The use of the vote is the way in which citizens in democratic
regimes express their political choices, in elections or, less
frequently, in referenda - a type of voting process in which
citizens are called on to decide a concrete question.
Having said this, voting is not the exclusive preserve of
democratic regimes, and dictatorships sometimes use it to obtain
legitimacy - for example, Salazar had the 1933 Constitution
approved by plebiscite.
This means that for voting to be democratic, everyone must be
able to vote (universal suffrage), elections must be free, fair and
periodic, and votes must be secret.
In Portugal, every Portuguese national aged 18 or more can vote
- a right that also extends to all the European Union citizens who
reside in this country, with regard to the elections for the
European Parliament and local authorities.
Unlike in some countries, in Portugal voting is not