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Encyclopedia > Plurality voting system
An example of a plurality ballot.
An example of a plurality ballot.
The Voting series:

This series is part of the
Politics and the Election series Image File history File links Plurality_ballot. ... Image File history File links Plurality_ballot. ... Voting is a method of decision making where in a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ... Image File history File links Vote_icon. ... Politics is the process by which groups make decisions. ... An election is a decision making process where people choose people to hold official offices. ...

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Commonly used
Electoral systems

This series is part of the
Politics and the Election series Voting is a method of decision making where in a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ... A voting system is a means of choosing between a number of options, based on the input of a number of voters. ... For the town in France, see Ballots, Mayenne. ... There exist various methods through which the ballots cast at an election may be counted, prior to applying a voting system to obtain one or more winners. ... On an approval ballot, the voter can vote for any number of candidates. ... Bloc voting (or block voting) (also called Plurality-at-large) refers to a class of voting systems which can be used to elect several representatives from a single constituency. ... The Borda count is a single winner election method in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. ... Any election method conforming to the Condorcet criterion is known as a Condorcet method. ... The Coombs method, created by Clyde Coombs, is a voting system used for single-winner elections in which each voter rank-orders the candidates. ... Copelands method is a Condorcet method in which the winner is determined by finding the candidate with the most pairwise victories. ... A points method ballot design like this one is the most common for governmental elections using cumulative voting. ... The DHondt method (equivalent to Jeffersons method) is a highest averages method for allocating seats in party-list proportional representation. ... The Droop quota is the quota most commonly used in elections held under the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. ... Dynamically Distributed Democracy (DDD) uses a social network data structure as a means of a creating a holographic model of the voting behavior of the whole group within any subset of the population that is actively participating in the groups voting process. ... In party-list proportional representation systems, an election threshold is a clause that stipulates that a party must receive a minimum percentage of votes, either nationally or within a particular district, to get any seats in the parliament. ... The Hare quota is a formula used to calculate the minimum number, or quota, of votes required to capture a seat in some forms of single transferable vote or largest remainder method party-list proportional representation voting systems. ... The highest averages method is one way of allocating seats proportionally for representative assemblies with party list voting systems. ... Example ballot Instant-runoff voting (IRV) (also known as the Alternative Vote (AV) and by several other names) is an voting system used for single winner elections in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. ... The Kemeny-Young method is a voting system that uses preferential ballots, a tally table, and sequence scores to identify the most popular choice, and also identify the second-most popular choice, the third-most popular choice, and so on down to the least-popular choice. ... The largest remainder method is one way of allocating seats proportionally for representative assemblies with party list voting systems. ... Party lists are used in elections to legislatures which use Party-list proportional representation or additional member proportional representation to designate a partys nominees in the at-large portion of the vote. ... The first-past-the-post electoral system is a voting system for single-member districts, variously called first-past-the-post (FPTP or FPP), winner-take-all, plurality voting, or relative majority. ... Preferential voting (or preference voting) is a type of ballot structure used in several electoral systems in which voters rank a list or group of candidates in order of preference. ... Proportional approval voting (PAV) is a theoretical voting system for multiple-winner elections, in which each voter can vote for as many or as few candidates as the voter chooses. ... Range voting (also called ratings summation, average voting, cardinal ratings, 0–99 voting, or the score system or point system) is a theoretical voting system for single-seat elections in which voters score each candidate, the scores are added up, and the candidate with the highest score wins. ... The Sainte-Laguë method of the highest average (sometimes identified with Websters method or divisor method with standard rounding) is one way of allocating seats proportionally for representative assemblies with party list voting systems. ... The Schulze method is a voting system developed in 1997 by Markus Schulze that selects a single winner using votes that express preferences. ... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... In voting, a ballot paper is considered to be spoilt, void, or null if it is regarded by the election authorities to contain irregularities during vote counting, and hence cannot be recorded as a valid vote. ... Politics is the process by which groups make decisions. ... An election is a decision making process where people choose people to hold official offices. ...

