Electoral systems

newittjames
Mind Map by newittjames, updated more than 1 year ago
newittjames
Created by newittjames about 7 years ago
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Government & Politics Mind Map on Electoral systems, created by newittjames on 04/19/2013.
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Resource summary

Electoral systems
1 First past the post (FPTP)

Annotations:

  • MP with the largest share of votes wins. Regardless of whether it's more or less than 50% (simple plurality)  
  • 1974 and 2010 only incidences where winning party has less than 50%
1.1 Examples

Annotations:

  • Elections to house of commons and local elections in England and Wales and USA, Canada and India
1.2 Advantages

Annotations:

  • SIMPLE. Electorate understand the system. Votes can be quickly and easily counted. Arguably represents views of people.
  • Easy to hold the Government to account because the system usually avoids coalitions.
  • Clear and easy representation. Strengthens *Trusteeship* as it creates a link between MP and constituency.
  • Strong governments. Avoids coalition and minority govs. Gov should easily pass legislation from its manifesto. Especially important in times of crisis. Strengthens *Doctrine of the mandate*
  • Voters make clear votes based on manifesto. Coalitions make descisions behind closed doors and therefore are not sanctioned by electorate.
  • UK tradition. UK democracy one of strongest in the world. Why change something that works?
1.3 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • Wildly disproportionate parliaments. 1997 Labour won 43.% of votes and 65% of seats. 2010 Ukip received 3% of votes no seats and Green party got 1% of votes and 1 seat.
  • Disproportionate paliaments causes mandate to be questioned. Consider 1950 and 1974
  • FPTP favours largest two parties and fails to represent minorities.
  • Leads to wasted votes as people who didnt vote for winning MP dont have votes counted= undemocratic and voter apathy. 1997 in UK 14.7 million votes were ineffective= 48% of total votes.
  • Safe seats are often ignored while marginal seats are prioritsed.
  • Favours parties with concentrated votes. 1997 conservative support was spread thinly in Scotland and received 18% of votes and no seats. LIB dems got 13% of votes and 13% seats.
  • Votes are not of equal weight. 2010 labour required  33,333 votes per seat won whereas Lib dems required 119,298. 
  • Can lead to elecive dictatorships e.g. Blair and Thatcher. Small swing can cause lanslide with little scrutiny of Gov
2 Additional vote (AV)

Annotations:

  • Vote on candidates in order of preference. Needs at least 50%. If no 50% bottom party candidate eliminated and their voters second chances are counted. repeat until 50%.
  • Proposed by Brown 2011 and coalition AV referendum resulted in 68% vote against.
2.1 Examples

Annotations:

  • local gov by-elections in Sotland and Australia house of representatives.
2.2 Advantages

Annotations:

  • retains single member constituencies so MP-constituent link not lost
  • MPs need support of 50% so strengthens legitimacy. 1997 47% of MPs were elected with less than 50% support.
  • less votes wasted=less voter apathy and higher turnout.=more legitimacy.
  • removes need for strategic voting as people can vote for first choice without feeling their vote could be wasted.
  • Extreme parties would be unlikely to gain support.
  • Majoritarian so likely to produce strong governments.
  • £rd parties e.g. Lib dems would get more support e.g. 2005 won 62 seats under AV would have won 74=more related to wishes of electorate but still majoritarian
  • arguably strengthens trusteeship as MP knows he is representing people who supported other parties as well.
2.3 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • AV does not give proportionality so still favours some parties over others.
  • Encourages political pacts. In marginal seats leading parties will encourage supporters of other parties to make them 2nd choice.
  • No transfer of powers from party authority. Party leadership still chooses candidates.
  • Still does little to represent minorities. commons would still be similar.
  • safe seats remain safe
  • could allow 3rd or even 4th choice candidates to come through middle and take seats leading to accusations of illegitimate power.
3 Party list

Annotations:

  • Can be both open and closed. Regions are of varying size with different numbers of representatives based on population.
  • In EU parliament the UK is split into 12 regions with between 3 and 10 members. (72 members in total, closed)
  • Ultimate form of PR would be to have the whole country as one big multi member colsed party list system. (e.g. Netherlands)
3.1 Open

