Electoral systems in the UK

  • Created by: meliasyd
  • Created on: 18-05-19 16:12
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  • Election Systems in the UK
    • First Past the Post
      • Plurality system
        • The winning candidate must have 1 vote more than the next candidate
      • Evaluation
        • Advantages
          • Strong constituency link
          • Single party government - strong
          • Simple to understand and count votes
          • Gives accountability to a MP and a govt
        • Disadvantages
          • Over / under representation (votes and seats often don't correlate) - unproportional
          • Two party system - adversarial
          • Wasted votes (especially in safe seats)
          • Restricted choice - minority voice not heard
          • Tends to mean women and bme candidates are less likely elected
          • Discourages participation - can lead to apathy
    • Additional Member System
      • Combination of first past the post and list system - voters elect constituency representative and party vote
      • Evaluation
        • Strengths
          • Very proportional
          • Wide choice - voters can split ticket
          • Constituency representation
          • Women and BME candidates elected through party list
          • Enables small parties to win seats
        • Weaknesses
          • Too much power to party leaders - manipulation of lists
          • Means extremist parties can be elected
          • Confusing - two categories of representative, 100000 voter errors in Scotland 2007
          • Coalitions highly likely - can be a strength or a weakness
    • Single Transferable Vote
      • Used to elect Northern Irish Assembly
      • Multi-member constituencies
      • Voters rank candidates in order of preference
      • Votes are counted and redistributed accordingly
      • Evaluation
        • Advantages
          • Wider choice
          • Results tend to be representative (proportional)
          • Few wasted votes
          • Tends to produce coalition - advantageous to maintain peace
          • Tends to keep out extremists - eliminated early
        • Limitations
          • Confusing
          • Not as proportional as lists or AMS
          • Multi-member constituencies weaken link
      • Produces coalition governments
    • Party Lists
      • Voters cast votes for parties, proportion of votes cast = proportion of seats
      • Highly proportional result
      • Weak constituency link
      • Party leaders can manipulate lists
      • All votes = same value
      • Extremist parties elected
      • Coalitions inevitable
    • General Elections
      • First Past the Post
        • Plurality system
          • The winning candidate must have 1 vote more than the next candidate
        • Evaluation
          • Advantages
            • Strong constituency link
            • Single party government - strong
            • Simple to understand and count votes
            • Gives accountability to a MP and a govt
          • Disadvantages
            • Over / under representation (votes and seats often don't correlate) - unproportional
            • Two party system - adversarial
            • Wasted votes (especially in safe seats)
            • Restricted choice - minority voice not heard
            • Tends to mean women and bme candidates are less likely elected
            • Discourages participation - can lead to apathy
      • Used to elect 650 MPs in single member constituencies
      • Plurality example : 2017, North East Fife candidate won 2 more votes than next candidate (67% of votes wasted)
      • Under representation : UKIP = 3.8 million votes and 1 seat in 2015 GE
        • Over representation : SNP =1.4 million votes and 56 seats in 2015 GE
          • Over representation : 2005 GE Labour = 36% of votes but 55% of seats
      • Does not produce strong, single party govt consistently; 2015 Coalition and 2017 minority govt
    • Local Elections (Wales)
      • In Wales, the electoral system used to elect local councillors is the First Past the Post system
      • Election of representatives in 22 local authorities
    • Welsh Assembly Elections
      • Additional Member System
        • Combination of first past the post and list system - voters elect constituency representative and party vote
        • Evaluation
          • Strengths
            • Very proportional
            • Wide choice - voters can split ticket
            • Constituency representation
            • Women and BME candidates elected through party list
            • Enables small parties to win seats
          • Weaknesses
            • Too much power to party leaders - manipulation of lists
            • Means extremist parties can be elected
            • Confusing - two categories of representative, 100000 voter errors in Scotland 2007
            • Coalitions highly likely - can be a strength or a weakness
      • 40 AMs elected through first past the post - 20 'additional members'
      • 2016 assembly election resulted in coalition between Labour and 1 Lib Dem
      • Because of low number of AMs elected- small parties struggle to gain representation eg 2016 - only Labour, Conservative, Plaid, Lib Dem and UKIP
    • European Elections
      • UK elects 72 MEPs
        • Wales elects 4 MEPs using regional list
      • 2014 - Conservatives = 1 seats, Labour = 1 seat, Plaid Cymru = 1 seat, UKIP = 1 seat
        • Only Labour and UKIP gained true 25% of vote- legitimate seats
      • Not proportional in Wales because of the little amount of seats elected - 4 seats does not allow accurate and fair representation

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