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The plurality voting system is a single-winner voting system often used to elect executive officers or to elect members of a parliament which is based on single-member constituencies. An example of runoff voting. ... Example ballot Instant-runoff voting (IRV) (also known as the Alternative Vote (AV) and by several other names) is an voting system used for single winner elections in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. ... Preferential voting (or preference voting) is a type of ballot structure used in several electoral systems in which voters rank a list or group of candidates in order of preference. ... Proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation, or PR), is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates (grouped by a certain measure) obtain in elections and the percentage of seats they receive (usually in legislative assemblies). ... Ballot for electoral district 252, Würzburg, for the 2005 German federal election. ... Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems used in multiple-winner elections (e. ... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... Parallel voting describes a mixed voting system where voters in effect participate in two separate elections using different systems, and where the results in one election have little or no impact on the results of the other. ... The Single Non-Transferable Vote or SNTV is an electoral system used in multi-member constituency elections. ... A points method ballot design like this one is the most common for governmental elections using cumulative voting. ... Bloc voting (or block voting) (also called Plurality-at-large) refers to a class of voting systems which can be used to elect several representatives from a single constituency. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Single-winner voting systems are voting systems in which a predetermined constituency elects a single person to some office; they contrast generally with proportional representation, in which constituencies are combined to elect several representatives at once. ...


The most common system, used in Canada, India, the UK, and the USA, is first past the post or winner-takes-all, a voting system in which a single winner is chosen in a given constituency by having the most votes, regardless of whether or not he or she has a majority of votes. A voting system is a means of choosing between a number of options, based on the input of a number of voters. ...


In some countries such as France a similar system is used, but there are two rounds: the "two-round" or "two-ballot" plurality system. The two highest-voted candidates of the first round compete in a two-candidate second round.


In political science, the use of the plurality voting system alongside multiple, single-winner constituencies to elect a multi-member body is often referred to as single-member district plurality or SMDP [citation needed]. Plurality voting is also variously referred to as winner-takes-all or relative/simple majority voting; however, these terms can also refer to elections for multiple winners in a particular constituency using bloc voting. Political science is the field of the social sciences concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior. ... A constituency is any cohesive corporate unit or body bound by shared structures, goals or loyalty. ... Bloc voting (or block voting) (also called Plurality-at-large) refers to a class of voting systems which can be used to elect several representatives from a single constituency. ...


The famous works of Arend Lijphart use the term "majoritarian" systems, which is used almost synonymously with "plurality" systems. Arend DEngremont Lijphart (b. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ...

Contents

First past the post

The term first past the post (abbreviated FPTP or FPP) was coined as an analogy to horse racing, where the winner of the race is the first to pass a particular point on the track (in this case a plurality of votes), after which all other runners automatically and completely lose (that is, the payoff is "winner-takes-all"). There is, however, no "post" that the winning candidate must pass in order to win, as they are only required to receive the largest number of votes in their favour. This sometimes results in the alternative name "furthest past the post". Analogy is either the cognitive process of transferring or giving information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), or a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. ... Horse-racing is an equestrian sporting activity which has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman times were an early example, as was the contest of the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. ... A plurality, or relative/simple majority as it is also referred to outside the United States (especially in non-English speaking countries; in the US, simple majority has another meaning), is the largest share of something, which may or may not be a majority in the American sense of the... Voting is a method of decision making where in a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ...


Historically, FPTP has been a contentious electoral system, giving rise to the concept of electoral reform and a multiplicity of different voting systems intended to address perceived weaknesses of plurality voting. Electoral reform projects seek to change the way that public desires are reflected in elections through electoral systems. ... A voting system is a means of choosing between a number of options, based on the input of a number of voters. ...


Plurality voting is used in 43 of the 191 countries in the United Nations for either local or national elections. Plurality voting is particularly prevalent in the United Kingdom and former British colonies, including the United States and Canada. [1] See Westminster system. The foundation of the U.N. The United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress and human rights issues. ... The Houses of Parliament in London The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modeled after that of the United Kingdom system, as used in the Palace of Westminster, the location of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ...


