I'm reading on oligarchs, and came across this on Wikipedia (from the fourth paragraph):

The study [conceded] "Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise."

What does it mean to enjoy a widespread franchise?

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    fwiw, you'll probably see the topic of franchise more often discussed as its opposite: disenfranchised – Jeutnarg Jun 20 '17 at 15:03

Franchise is often used as another word for Suffrage. It basically means many people from different backgrounds can vote in American elections.

As such due to the widespread ability and actions of people voting, America is more democratic.

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    Dooh... My mind was wandering into economic theory. I could not see the forest through the trees. Thanks. – user11101 Jun 20 '17 at 9:57
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    As an addition, the "if still contested" part is likely referring to the recent efforts at voter suppression. Of course those engaging in this insist they have noble reasons (this is politically debatable in the USA right now), but its pretty clear this is what the authors of that quote were referring to. – T.E.D. Jun 20 '17 at 14:24
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    Franchise of suffrage means the right to vote; the answer suggests it's the voting itself. – MSalters Jun 20 '17 at 14:53
  • @MSalters edited to reflect as such – SleepingGod Jun 20 '17 at 19:59

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