What is an electoral system
An electoral system is a set of rules by which popular beds are translated into seats in a legislature, all the means by which an individual is chosen to feel a political office e.g. Mayor of London
What electoral system is used in the United Kingdom?
First past the post (Simple majoritarian system)
List the eight key functions of elections
Forming governments Upholding legitimacy Enabling political recruitment Insuring representation Delivering a verdict on the government Deciding between different political programs Choosing an MP Choosing a PM
On what date did the people elect coalitions
1974 and 2010
What was voter turnout for 1950, 2001 and 2010 general elections
What was the turnout for the Manchester central, Eastleigh and police crime commissioners elections
How many people in 2010 belonged to one of the three main political parties?
What are the current membership statistics for the three main parties?
Labour has about 193,000 members, the Conservatives between 130,000 and 170,000 and the Liberal Democrats 49,000
How many members did the Tories and labour have in 1950?
The Tories had 3 million members, 2.8 million in 1953, the Labour Party had some one million members
describe the model of trusteeship
Trusteeship is the traditional form of representation in the UK, often called the Burkean model of representation. It goes along the lines of the MP is elected to represent his constituents, not his party
Describe the doctrine of mandate
The doctrine of mandate is the most popular model of representation. It is based on the idea that constituents elect an MP to win popular support for a manifesto. As such, the MP is expected to toe the party line rather than champion the needs of the electorate.
What is descriptive representation?
the descriptive representation model is based on the idea that representation is typified by the group they represent - a microcosm government which is a cross section of society by race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion and class. This is hardly true of the UK government. Only 22.5% of MPs are women in Commons, with even lower figures of different ethnicities and religions
outline the effects of first past the post
minimal link between votes won and seats gained. FPTP is concerned primarily to elect individuals, not parties.
FPTP retains a constituency link
In 1974, the wrong party won (minority government)
Parties with geographically concentrated support do better than spread out support - i.e.UKIP won 3.1% of the vote, yet won no seats in 2010, yet SNP won 1.7% with 6 seats. Lib Dems won 23% vote but only 8.8% of seats, whereas tories won 36% of vote and 47% of seats.
advantages of fptp
tradition easy cheap close MP constituency link strong government results known quickly two party system with one party government broad church - centrist policies
Disadvantages of FPTP
Distorts popular vote
Provides little choice
Large numbers of wasted votes (9% of votes in 2005)
encourages tactical voting
Leads to artificially polarised politics
MPs can be elected on very small amounts of votes
Too many anomalies for 21st century politics
Creates safe seats where people may feel disenfranchised (south shields labour)
Women and minorities poorly represented
ERS feel FPTP failings grossly outweigh benefits
What was the Jenkins report?
AV + (list system) half-half. Not introduced due to PR systems in Europe and devolved states cost the Labour party seats. less urgent now in power.
Name some other electoral systems
SV AV STV List AMS
What and why
supplementary vote - voters express a first and second preference vote - London Mayoral elections which elected Boris Johnson Advantages Easy to understand less aggressive campaigning reduces wasted votes Increases voting choice Maintains constituency link Disadvantages Does not ensure over 50% vote SV strongly supports the 3 main parties 2 strong candidates Least proportional
voters have minimum two votes with preferences voting. If someone wins over +50%, they will win, if not candidates are eliminated until one candidate wins.
Retains constituency link
reflects public opinion of extremist parties
tends not to create coalitions
Lessens the need for negative campaigning- candidates chase 2nd and 3rd votes
broad church policies
Less proportional than FPTP
Small parties still underrepresented
Candidates may rank their second preference randomly
compromise candidates may win - 2 stronger candidates eliminated early
In 2010 tories would have lost 26 seats, the lib dems would have gained 22 seats
STV used for local elections in n ireland.
Most complex system, use multi-member constituencies. uses droop formula.
fewer votes wasted
no safe seats
no tactical voting
constituents can decide the MP
ballot papers long and confusing
will not produce strong, single party governments
what are the models of representation?
The doctrine of mandate