An election is a procedure in states, territorial communities and organisations for the appointment of a representative person or persons as a decision-making or governing body. Elections can result in members of parliament (e.g. in state and federal elections), county councils, city councils and municipal councils (in local elections). These office or mandate holders obtain their legitimacy as a result of a group of persons expressing their will in a predetermined procedure. The sum of the individual decisions leads to the overall decision of the election.
The persons who are entitled to vote (eligible voters) elect an office or mandate holder or a committee for a specified period of time in a specified procedure (electoral system) - usually from a selection.
In Germany, (political) elections fulfil the following tasks:
- Legitimacy of parliaments and the governments they may elect, as well as councils and mayors and district councils,
- Control of parties, parliamentary representatives and governments by the electorate,
- Representation of the interests of the voters,
- Integration of the population into politics,
- Competition of personal and programmatic alternatives.
Principles of electoral law (incl. Article 38 I GG):
- Commonality of the ballot
- Directness of the ballot
- Freedom of the ballot
- Equality of the ballot
- Confidentiality of the ballot
Further information is available on the website of the Federal Election Commissioner: