The Functions of Elections-

  1. Political representation. Elections give voters the opportunity to choose between different political parties The party claims a Mandate from the people to be the government and to carry out its manifesto policies.

  2. Area representation. Elections give a geographical area representation in a representative assembly. In the UK these areas are 650 constituencies and each has one MP..

  3. Choosing a government. Elections give the opportunity for voters to select a government. In the USA this is directly in presidential elections but in the UK, the government is is chosen by parliament which is why it is possible for a government to form which the people did not choose. In Parliament, the party (or parties) which can secure a majority or enough seats form the government.

  4. Elections give candidates and governments legitimacy. They give the legal right and authority to act on behalf of the people. At a constituency level, this is conferring the right of an MP to act on behalf of the area; at a national level, a government claims legitimacy to act and manage the country.

  5. · An election gives a mandate to the government . This means it gives legitimacy to the government's manifesto or list of intended policies. Government which adopt policies which they did not have in their manifesto at the election do not have a specific mandate for the policy. In 2017 Theresa May sought a mandate to pursue her Brexit policy.

  6. · The accountability function. Elections hold individual MPs in constituencies to account for their role as an area representative and they hold the incumbent government to account for its management of the country.

  1. The job interview function. Elections give the voters an opportunity to choose a candidate they like, trust or feel is most suited to the role. In the USA 'name recognition' refers to voting for candidates because they are more familiar.

  2. · Rational choice function. Elections give voters a choice of policies they like best and think will be best for them.. Not only do people choose their representatives and government, voting in an election is the expression of policy preferences, as citizens vote for certain policies and options.

  3. · Elections have an educative function. In the process of campaigning for votes there are debates, discussion and media analysis where people can become informed of the major issues concerning the state.

  4. The peace and cohesion function. Election can settle disputes and bring a nation together. US presidential elections are said to be a referendum on the direction of America as well as a symbolic act of national unity. (This may be less true these days) In the 1960s Labour governments adopted policies of social reform on moral issues such as divorce and abortion.