What are democratic processes?
The strength of democracy depends on people's participation in the democratic process. The democratic process is the steps that people can take to support democracy, participate in society and even help to bring about change.
Democratic processes include:
- Voting in elections
- Taking part in a campaign
- Signing a petition
- Participating in peaceful protests/marches
- Lobbying the government
- Writing a letter to your local politician
- Participating in discussions
Voting in elections
People have a responsibility to vote in elections for the political party that they believe will best represent their views and work for the interests of all the people in society.
Taking part in a campaign
People can join others in a campaign about an issue/cause. If the campaign has enough public support it might persuade the government to take action and change what is happening.
Signing a petition
People can join others in signing a petition about an issue/cause that they feel strongly about. This highlights the level of support for their issue/cause and may influence those in power to deal with the issue/cause. This petition may be online or a signature on a paper petition. Depending on the number of signatures, the government can discuss the issue/cause and may be bring about a change.
Participating in a peaceful protest/march
People can show their support for an issue/cause by taking part in a peaceful demonstration. This raises public awareness of the issue/cause. The publicity may influence the government to act and address the issue/cause.
People can lobby government to persuade them to take action to address an issue/cause.
Writing a letter
People can write a letter to their local politician or to the government to highlight an issue/cause and encourage key decision makers or government to take action to address this issue/concern.
Participating in discussions
People can get involved in politics, participate in debates, public discussion forums and consultations and help to influence policy and the views of their elected representatives.
People can join an NGO and support its cause. They can work for the NGO to influence changes in society.
Having democratic processes means that:
- the government can be challenged and held to account for the decisions it makes
- people can discuss and bring about change on social inequality, social injustice and human rights issues
- the views of all citizens in that country can be heard
- decision makers and policy makers can be spoken to so that a good decision for the good of all people can be agreed
- ordinary people can influence change in society