Exam focus – Franchise, types, argument and conditions

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Exam focus – Keypoint on Franchise, types, argument and conditions voters are required to fulfil

Franchise: It is the right of qualified adult citizens of a given society to vote and be voted for in an election.

Type of franchise

Limited or Restricted Franchise: In this type of franchise, not all qualified adults are allowed to vote and be voted for. A franchise is therefore granted to only those adult that fulfil certain conditions like one’s race, sex, property owned, evidence of payment of taxes, educational qualifications, etc.

An argument for a limited or restricted franchise

  • It gives a few well-informed citizens the opportunity to vote.
  • It removes the uninformed from voting in an election.
  • It seems to be a more mature election than the unlimited franchise.
  • More qualified candidates tend to be elected.
  • It prevents foreigners from voting.
  • It does not allow people to unsound or unbalanced mind to vote.
  • It reduces the rate of election violence.
  • It makes taxpayers watch their representatives with an eagle eye.

An argument against a limited or restricted franchise

  • It does not give all qualified adult equality of chance to vote.
  • It is prone to corruption because the few people allowed can all be bribed.
  • Those elected through it do not reflect popular choice.
  • A limited franchise is less democratic.
  • It makes disenfranchised citizens not to show interest in the affairs of the government.
  • Many eligible voters do not know their representatives.
  • The representatives seem to be imposed on the majority of the disenfranchised citizens.

Universal Adult Suffrage: This type of franchise is also known as unlimited or universal franchise allows all qualified male and female adults to vote and be voted for.

Some of the conditions voters are required to fulfil in order to qualify to vote in universal suffrage

  1. Citizenship
  2. Age
  3. Registration
  4. Residence
  5. State of mind
  6. Social condition
  7. Legal status
  8. Not banned.

Merits of universal adult suffrage

  • It gives qualified adult equality of votes.
  • It widens the voter’s base.
  • It creates the opportunity of full participation of any citizen.
  • More of a democratic election.
  • It creates a sense of political equality among the citizens.
  • It avoid discrimination based on sex, race, religion etc.
  • It makes for a stable government.
  • It makes the majority of the citizens to take interest in the affairs of the government.
  • It is not prone to corruption.
  • Elected representatives reflect popular choice.

Demerits of universal adult suffrage

  • It emphasizes quantity rather than the quality of votes.
  • Majority of the voters do not critically scrutinize the candidate.
  • Majority of the adult voters are illiterates who vote blindly.
  • The involvement of many people in the voting encourages violent polling.
  • It encourages the election of many unqualified representatives.
  • Leads to the formation of a mediocre government.


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