Electoral systems and referenda OCR AS Government and Politics

  • Created by: EJ19
  • Created on: 28-10-14 22:50



- Majoritarian systems: This is based on the idea of one representative per one constituency: they are non-proportional, although they may yield a result fairer than comes from FPTP. (AV + SV)

- Proportional systems: designed to achieve greater proportionality than FPTP can ever produce. People argue that there should be a close relationship between the distribution of votes between parties and the allocation of seats in the legislature. (Closed list and STV)

- Plurality/majority systems: This is based on the idea of a single-winner voting (FPTP). A ‘simple’ majority, not necessarily an ‘absolute’ majority.  

- Hybrid systems: These are systems which combine the majoritarian and proportional systems (AMS)


- First Past The Post: A majoritarian, plurality system used for HoC and local elections in England and Wales.

1) 650 constituencies with a single MP elected

2) Voters vote for their preferred candidate

3) The candidate who gains the most votes wins the seat

Advantages: It leads to a strong government, it is uncomplicated, it is unlikely you will get extremist parties winning and the MP is local to the constituency

Disadvantages: very unrepresentative and leads to tactical voting

- Supplementary Vote: majoritarian system, used to vote for mayors, wales where there are more than 2 candidates and also police and crime commissioners (1st voted in 2012)

1) 650 constituencies with a single MP elected

2) Voters are limited to 2 votes (unlike AV)

3) Vote for 1st and 2nd preference in separate columns

4) 1st choice counted until 1 candidate has a majority and they’re elected

5) If no candidate reaches 50% votes the top 2 people are retained and the rest are eliminated

6) The 2nd preference votes of those eliminated are then recounted and the person with the most cotes wins

Advantages: more representative than FPTP, reduces tactical voting, MPs are local to constituency, fairer to independent parties and you are less likely to get extremist parties

Disadvantages: still not very representative, more expensive and more complicated

- Single Transferable Vote: proportional system, used for local elections in Northern Ireland, Northern Irish Assembly, European parliament elections in Northern Ireland and Local Elections in Scotland

 1) Rank candidates in order preference

2) First candidate to reach quota elected (quota = number of votes cast/(number of seats +1) + 0.01)

3) If then this person is voted for 1st preference, the person’s 2nd preference will be taken as vote

4) Then there will be a large multi-member constituency

Advantages: more representative, still voting for the person not the party, can choose which MP to talk to, less likely to have extremists in power

Disadvantages: it’s complicated, weak – hard to come to a decision, distance between the MP and constituent so there is less interaction

- Additional Member System: a hybrid system, used for Scottish parliament, National Assembly of Wales, London


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