Voting

In single winner plurality voting, each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate, and the winner of the election is whichever candidate represents a plurality of voters, that is, whoever received the largest number of votes. This makes the plurality voting system among the simplest of all voting systems. A plurality, or relative/simple majority as it is also referred to outside the United States (especially in non-English speaking countries; in the US, simple majority has another meaning), is the largest share of something, which may or may not be a majority in the American sense of the...


In an election for a legislative body, each voter in a given geographically-defined electoral district votes for one candidate from a list of candidates competing to represent that district. Under the plurality system, the winner of the election acts as representative of the entire electoral district, and serves with representatives of other electoral districts. A constituency is any cohesive corporate unit or body bound by shared structures, goals or loyalty. ...


In an election for a single seat, such as president in a presidential system, the same style of ballot is used and the candidate who receives the largest number of votes represents the entire population. President is a title held by many leaders of organizations, companies, trade unions, universities, and countries. ... A presidential system, also called a congressional system, is a system of government where the executive branch exists and presides (hence the term) separate from the legislature, to which it is not accountable, and which cannot in normal circumstances dismiss it. ...


Ballot types

Generally plurality ballots can be categorised into two forms. The simplest form is a blank ballot where the name of a candidate is written in by hand. A more structured ballot will list all the candidates and allow a mark to be made by a single candidate, however a structured ballot can also include space for a write-in candidate as well. A write-in candidate is a candidate in an election whose name does not appear on the ballot, but for whom voters may vote nonetheless by writing in the persons name. ...


Plurality voting is based on minimal information — a person's vote can be entirely represented by a binary choice, so anything can be used to signify a vote — the ancient Greeks would vote on ostracising someone by scratching the name of the person to be ostracised on a piece of pottery. Votes cast as physical objects can also create a realistic display of the election results, such as an array of candidates with jars filled with differently coloured beans, with the winner being the most-filled. Ostracism (Greek ostrakismos) was a procedure under the Athenian democracy in which a prominent citizen could be expelled from the city-state of Athens for ten years. ...


Examples of plurality voting

Simple example

The election of a Member of Parliament in the UK is a well known example of the First Past the Post electoral system. But the system is also used on a smaller scale. A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ...


The election for class president

For this example, consider the election for the president of a school class. Each class has a president, who sits on a school council. Further assume that, in this imaginary school, male and female students disagree with each other on most issues, and students prefer to vote for others of the same sex as themselves.


In our hypothetical election, there are three candidates: Amy, Brian and Cathy. Each class member gets a ballot, with these three names on it. Each voter must put an "X" by one of the names on their ballot.


After the election finishes, the papers are sorted into three piles--one for votes for Amy, one for votes for Brian, and one for votes for Cathy.


The largest pile decides the winner. If Amy's pile has 11 votes, Brian's has 16, and Cathy's has 13, Brian wins.


Notice that there were a total of 40 votes cast, and the winner had only 16 of them — only 40%.


Note that the class members (the "electors") only vote once, and their votes help to choose both a class president and a member of the school council (the same person).


The election for school council

Suppose that all the other classes hold similar elections. Across all the classes, 8 of the class presidents that were elected were girls, and 9 were boys. That makes the boys the overall winner. The only influence that the pupils in this particular class had was to vote for Amy, Brian or Cathy to represent themselves.


Some might argue that a boy won for this class because there were two girls, who "split the vote": some of the girls in the class voted for Amy and others for Cathy. Perhaps if Amy had not been a candidate, all the girls would have voted for Cathy and she would have won this class; this in turn would make the girls the winners of the whole council. Arguments exactly like this, but on a larger scale, are common wherever there are plurality elections.


