In an autocratic government, power is held entirely by one person or small group of people. Throughout history, there have been various types of autocracies -- monarchies and oligarchies, for example -- and while voting is rarely effective or uncorrupted, it's possible to have a system of voting in such a society.

Voting in an Autocracy

In modern times, for the sake of keeping up appearances, many autocracies are ostensibly governed by a voting public. In Syria, for example, Hafiz al-Assad was elected President in 1971, but proceeded to run the country with autocratic authority until his death in 2000. Following this, a special amendment was made to the Syrian constitution that allowed his son, Bashar al-Assad to succeed him. Bashar ran unopposed as the Ba’th party candidate. Though it was hoped he might offer the nation democratic reform and return meaning to the voting process, he continued his father’s autocratic rule.