Suffrage

Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections and referendums (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote).[1][2][3] In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called active suffrage, as distinct from passive suffrage, which is the right to stand for election.[4] The combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called full suffrage.[5]

Suffrage universel dédié à Ledru-Rollin, Frédéric Sorrieu, 1850

In most democracies, eligible voters can vote in elections of representatives. Voting on issues by referendum may also be available. For example, in Switzerland, this is permitted at all levels of government. In the United States, some states such as California, Washington, and Wisconsin have exercised their shared sovereignty to offer citizens the opportunity to write, propose, and vote on referendums; other states and the federal government have not. Referendums in the United Kingdom are rare.

Suffrage is granted to everybody mentally capable, in most countries defined by voting age, and being citizen of the country. In some countries additional restrictions exist. In the Great Britain and United States a felon may not vote. As of 2022, Florida felons with court debts may not vote. In some countries being under guardianship may restrict the right to vote. Resident non-citizens can vote in some countries, which may be restricted to citizens of closely linked countries (e.g., Commonwealth citizens and European Union citizens) or to certain offices or questions.[6][7][8] Historically the right to vote was more restricted, for example by gender, race, or wealth.


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