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Voting, formal collective expression of approval or rejection of a candidate for office or a course of action. The election of officers is a basic feature of democracy, but universal adult suffrage is recent: U.S. women obtained the vote only in 1920. Sometimes voting is compulsory, as in Australia and in Communist states. In the United States, voting originally followed English parliamentary practice, with the addition of the New England town meeting. Ballot papers first appeared in Massachusetts in 1634. Most U.S. states now use voting machines to ensure secrecy, speed, and accuracy.

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