Show election
A show election, also known as a sham election or rubber stamp election, is an election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 that is held purely for show, that is, without any significant political purpose. Show elections are a common event in dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

ial regimes that still feel the need to establish some element of public legitimacy.

Results predictably show nearly 100% voter turnout
Voter turnout
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election . After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s...

 and nearly 100% support for the prescribed (often the only) list of candidates or for referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

s that favor the political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 in power. Examples of such elections include elections in the Soviet Union
Elections in the Soviet Union
The electoral system of the Soviet Union was based upon Chapter XI of the Constitution of the Soviet Union and by the Electoral Laws enacted in conformity with it. The Constitution and laws applied to elections in all Soviets, from the Supreme Soviets of the USSR, the Union republics and ...

, North Korea
Elections in North Korea
Elections in North Korea are held every five years. At the national level, North Koreans elect a legislature, the Supreme People's Assembly . In addition to the Supreme People's Assembly, the people elect representatives to city, county, and provincial "people's assemblies".All seats were won by...

, and Baathist Iraq
Elections in Iraq
Elections in Iraq gives information on election and election results in Iraq.-History:Under the Iraqi constitution of 1925, Iraq was a constitutional monarchy, with a bicameral legislature consisting of an elected House of Representatives and an appointed Senate. The lower house was elected every...

. A predetermined conclusion is always established by the regime, either through suppression of the opposition, coercion of voters, vote rigging
Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

, forged number of "votes received" (e.g., the State of Vietnam referendum, 1955
State of Vietnam referendum, 1955
The State of Vietnam referendum of 1955 determined the future form of government of the State of Vietnam, the nation that was to become the Republic of Vietnam . It was contested by Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm, who proposed a republic, and former emperor Bảo Đại...

), or some combination. In an extreme example Charles D. B. King
Charles D. B. King
Charles Dunbar Burgess King was a politician in Liberia of Freetown Creole descent . He was a member of the True Whig Party, which ruled the country from 1878 until 1980...

 of Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

 claimed he received 243,000 votes in the 1927 general election
Liberian general election, 1927
General elections were held in Liberia in 1927. In the presidential election, the result was a victory for Charles D. B. King of the True Whig Party, who was re-elected for a third term after defeating Thomas J. Faulkner of the People's Party...

, which exceeded the number of eligible voters over 15 times.

Ballots in a show election may contain only one "yes" option. In case of a simple "yes or no" question, people who pick "no" are often persecuted, thus making the "yes" choice the only option.

In some cases, show elections can backfire against the party in power, especially if the regime believe they are popular enough to win without coercion or fraud.
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