More complex example

Imagine that the population of Tennessee, a state in the United States, is voting on the location of its capital. The population of Tennessee is concentrated around its four major cities, which are spread throughout the state. For this example, suppose that the entire electorate lives in one of these four cities, and that they would like the capital to be established as close to their city as possible. Image File history File links Tennessee_map_for_voting_example. ... Official language(s) English Capital Nashville Largest city Memphis Largest metro area Nashville Area  Ranked 36th  - Total 42,169 sq mi (109,247 km²)  - Width 120 miles (195 km)  - Length 440 miles (710 km)  - % water 2. ... In politics, a capital (also called capital city or political capital — although the latter phrase has a second meaning based on an alternative sense of capital) is the principal city or town associated with a countrys government. ... In politics, an electorate is the group of people entitled to vote in an election. ...


The candidates for the capital are:

  • Memphis, the state's largest city, with 42% of the voters, but located far from the other cities
  • Nashville, with 26% of the voters
  • Knoxville, with 17% of the voters
  • Chattanooga, with 15% of the voters

The preferences of the voters would be divided like this: For other uses, see Memphis (disambiguation). ... Nickname: Music City Location in Davidson County and the state of Tennessee Coordinates: Country United States State Tennessee Counties Davidson County Founded: 1779 Incorporated: 1806  - Mayor Bill Purcell (D) Area    - City 1362. ... Nickname: The Marble City, K-Town, Big Orange Country, Knox Vegas, 865 Location within the U.S. State of Tennessee Coordinates: Cities in Tennessee Tennessee  - Mayor Bill Haslam (R) Area    - City 254. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

42% of voters
(close to Memphis)
26% of voters
(close to Nashville)
15% of voters
(close to Chattanooga)
17% of voters
(close to Knoxville)
  1. Memphis
  2. Nashville
  3. Chattanooga
  4. Knoxville
  1. Nashville
  2. Chattanooga
  3. Knoxville
  4. Memphis
  1. Chattanooga
  2. Knoxville
  3. Nashville
  4. Memphis
  1. Knoxville
  2. Chattanooga
  3. Nashville
  4. Memphis

Voting is accomplished whereby each voter in each city selects one city on the ballot (Memphis voters select Memphis, Nashville voters select Nashville, etc.) Votes are tabulated; Memphis is selected with the most votes (42%). Note that this system does not require that the winner have a majority, but only a plurality. Memphis wins because it has the most votes, even though 58% of the voters in this example preferred Memphis least. A simple majority is the most common requirement in voting for a measure to pass, especially in deliberative bodies and small organizations. ... A plurality, or relative/simple majority as it is also referred to outside the United States (especially in non-English speaking countries; in the US, simple majority has another meaning), is the largest share of something, which may or may not be a majority in the American sense of the...


Advantages

Plurality is often conflated with Single-winner voting systems in general, in order to contrast it with Proportional Representation. See the advantages there for other advantages of plurality in this context, such as regionalism and accountability. Single-winner voting systems are voting systems in which a predetermined constituency elects a single person to some office; they contrast generally with proportional representation, in which constituencies are combined to elect several representatives at once. ...


Simplicity

Plurality may well be the simplest of all voting systems. This implies specific advantages. It is likely to be quicker, and easier to administer; this may also imply that an election costs less to run. It may also have an effect on voters, because it is easy to explain and understand. Alternative voting systems may alienate some voters who find the systems hard to understand, and who therefore feel detached from the direct effect of their own vote.


Preservation of One Person One Vote principle

The arguments for a plurality voting system rely heavily on the preservation of the "one person, one vote" principle (often shortened to OMOV for "one man, one vote" or more recently "one member, one vote"), as cited by the Supreme Court of the United States, wherein each voter is only able to cast one vote in a given election, where that vote can only go to one candidate. Plurality voting systems elect the candidate who is preferred first by the largest number of voters. Other voting systems, such as Instant-runoff voting or Single Transferable Vote also preserve OMOV, but rely on lower voter preference to arrive at a candidate earning either absolute majority or droop quota, respectively. OMOV, an acronym standing for one man, one vote, is a term used to support an overturning of decades of malapportioned legislative districts in the United States. ... The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... Example ballot Instant-runoff voting (IRV) (also known as the Alternative Vote (AV) and by several other names) is an voting system used for single winner elections in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. ... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... OMOV, an acronym standing for one man, one vote, is a term used to support an overturning of decades of malapportioned legislative districts in the United States. ... Absolute majority is a supermajoritarian voting requirement which is stricter than a simple majority. ... The Droop quota is the quota most commonly used in elections held under the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. ...


