VOTING

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 compulsory.

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