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Election (from Latin ex "out" + legere "to choose") is the formal process of selecting a person for public office or of accepting or rejecting a political proposition by voting.

Inconsistently, "election" sometimes may refer only to voting on persons, not to voting on political propositions. Regardless, terms such as "electorate", "electoral system", and "election law" may be used for all formal voting by citizens.

A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a formal process of direct voting by which voters may directly state their view on a political proposition. Plebiscite is a similar term, sometimes with more specific meanings. Another term is initiative, sometimes stated to differ in that a referendum is started by the government, an initiative by voters. A similar phrase is to vote on a ballot question.

A recall election (also called a recall referendum or representative recall) is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before that official's term has ended.

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