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Flashcards in Electoral Systems Deck (21)
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A majoritarian System

Winning candidate must secure an absolute majority of the vote (50% + 1 Vote) FPTP is often described as a majoritarian system however it is not strictly true as it reflects the system output as a party must secure 326 seats


Plurality System

One more than your closest rival, therefore candidates don't need an absolute Majority.
FPTP is in fact a simple plurality system.


Proportional system

Covers many systems with similar features. The produce a close for between votes and seats, although no system can deliver perfect proportionality.
Par systems use multi-member constituencies and electoral formulas.


Mixed System

Combines elements of plurality or majoritarian systems and proportional representation. Some MPs are elected in single-member constituencies. The remainder by proportional representation in multi-member constituencies. These list seats produce 'additional members'.



An simple plurality system sometimes refereed to as a majoritarian system for General elections.


Characteristics of FPTP

- a two party system In 1983 SDP-Liberal alliance won 25% of the vote but only 23 seats

- a winner's bonus FPTP tends to exaggerate performance of the most popular party In 1983/1987 Conservatives won with land-sliding victories likewise Labour in 2001 Con( 31.7%\166) Lab(40.7%\413)


Other Characteristics of FPTP

Bias to Labour. Labour won a 167-seat majority in 2001 (40.7%) with a small share of the vote than the conservatives managed in 1992 (41.8%) when a record 14 Million seats delivered a 21-seat majority
- Differences in constituency size 3,800 lower than Con
- Differential turnout 61% Labour 68% in Con
- Tactical Voting Anti-conservative tactical voting 1997,2001,2005


How does FPTP discrimination against smaller parties ?

FPTP discriminates third and small parties with finely spread support. There are no rewards coming second or third.
85MPs in 2010 that don't come from the big two which us 13% of parliament but received 35% of the vote.


What is a single-party government

FPTP post tends to produce single-party governments with working majorities. Coalitions are rare.
In February 1974 and 2010 general election produced a hung parliament.


Advantages of FPTP

Clear Outcome
Strong Stable Government
Responsible and Government
Effective representation


Disadvantages of FPTP

Disproportional outcomes
Plurality rather than majority support
Votes are unequal value -53% wasted votes 2010
Limited choice
Divisive politics


What is AMS

Additional member system is a mixed electoral system used to elect Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and London Assembly since 2000. It is also used for General elections in Germany.


Main Features of AMS

- Proportion of seats in the legislative assembly are elected using FPTP I a single-member constituency using FPTP 57% Scottish Parliament 67% in the Welsh assembly
- A small number of representatives -Additional members are elected in multi-member constituencies


Other Features of AMS

Electors cast two votes
List seats (additional members) are allocated on a corrective basis to ensure that the total number of seats for parties in the assembly is proportional to the number of votes they won d'Hondut rule
To win a seat, a party must pass a threshold of 5% of the vote in the London Assembly


Advantages of AMS

- It balances the desirability of constituency representation with that of fairness in election outcomes.
- Results are broadly propionate votes unlikely to be wasted.
- Voters have greater choice as Split-ticket voting is allowed.


Disadvantages of AMS

- It creates two categories of representation one with duties one without
- Parties can have significant control over the party lists to elect additional members
- Smaller parties are often under-represented because of multi-member seats elect relatively few representatives


What is the Single Transferrable vote

Used in Northern Ireland Assembly, local government and the European Parliament plus local election in Scotland and in general Elections in Ireland.


Main features of STV ?

Representatives are elected in Large Multi-member constituencies. 17 constituencies each select six members in Northern Ireland
Voting is preferential
Voting is Ordinal
Candidates must achieve a quota, known as the droop quota to be elected. If no candidate reaches the quota the lowest-place candidates is eliminated and their second preferences are transferred.


What is the droop quota ?

Used in STV, candidates must achieve the quota to be elected [total valid poll/(seats + 1))+1]


Advantages of STV

- Has 8% deviation from proportionality
- Only a party or group of parties that wins more than 50% of the popular vote can form a government
- Voters can choose between a large range of candidates, including different candidates


Disadvantages of STV

- The system is less accurate in translating votes into seats than list systems or some versions of AMS
- It uses large multi-member constituencies that weaken the link between individual MPs and their constituency
- it is likely to produce a coalition government that may be unstable and can give disproportional influence to minor parties that hold the balance of power