However, proponents of other systems, such as approval voting, point out that the OMOV principle was made to control the magnitude of districts; that each district must be relatively in proportion to one another in population. Approval voting does not actually represent some voters more than others, so the OMOV principle would be a weak one to discount it on. In any case, it could be argued approval voting grants one vote for each candidate to each voter - which they may choose not to cast, and cannot vote cumulate on one candidate.


Disadvantages

See single-winner voting systems for other disadvantages commonly associated with plurality, such as diminished representation, sweepout and other skewed results, and "safe seats". Single-winner voting systems are voting systems in which a predetermined constituency elects a single person to some office; they contrast generally with proportional representation, in which constituencies are combined to elect several representatives at once. ...


Tactical voting

To a much greater extent than many other electoral methods, plurality electoral systems encourage tactical voting techniques, like "compromising". Voters are pressured to vote for one of the two candidates they predict are most likely to win, even if their true preference is neither, because a vote for any other candidate will be likely to be wasted and have no impact on the final result. This is known as Duverger's Law. In voting systems, tactical voting (or strategic voting) occurs when a voter misrepresents his or her sincere preferences in order to gain a more favorable outcome. ... Duvergers Law is a principle which asserts that a first-past-the-post election system or in other words, a Single-member, Simple-plurality system, naturally leads to a two-party system. ...


In the example above, Cathy's voters would have done much better to have voted for Amy instead of Cathy; that way, Amy would have beaten Brian by eight votes. They would not have gotten their most desirable person elected, but rather their second choice; in this case plurality voting led to the paradoxical result that attempting to get their 1st most desired person elected led to their 3rd most desired person being elected instead. Likewise, in the Tennessee example, if all the voters for Chattanooga and Knoxville had instead voted for Nashville, then Nashville would have won (with 58% of the vote); this would only have been the 3rd choice for those voters, but voting for their respective 1st choices (their own cities) actually results in their 4th choice (Memphis) being elected.


The difficulty is sometimes summed up, in an extreme form, as "All votes for anyone other than the second place are votes for the winner", because by voting for other candidates, they have denied those votes to the second place candidate who could have won had they received them. It is often claimed by United States Democrats that Democrat Al Gore lost the 2000 Presidential Election to Republican George W. Bush because some voters on the left voted for Ralph Nader of the Green Party, who presumably would have preferred Gore to Bush. Conversely, Republicans can claim that Ross Perot was a spoiler who enabled Bill Clinton to win the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections with a minority of the popular vote, because Perot had split the conservative vote, winning 8.4 percent of the vote, far better than Nader did, under 0.5 percent of the vote. The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States; the other being the Republican Party. ... Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... The Republican Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States; the other being the Democratic Party. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States, inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ... Ralph Nader Ralph Nader (born February 27, 1934) is an American attorney and political activist. ... In United States politics, the Green Party has been active as a third party since the 1980s. ... The Republican Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States; the other being the Democratic Party. ... Henry Ross Perot (born June 27, 1930), is a billionaire American businessman from Texas, best known as an outsider candidate for the office of President of the United States in 1992 and 1996. ... The spoiler effect is a term to describe the effect a candidate can have on a close election, in which their candidacy results in the election being won by a candidate dissimilar to them, rather than a candidate similar to them. ... William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III[1] on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Presidential electoral votes by state. ...


It should be noted, however, that Perot's supporters would have needed to favor Bush over Clinton by a ten-to-one margain to give Bush a popular majority in the 1992 election; in 2000, if Nader's Florida supporters had supported Gore over Bush by a margain of 51-49, he would have 'easily' defeated Bush.


