Although many world governments claim to act in the best interests of the people they govern, only democracies actually represent the will of the people. Elections give voice and agency to every person in the political community and allow all interested citizens to directly engage in politics and participate in the discussion of how the society will be ruled. Elections are therefore the most fundamental component of democracies.
Not all elections are the same. In fact, national, regional, and local governments employ a variety of voting systems to meet their constituents’ needs. Also important is the question of which people in the community are allowed to vote. Elections can serve different purposes too, for that matter. Some elections determine who will lead the community, whereas other elections ask voters to express their opinions on specific laws, taxes, and other issues. For these reasons, understanding elections and voting systems is essential to understanding democratic systems of government.