This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol7 Equity Jurisprudence, Trusts, Equity Pleading", by Albert H. Putney. Also available from Amazon: Popular Law-Dictionary.
"Election in the sense used in equity jurisprudence arises where the obligation is imposed on a party to choose between two inconsistent or alternative rights or claims in cases where there is clear intention of the person from whom he derives one that he should not enjoy both."
The most familiar illustration of election is where a party by will gives certain property to a second party, and by the same instrument gives certain property, or a certain right, belonging to such second party to a third party.7 An example of this is where a husband leaves property to his wife and by the will deprives her of her right of dower.
In cases where the doctrine of equitable election is applicable the donee must elect either to take under the instrument or against the instrument. If the donee elects to take under the instrument he must carry out all its provisions and transfer his own property, transferred by such instrument to the person designated therein. If the donee elects to take against the instrument and to keep his own property, the person to whom the donee's property was given by the instrument will be recompensed out of the property, given by the instrument to the party obliged to make the election.8
7 Streatfield vs. Streatfield, 1 White & Tudor's Leading Cas. Equ., Pt. I, p. 406.