The Federation has a federal government, with elected officials at the federal (national), state and local levels. On a national level, the head of state, the President, is elected by direct popular vote, as are the members of the Cabinet. All members of the federal legislature, the Senate, are directly elected. There are many elected offices at the state level, each state having at least an elective governor and House of Representatives (called a Supreme Soviet in Bellinsgauzenia). Boroughs (oblasts in Bellinsgauzenia) elect a mayor (executive branch) and an Assembly (legislative branch). Incorporated cities elect a mayor and a city council. Judges at the federal level are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. However, according to Article IV, Section 7 of the Antarctic constitution, all judges are reviewed in a general election three years after appointment and six years following each review (except Supreme Court justices, which are reviewed every ten years following the initial post-appointment review).
The constitution allows for initiative, referendum, and recall at the federal level. Similar measures also occur at state and local levels.
State corporation officials are elected by shareholders (state residents) every three years or as directed by the corporate charter. State corporations also have provisions for initiative, referendum, and recall.
The Federation uses a combination of the first-past-the-post and simple majority methods. For example, in a general election, the top two candidates receiving the highest number of votes (assuming neither has a majority) face each other in a subsequent final election, in which the candidate with the majority of the votes wins the election. If a candidate has a majority of the votes in a general election, that candidate wins outright and there is no subsequent final election to decide the race. This way, no candidate can be elected to office without receiving a majority of the vote. At the same time, multiple candidates and parties can viably participate in the election process without the spoiler effect.
The eligibility for voting is outlined at the state level, either by law or by constitution. However, all Federation citizens who are not incarcerated or on probation have a right to participate in Presidential, Cabinet, and Supreme Court review elections, regardless of whether they are a resident of a state or reside in the country. In addition, citizens who live abroad elect a Senator to represent them.
Early voting Edit
Early voting is provided for by Article V of the Antarctic constitution and all states are required to have an early voting process. Although Election Day is specified in the constitution, citizens must be able to vote either by mail or in person within 30 days before Election Day. This is partially to allow states in early time zones, such as Amundsen and Polaria, to fairly participate. Otherwise, it would be possible for the election to be decided before their polls even open on Election Day. Early voting also allows voters to vote at their convenience, which increases voter turnout.
Levels of Election Edit
Federal elections Edit
The Federation has a presidential system of government, which means that the executive and legislature are elected separately. As stipulated in Article V of the Antarctic constitution, General Election Day is on the first Sunday of January of every even-numbered year and Final Election Day is the first Sunday of March following the general election. Presidential and Cabinet elections take place simultaneously every leap year, as well as the election of 50 senators. Every even-numbered year that is not a leap year is called a midterm election, in which the 50 senators not elected in the Presidential election are elected. Judicial review elections, as well as federal initiatives, referendums, or recalls can occur in any year.
Presidential elections Edit
The President and Vice-President are elected separately in primary elections. However, they run together as a ticket in general and final elections. This is in contrast to countries in which a Presidential candidate selects his running mate to run for Vice-President.
In the general election, numerous tickets from several parties and independent candidates (either undeclared or registered with parties) compete for the office of President and Vice-President. If none of the tickets receive a majority of the popular vote, the top two tickets then compete in a final election. The ticket that wins the majority of the popular vote is elected President and Vice-President of the Federation.
Presidential elections in the Federation are decided by direct popular vote by citizens either living in the country or abroad.
Cabinet elections Edit
In addition to electing a President and Vice-President to serve a four-year term, voters also elect the Secretary of State, the Treasury Secretary, and the Attorney General. These offices are elected separately from the President/Vice-President ticket. Other cabinet positions, department heads, boards, and commissions are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Supreme Court justice reviews Edit
Three years after justices are appointed to the Supreme Court, voters decide whether to approve or reject them. If the Supreme Court justice is approved, subsequent reviews take place every ten years.
Federal judge reviews Edit
Three years after judges are appointment to a federal court, voters in the jurisdiction they preside over decide whether to approve or reject them. If they are approved, subsequent reviews take place every six years.
Initiative, Referendum, and Recall Edit
The Constitution provides for a process in which voters can initiate legislation at the federal level. To accomplish this, 1% of qualified voters in each state must file an application with the Secretary of State. After it is certified, it is necessary for a petition to be signed by 10% of voters in at least four states (or three states and Terra Nova). At that time, the measure will be placed on the federal ballot in the next general election (which can occur in any year). The constitution also allows federal officials to be recalled through a similar process, to be defined by law.
State elections Edit
State constitutions outline the procedures for state elections, although some are provided for in the Antarctic constitution as well. For instance, Article VI requires that the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, and Attorney General be elected by the voters. The constitution leaves the manner in which they are to be elected to state constitutions, but nonetheless requires that they be elected by the people of the state. The Antarctic constitution also requires that members of the state Houses of Representatives be elected by the people.
Borough and City elections Edit
As with state elections, the Antarctic Constitution allows boroughs, municipalities, and incorporated cities to decide the manner in which their mayors, Assemblies, and city councils are to be elected, but requires that their governments consist of popularly elected, rather than appointed, officials.
State Corporate elections Edit
State corporations must be governed by officials elected by state residents and thus shareholders in the corporation, according to Article VII of the Antarctic Constitution. State corporations provide for initiative, referendum, and recall processes. This is particularly useful because it gives consumers the right to petition unpopular things like price increases or wage/salary cuts. This is typically not an option in a capitalism-based economy, but is one of the many things that are unique to the Federation form of socialism.
School and Health elections Edit
School boards and health boards consist of officials elected by the voters in their district. School principals and hospital administrators are elected as well.
Workplace elections Edit
The socialist system used in the Federation allows for democracy in the workplace, eliminating the need for unions. Those employed by state corporations elect their managers, department heads, and supervisors, as well as vote to decide workplace policies.
Residential elections Edit
Most Federation citizens live in housing owned by the city in which they reside. Therefore, resident managers (landlords) are elected by the residents. They also vote on issues such as rent increases, rules, and regulations.
Features in the election system Edit
Party systems Edit
The Antarctic constitution was written specifically to disregard the interests and influence of political parties. Thus, all elections in the Federation are officially non-partisan. Nevertheless, political parties do exist and they have a clear role in the election process.
Primary elections, caucuses, and nominating conventions are not addressed anywhere in the constitution, although these are the primary means in which candidates are selected to compete in a general election or final election.
Any person can join a political party simply by stating party preference when registering to vote. In the primary election process, members of a party select the candidate who will receive the official endorsement of the party and thus the party's funding. Candidates not chosen in this process can still run in the general election as independent candidates registered with the party or they can run as undeclared independent candidates. The party does not have the authority to prohibit any candidate from running for office in the general election under the party's affiliation, even if the candidate is not endorsed by the party.
Ballot access Edit
Any candidate running for office has the right to appear on the general election ballot, along with their stated party affiliation.
Campaign finance Edit
Campaigns may be funded by the candidate's own finances, public funding, party funding, or donations from individuals. State corporations and other businesses are prohibited from donating to campaigns, including for state corporate elections. They are also prohibited from endorsing candidates, donating money to political parties, action committees, interest groups, or political advertising. The 26th Section of the Declaration of Rights ensures that corporations (state or private) are not legal people and therefore do not enjoy the Fifth Section protections of free speech that individuals do. Furthermore, the Fifth Section also stipulates that spending money is not an act of speech or expression.
Churches, while not prohibited from endorsing candidates or donating money for political purposes, nevertheless lose all tax exemptions if they do so.