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Voting is the final step of a meeting's decision making.

Voting is also a synonym of election, i.e. a way for an electorate to select among candidates for an office. In politics voting is the method by which the electorate of a democracy appoints representatives in the government.

A vote, or a ballot, is the individual's acts of voting, by which he or she express support or preference for a certain motion (e.g. a proposed resolution), a certain candidate, or a certain list of candidates.


Standard vote types

Different voting systems use different types of vote. Suppose that the options in some election are Alice, Bob, Charlie, Daniel, and Emily

In a voting system that uses a single vote, the voter can select one of the five that they most approve of. First past the post uses single votes. So, a voter might vote for Charlie.

In a voting system that uses a multiple vote, the voter can vote for any subset of the alternatives. So, a voter might vote for Alice, Bob, and Charlie, rejecting Daniel and Emily. Approval uses multiple votes.

In a voting system that uses a ranked vote, the voter has to rank the alternatives in order of preference. For example, they might vote first for Bob in first place, then Emily, then Alice, then Daniel, and finally Charlie. There are a great many voting systems that use ranked votes.

In a voting system that uses a scored vote (or range vote), the voter gives each alternative a number between one and ten (the upper and lower bounds may vary). See range voting.

More esoteric vote types

More complicated methods have also been proposed, principally as a theoretical tool. For example, one method would make an average vote look like the following:

Alice > Charlie >>> Bob >> Emily > Daniel

This can interpreted to mean: "Alice is my favourite, followed by Charlie, Bob, Emily, and Daniel, in that order. I am willing to compromise on Charlie if it allows me to avoid Bob, Emily, or Daniel being elected. If Alice and Charlie are eliminated, then I'll vote for Bob. In such a circumstance I am not willing to compromise on Emily to avoid Daniel being elected."

See also: Suffrage, Referendum

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