It would be system where only those that met certain standards can vote, higher than the standards of today western democracies (18 years old, resident, etc). Like having some amount of assets or land owning, having a degree, etc.

  1. Is there a special designation for a electoral system where only those that meet special standards can vote?
  2. Who are modern proponents for this system?

2 Answers 2


The main historical example of this is “census“ or “censitary” suffrage, which restricted the right to vote to men who had some wealth. The name comes from the word “cense”, which is a type of tax (cf. the US meaning of “poll tax“). The same logic was used in the US South to effectively disenfranchise African Americans (and also poor whites).

  • Calling it "main example" is not accurate. Democracy with census was the most common form of democracy in history. Sparta had democracy only for 35+ male citizens, Poland had democracy only for male nobles (with nobles being 10% of society), Athenes limited democracy only to citizens (and becoming citizen was almost impossible for outsiders).
    – Ginden
    Aug 28, 2015 at 14:49
  • @ginden I would dispute some of your points but even then where is the contradiction? All this just supports my answer!
    – Relaxed
    Aug 28, 2015 at 20:02

If your voting right are dependant on some of your abilities then it is called a meritocracy. If your voting rights are dependant on your wealth then it is called a plutocracy.

  • 1
    I think you should extend your question. Provide more information.
    – nelruk
    Aug 28, 2015 at 17:21
  • 3
    Actually, and in spite of what folk etymology might suggest, the word meritocracy is usually used to describe a system in which the “best” get promoted to positions of powers, not a system where a selected number of able people vote as a political body.
    – Relaxed
    Aug 30, 2015 at 20:09
  • Meaning meritocracy is both. Sep 1, 2015 at 12:29
  • @MarioKamenjak I don't think so, not in modern English or when it was coined (which is very recently, it was only meant in jest and certainly not part of the classical typology of political systems). In another language perhaps?
    – Relaxed
    Sep 2, 2015 at 10:11

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