In many representative democracies (Canada, the USA, Britain, etc.), representatives are most commonly chosen in elections where a winning candidate has to win more votes than any other candidate. (That but does not mean that it must be a majority of the votes cast.) While existing representative democracies hold such elections to choose representatives, in theory other methods, such as sortition (more closely aligned with direct democracy), could be used instead. Also, representatives sometimes hold the power to select other representatives, presidents, or other officers of government (indirect representation).
In a democracy the ultimate power to decide significant electoral system reforms lies with the people. The key question that democrats will tend to ask of any proposed change in electoral law or the voting mechanism is: “Will it actually increase the capacity of the electorate to get rid of unsatisfactory rulers and replace them with others?” Democrats regard that basic capacity as the best protection against governmental incompetence and abuse of power.
- "Victorian Electronic Democracy : Glossary". July 28, 2005. http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/SARC/E-Democracy/Final_Report/Glossary.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-14.