The vast majority of by-elections are unimportant. The governing party normally has a solid cushion so that losing a handful of seats would not affect their position. Because of their inability to greatly affect the governance of the nation, voters feel freer to elect smaller fringe parties. Parties on both the far right-wing and the far left-wing tend to do better in by-elections than in general elections.
However, by-elections can become crucial when the ruling party has only a small margin. In parliamentary systems, party discipline is strong enough so that the one common scenario for a vote of no confidence to occur is after the governing party loses enough by-elections to become a minority government.
By-elections can also be important if a minority party needs to gain one or more seats in order to gain official party status or the balance of power in a minority or coalition situation. For example, Andrea Horwath's win in an Ontario provincial by-election in 2004 allowed the Ontario NDP to regain official party status, with important results in terms of parliamentary privileges and funding.
Party leaders and media commentators often point to by-election victories as important signals, but very often by-elections hinge far more on local issues and the charisma of the candidates than on national issues or how the voters feel about the governing party.
The result was that his opponent in the general election was conservative Republican and political newcomer Bill Simon, who was popular within his own party but unknown by the majority of the state population.
This was to be the second gubernatorial recall election in the United States history and the first in the history of California.
On October 7 the recall election was held, and voters decisively voted to recall Davis and to elect Schwarzenegger as his replacement.
Special emphasis is given to items which are considered particularly interesting in a comparative perspective, such as the establishment and updating of an electoral register, and the handling of advance voting.
These steps correspond to the main phases of the conduct of elections, which are (1) the administrative procedures connected with the preparation of an election, (2) the rules for polling and counting, and (3) the administrative procedures after election day, including the final computations as well as the election approval procedure.
When an election is called, however, additional staff are temporarily assigned to assist the election unit in carrying out its tasks at the national level, directly connected with the conduct of the election.
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