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Why do we have Elections?
Pass judgement on the Current government
To elect a Prime Minister & To elect a new government
To elect a MP for your constituency
To show support for a party's polices
The electorate gives permission to the governing party to carry out the policies in
their manifesto i.e. their mandate.
Functions of Elections
To form governments, to choose PM
Ensure representation, voters can Choose who they want to be their
Local MP
To Uphold Legitimacy- The electorate gives permission to the
governing party to carry out the policies in their manifesto i.e. their
mandate.…read more

Slide 2

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UK Election Democratic?
Universal adult suffrage
One person, one vote
Secret Ballot
Competition between candidates + parties…read more

Slide 3

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Majoritarian/Plurality Electoral Systems
To gain power don't need majority of votes but must win plurality =more
than any other candidate
FPTP ­ First Past the Post
Used in UK to elect MPs to House of Commons in general elections
Constituency system ­ single member constituency
One vote- for a candidate
Vote by marking X on ballot paper
Candidate with plurality of vote wins…read more

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Disproportionality ­ no proportionate link between votes and seats because system
concerned with electing individuals not representing parties e.g. lib dems 23% vote
received less than 10% seats, Tories 17% in Scotland but 1mp.
Systematic Bias - larger parties & parties with concentrated support likely to win
Small parties likely to come 2nd or 3rd. Therefore votes are wasted
FPTP= winner takes all
Dispersed votes mean party is unlike to win in particular constituency e.g. green, 2010,
¼ million votes only 1 seat
Voters less likely to waste vote on small party that won't gain representation so
decreased turnout, leads to tactical voting.
Two party system politics dominated by two major parties because of bias towards
larger parties with concentrated support eg. 85% of MPs either Conservative or
Single-party govt, strong govt as a result of two party system ­ "overall majority" in
House of Commons = strong govt e.g. no party gained over 50% of vote since 1935. All
Elections resulted in single party govt. except 2010 and 1974.…read more

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SV ­ Supplementary Vote AV ­ Alternative Vote
Used for elections of London Mayor ­ only Used in Australia for general elections
majority system used in UK May 2011 referendum
Voters have 2 votes ­ 1st and 2nd
preference Voters can place all candidates in order of
Automatically elected if win over 50% of
1st preference votes Automatically elected if win over 50% of 1st
preference votes
If no candidate wins over 50% 1st
preference all except top two candidates If no candidate wins over 50% of 1st preference
are eliminated and their 2nd preference votes candidate with lowest 1st preference
votes which went to non-eliminated votes eliminated and 2nd preference votes
candidates are distributed. Candidate distributed among others. Process of
with highest 1st and 2nd preference total eliminating continues until candidate wins 50%
of vote
If necessary 3rd, 4th etc votes are counted until
win over 50% of vote…read more

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Reasons For Reason against
+ Legitimate because majority of - Results no more proportional to votes
voters support than FPTP
+ Wider choice because more than 1 - Still excludes smaller parties because less
vote ­ can vote for small parties likely to come near top than larger parties
without wasting vote - 2nd preference votes of those voting for
+ Link between constituents and least popular candidate as 1st preference
representatives so representatives make big difference ­ power to extremists
accountable - Undemocratic to value 2nd,3rd,4th... votes
+ Possible to win majority of seats equally to 1st
and form single-party government. - More complicated than FPTP ­ lots of
spoilt ballots and voters may not vote
because don't understand ­ lower turnout…read more

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