Such a mentality is reflected by elections in Puerto Rico and its three principal voter groups: the Independentistas (pro-independence), the Populares (pro-commonwealth), and the Estadistas (pro-statehood). Historically, there has been a tendency for Independentista voters to elect Popular candidates and policies. This phenomenon is responsible for some Popular victories, even though the Estadistas have the most voters on the island. It is so widely recognised that the Puertoricans sometimes call the Independentistas who vote for the Populares "melons", because the fruit is green on the outside but red on the inside (in reference to the party colours). The Puerto Rican Independence Party (Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP) in Spanish) is a Puerto Rican political party that campaigns for the independence of Puerto Rico from the United States. ... PPD logo and accompanying motto: Bread, Land, Freedom. The Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico —or Partido Popular Democrático de Puerto Rico (PPD) in Spanish— is a political party that supports the continuation of Puerto Ricos current status as a free associated state of the United States, which... The English noun Commonwealth dates originally from the fifteenth century. ... PNP logo with motto (Statehood, Security, Progress) The New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Partido Nuevo Progresista de Puerto Rico, PNP) is a political party that campaigns for Puerto Rican statehood. ... This article discusses states as sovereign political entities. ...


Because voters have to predict in advance who the top two candidates will be, this can cause significant perturbation to the system:

  • Substantial power is given to the media. Some voters will tend to believe the media's assertions as to who the leading contenders are likely to be in the election. Even voters who distrust the media will know that other voters do believe the media, and therefore those candidates who receive the most media attention will nonetheless be the most popular and thus most likely to be in one of the top two.
  • A newly appointed candidate, who is in fact supported by the majority of voters, may be considered (due to the lack of a track record) to not be likely to become one of the top two candidates; thus, they will receive a reduced number of votes, which will then give them a reputation as a low poller in future elections, compounding the problem.
  • The system may promote votes against more so than votes for. In the UK, entire campaigns have been organised with the aim of voting against the Conservative party by voting for either Labour or Liberal Democrats based on which is most popular in each constituency, regardless of the voters' opinions of the policies of these parties.
  • If enough voters use this tactic, the first-past-the-post system becomes, effectively, runoff voting - a completely different system - where the first round is held in the court of public opinion.

A feature of the FPTP system is that invariably, voters can select only one candidate in a single-member district, whilst in multi-member districts they can never select more candidates than the number of seats in the district. Some argue that FPTP would work better if electors could cast votes for as many candidates as they wish. This would allow voters to "vote against" a certain despised candidate if they choose, without being forced to guess who they should vote for to defeat that candidate, thus eliminating the need for tactical voting. Such a system would also serve to reduce the spoiler effect. This system is called approval voting. An example of runoff voting. ... The spoiler effect is a term to describe the effect a candidate can have on a close election, in which their candidacy results in the election being won by a candidate dissimilar to them, rather than a candidate similar to them. ... On an approval ballot, the voter can vote for any number of candidates. ...


Effect on political parties

Duverger's law is a principle of political science which predicts that constituencies that use first-past-the-post systems will become two-party systems, given enough time. Duvergers Law is a principle which asserts that a first-past-the-post election system or in other words, a Single-member, Simple-plurality system, naturally leads to a two-party system. ... Political science is the field of the social sciences concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior. ... A two-party system is a form of party system where two major political parties dominate the voting in nearly all elections. ...


First-past-the-post tends to reduce the number of political parties to a greater extent than most other methods, thus making it more likely that a single party will hold a majority of legislative seats. (In the United Kingdom, 18 out of 22 General Elections since 1922 have produced a majority government.) Single party rule enables quicker decision-making with less need for back and forth negotiation; some argue that this is an advantage.


Multi-party coalitions, on the other hand, require consent among all coalition partners to pass legislation, which some argue gives small parties a disproportionate amount of power. In the UK, arguments for plurality often look to Italy where the frequent government changeovers are presented as undesirable. (This problem could be solved with separation of powers, in which the entire government didn't have to turn over just because it lost a vote.) The separation of powers (or trias politica, a term coined by French political Enlightenment thinker Montesquieu) is a model for the governance of democratic states. ...


