.

9. Many technocrats are scared away from government as a result of the evils associated with elections.

13 Importance Of Elections In A State

Below are the importance of elections in a state:

1. Choosing Of Representatives:

Elections make it possible for the citizens to choose those that will represent their interests and opinions in the government.

2. For Changing Of Government:

Elections serve as processes of changing governments in a country through peaceful means.

3. Negate Obnoxious Policies:

Elections make it possible for people to decide the type of policies that should be adopted by the government by choosing political parties with policies of their choice through the manifestos they presented to them during electioneering campaigns.

4. Makes Rulers Accountable:

Elections make it possible for the leaders to submit themselves to the electorate to renew their mandate to the people when they are in power.

5. Foster Democracy:

Democracy that makes it possible for people to participate in the government of their country thrives and develops more through elections.

6. Used To Measure Public Opinions:

Electorates are used to measure public opinions on certain issues in a country.

7. Education Of The Electorate:

Electorates are educated more during election periods on their political rights by political parties and electoral commission.

8. Bestows Legitimacy:

Elections legitimize the rule of any government or representative in a country.

9. Integration Of Various Groups:

Various ethnic, religious, and political groups come together to win elections.

10. Used To Test Popularity Of Rulers:

Elections are used as a barometer for gauging the popularity of political leaders.

11. Used To Check Government Excesses:

Fear of being removed from power through elections helps to curtain the dictatorial propensities of government in power.

12. People Are Placed On Equal Status:

People who are qualified for elections are given equal political opportunities to vote and be voted for.

13. Encouragement Of Healthy Competition:

Elections encourage and promote healthy political competition in a country.

 

Conclusion

We believe at the end of this article you have got to know the meaning of elections and the importance of elections in a state.

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