electoral systems

FPTP - in UK, USA (states), Canada + India
electors vote for 1 individual in single-member constituencies. in uk, candidate with most votes wins seats in HofC.
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strengths of FPTP
strong, decisive govt with overall majorities. every voter rep'd by 1 MP = clear democratic link between people + parliament. quick and simple.
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weakness of FPTP
not proportional. 1997 labour won 44.33% votes but 63.57% of seats. disenfranchises voters due to wasted vote.
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Alternative Vote
one MP chosen BUT preferences recorded. if no majority, last placed eliminated. process continues until one candidate obtains ovr. majority.
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strengths of AV
retains single member constituency system's advantages. ensures MPs elected by absolute majority. less wasted indiv votes.
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weakness of AV (used: Australian House of Representatives)
wouldn't necessarily be proportional. Democratic Audit research said more distorting than under FPTP. still disenfranchisement for those not supporting major political parties.
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Single Transferable Vote (Republic of Ireland, elections to European Parliament)
preferential voting system in multi-member constituencies. each constituency elects between 3-5 MPS. candidates reaching certain quota of votes elected and surplus votes/votes for least supported redistributed.
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strengths of STV
most proportional system. lead to coalitions to reduce adversarialism + produce consensual. retains constituency link with a meaningful vote
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weaknesses of STV
coalition govts can be weak, divided + indecisive. coalitions = political deals in "smoke-filled rooms". complex system - confuse voters + several days to calculate. multi-member constituencies erode clear/direct link between voters and MP.
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additional member system (Used: Germany)
mixed system - combines simple constituency elections (FPTP) + directly elected proportional component
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strengths of AMS
retains advantages of simple single-member constituency system + helps balance disproportionate results it can produce. reflects modern voting reality: electorates back parties over individuals. threshold of 5% reduces extremists.
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weakness of AMS
half MPs picked by party leadership - unaccountable to an individual voters. increase in undemocratic power of party patronage. in germany - created strong, stable admins but no single party govts. small centrist party massive deal-making power
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Card 2


strengths of FPTP


strong, decisive govt with overall majorities. every voter rep'd by 1 MP = clear democratic link between people + parliament. quick and simple.

Card 3


weakness of FPTP


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Card 4


Alternative Vote


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Card 5


strengths of AV


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