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UK Elections and Voting Behaviour > Definitions > Flashcards

Flashcards in Definitions Deck (27)
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1
Q
Election Definition
A
A feature of representative democracy held on general issues where the electorate votes for a candidate or party
> Regular and legally required
> Used to fill a representative office or form a government
2
Q
Referendum Definition
A
A feature of direct democracy where the electorate vote yes/no to a question set by the government, on a specific issue
> Used to make policy decisions
3
Q
Trusteeship (Burkean) Representation
A
Trusteeship = Burkean Theory (Representative Democracy)

Politicians make decisions using their superior expertise and knowledge and education
> Make decisions on behalf of the public
> TRUST

Could be out of touch
Presumes that they're wiser than the electorate
Could not be re-elected
4
Q
Doctrine of the Mandate
A
Type of representative democracy
(Opposite to Trusteeship)

When a political party wins an election it has the mandate to govern (to implement the policies contained within the party manifesto)

It is the party not the person who fulfils the representation function
> Politicians serve their constituents by remaining loyal to their political party
5
Q
Descriptive Representation
A
Representatives should resemble the group that they represent (characteristics and image and background etc.)

Government and Parliament should have members from all sections of society:
> Social Class
> Gender
> Ethnicity
> Religion
> Age etc....

Parliament currently isn't descriptively representative
(Middle class + White + Male + Middle aged/Old)
6
Q
First Past The Post (FPTP)
A
Simple Plurality System
Disproportionate (% seats \=\ % votes)
Simple to use
Usually results in a single - party government
Unfair to smaller parties
Wasted Votes and Safe Seats
e.g. Westminster General Elections
7
Q
Proportional Voting System
A
A system that distributes seats according to the parties' share of the vote
8
Q
Closed Party List
A
Electorate votes for the party, not the candidate
Party decides the order of the candidates (not disclosed to the public until after the election)
Seats are allocated using the d'Hondt formula
Virtually directly proportional
e.g. British elections to the European Parliament
9
Q
Single Transferrable Vote (STV)
A
Vote by numbering your preferences
Candidates have to reach a Quota
More proportional than FPTP (but less proportional than Closed Party List)
e.g. Local Scottish Elections
10
Q
Majoritarian System
A
A system in which the winning candidate must secure and absolute majority of the vote in order to win
> More than 50%
11
Q
The Jenkins Commission
A
Established by the 1997 Labour government
> To investigate alternatives to FPTP

Given 4 requirements for a successful voting system:
> Broadly proportional result
> Produces a stable government
> Gives voters greater choice
> Link between MPs and Constituencies
12
Q
Alternative Vote (AV)
A
Single member constituencies
Disproportional result (less proportional than FPTP)
Number candidates in order of preference
Winning candidates needs more than 50% of the vote in order to win
> If not, then the last candidate's votes are re-allocated and again and again until someone has a majority
e.g. Labour Party Leadership Elections
13
Q
The Supplementary Vote (SV)
A
Candidates need a majority
> If not then all the votes apart from the top two candidates are redistributed to the top two candidates
e.g. Mayor of London Elections
14
Q
Hybrid/Mixed Electoral Systems
A
A system that combines elements of plurality/majoritarian systems and proportional systems
15
Q
Additional Member System (AMS)
A
Voters cast two votes (one for constituencies and one for the region)
> FPTP = Constituency Vote
> Closed Party List = Regional Vote
Outcome of two classes of MPs
e.g. Scottish Parliament
16
Q
Alternative Vote Plus (AV+)
A
Combination of AV and Closed Party List
Isn't actually used anywhere yet
> Recommended by the Jenkins Commission
17
Q
Class Dealignment
A
The weakening relationship between social class and party support
18
Q
Partisan Dealignment
A
The decline in the extent of identifying with a particular political party
19
Q
d'Hondt Formula
A
Party List Votes
_______________________________

Number of seats already won + 1
20
Q
Quota (for STV)
A
Valid Votes
__________________ + 1

Number of seats + 1
21
Q
Partial Proportionality
A
The number of constituency seats affects the number of regional seats
22
Q
General Election
A
Full Parliamentary Elections
> All the seats in the HofC come up for re-election
Traditionally taken place within a five year maximum term
> Not fixed
The Conservative led Coalition has changed these to five year, fixed elections
23
Q
Devolved Assembly Elections
A
Elections in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly
Fixed term elections that take place every four years
First held in 1998 Northern Ireland (1999 everywhere else)
24
Q
European Parliament Elections
A
Fixed term elections
> Take place every 5 years
First held in 1979
25
Q
Local Elections
A
District, Borough and County Councils
Include elections to the Greater London Assembly and for the London Mayor
> Mayoral elections take place in some other local authorities
Fixed term elections
> Usually every four of five years
26
Q
Two Party System
A
When only the two largest parties stand a chance at winning an election
27
Q
Party System
A
A concept concerning the system of government by political parties in a democratic country