Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, distinct from other rights to vote, is the right to vote gained through the democratic process. In English, suffrage and its synonyms are sometimes also used to mean the right to run for office (to be a candidate), but there are no established qualifying terms to distinguish between these different meanings of the term(s). The right to run for office is sometimes called (candidate) eligibility, and the combination of both rights is sometimes called full suffrage. In many other languages, the right to vote is called the active right to vote and the right to be voted for (to run for office) is called the passive right to vote. In English, these are sometimes called active suffrage and passive suffrage.
Suffrage is often conceived in terms of elections for representatives; however, suffrage applies equally to initiative and referendum. Suffrage describes not only the legal right to vote, but also the practical question of whether a question will be put to a vote. The utility of suffrage is reduced when important questions are decided unilaterally by elected or non-elected representatives.
In most democracies, eligible voters can vote in elections of representatives. Voting on issues by initiative may be available in some jurisdictions but not others. For example, Switzerland permits initiatives at all levels of government whereas the United States does not offer initiatives at the federal level or in many states. That new constitutions must be approved by referendum is considered natural law.
Citizens become eligible to vote after reaching the voting age, which is typically 18 years as of 2012. Most democracies no longer extend different rights to vote on the basis of sex or race. Resident aliens can vote in some countries and in others exceptions are made for citizens of countries with which they have close links (e.g. some members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the members of the European Union).
Other articles related to "vote, suffrage":
... Poor people, therefore, could not vote they could only support members of the Creole middle classes that opposed big-business candidates ... Finally, in 1954 British Honduras achieved suffrage for all literate adults as a result of the emerging independence movement ... PUP concentrated on agitating for constitutional reforms, including universal adult suffrage without a literacy test, an all- elected Legislative Council ...
Famous quotes containing the words suffrage and/or vote:
“An illustrious individual remarks that Mrs. [Elizabeth Cady] Stanton is the salt, Anna Dickinson the pepper, and Miss [Susan B.] Anthony the vinegar of the Female Suffrage movement. The very elements get the white male into a nice pickle.”
—Anonymous, U.S. womens magazine contributor. The Revolution (August 19, 1869)
“While I shall not vote for the prohibition amendment, I would like to see a good, wholesome expression of temperance sentiment.... Personally I do not resort to forcenot even the force of lawto advance moral reforms. I prefer education, argument, persuasion, and above all the influence of exampleof fashion.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)