Interpreting the Perfect Electoral System

There is no such thing as a perfect electoral system’ The Idea of perfection Is Interpreted differently amongst everybody In the 0K. The word ‘Perfect’ Is defined as having all the necessary or typical characteristics required for a given situation. So everybody will have different thoughts on what really Is a perfect electoral system. Generally, a perfect electoral system is one which has the qualities of being simple, gives a varied choice to the electorate, is fair and proportional, gives a clear outcome and is microcosmic, it represents the people more.
Firstly, it could be argued that the more proportional electoral systems are the losest to a ‘perfect’ electoral system because they show what/who the people of the UK really voted for. One proportional system is the Single Transferrable Vote. This system operates by representatives being elected in large multi-member constituencies, the voting is preferential and also known as Voting Ordinal’ where the voters can vote as many times as they want. The candidates much receive a quota known as a droop quota to actually become elected and if they reach this quota any excess votes are redistributed on the basis ot 2nd preferences.
The calculation used to work out the quota Is (total valid which some eople argue Is too complicated for any elecuons In the 0K, If no candidate reaches the quota then the lowest places candidate Is eliminated and the second preferences of the people that voted for them are redistributed. This system Is used successfully in many UK elections, It’s used In Northern Ireland for elections such as in the Assembly, for local government elections and EU parliament elections. The Republic of Ireland and Scotland both use it for Local Elections However there are both many advantages and disadvantages of using this electoral system.

Firstly it delivers roportional outcomes and it also ensures that votes are largely of equal values. In addition, the threshold is quite high. A party or group of parties have to win over 50% of the popular vote to form a government, this is an advantage because the winning party reflects the majority of the populations wishes. On the other hand, the process Single Transferrable vote uses large multi-member constituencies, this weakens the link between individual MPs and their constituencies, so some people may not feel as involved as they could be throughout the electoral process. Also, STV is less accurate
In translating votes Into seats than other electoral systems such as list systems or some versions of additional member systems. In addition, If a coalition was to be formed under the STV electoral system, It can be argued that the government produced could be unstable and give a disproportional Influence to minor parties that hold the balance of power. Never the less, the voters can choose between a large range of candidates including dfferent candidates of the same party, this allows the public to really vote what they feel most strongly for because of the large range of available candidates.
Secondly, the electoral system Regional List is another proportional system. Again using this system, representatives are elected in large multi-member constituencies, however the political parties draw up a list of candidates in order in which they’ll be elected, the electors cast one single vote for a representing the same political party. The parties have greater control over the electoral process as they can put their favourite candidates at the top of the list. As it is a proportional system, the seats are allocated according to the proportion of votes won by each political party.
Regional list is another successful system which is used for elections to European Parliament in England, Scotland and Wales, the last European election was in 2009 where the amount of seats won were 72, the overall turnout was 1 5,625,823 and the electorate was 45,315,669. However, although it is a proportional system it still has its advantages and disadvantages. It is argued that we shouldn’t use this system because in closed list systems voters cannot chose between candidates from the same party.
Also the parties control the order in which candidates appear on the list and they can favour those who support the leadership. Never the less, Regional List delivers an extremely high degree of proportionality which is an argument for the I-JK using this system for more elections, because the amount of seats the winners of the election gain is proportional to the amount of people who voted for them which is fair isn’t it? In addition, not only does it reflect the voters’ choices, political parties use lists to increase the number of women and ethnic minority candidates in parliament.
However, Just like the Single Transferrable Vote, Regional List uses large multi-member constituencies which weakens the links etween representatives and constituents. Thirdly, it could be argued that Majoritarian/plurality systems are the next closest to being a perfect electoral system as they are very simple and produce a stable government. First Past the Post electoral system is the most common Majoritarian system as it is used for the General Elections in the I-JK.
First Past the Post is simple because the country is split into roughly even sized constituencies and in each constituency, people elect one representative, it is a single vote system and whoever wins the most votes in the constituency wins a seat in parliament. This system was last used in 2010 at the last general election where it lead to a hung parliament and the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats went into a coalition to run the country. The Conservatives gained 307 seats, Labour won 258 seats and the Liberal Democrats won 57 seats.
Never the less, it may seem straight forward and simple but it has a variety of advantages and disadvantages. The fact it’s simple is one of the advantages, not only is it simple to understand but the ballot paper is simple as you can only cast one vote. Also, it produces a quick and clear vote and it also produces a stable government as the inning party adds a bonus of seats and single party governments with a working majority have significant control over the legislative process, both of these factors contributing to the creation of a stable government.
However, despite these advantages the First Past the Post system produces disproportional outcomes, this is where the amount of seats won in the election doesn’t reflect the share of votes received. Also, it favours plurality rather than majority support, so the victorious candidates don’t need a majority to gain power. Not only this, but First Past the Post roduces votes of unequal value, the constituencies are roughly the same size, they’re not exactly the same size which means different constituencies have votes of different values, also most votes are wasted due to tactical voting so these votes don’t even help elect the MPs.
Never the less, First Past the Post produces a responsible governing party in office at the moment, and the potential alternative government. This system also produces effective representation, as the country is split into single- member constituencies, it shows a clear link between voters and the elected representative. There is only one MP responsible. On the other hand, First Past the Post only offers a limited choice to the voters. Only one candidate stands on behalf of the party, so the choice isn’t as diverse as the more proportional systems like Regional List.
To follow on from that point, many I-JK constituencies are known as ‘Safe Seats’ where the majority of people from that constituency will vote for a certain party whether they like their politics or not. For example, the constituency of Penrith is known as a safe seat for Conservatives. In addition, tactical voting is often used as way to obstruct a party to get into power, by voting for the party which is most likely to compete with the winning party and not by voting for their most preferred party. Fourthly, Supplementary vote is another form of a Majoritarian/plurality system.
The voter only has one vote to put down their top two candidates and if no candidate wins a majority then all but the top two are eliminated and the second preference votes of the eliminated candidates are added to the first preference candidates. After the elimination the candidate with the highest total is elected. This system is a ariant of the Alternative Vote. The Supplementary Vote system is used to elect the London Mayor and Mayors of other cities. The last election was in 2012 which was the London Mayoral election. Boris Johnson (conservative) won a second term in power by 3% beating his Labour Rival Ken Livingston.

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