SSS 3 Government

Electoral Process: Election

Electoral Process

Electoral process refers to the method by which a person is elected to Public office or the taking and counting of votes, the electorate refers to the people who are qualified to vote in an election and An election is the formal decision-making process by which a population (electorate) chooses an individual to hold public office

Purpose of Elections

  1. To provide for the orderly and fair participation of the people in choosing their political leaders. It allows the people to choose who is going to run the affairs of the country. It allows the people to participate in government by exercising their governing power through periodic elections where they cast their votes to choose their leaders.
  2. For Accountability:- The government who are in power know there is an election every few years and they stay accountable to their actions because they don’t want to get voted out in the next elections.
  3. Election promotes peaceful change or succession of government. Without election, democracy is inconceivable. It legitimizes the leadership of a country and the only medium through which the government can be formed.
  4. It helps to promote political apathy, political educations and enhances people’s support for the polity and the political system.
  5. Election is the only modern means through which the people can exercise their free will and decisions reserved to them about their choice of leadership the want.
  6. It allows for healthy competition among political actors and interests contesting for political offices.

Electoral Constituency

Is simply an electoral district or an area from which one or more members or representatives are elected into political offices. The division of a country into constituency is referred to as delimitation and it makes for equitability in the allocation of parliamentary seats.

Factors Influencing The Delimitation Of Constituency

  1. Population: A high density area may press for a separate constituency even when the area is not that large
  2. Minority Interest: Some areas have been carved out as a constituency, not for their large areas or population, but most importantly to satisfy the interest of minorities
  3. Number Of Seats Available: The number of seats available and to be allocated to each constituency can influence delimitation
  4. Historical And Cultural Background: People with same historical background and of course culture should be grouped together
  5. Administrative Convenience: The need to consider convenience, has often led to he merging of some local areas that are near to one another.

Types Of Constituencies

  • Single-member constituency or District system: it requires the election of only one member into the legislature. This system is done in every election.

Merits Of Single-Member Constituency

  1. Areas Which Return Members To The Legislature: The constituency must be small enough to enable candidates to be known in a simple and genuine way
  2. Simple And Economical: This system is simple and economical, especially for the candidates
  3. It Is More Democratic: This is because the poor candidate is not as such at a disadvantage as he would be in a large constituency
  4. Stable Majority: The system tends to provide a more stable majority in a legislature then the multi-member system
  5. Active Interest In The Political Process: It encourages people in the community to take active interest in the political process

Demerits Of Single-Member Constituency

  1. Representation Of Local Interests: it leads to the choice of men who regard themselves as representatives of local interest rather than of the country as a whole
  2. Gerrymandering: it increases powerfully the temptation of legislative majorities to ‘gerrymander’, the state i.e to construct the electoral district in such a way as to give the majority party more representatives than its voting strength entities it to
  3. The minorities: they may not be adequately represented in the legislature

Multi-Member Constituency: It demands the election of two or more members of the legislature in every election. In this system, a voter may be entitled to two or more votes. However, the number of votes of an electorate depends on the number of candidates to be elected from the constituency.

Problems Affecting Delimitation Of Constituencies

  1. Most of the census conducted in some countries have not been reliable and can negatively affect constituency delimitation
  2. The riverine areas of Nigeria are not easily accessible and so cannot produce a realistic delimitation
  3. Every ethnic group might want to have its own constituency irrespective of the population or size
  4. Dearth of skilled manpower are not there to actually carry out the delimitation of constituencies

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