Election: Meaning, Importance, Disadvantages And Types

Table Of Contents
1. Meaning Of Elections
2. Importance Of Elections
3. Disadvantages Of Election
4. Types Of Elections
Meaning Of Elections
An election may be defined as an act of choosing or selecting candidates who will represent the people of a country in the parliament and in other positions in the government. Election is also said to be a contest between competing political parties or groups for government power. Elections became imperative as a result of 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 this indirect representatives, citizens through elections choose those who will represent their interests and opinions in the legislature and other government positions.
Importance Of Elections In A State
1. Choosing Of Representatives
Elections makes it possible for the citizens to choose those that will represent their interest and opinions in the government.
2. For Changing Of Government
Elections, serve as processes of changing governments in a country through peaceful means.
3. Negates Obnoxious Policies
Elections make it possible for people to decide the type of policies that should be adopted by government by choosing political parties with policies of their choice through the manifestoes they presented to them during electioneering campaign.
4. Makes Rulers Accountable
Elections make it possible for the leaders to submit themselves to the electorate in order 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 thrive and develops more through elections.
6. Used To Measure Public Opinions
Electorate are used to measure public opinions on certain issues in a country.
7. Education Of The Electorate
Electorate 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 in order to win elections.
10. Used To Test Popularity Of Rulers
Elections are used as barometer for gauging the popularity of political leaders.
11. Used To Check Government Excesses
Fear of being removed from power through elections help to curtain the dictatorial and tyrannical 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 competitions in a country.
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 manifestoes 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 number, minority groups are not favoured by elections.
6. Elections breed nepotism, divisionism and ethnocentrisms.
7. As a result of rigging and other vices associated with elections, mediocre get elected into offices.
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.
Types Of Elections
There are two types of elections viz: 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 in order 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 given the opportunity to participate in the election of their representatives.