In Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000, the process of selecting a new master browser from a network's potential browsers. If a client machine is not able to locate a master browser on the network in Windows NT or Windows 2000, it initiates an election to select a new master browser.
Elections are a way of ensuring that a master browser is always available on the network, as the absence of a master browser means that clients will be unable to locate and access network resources such as shared files and folders.
If a client machine cannot locate a master browser on the network, it broadcasts an election datagram. When a machine that is a potential browser receives this datagram, it examines the election criteria in the datagram. If its election criteria are better than those of the datagram’s sender, the potential browser broadcasts its own election datagram and an election is declared to be in progress. The election criteria for becoming a master browser are a combination of factors, including the machine’s operating system, version, role, and so on. Eventually, one potential browser wins out (has superior election criteria) over other machines on the network, and the election ends.
Elections also occur when domain controllers are restarted.