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Flashcards in Electoral System Design Deck (28):
1

What sort of effects does electoral system have? (3)

Campaigning, Psychological and Mechanical
(How politicians behave, how voters behave, how governments are formed)
- during and after election period

2

What do electoral systems create?

- Winners and losers
- Losers want reform

3

What are the three types of electoral system families?

1. Majoritarian
2. Proportional
3. Mixed member

4

How do majoritarian systems work?

- Aggregate votes as a plurality (the most) or to get a majority (more than 50%)

5

What is single member plurality?

- Formal name for First Past the Post
- Seen in US, UK and Canada
- Names on ballot paper in alphabetical order

6

What is Duverger’s Law?

- SMP doesn’t produce multiparty system, it only favours 2 parties
- people begin to feel like voting for the third party is useless because they won’t win

7

What is the wrong winner phenomenon?

- When an election winner isn’t the candidate with the most votes
- In USA- George W Bush vs Al Gore

8

What are two round majoritarian systems?

- Designed to get a result of more than 50%
- Sees a majority of voters support the winners
- Seen in France- In 2017 Macron got 66% of the vote
- e.g. Alternative Vote (AV)

9

What was the referendum in 2011 about?

- Alternative Vote (AV)- A two round majoritarian system
- Key argument- if a candidate needs more than one vote- they’ll have to work harder
- Fewer safe seats

10

What are proportional electoral systems?

- A party system where the main aim is to be representational
- Always involves more than one seat (has to be multi member)
- Votes are divided proportionately into seats
- More mechanical/ technical than majoritarian is

11

What are the two types of proportional representation?

Open and closed
- On the ballot paper parties are grouped together
- Open- you can see the names and closed you can’t

12

Where is party list PR used?

Austria, Belgium, Netherlands

13

What are the two methods of seat allocation?

The D’Hondt method and the Sainte-Laguë method
- Sainte-Laguë favours smaller parties

14

What happens to proportionality as a seats in a constituency increase in number?

- The more seats elected the more proportional it can be
- In a 5 seat district you need 20% of vote, in a 10 seat district you need 10%

15

How do proportional representation systems keep out extremist parties?

- They have a legal threshold
4% in Sweden

16

What is Single Transferable Vote?

- Rank candidates in order of preference
- Multiple rounds of vote counting
- Need to meet a quota which is : number of votes cast/ (number of seats +1) +1

17

What is a mixed member system?

A mixture of proportional representation and majoritarian
- Representatives are elected in two ways
- Some win their seats and the rest is topped up from a list
- Used in Germany and New Zealand

18

What are the issues with mixed member systems?

- 2 tiers of politician (problem in Scottish Parliament)
- Difficult to vote (New Zealand electoral system had to make a guide)- people less likely to vote

19

What is Arrow’s impossibility theory (Condorcet Paradox)?

- Not everyone can get what they want
- No voting system can rank preferences and fulfil all requirements
- All electoral systems are flawed

20

What do people who support majoritarian systems want from a government?

- Strong, effective, accountable, mandate to govern

21

What do people who support proportional systems want from a government?

- Fairness, representative, power sharing, more ethnic minority/ women voices represented

22

Which type of electoral system do new democracies usually choose?

- proportional or mixed
- Lipjhart says that’s because these systems are best for THIS TYPE OF COUNTRY
- Just because new democracies pick this doesn’t mean UK should CHANGE

23

What has the result of every single electoral system referendum been?

- Status quo
- Canada, New Zealand, UK

24

Who decides which electoral system to choose?

- Pre-elected politicians- not neutral
- So they choose the system which best benefits them
- In 2011 the choices were Single Member Plurality (SMP) and Alternative Vote (AV)

25

What is a problem with needing more than 50% of the vote (AV)?

- You’ll have to compromise which may mean ignoring principles

26

What are the advantages of a majoritarian system?

- Creates a strong government (no ground coalitions- look up what’s happening in Germany right now)
- More efficient
- Local representation- gives you clarity over who you should speak to about issues
- Easy to vote
- Prevents extremism

27

DO MORE READING

FOR SOME MORE QUESTIONS
LOOK AT READING LIST

28

How was the result of the 2015 election unfair?

-UKIP got 13% of votes and less then 1% of seats
- Tories got 37% of votes and 51% of seats