mid-15c., "formal expression of one's wish or choice with regard to a proposal, candidate, etc.," from Latin votum "a vow, wish, promise to a god, solemn pledge, dedication," noun use of neuter of votus, past participle of vovere "to promise, dedicate" (see vow (n.)). Meaning "totality of voters of a certain class or type" is from 1888.
1550s, "give a vote to;" 1560s, "enact or establish by vote,"; see vote (n.). Earlier it meant "to vow" to do something (mid-15c.). Related: Voted; voting.