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Direct democracy is also often called “pure democracy” and involves having the citizens as individuals vote on issues instead of elected representatives. Representative democracy is however more common worldwide.

Examples of Direct Democracy

Ancient Athens is an example of direct democracy where the people themselves voted on major matters. Every court case in Ancient Athens was decided on by the assembly’s vote.


Switzerland is not an example of true direct democracy, but the general public have the power to veto laws passed by the government. They can also petition and vote directly on amendments to the constitution.

The U.S. functions on a mostly representative democratic system, but some limited direct democracy happens at local and state level through referendums, ballot initiatives or the recalling of elected officials.

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