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What is franchise?

A franchise can be defined as the political right of eligible citizens of a given country, to vote and be voted for in any political election. It means the right to vote and be voted for.

Types of franchise

There are two types of franchise and they are:

  1. Limited or restricted franchise
  2. Unlimited or universal adult suffrage

Limited or restricted franchise

The right to vote or to be voted for is purely restrictive here. Only qualified voters are allowed to stand to vote or stand to be voted for in a political system. The criteria for voting and to be voted for may depend on the following:

  1. Sex: in some countries, only males are allowed to vote or contest elections.
  2. Race or color: race or color can also determine who can vote in a country eg, formerly in south Africa, only the whites had the right to vote and be voted for in a society dominated by racial discrimination.
  3. Education: in some countries, the level of education also determines who can vote and be voted for.
  4. Religion: in some countries religion is also a determining factor.
  5. Residential qualification: 
  6. Poverty:
  7. Property acquired:


Merit of limited franchise

  1. Mature and informed mind: opportunity of voting is better for the matured and informed ming.
  2. Property: contesting election demands enough resources for proper planning, organization, and execution.
  3. Make use of qualified candidates:

Demerits of limited franchise

  1. Limited political education: due to 
  2. No popular choice: 
  3. Disenfranchisement:  
  4. The opportunity of voting: 
  5. The system is unconstitutional: 

Merits of Restricted Franchise

The supporters who support a limited franchise typically present the following arguments to the direction of this.

  1. The possibility of voting is best for mature and informed minds.
  2. The process of contesting elections requires sufficient resources to ensure proper planning organization, execution, and organization.
  3. A small number of those competing in this system are more qualified than the voters who are part of universal suffrage.


Demerits of Restricted Franchise

Suffrage with restrictions has been criticized for the following reasons.

  1. A lot of people due to the lack of political education have been excluded from voting and have been voted for in every election.
  2. The right to vote is not offered to adult voters who are eligible.
  3. The people who are elected aren’t widely chosen. The reason for this is that it’s not an expression of the choice of the voters.
  4. The system is not democratic and is unconstitutional. The rights to political expression of the citizens are not protected.
  5. In the long run, as for as long as the majority of people are excluded, their interests in politics and matters of the state are quickly rushed.
  6. The people who are part of the system only represent those interests that are held by a select group of people and not the majority.

Unlimited franchise or adult suffrage

Universal adult Suffrage is also known as unlimited suffrage or unlimited franchise. It means that any citizen who is over the age of majority is eligible to vote. In reality, the universal adult voting system is not available in any nation. It isn’t feasible to expand it to all citizens. rights to all people, male or woman, healthy or insane and law-abiding or criminal and white or black educated or not. The closest thing to general adult voting rights would be that of the adults who have voted with a few minor adjustments.

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This kind of franchise is the most well-known and widely recognized. It is legally binding as well as an electoral system. All qualified adults male and female can be eligible to vote and are the ones to vote within this system. There are certain requirements to be fulfilled by each individual prior to casting a vote. The requirements or conditions are not limiting as in limited franchise/suffrage.

  1. Age – 
  2. Citizenships –
  3. Registration –
  4. Sanity –
  5. Bankruptcy –

Merit of universal adult suffrage

  1. There is a certain quality to voting. Each adult with a valid vote. Actually, it’s one person with one vote.
  2. chance is provided to individuals who are eligible to exercise their right to vote in the electoral system.
  3. In the sense that the majority of people have used their right to vote, the choice of representatives is a reflection of popular preference.
  4. This method does not permit discrimination based on religious affiliation, race, sexual orientation, or money.
  5. This is more open and allows possibly the participation of the majority of citizens in the decision-making process in the nation.
  6. This is a method that helps to create a secure, democratic government.


Demerits of universal adult suffrage

  1. A majority of voters are not fully aware of the campaign manifesto or otherwise of candidates before they vote. The lack of education in politics could be a hindrance to the system.
  2. Most of the voters are not literate, and the possibility of blind voting cannot be eliminated.
  3. The participation of a lot of voters can result in fraudulent voting, fraud, or violence.
  4. It could lead to the victimization and intimidation of opposition to the political system.
  5. Representatives elected could not be representatives of the people due to the fact that the people who voted were influenced, therefore, they could have voted incorrectly.



Types of suffrage

  1. Adult suffrage: this is the voting adults (men and women), having the necessary qualification to vote.
  2. Male suffrage: this is a type of system where only adults males can vote, females aren’t allowed to participate.
  3. Tax-payers suffrage: this is a system whereby the people paying their taxes regularly can only vote.
  4. Property suffrage: only people with a lot of assets and wealth are allowed to vote.

Conditions necessary for eligibility as candidates for election

  1. Age: in some countries, 25 years of age may be the minimum age for candidates seeking election into the house of Representatives.
  2. Citizenship: candidates for any elective post in many countries must be a citizen of that country
  3. Residential qualification: the individual must have live in the country for a number of years or months as stipulated in the constitution of the country. 
  4. Bankruptcy: the individual must not have a record of bankruptcy.
  5. No criminal records: the individual must not have any criminal records, he must not have been imprisoned for any criminal offenses.
  6. Payment of tax: he must be ready to provide the evidence of tax at least for some years.
  7. Educational qualification: 
  8. Deposit for election: the citizen is required to pay a specified amount of deposit to the appropriate body before contesting.
  9. Registered member of a political party: 
  10. Nomination papers: 
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