__Suffrage__, __political franchise__, or simply __franchise__ is the __right to vote__ in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called __active suffrage__, as distinct from passive suffrage, which is the right to stand for election. The combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called ''full suffrage''.<ref></ref> - wikipedia

Ledru-Rollin]]'', Frédéric Sorrieu, 1850 -

Suffrage is often conceived in terms of elections for Representative democracy. However, suffrage applies equally to referendum and initiatives. Suffrage describes not only the legal right to vote, but also the practical question of whether a question will be put to a vote. The utility of suffrage is reduced when important questions are decided unilaterally without extensive, conscientious, full disclosure and public review.

In most democracies, eligible voters can vote in elections of representatives. Voting on issues by referendum may also be available. For example, in Switzerland this is permitted at all levels of government. In the United States, some U.S. state such as California and Washington have exercised their shared sovereignty to offer citizens the opportunity to write, propose, and vote on referendums and initiatives; other states and the United States federal government have not. Referendums in the United Kingdom are rare.

Suffrage is granted to qualifying citizens once they have reached the voting age. What constitutes a qualifying citizen depends on the government's decision. Resident Right of foreigners to vote in some countries, which may be restricted to citizens of closely linked countries (e.g., Commonwealth of Nations#Commonwealth citizenship and High Commissioners and Elections to the European Parliament#Eligibility) or to certain offices or questions.

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