Annotations:

  • Voters are able to vote for a particular candidate. Candidates listed in party preference but this can be ignored. The amount of seats a party wins is calculated by adding all votes for candidates in that party and then distribute seats in order of candidates votes.
3.2 Closed

Annotations:

  • Most basic form. Each part submits a list of candidates in order of preference and the names are hidden. Votes are on party alone and seats are distributed in direct proportion to amount of votes with candidates taking seats in order of preference.
3.3 Examples

Annotations:

  • System used in most european countries e.g. Sweden, Norway, Belgium. Also used in South Africa, Israel and Russia. Used in Britain for EU elections (North Ireland uses STV.)
3.4 Advantages

Annotations:

  • Only potentially pure form of PR with absolute fairness to all parties.
  • Completely proportional 30% votes= 30% seats
  • May help voter apathy as no votes wasted.
  • There are no safe seats so will encourage political debate and campaigning in all constituencies
  • Very simple for voters who need only make one vote for a party
  • Can promote unity. Electorate can identify more with region instead of constituencies which can be arbitrary.
  • Increases chances of women and other minority candidates being elected
  • Coalitions Govs are very likely. Will widen representatin of views and avoid elecive dictatorshipss
3.5 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • Closed party gives no control to voters over which individuals are in government which can make governments more powerful.
  • Does nothing to ensure representation of minority groups. Could do opposite as party leaders may chose mostly people of similar backgrounds who share views.
  • Having more than one representative per region may damage representation as it will be harder for people to hold individuals accountable for theire actions.
  • The existence of many parties in parliament can lead to rainbow coalitions where governments are weak and unstable.
  • Provides opportunities for extremist groups to get seats in parliamernt.
  • Abolishing constituencies for regions may create confusion and lots of re-administration.
4 Additional members system (AMS/MMP)

Annotations:

  • Hybrid system (combination of FPTP and Party list) aim to keep bonuses of FPTP while adding more proportionality.
  • 2 types of seats up for grabs=2 votes.  Single member constituencies and regional seats (Top up seats.) Half seats are allocated to single member constituencies like FPTP then other half are allocated in regional list system.
  • After FPTP style votes, if it is not yet representative e.g. party wom 3 seats but has votes in proportion to 5 seats they will use the regional list to top their seats.
4.1 Examples

Annotations:

  • Germany and Hungary ( Also chosen byNew Zealand in a referendum in 1993) Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly are both elected using AMS as is the London assembly. In Germny oarty requires 3 constituency MPs or 5% of overall vote in Party list election for proporionality rule to apply.
4.2 Advantages

Annotations:

  • Results in broadly proportional parliament with no favouritism to 2 main parties. more accuratelly represents people.
  • Retains single member constituencies so that there is a single MP accountable for each constituency.
  • Can lead to a majority government if the people wish it e.g. SNP in Scotland have a majority.
  • Each person has at least 1 effective vote even if they cant see their candidate winning in the constituency. This increases gov legitimacy and may tackle falling turnout due to less voter apathy.
  • Increased party choice for voters. Can vote for more than one party.
  • Allows people to express popular approval e.g. Can support candidate they like but not their party.
  • Keeps link between MPs and voterswhile giving people the gov they want and having their vote counted
4.3 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • Up tp half of voters cannot be held accountable for their actions.
  • Can create confusion between MPs as some have constituency responsability and others do not which could create conflicts between different types of representatives.
  • To retain constituency MPs constituencies would need to increase in size which could limit the effectiveness of constituency representation.
  • Parties would retain power over candidates for constituencies and have complete control over choosing additional members.
  • Does not gaurentee complete proportionality so minorities may still not be represented.
  • Parties can win more seats through constituency votes than they are entitled to through party list vote which can mean there is still disproportion.
  • Where a threshhold is used it could still mean minority parties still cannot win seats.
5 Supplementary Vote (SV)

Annotations:

