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In criminal law, an election is a choice by the defendant as to how he will be tried. It is generally only available for lesser indictable offences and felonies. It is often confused with a plea.

In Canada, the defendant has a choice as to how they will be tried for a lesser felony, and this choice must be made before a plea is entered. The choices are: - Trial by a magistrate (effectively, an inferior court judge); - Trial by a superior court judge alone; or - Trial by a jury presided over by a superior court judge. In the last two cases, the accused is entitled to a preliminary hearing before a magistrate to determine if there are grounds for an indictment. If the accused elects to proceed before a magistrate, they waive the necessity for indictment.

Election is generally not available for more serious offences, such as murder.

In most U.S. states, a defendant may elect to waive a jury trial and agree to be tried by a judge alone.

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