Suffrage

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).

Read more about SuffrageHistory of Suffrage Around The World, Etymology

Other articles related to "suffrage":

Anne Dallas Dudley
... was a prominent activist in the women's suffrage movement in the United States ... After founding the Nashville Equal Suffrage League and serving as its president, she moved up through the ranks of the movement, serving as President of the Tennessee ...
Canadian Women's Suffrage Association
... The Canadian Women's Suffrage Association was originally called the Toronto Women's Literary Guild as a screen for suffrage activities in effect, its members worked undercover ... The Guild, founded in 1877, was renamed in 1883 as the Toronto Women's Suffrage Association ... It was an influential women's suffrage organization founded in part by Emily Howard Stowe, Canada's second licensed female physician, to fight for women's rights and improved working conditions ...
Lady Florence Dixie - Politics and Feminism
... She was a member of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, and her obituary in the Englishwoman's Review emphasized her support for the cause of women's suffrage (i.e ... In the preface to the novel, Dixie proposes not only women's suffrage, but that the two sexes should be educated together and that all professions and positions should be open to both ...
Susan B. Anthony House - See Also
... Votes For Women History Trail Timeline of women's suffrage Women's suffrage Women's suffrage in the United States ...
Suffrage - Etymology
... The word suffrage comes from Latin suffragium, meaning "vote", "political support", and the right to vote ...

Famous quotes containing the word suffrage:

    Having a thirteen-year-old in the family is like having a general-admission ticket to the movies, radio and TV. You get to understand that the glittering new arts of our civilization are directed to the teen-agers, and by their suffrage they stand or fall.
    Max Lerner (b. 1902)

    ... woman does not see what people of intellect perceived fifty years ago: that suffrage is an evil, that it has only helped to enslave people, that it has but closed their eyes that they may not see how craftily they were made to submit.
    Emma Goldman (1869–1940)