  • SV is used where there is just one single member constituency.
  • 2 collumns on ballot paper. One for first choice. One for second choice. Voters do not have to make a second (supplementary) vote. mark an X in each collumn.
  • Voters first preferences are counted and if no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, all but the 2 highest scoring candidates are eliminated.  2nd choice votes are counted if given to the 2 candidates. whoever has most votes at end (not neccesarily 50%) wins.
5.1 Advantages

Annotations:

  • Fewer votes wasted as some 2nd choices are counted.
  • ensures has 50% of vote or most after 2nd choices.
  • Ensures candidate has strong 1st choice preference unlike AV where they can come up the middle
  • Simple to understand and count
  • majoritarian system so would result in strong governments
5.2 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • Unlike AV it does not ensure that the winner has 50% of vote.
  • Does not avoid likelihood of tactical voting.
  • Winning candidate may have less 1st choice votes and only be least unpopular candidate.
  • Does not adress problem of disproportionality and nothing to improve representation of minority groups.
6 Single Transferable Vote (STV)

Annotations:

  • Country divided into multi member constituencies. Parties may put forward as many candidates as seats available.
  • Voters rank candidates in order of preference. Can vote for as many as they wish and candidates must reach a quota of the votes to be elected.
  • The quota is based on the total number of votes cast and the number of seats available. number of votes cast divided by seats plus 1 (usual)
  • If anyone reaches quota on first choices they are elected. The excess are redistributed on basis of canidates 2nd choice. This may bump can them up to quota. This means no votes are wasted.
  • Transfered votes are not worth as much as 1st choice votes bla bla math stuff. If after the process there are seats remaining the last place candidate is eliminated and their 2nd choices are transfered. Process repeats till all seatsare full.
6.1 Examples

Annotations:

  • Used in Northern Ireland for European parliament elections and N.I assembly elections. and in Scotland for local coucil elections. Prefered system of Lib Dems for Westminster.
6.2 Advantages

Annotations:

  • Vote for candidate so feel better connection to someone they elected. Also increases accountability
  • highly proportionate
  • safe seats will show wishes of electorate whereas 2nd vote means people dont feel entirely disenfranchised
  • Parties would have to campaign hard in all constituencies increasing awerness, engagement and accountability
  • May improve turnout
  • In marginal seats a wide variety of views can be represented.
  • unlikely that extremist groups would win seats due to lack of 1st choice votes
  • powerful electoral incentive to present a balanced team of candidates of women and ethnic minorities
  • More MPs in constituencies means more peple to take greivances to. more access point, participation and representation
  • Prevent elective dictatorships. Coalitions would be more likely resulting in a wider range of views being discussed and compomises made.
  • Voters can express opinion more easily e.g. by voting for candidates in different wings of a party.
  • Transfer of votes mean people can help their 2nd, 3rd 4th etc get in
6.3 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • Not as proportional as party list or AMS. Proportionality can vary
  • Breaks line between MP and constituents. May be conflicts in constituency and MPs from different parties may not work constructively.
  • Constituencies would be 3x or 5x larger. Would they share same issues?
  • May be divisive as it encourages competition between MPs in same party over seats
  • Would leed to constant coalititions.
  • It is a complicated system and results would be delayed.
7 AV+

Annotations:

  • (Hybrid system) Almost the same as AMS. Difference being that single member seats are elected by the Alternative vote system.
  • Not used anywhere but recommended for Britain in the Jenkins commision.
7.1 Advantages

Annotations:

  • (shares many of the same as AMS and AV) In constituencies winning candidate has support of at least 50% of voters.
  • Less wasted votes= Less voter apathy and less need for tactical voting
  • Due to party list popup it is broadly proportional.
7.2 Disadvantages

Annotations:

  • Shares many of the same as AMS and AV) Constituencies will be slightly larger than at present and new regions will be created. 
  • As with AMS, there will be 2 categories of MPs
  • Using AV gives it weaknesses. Candidates with significant 1st choice support may lose to a more universally tolerable 2nd or 3rd choice option.
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