It is essential to note, before getting to the establishment of the first Electoral Committee in LY 904, that until that year there had never been public elections anywhere on The Land (with a couple of notable exceptions). Since the earliest times, it was rare that there would be many issues that would affect a great number of people; indeed, it was quite some time before there even were a great number of people on the Land. Certainly there was no such thing as government, on any level. In discussing the Coming of the Order, it is natural to concentrate on the fact that it established a worldwide government, though of course one mustn't forget that at the same time, it established local village councils, for virtually the first time in the Land's history.
The first exception to this was Sorret, which had had its own council since shortly after the village was founded, in 271. However, this was not a political body, per se, nor was it elected by the general populace of the village. It was, in fact, a council of Sorreters, that is, magic-users. Members of the Council of Magicks are appointed either by the Grand Sorreter (the head of the council), or by a majority vote of the sitting council members; one must be of master-adept status to attain a seat on the Council, though not all master-adepts ever attain such a position. (Outsiders have sometimes referred to this body as the "Sorret Council," which is incorrect; after the Coming, a governing body that is properly called the Sorret Council was established, and this is often confused with the Council of Magicks.) Technically, the Council of Magicks had no governmental authority over the non-Sorreter citizens of the village, though people did sometimes seek their guidance in various matters, particularly because Sorreters are, of course, also spirit-talkers, and therefore could be expected to provide religious guidance for the community.
A second exception is Woodstockade. When the First 50 Elves founded their own village after being banished from Sorret, they elected one of their own as Elf Chief, a position which at the time was comparable to what we would today call a Chief Councillor, though in theory, if there were multiple Elven villages, the Elf Chief would technically be comparable to a monarch. (Of course, this is a moot point, now; since Woodstockade is a part of First Nation, any future villages they might found will have their own councils and Chief Councillors, but their ultimate allegiance will be to the King or Queen.) In the earliest days of Woodstockade, there was no council, just the Elf Chief, though certain matters were voted on in much the same way they had been by humans, in the earliest days of the Land's existence. Though it should also be noted that there were a High Sorcerer (comparable to Sorret's Grand Sorreter) and a Second Sorcerer; the two of them, naturally, held authority over the village's sorcerers, but held no political power. However, in 850, a village council (led by the Elf Chief) was officially established in Woodstockade (elected by the people, as the Elf Chief always had been). And so, it should be remembered that Woodstockade was actually the first village on the Land to have such a council, in the modern sense.
But these, as has been noted, are exceptions to the rule. As indicated at the top of this article, throughout most of the Land, there was no such thing as government of any kind, until 904 (or more accurately, 905). Generally speaking, people lived their own lives, and made their own decisions. They might seek advice from anyone they chose, especially (but not necessarily) from spirit-talkers. Any matters that affected many people (such as the passing of laws) were, from the earliest times, voted upon by anyone in a village who was over the age of 13 (and who had any interest in the matter at hand). However, there always had to be people who could be trusted to count the votes. For the first several generations, this was a simple enough matter; voting was usually done simply by a show of hands. However, as village populations grew, it became more complicated, and eventually people began writing down their votes and depositing them in ballot boxes. Even then, it seemed obvious that whoever would in the past have counted raised hands, could now be relied upon to count ballots. As still more generations passed, when there were a larger number of votes to be counted, there would often be several people doing the counting. Sometimes they would then trade boxes, and recount, to double-check one another's tallies. More often than not, this task would fall to accountants, though there was never any rule to that effect.
The Order first introduced the concept of government in 902 (it would later be learned this was part of The Plan); campaigns began in earnest in 903, even before the war was over. Of course, no one could have known at that time if there would ever actually be elections of the sort the Order had suggested, but people wanted to be ready. And on 8 Su'yet, 904, the first federal elections were held, as were the first local elections. There was voting for the leader of the world (King or Queen), to serve a term of four years. There was voting for various federal officials, to serve terms of five years. There was voting for local officials, to serve terms of three years. (All elected officials would take office six months after being elected, on 8 Win'yet, 905.) Also, as in the old days, people would occasionally vote on various propositions (or referenda), though now this would only happen once a year (at most), and such matters could be either local or federal (whereas in the past they had only been local).
Creation of the Electoral CommitteeEdit
But before the elections could actually be held, it was necessary to address the question of how votes for both leaders and propositions would be counted. It was in fact in 902 that the Order, when they first suggested such elections, also suggested the establishment of an official organization to count votes both locally and nationally. Mostly, this organization would be comprised of people who had always counted votes on issues, in each individual village, though of course no one held such a job on a regular basis, at that time. There had never been regularly scheduled voting days, and certainly- at least until quite recently- there had almost never been any issues that affected the entire world (a notable exception being the banning of Surreal in 436). Voting had always been a matter for individual villages, and it had always happened only at such time as specific issues arose, which generally happened rather infrequently. This made the establishment of such an organization problematic, but obviously necessary, considering the unprecedented number of votes that would need to be counted. So, with great effort and deliberation, the Electoral Committe was organized. It is important to note that this is not a governmental body, it holds no political affiliation, so that it may remain entirely impartial.
In order to ensure this impartiality, members of the E.C. (called Electors, of which there are one per district, as is the case with members of village councils) are selected with great care. And the way this is done is actually the same way issues were voted on since the earliest days of the Land: candidates present themselves before a meeting of concerned citizens, who listen to what they have to say and consider their histories, their character, and in all likelihood their public service record. Candidates for the E.C. are usually active, prominent members of their local communities, who have nothing in their histories that would suggest they are likely to have anything but the best interests of their village and the world in general, at heart. Nor can they have any personal or professional connection to candidates for either local or federal office (and no personal interest in any referenda being voted upon). And so, being selected in a very direct (and old-fashioned) way, by the people, Electors are seen as the ideal instrument by which to implement the will of the people in electing government officials.