Assess the advantages of the various electoral systems Essay

Submitted By the_mitch1
Words: 925
Pages: 4

Assess the advantages of the various electoral systems
One of the many electoral systems is the First-Past-The-Post system (FPTP), the current system for electing MPs to the House of Commons. There are 659 separate constituencies across the UK each electing one single Member of Parliament. In order to vote you simply put an ‘X’ next to the name of the candidate you support. The candidate who gets the most votes wins, regardless of whether he or she has more than 50% support. Once members have been individually elected, the party with the most seats in Parliament, regardless of whether or not it has a majority, normally becomes the next government. FPTP tends to lead to a two-party system where two major political parties dominate politics within a government. The system tends to produce single party governments, which are strong enough to create legislation and tackle the country’s problems, without relying on the support of any other party. In these single party governments, the FPTP electoral system provides a close link between the MP and their constituency, due to the system also representing the views of the people, as the candidate with the greatest support wins through a fair process. However, only one MP is elected in each constituency, so all the voters who did not vote for him or her are not represented. Their votes do not help elect anybody and so are wasted, they could have stayed at home and the result would not have been altered. In addition to this, there is a lack of choice given to the voters. The candidates are selected by a small number of party members, and voters can only choose between parties. If the candidate selected for your party has views with which you disagree, you are left with no alternative choice within that party.
Another electoral system is called the Single Transferrable Vote system or STV. Each constituency would elect between 3 and 5 MPs depending on its size. Voters rank the candidates, putting a ’1′ for their favourite, a ’2′ for the next, and so on. If the voter’s first choice candidate does not need their vote, either because he or she is elected without it, or because he or she has too few votes to be elected, then the vote is transferred to the voter’s second choice candidate, and so on. In this way, most of the votes help to elect a candidate and far fewer votes are wasted. An important feature of STV is that voters can choose between candidates both of their own and of other parties, and can even select candidates for reasons other than party affiliation. Therefore, a voter, wishing for more women MPs could vote for a woman from their own party and then all other women candidates, whatever party they stand for. It enables the voters to express opinions effectively. Voters can choose between candidates within parties, demonstrating support for different wings of the party. Voters can also express preferences between the abilities or other attributes, of individual candidates.
A third voting system is the Alternative Vote or AV system. The same constituency boundaries are used and voters would elect one person to represent them in parliament, just as we do now. However, rather than marking an ‘X’ against their preferred candidate, each voter would rank their candidates in an order of preference, putting ’1′ next to their favourite, a ’2′ by their second choice and so on. If a candidate receives a majority of first place votes, he or she would be elected just as under the present system. However if no single candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the second choices for the…