FPTP's tendency toward fewer parties and more frequent one-party rule can also produce disadvantages. One such disadvantage is that the government may not consider as wide a range of perspectives and concerns. It is entirely possible that a voter will find that all major parties agree on a particular issue. In this case, the voter will not have any meaningful way of expressing a dissenting opinion through his or her vote.


Another disadvantage is that fewer choices are offered to the voters, often pressuring voters to vote for a candidate with whom they largely disagree so as to oppose a candidate with whom they disagree even more (See tactical voting above); this feature pressures candidates to appeal to the extremes in order to avoid being undercut. This appeal-to-extremes operates by giving those voters who are more centrist no choice but to vote for them. The likely result of this is that candidates will less closely reflect the viewpoints of those who vote for them.


It may also be argued that one-party rule is more likely to lead to radical changes in government policy that are only favoured by a plurality or bare majority of the voters, whereas multi-party systems usually require greater consensus in order to make dramatic changes.


Wasted votes

Wasted votes are votes cast for losing candidates or votes cast for winning candidates in excess of the number required for victory. For example, in the UK General Election of 2005, 52% of votes were cast for losing candidates and 18% were excess votes - a total of 70% wasted votes. This is perhaps the most fundamental criticism of FPTP, that a large majority of votes may play no part in determining the outcome. Alternative electoral systems attempt to ensure that almost all votes are effective in influencing the result and the number of wasted votes is consequently minimised. In the study of electoral systems, a wasted vote may be defined in 2 different ways: any vote which is not for an elected candidate. ... The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 and won by the Labour Party, led by Tony Blair. ...


Disproportionate influence of smaller parties

Smaller parties can disproportionately change the outcome of a FPTP election by swinging what is called the 50-50% balance of two party systems, by creating a faction within one or both ends of the political spectrum which shifts the winner of the election from an absolute majority outcome to a simple majority outcome favouring the previously less favoured party. In comparison, for electoral systems using proportional representation small groups win only their proportional share of representation. In the United States, this mechanism falls within one major reasoning (USA, Voting act, 1970s) favoring two-party, First-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral systems. --Homunq 03:50, 1 March 2007 (UTC) A political faction is presently an informal grouping of individuals, especially within a political organisation, such as a political party, a trade union, or other group with some kind of political purpose (referred to in this article as the “broader organisation”). It may also be referred to as a power... A political spectrum is a way of visualizing different political positions. ... Absolute majority is a supermajoritarian voting requirement which is stricter than a simple majority. ... A simple majority is the most common requirement in voting for a measure to pass, especially in deliberative bodies and small organizations. ... Proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation, or PR), is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates (grouped by a certain measure) obtain in elections and the percentage of seats they receive (usually in legislative assemblies). ...


Current events

The United Kingdom continues to use the first-past-the-post electoral system for general elections, and for local government elections in England and Wales. Changes to the UK system have been proposed, and alternatives were examined by the Jenkins Commission in the late 1990s but no major changes have been implemented. Canada also uses this system for national and provincial elections. In May 2005 the Canadian province of British Columbia had a referendum on abolishing single-member district plurality in favour of multi-member districts with the Single Transferable Vote system after the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform made a recommendation for the reform. The referendum obtained 57% of the vote, but failed to meet the 60% requirement for passing. The Independent Commission on the Voting System, popularly known as the Jenkins Commission after its chairman Roy Jenkins, was a commission into possible reform of the United Kingdom electoral system. ... This article is 150 kilobytes or more in size. ... Map of Canada As shown by the map to the left, the North American nation of Canada is a federation which consists of ten provinces that, together with three territories, make up the worlds second largest country in total area. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu (Latin: Splendour without diminishment) Official languages English de facto (none stated in law) Flower Pacific dogwood Tree Western Redcedar Bird Stellers Jay Capital Victoria Largest city Vancouver Lieutenant-Governor Iona Campagnolo Premier Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal) Parliamentary representation  - House seats  - Senate seats 36 6 Area... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform can refer to: Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform (British Columbia) Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform (Ontario) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Australia are notable examples of countries within the UK, or with previous links to it, that use non-FPTP electoral systems. This article is about the country. ... Motto: (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity1 Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official language(s) English, Gaelic, Scots2 Government  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - UK Prime Minister Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by Kenneth I 843  Area    - Total 78,772 km... Motto:  (Latin for Who will separate us?)[1] Anthem: UK: God Save the Queen Regional: (de facto) Londonderry Air Capital Belfast Largest city Belfast Official language(s) English (de facto), Ulster Scots, Irish3, Northern Ireland Sign Language, Irish Sign Language Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister of...


