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Voting Systems

In English

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Anita Okunde

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Purposes of elections?

to form government, to ensure representation, and to give government the right to rule (mandate)

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Voting Systems - Details



33 questions
Purposes of elections?
To form government, to ensure representation, and to give government the right to rule (mandate)
What are the different types of elections?
General elections, devolved assemblies elections, local elections + mayoral elections
What is the job of the four parliamentary boundary commissions?
Review in an apolitical way the boundaries of parties to keep up with population change
Examples of boundary commission working?
The final recommendations from parliamentary boundary commissions proposed that Rochdale Borough Council should represent 20 three-councillor wards across the borough. The boundaries of all existing wards should change
What is FPTP?
At a general or local election, voters put a cross (X) next to their preferred candidate on a ballot paper. Ballot papers are counted. The candidate with the most votes represents the constituency or ward.
What country is FPTP used in?
England general elections
Pros of FPTP?
Forms a strong government, easy to understand
Cons of FPTP?
Encourages tactical voting, isn't a representative system, big parties are overrepresented, creates a two-party system
Example of winners bonus?
Labour won 178 seats with only 43% of the vote + SNP won 95% of Scottish seats with 50% of the vote.
Examples of underrepresentation in elections?
2010 - Lib dems won 23% of the vote but only 8% of the seats + UKIP won only 1 seat (out of 650 with 13% of the vote (proportionally would have been 85 seats)
What is AMS?
Voters are given two votes on separate ballot papers. One vote is for a constituency member and one vote is for a party list. In Scotland and Wales, list members are elected by region. In London, there is a single London-wide list. Constituency votes are counted first and the members for each constituency are elected using first-past-the-post.
Which election is AMS used in?
Scottish parliament elections
What is STV?
Constituencies which elect more than one representative use STV. Voters rank candidates in order of preference by marking 1, 2, 3 and so on. A voter can rank as many or as few candidates as they like or vote for only one candidate.
Which elections are STV used in?
Used for NI Assembly, local government, local elections in Scotland, and will also be used for local elections in Wales starting in 2022.
Pros of AMS and STV
Minor parties more likely to win representation, giving a multi-party system, winners bonus is reduced, reduced tactical voting
Cons of AMS and STV
More likely to produce minority governments
Example that AMS is more complicated to use?
2007 in Scottish elections approx 146,000 ballot papers were done incorrectly
Examples of minority government?
From 2007-2011, the SNP formed a minority government in the Scottish Parliament
What is AV?
Voters rank candidates in order of preference by marking 1, 2, 3 and so on. A voter can rank as many or as few candidates as they like or vote for one candidate.
What elections use AV?
AV is used for Irish presidential elections and for by-elections in the Republic of Ireland
What is SV?
The SV system is like the AV system. Voters are limited to a first and second preference choice. A voter marks a cross in one column for their first preference candidate. They mark another cross in a second column for their second preference if they wish to do so.
Which election is SV used in?
It was decided to use SV and it is now in use for the direct election of eleven English mayors, including the Mayor of London.
Pros of SV and AV?
More proportional outcomes than FPTP, SV was chosen to elect mayors because it was more simple to use than AV, and it would help give the winner a clear mandate.
Cons of SV and AV?
Counting voter’s second preferences may actually lead to less proportional outcomes
Examples of SV and AV being not that more proportionate?
For example, had the 2015 general election been run under such a system, the Conservatives and Labour combined would have only had one less seat
Statistics about Labour's performance in past elections
27.6% of the vote and 209 seats. (32.2% of the seats)
Statistics about Lib Dems performance in past elections?
The Alliance received a quarter of votes in the 1983 election but won just 23 seats.
Statistics about SNP's performance in past elections
In 2019 the SNP experienced a surge in the general election, winning 45.0% of the vote in Scotland. Overall the party finished with 48 out of 59, or 81% of Scotland's Westminster seats.