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Fast Fact: Referendum

A referendum is a special type of voting where voters are asked to make or change a law by voting yes or no on an idea. In many countries, people are elected to the government, and these people make the laws  . But sometimes the voters in a country are asked if they want to make or change a law. The people can vote yes or no. This is called a referendum.

Results of a referendum in the Netherlands
Results of a referendum in the Netherlands
(Source: via Wikimedia Commons.)

Sometimes the results of a referendum are mandatory. This means that the government must make it a law. But sometimes a referendum is like a suggestion. The government can try to make the suggestion a new law, but it doesn’t have to.

One recent example of a referendum is “Brexit”, when the United Kingdom (England) decided to leave the European Union.

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