Recent examples of nations which have undergone democratic reforms but have not adopted the FPTP system include South Africa, almost all of the former Eastern bloc nations, Russia, Afghanistan and Iraq. A map of the Eastern Bloc. ...


Where plurality voting is used

Countries that use this system to elect the lower or only house of their legislature include:

See also: Table of voting systems by nation

The plurality election system is used in the Republic of China on Taiwan for executive offices such as county magistrates, mayors, and the president, but not for legislative seats which used the single non-transferable vote system. This has produced an interesting party structure in which there are two broad coalitions of parties which cooperate in executive elections but which compete internally in legislative elections. [2] Official language(s) de jure: none de facto: English & French Capital Baton Rouge Largest city Baton Rouge [1] Area  Ranked 31st  - Total 51,885 sq mi (134,382 km²)  - Width 130 miles (210 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 16  - Latitude 29°N to 33°N  - Longitude 89°W... These tables deal with voting to select candidates for office, not for the passing of legislation. ... Motto: Three Principles of the People (三民主義 San-min Chu-i) Anthem: National Anthem of the Republic of China Capital Taipei (de facto)  Nanking (de jure)1  Largest city Taipei Official languages Mandarin (GuóyÇ”) Government Semi-presidential system  - President Chen Shui-bian  - Vice President Annette Lu  - Premier Su Tseng-chang... The Single Non-Transferable Vote or SNTV is an electoral system used in multi-member constituency elections. ... The Republic of China (ROC) currently has jurisdiction over Taiwan, Kinmen, Matsu, and the Pescadores Islands (Penghu) and several smaller islands. ...


India uses a proportional representation system for its upper house. Proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation, or PR), is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates (grouped by a certain measure) obtain in elections and the percentage of seats they receive (usually in legislative assemblies). ...


See also

Proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation, or PR), is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates (grouped by a certain measure) obtain in elections and the percentage of seats they receive (usually in legislative assemblies). ... An example of runoff voting. ... The Single Non-Transferable Vote or SNTV is an electoral system used in multi-member constituency elections. ... This STV ballot for the Australian Senate illustrates group voting tickets. ... A voting system is a means of choosing between a number of options, based on the input of a number of voters. ...

References

  1. ^ "The Global Distribution of Electoral Systems"
  2. ^ Making Votes Count, Gary Cox (1997)

External links

  • A handbook of Electoral System Design from International IDEA
  • ACE Project: First Past The Post - Detailed explanation of first-past-the-post voting
  • ACE Project: Experiments with moving away from FPTP in the UK
  • ACE Project: Electing a President using FPTP
  • ACE Project: FPTP on a grand scale in India
  • The Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform says the new proportional electoral system it proposes for British Columbia will improve the practice of democracy in the province.
  • ASSEMBLY AUDIO AND VIDEO Below, you'll find audio and video recordings of six Learning Phase weekends, a meeting held in Prince George and the six Deliberation Phase weekends. The Learning Phase and Deliberation Phase recordings were broadcast on Hansard TV during 2004. - week 5 gives a detailed description by David Farrell, of the University of Manchester (England), Elizabeth McLeay of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Districting in FPTP systems, The unusual "earmuff" shape of the 4th Congressional District of Illinois connects two Hispanic neighborhoods while remaining contiguous by narrowly tracing Interstate 294.

 
 

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