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Unit 1 ­ People and
1.3 Elections

Tia Carroll

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A process where people are given the opportunity to choose representatives who will form
representative institutions and government.
An election allows the public to select who they want to represent their wishes in
Parliament and make decisions on our behalf
Holding government to account…

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they express their chosen candidate on the ballot paper by putting a cross next to
their name
whichever candidate receives the largest number of votes in a constituency is elected
known as a simple majority or plurality as it isn't necessary to receive more than 50
per cent of the…

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UKIP won 12.6% of the national vote but only secured one parliamentary seat
Conservative vote rose only by 0.8%
Labour lost votes throughout the country ­ they had a huge defeat in Scotland and lost
many votes to UKIP
two leaders lost their position as party leader: Nick Clegg and…

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UK elections are free from corruption
Because voting remains secret and
counting votes is regulated

Majority systems

Description of electoral systems where the winning candidate is required to win an overall
majority, i.e. more than 50 per cent of the votes cast.


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the first choice votes already won by
the two leaders
The final totals will now produce an
absolute majority

Plurality systems

Electoral systems where the winning candidate does not require an overall majority but merely
needs to win more votes than any other candidate.

Plurality systems are fairly…

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Wasted votes Many voters may feel
Many votes cast do not have any unrepresented and may n
impact on final result in the future, affecting tu
Lack of choice Tactical voting It affect democracy; a lac
Voters only get one vote choice puts people off vo
Voters cannot choose between…

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Normally there is a threshold of
between 15 per cent which a party
must win to gain any seats

Twothirds of the seats elected using
The last third are elected on the basis of
a closed regional list
The variable topup system adjusts the
Scottish proportions of votes cast…

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proportion to votes Disadvantage : no single party gains gained a good sha
won a majority = power sharing ­ takes the seats
a long time to pass decisions which
could have a negative impact in
events of crisis etc.

Evaluation of the Regional List system

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even if their first choice fails to get
Confuses voters Disadvantage Voters may not understand how top up
seats are calculated ­ may feel
disengaged from the political process,
may not respect final result

Dominance of Both Advantage : allows smaller parties to do
two parties better and win…



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