Unit 1 - AS Edexcel Government and Politics Revision Notes on Elections

A very condesned set of notes for Unit 1.3 of Alevel Edexcel Politics

everything you need to know.

Have made notes on democracy&partipation, parties and pressure groups too

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Functions of an election:
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
Elections allow us to deliver our verdict on the current government and if we are
dissatisfied, we can remove them and elect a new government into power
(e.g ­ 1997 general election ­ people voted Labour instead of Conservatives)
Policy decision making
During an election, the public will decide which of the different parties' manifestos
should be put into practice
Granting democratic legitimacy
An election is one way of demonstrating that the population have consented to be ruled
by the government and has the mandate to govern
Political education
During an election campaign, people listen to campaigning parties to help decide on a
party to vote for, and as a result, understand politics better
Elections are an opportunity for citizens to actively take part in the political process
Elections vs. Referendums:
Elections Referendums
Concerned about representing people on a Concerned with one single issue
whole spectrum of issues
Held between every four or five years May be held at any time
Voters select a candidate that they want to Voters select either `Yes' or `No'
represent them from a party
Members campaign for their own party Members of different parties may
campaign on the same side
Features of a good voting system:
The system produces a strong and stable government
No-one's vote is wasted
Seats are awarded in proportion to the share of votes won
There is a wide range of choice for voters
System is easy for voters to understand
Even small parties have a fair chance of winning seats
All voters have a clear link to their representative

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Do elections promote democracy in the UK?
Democracy is about choice; elections The choice on offer is limited to the
provide that choice mainstream parties, all offering similar
policies: that is not real choice
Elections are the best mechanism for Elections are not the best mechanism for
democracy, given the impractical nature of democracy; more direct methods of
direct democracy in the UK with over 45 democracy should replace them, such as
million voters referendums and e-democracy
Elections are free for all to…read more

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First Past The Post:
To win a constituency seat, a candidate needs a simple majority of votes
Under FPTP...
1. Voters elect chosen candidates by ticking one candidate on the ballot paper
2. Winning candidates from each constituency take up their seats in the HOC and the party
with an absolute majority forms the government
3.…read more

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Every Voters have a connection to the
constituency political process ­ can express
has one MP views
Feel better represented
More participation = more like to
have a higher turnout, trust and
faith in political system
Voters select Voting is quick and easy, this may
one help turnout
candidate on Even politically naïve groups in
the ballot society can see and understand
paper the system
Winning Voters are more likely to recognize
candidate is and accept the legitimacy of the
the one who result
gets…read more

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D Example of this: Problem because...
1951 Labour won Parliament is unrepresentative of the
48.8% of votes, will of the people
Conservatives won
48% of the votes
but Conservatives
won 26 more seats
1974 Labour won
37.2% of votes,
Conservatives won
37.…read more

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Labour won It threatens both the legitimacy if the
the election with government and the theory of the
only 35.…read more

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Labour voters are
concentrated in
North England, inner
cities, Scotland and
Conservative voters
are concentrated in
the South and
South West and
rural areas…read more

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Many voters may feel unrepresented
and may not vote in the future,
affecting turnout.…read more


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