POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Direct Elections

Direct elections are elections in which eligible voters cast their vote directly for the candidate, candidates or political party that they would like to be elected into office. General elections in the UK are examples of direct elections, as eligible voters each cast their vote for the candidate they would like to represent their constituency in the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament.

Indirect elections, by contrast, involve voters empowering a third party, known as a delegate or proxy, to vote on their behalf. An example of an indirect election is the election of the President of the United States of America. In US presidential elections, citizens vote for members of the US Electoral College, who in turn directly elect the US President.


Direct elections (single person election) is an election, or election system in which candidates (persons) can be elected in certain administrative bodies. Direct elections mean the candidates' personality determines the election result. The opposite of direct elections are list elections.

See also: Majority Vote, List Elections, Proportional Vote , First Past the Post, Alternative Vote, Supplementary Vote

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