UK Electoral Systems

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  • Created by: Becca96
  • Created on: 28-04-14 12:09
What are the majoritarian electoral systems used in the UK? (2)
FPTP and SV.
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What are the proportional representation electoral systems used in the UK? (2)
SV and Regional Party List.
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What is the hybrid system used in the UK?
AMS
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What is a majoritarian system?
Parties tend to win a higher proportion of seats than the proportion of votes gained - this makes a single parliamentary majority more likely.
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What is a proportional representation system?
There is a directly proportional relationship between votes gained and seats won.
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Where is FPTP used?
House of Commons and local government in England and Wales.
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Outline how FPTP works.
Single seat constituencies. Parties can put one candidate forward per constituency. Voters get one vote. Candidate needs a plurality to win constituency seat. Party needs majority of seats in Parliament to form government.
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What was Blair's majority in 1997?
179
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What are the main implications of FPTP? (5)
Disproportionality, systematic biases, two party system, single-party government, landslide effect.
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What percentage of votes and seats did Labour and the Lib Dems obtain in 2005?
Labour - 35% votes, 55% seats Lib Dems - 22% votes, 10% seats
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What are the implications of the two-party system? (2)
People discouraged from voting for smaller parties as votes would be 'wasted'. Creates 'safe seats', meaning votes are only really fought in a few 'marginal seats'.
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What were Labour's vote percentages and parliamentary majorities in 1997 and 2001?
1997 - 43% vote, 179 majority 2001 - 41% vote, 166 majority
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Where is AMS used?
Elections to Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.
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Outline how AMS works.
Voters get two votes; one for a party to fill regional seat and one for a candidate to fill constituency seat. Regional seat - party list. Constituency seat - FPTP. D'Hondt method applied to regional seats- produces 'differential top up'.
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What are the advantages of AMS? (3)
Balances constituency link with electoral fairness, proportional but likely to deliver single-party government, voters make more considered choices as they have 2 votes.
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What are the disadvantages of AMS? (3)
Single-seat constituencies reduce likelihood of proportionality, two classes of candidate creates confusion, weakened constituency link due to larger area - regional members have no constituency duties.
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Where is STV used?
Elections to Northern Ireland Assembly.
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Outline how STV works.
Multi-member constituencies. Parties can put up as many candidates as there are seats. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. Require Droop quota to be elected. Bottom candidate eliminated and votes redistributed until seats filled.
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What are the advantages of STV? (3)
Highly proportional, candidates judged on individual strengths, multi-member constituencies so people choose who to take their grievances to.
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What are the disadvantages of STV? (3)
Single party government unlikely, may get divided constituencies due to multiple competing members, possibility of 'donkey voting'.
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Where is the regional party list used?
Elections to European Parliament.
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Outline how the regional party list works.
There are several large multi-member constituencies (UK divided into 12 for EU elections). Each party submits a list of candidates. Voters have one vote and vote for a party. Seats proportional to votes.
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What is the difference between an open list and a closed list?
Open list - voters can express preferences regarding candidates, but must still only vote for one party. Closed list - candidates are elected in order chosen by party leader.
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What are the advantages of the regional party list? (3)
Most proportional outcome. Closed list makes election of minorities more likely. Open list allows voters to judge individual candidates.
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What are the disadvantages of the regional party list? (3)
Lots of small parties may lead to slow, unstable government. Closed list places lots of power in hands of party leader. Constituency link weakened (if not obliterated).
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Where is SV used?
London mayoral elections (and other mayoral elections).
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Outline how SV works.
A single-member constituency. Parties can put up one candidate. Voters get a first preference and second preference. If no candidate has a majority of first pref.s, all but top two are eliminated and second pref.s redistributed to give winner.
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How many first and second preferences did Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson obtain in the 2012 London mayoral election? Most importantly, who got most of each?
Livingstone - 890,000 first prefs, 100,000 second prefs. Johnson - 970,000 first prefs, 80,000 second prefs.
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What are the advantages of SV? (2)
Fewer votes 'wasted' than with FPTP. Majority required so wider range of views considered.
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What are the disadvantages of SV? (2)
Winner may enjoy little first pref. support and win based on second prefs which means they are only 'least unpopular' candidate. Also means many voters may in fact support smaller parties.
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What are the main implications of proportional representation systems? (4)
Greater proportionality, multi-party system, coalition government, consensus building.
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How many votes did UKIP get in 2010? How many seats did this earn them?
900,000 votes - 0 seats!
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What are the arguments for electoral reform? (5)
Electoral fairness, no 'wasted votes', majority popular support, accountable government due to less executive domination (no elective dictatorship!), consensus politics.
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What are the arguments against electoral reform? (5)
FPTP offers a clear choice, mandate democracy, good constituency link, strong and effective government, stable government.
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What are the proportional representation electoral systems used in the UK? (2)

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SV and Regional Party List.

Card 3

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What is the hybrid system used in the UK?

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Card 4

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What is a majoritarian system?

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Card 5

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What is a proportional representation system?

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